Healing

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It’s been over two weeks since Matt’s surgery. He has done amazingly well. He has been completely independent for a week now. He takes walks daily, visited work, went to church and the pre-season Colts game on Sunday! Yes, it was probably a bit much too soon. But he was glad to get out.

The first week was definitely hard, but for reasons other than I expected. I thought he would be in more pain which would be hard for both of us. His pain has been very minimal the whole time. He went off the pain meds pretty early and cold turkey. It never occurred to me that he would have withdraws, but he did. Mostly hot and cold flashes for days. This meant very little sleep for both of us, mostly for him.

During this time I saw a lot of my heart. Can you guess what I saw? Ugliness. Selfishness. When he woke up the fourth time because he needed help moving, I wanted to say no. As the days went on with so much interrupted sleep, I had to consciously remind myself that I had to help him. It was like reminding myself that I love him! One of the last nights he said he had to yell to wake me up like four times and when I did wake up, I just stared as I debated getting up. I realize some people are simply servants. I am not. As a believer I am of course, called to be a servant. Que the conviction. Wait no. That didn’t hit until a couple days after I caught up on sleep. So I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit to give me a servants heart. Matt’s mom was here helping out as well and I am so quick to let her do things that I should have done…like dishes. She did them every day. I’m so thankful for that! And yes, she was here to help, but I know my heart. I know that my heart was selfish and lazy in letting her do it constantly.

It was also a wake up call (no pun intended) as to what being a mother would be like. I understand how even getting 8 hours of sleep, but only in small doses can make one incredibly tired still. Also, the giving up of oneself. I know being a mother is hard and painful because you have to die to yourself. I think I know a little better now. But please know that my husband who is a big baby when sick, was definitely not that way for either surgeries! That has been fun to see his personality and his determination to be independent as much as possible. Just wanted to clarify that the comparison between being a mother and caring for my husband are of course greatly different.

Here we are prior to his surgery. 
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And here he is taking a walk outside the day he got home from the hospital. He walked around the neighborhood shirtless for the first four days or so. 🙂 This led to finding out a neighbors friend has the same scar as Matt…only from a stab wound. We may live in a somewhat ghettoish neighborhood….

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Recovery

This blog is long overdue for an update. First things first, my husband is ok. Well, he isn’t ok right now, but he will be and he isn’t going to die. That’s the best news!

May 24th he had surgery to remove the tumor. After that he had CT scans and blood tests. Everything looked pretty good except two lymph nodes were borderline swollen. These are the lymph nodes in his lower back and the ones that testicular cancer spreads to first. He had an appointment with the oncologist who said that he currently had an 80% chance of being cured from that surgery alone. That was great news! However, Matt was pretty concerned because of the tumor make-up. Basically, although it seemed pretty clear that it hadn’t spread beyond the testicle, its always possible that it could have. The oncologist wanted him to just be on surveillance but Matt was seriously considering RPLND surgery (a pretty major surgery with an incision from his sternum to below his belly button so they can take the lymph nodes out behind his bowels and other organs). 

A urologist who comes into my work suggested we meet with the surgeon to help make a decision. Again, we are so incredibly thankful to be in the city with the best surgeon in the nation who does this surgery. Upon meeting with him, he described the three reasons people with the option to have an RPLND (not mandatory) choose to do so. The first was that you’re a generally anxious person. If you can’t sleep the night before your CT scans and are always worrying about a relapse, those guys usually choose surgery. This was exactly Matt.

The second was wanting to avoid chemotherapy and all the radiation from so many CT scans on surveillance. This was also Matt. We asked the oncologist if he had a relapse and had to have chemo, if it would sterilize him and he said because he has already had issues in that department, then most likely yes it would. That kind of goes with the last reason. He said usually guys who choose the surgery are ones who are young and want a family…basically having surgery preserves fertility. This is because having the surgery drastically reduces his chance of a relapse and thus chemo, ect.

He chose surgery. That was yesterday. The last 24 hours have been pretty brutal. Neither of us got any sleep all night, but thankfully he is sleeping right now. We’ll be here a few more days and then he will be recovering at home for about a month.  In a sense it’s crazy that he chose to go through this. However, hopefully this will be the worst and the end of it…apart from the large scar down his belly of course.

Prior to surgery he did actually bank sperm. This is because there is a slight chance of sterilization in surgery because the nerves that cause ejaculation are connected to the lymph nodes and sometimes they get hit. Back in the day, this surgery meant you’d come out without being able to ejaculate (semen goes into the bladder instead) but now they spare those nerves. Yay! Matt didn’t want to take any chances though. The cool thing about that is that we got some stats on his sperm after removing the troublesome testicle.

Total count: 32 million
Concentration: 32 million
Motility: 74%

Yeah for motility!! That is huge! So happy about that! However, I’m confused about the concentration and total count. I think that basically means there wasn’t a lot of semen, but what was there had a normal amount of sperm. Regardless I don’t think it’s much to complain about at this point. We now have 3 vials of sperm frozen if we need em. I pray we never do. Then what do we do with it? Weird.

In a way, his cancer has given me a nice break from the heartache of infertility. Especially the first month. But then it would hit in strange places again. And ya know, it’s still more painful than anything else. I know I’m not the one with cancer, but I feel I now understand why women who have gone through IF and cancer can say that IF is more painful. One big reason is cancer is public where IF is not. I’ve prayed and prayed to be pregnant before his surgery, before his birthday a week ago and even now, I pray I’m pregnant. I so desperately want there to be that good in the midst of this. How sweet it would be. Yet I still know that God is doing good in this. I’ve listened to a lot of Matt Chandler messages during the past couple months and it’s been really encouraging. He had a brain tumor a couple years back. It’s made me truly be grateful even if for small moments, that God is bringing us through such hardship. I know he loves us. He disciplines those he loves. A life of ease would not give us the gift of Him that we desperately need. And man, what a reminder it has been that this world is not my home and I truly long for the day when I’m there.