Today is March 17 – but only because it’s after midnight and I couldn’t sleep. So. many. thoughts have been mulling around in my head since the 16th, which was the day my friend Jen told me I should journal my experience. It was also the day Corey had his first bone marrow biopsy.
Corey. That’s my husband, for those of you who don’t know.
And as it just now occurred to me that some of you might not know Corey, let me unwrap him for you just a bit. He’s a guy’s guy: athletic, loves the outdoors, etc. But he’s a total goof ball. He’s very outgoing and loves to ham it up. With everyone. He has been known to break out in song on construction sites, he (almost always) asks the person in the drive thru if he can put his drink or meal or whatever on layaway, or if they offer AAA or senior discounts. And then he gets them, you guys! Like, people will actually give my 40-something husband a senior discount because he made them laugh. No, I’m not kidding.
And one time at MOD Pizza, the kind of place where you go down the line telling them what you want as they build your pizza, he replied with, “King George the 4th” when the twenty-something taking our order asked him his name. She wrote, “King George” on his order and he looked at her and said, “the 4th.” She looked at him with an eyebrow raised and he repeated, “the 4th.” So the young lady (what a good sport!) actually wrote “King George the 4th” on his order sheet and then everyone making his pizza laughed all the way down the line – where I won’t even tell you all he piled on his pizza that day. It was quite the spectacle! The guy at the cash register was cracking up by the time we got there and he gave us a 15% discount! And then the whole place erupted in laughter when the guy at the end bellows out “King George the 4th” after pulling Corey’s pizza out of the brick oven.
Are you getting a sense of who he is? Good. Now let me tell you a funny story about today. At the hospital. Where my husband was getting the final test to confirm the stage and aggression level of his cancer.
(An upside down existence in a right side up world.)
First I will tell you that for the past two days I have been asking Corey to call and see whether he could have anything to eat or drink, since they were sedating him for the procedure. Next I will tell you that he did not call to confirm this. He chose instead to eat a light lunch as our check-in was at 1:30 and the procedure was scheduled for 3:30.
Having said that, after we got to the hospital and got checked in, a lovely nurse named Jana ushered us back to a room where she took his vitals, answered some questions and went over the whole “get undressed and tie the gown in the back” bit. After talking with her for a few minutes, Corey left the room for a second and she looked at me and said, “He’s terrified, isn’t he?” I chuckled and said, “Yep.” Because while Corey is a guy’s guy and grew up the youngest of 3 brothers, playing sports and living the northwest outdoors lifestyle, he has reached 40-something completely unscathed. How, I’m not sure, but he has. He had stitches for the first time just last year, has never had a broken bone, and until he had his wisdom teeth out recently, had never been under any kind of anesthesia.
Sickness and hospitals are not his thing. Like, at all. (For some reason, the lyrics to “Isn’t It Ironic” are running through my head…)
So he gets in his hospital gown, Jana gets his IV line in and is going through all of the pre-op stuff when she comes to the question, “When was the last time you had anything to eat or drink?” He answers, “about an hour ago,” and she looks at him like he was kidding, (because, remember, he asks strangers if he can put his iced vanilla latte on layaway and insists the pizza girl call him King George…the 4th), but nope, he wasn’t kidding. She continued to go through the checklist but said that may change whether he could be sedated, but she’d check on it.
Not gonna lie, I whispered an “I told you so.” OK, maybe it wasn’t a whisper…
So we’re in the hospital room where sweet and uber-patient Jana finishes up with all the pre-op stuff, a guy named Steve comes in to do one last blood draw and then Lyn, the interventional radiologist who’s performing the actual biopsy, comes in with a couple med students in tow. She is very frank and explains the procedure in detail, showing Corey they’ll be taking the bone marrow from the area right above his hip – on the back side. “You’re going to see my butt??” he says, (fakely) aghast. “Yep,” she replies, “and I’ve seen a lot of butts. Big ones, little ones, hairy ones, pimply ones, tattooed ones…”
“Yep, I’ve seen some pretty interesting tattoos in some pretty interesting places.” I’ve gotta hand it to Lyn, she’s playing in Corey’s league and she’s quite adept at it!
Anyway, the anesthesiologist and Jana came back in to wheel him away so I kissed him goodbye and headed out to the lobby to take a seat and get some work done. I’m not out there two minutes when Jana comes out and says, “He wants to talk to you.” Once the anesthesiologist learned he’d eaten, she informed him she could not sedate him but only give him pain prevention through his IV. He would feel pressure, but not actual pain, and he’d be awake and conscious for the procedure. Not gonna lie, that freaked him out a bit and we needed to talk him off the ledge.
Now, while I mostly (OK, maybe not mostly) try to appreciate Corey’s lighthearted nature, that is not a characteristic I posses in spades. I’m more the “let’s get ‘er done” kind of girl. I’m pretty decisive and more to the point so rescheduling this was not an option for me.
You know, me. The person fully dressed and not going through a procedure… to confirm my cancer diagnosis.
Anyway, after a little pep talk we convinced him to go forward with it and he was like, “OK, but let’s go right now!” Boy, they kicked the brakes off that bed and about ran me over on the way out the door!
I got back out to the lobby just as my dad was calling to check on how things were going and we had a good laugh about how Corey maaaaay have deserved having to endure this wide awake, and forever hear me say, “I. told. you. so.”
Anyway, he survived and, in typical Corey fashion, was cracking jokes and killing it with the whole team throughout the whole procedure. He was perhaps a little more sore than he would have been this evening but he won’t have to deal with the anesthesia hangover tomorrow, and we got out of there sooner than we would have so, all-in-all, it was a pretty positive experience in an otherwise surreally upside down existence.
And now we wait. And pray.
I’ve titled this blog, “Unshaken” after a line in my favorite Psalm: “I have kept the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Ps. 16:8)
I’m writing this in real time now. I do not know where this road is going to take us; what peaks and valleys this unexpected journey will lead us through. But “I am confident of this, that He who began a good work…will be faithful to complete it.” (Phil. 1:6) No matter the outcome, it is my #1 goal that Christ be glorified in every word, every thought and every action along this road. I want my kids, who still don’t know of Corey’s diagnosis at the time of this writing, to never doubt for one moment that I fully trust my Creator, Healer, Provider, Savior, and Good Father to work this out for His glory.
Thanks for jumping in on this road with us from time to time. Pray for us when you think about it. We know that’s going to be what gets us through.