day of week

No Place Higher

4 January 2005

I thought since it was the beginning of a new year, I’d start by sharing something …a little closer to my heart. Something that has inspired me to look forward into this year with even more passion for life and passion for the small, simple, everyday happinesses.

In March 2004, my husband was diagnosed with cancer.
I really believed that God was kidding around. It was too much like a clichè TV series… happy couple with a cute kid, house almost paid off, new car, steady income, about to start trying for a second kid…. then wham. Early diagnosis of cancer. No symptoms. Just a little piece of paper with some numbers (cancer markers) on it saying “YOU HAVE CANCER.”

We and the best doctors in town agreed that surgery was the best option. So in June my husband had major surgery to remove a tumour in his abdomen. He recovered so quickly that he was back at work within a couple of weeks. It was pretty amazing and reassuring. But what they removed turned out to be benign. And the cancer markers were still rising. So the hunt continued.

By July everyone decided that chemotherapy was the best and only option. He started it on my birthday and it was just awful. We agonised through it one day at a time. But after the first cycle, it was clear that the chemo was having no effect. The cancer markers were increasing, not decreasing. So we stopped treatment and everyone was a little unsure of what to do next.

We rested for a month. Took a short holiday. Discovered we were pregnant. Returned to start afresh.

Scans showed a mysterious tumour lodged in one of his back muscles, behind the area where they first operated. A very complicated operation would cut it out, but it would leave him without the use of one leg. Nothing made me cry more than the thought of my husband being unable to kick a ball with our kids in the park. But at least he’d be alive.

In September, his cancer markers were off the roof, so he underwent another major abdominal surgery to take out the mysterious tumour. 6 terrifying hours later he emerged from the recovery room… wiggling both sets of toes. The operation was a complete success. The surgeons did a brilliant job. The whole cancer was cut out, it hadn’t spread AND he had perfect function of both legs.

It’s January 2005 now. Almost 4 months after the operation. My husband is back at work. Life is back to normal. Plans for building a sandpit in the backyard have resumed. People can’t believe that he had cancer. I almost can’t believe it.

It was a miracle that we’ve walked away from all of this triumphant.

A miracle and triumph that can only be described as the grace of God. (Which is what I’d like my next kid’s name to mean, or some derivative of that.)

I guess it’s a bit weird that I made no mention of this all year, and left it until now to share. And I hope everyone will more-or-less understand why I left it til now to share it.

Updating this blog was my escape – a pleasurable and enjoyable place where I could craft words and pictures based around the ideas and moments of my life I wished to share with others. It really brightened up my day.

So yes, it’s January now. We’ve been adjusting our lifestyle since the operation. Eating healthier, being more active, focusing on reducing stress in our lives, spending more time with friends and family, having fun and basically enjoying the everyday joys of life. It’s those things that count most, I guess.

And so, after sharing all that, I hope this sparks some kind of inspiration in the midst of your new year resolution making. Nonetheless, this is me, wishing everyone a happy new year!