Friday, October 29, 2010

'Are You Nervous'

This is the 4th of 6 Posts

'Are you nervous'

The PA (physicians assistant) asked in a nice way to Stephanie once we are in the examination room.

'Yes I am'  Stephanie says.

He tells us the doctor will be here shortly

Today we are at the Hunstman Cancer Institute.   It is the official 'You have cancer' day.  The first blood tests and Pathology is back. Stephanie is feeling pain in her knee and her head.   Stephanie and I talk about the blog.  I ask her if it is ok.  I tell her it feels odd because its so much of 'Tom' and my feelings.  She reassures me that its just the opposite.

She 'loves it' she says.  It shows her how much I love her.

I tell her I have not been very good if the blog tells her that.  She laughs and says 'I love you'

I take for granted that she knows I love her.  I realize again that girls are such a mystery.  I say girls because I have three of them.  Stephanie, Bria, Anna.

The few paragraphs above this line are written while Stephanie and I are waiting for the Doctor.  I couldn't write anymore at the institute.  We are both trying to define what happened.  The words below are written 15 hours later

Another PA just came in.

After about an hour of questions and answers, and pages of paperwork.

'We already know its stage 4'

I say................. wait.. say that again...............what did you just say?   We are here for more tests right.....?
In my mind I thought  she is just talking random things about cancer.  So much of what she would say could roll into several sentences.    

'Its stage 4'  

We were devastated.  Stephanie is lightly crying.  I feel my whole body shutter.  Stephanie puts her hand on my knee.  She keeps it there for so long.  Its like she was protecting me?  I will never forget.

So much of what happened I can't put into words.  We only know this is a battle.

By the end of the day Stephanie is put through a series of tests.  One of them she is laid face down.  Without general anesthesia, like she had for the the other biopsies, they remove bone marrow from her hip.  It was professionally done.   But so invasive........she was awake and they go right for the bone marrow?

We learn that 40 different types of Lymphoma exist.  Its explained that Stephanie's type is Treatable but cannot be cured.  What does that mean?  It becomes clear that over the next several days we need to pray that cancer is not found in more places.  This 'stage collection' will include a PET scan procedure from head to toe.  Once all this data is in place we will get definitive statistics related to this cancer

Even with the stress and tears of the day.  Something wonderful happened.  Its hard to describe now because I am so sad at this new reality.   But at different times during this horrible day.  Stephanie and I would find ourselves tears just laughing.

For the few family and friends who have been directed to this blog.  Both Stephanie and I thank you for your kind and heartfelt words of support.


  1. Tom and Stephanie--You have painted a beautiful scene for us of a very difficult moment. So tender. I've always looked to the two of you as loving each other so very much. I can't imagine what you must be feeling with this difficult news. Believe in miracles. With love--Jodi

  2. Tom and Stephanie,

    John and I have been reading your blog. You are in our prayers, and we have been fasting for blessings of strength and healing, and miracles for Stephanie. Please know how much love and concern we have for Stephanie and your family. Keep us updated. Love, Jackie

    October 30, 2010 8:58 AM

  3. I am so touched by Tom's ability to share this process with each of us. Whenever I think of you, Stephanie, it is you endearing and charming giggle that I remember. After reading this post it is still evident that despite everything you have been through, you still have an amazing ability to laugh! We will continue to have you and your family in our prayers.

  4. Thank you Tom for writing this blog-- It is really hard for me to share my feelings because I love Tom and Steph so much and its hard to "feel" the sadness and the pain. Thank you Dad for allowing a forum for posts and feelings. I know that as a family we are going to be alright. I love you guys SOO MUCH!
    Laura Felt

  5. Tom - I am so touched that you shared this blog with me... thank you. I don't know Stephanie, but I am sitting here balling my eyes out reading through your posts about your beautiful wife. She is so lucky to have you. I know how devastating a diagnosis like this can be since one of my closest and dearest friends (Liza) is fighting breast cancer right now. All I can say is stay strong, stay in faith, and love each other. With God ALL things are possible - NEVER forget that. I will keep Stephanie and your family in my prayers.

    I want to share this poem with you and Stephanie... I found it a few weeks after Liza was diagnosed.


    It cannot cripple love
    It cannot shatter hope
    It cannot corrode faith
    It cannot destroy peace
    It cannot kill friendship
    It cannot suppress memories
    It cannot silence courage
    It cannot invade the soul
    It cannot steal eternal life
    It cannot conquer the spirit

    God bless you and your family,

  6. Tom and Stephanie - We are reading your blog and pray for you daily. I don't know how much help we are but at least know we support you. - Jim and Margo

  7. We'll all definately be thinking of you out here in Virginia. You are such a strong person; physically and spiritually. Our prayers are with you. Love,


  8. Tom and Stephanie,
    Steve and I have been so touched by your blog. We appreciate hearing the updates of Stephanie's progress. Our prayers have been for you both and your precious children. Your children are so special and I know how much you both love them. I was looking at pictures of our reunions at Hobble Creek and I remember how Stephanie would always have some part planned that included your children and I remember how tender it was. I agree with Yvonne Stephanie your laugh is contagious and it is so cute.
    Steve and Marilynn

  9. Thank you, Tom, for bringing us into this intimate circle of your love for each other, the tears, the pain and the laughter. My body aches in empathy while reading about the knee pain and the biopsies (those in and of themselves must hurt like crazy). The tears stream.
    I love you, Stephanie. And like others who love you, I hear your laugh ringing out and it's adorable--It's one of my favorite things about you!
    I brought flowers to Mom & Dad's grave yesterday and talked to them awhile. I asked them to please find a way to bring peace and comfort to you and your family.
    Much love,