172 days ago our world was entering a phase of life we weren’t prepared for and did not see coming. 172 days ago Chris told me that he was having pericarditis pain….. AGAIN. This would be his third round of it. That we were prepared for but weren’t expecting. We weren’t prepared for the events that followed. The chest pain continued to increase and morphed into pain that Chris had not had before. I will never forget sitting in the ER 3 days later and getting a call from his Cardiologist. He told me Chris’s heart was healthy (praise God), but he had an anterior mediastinal mass that they can’t identify and will likely need a biopsy. I was numb. I had to hang up the phone and tell my husband that he had a mass in chest that is resting on his heart and they aren’t sure what it is. That was 169 days ago!
169 days of strength, hope and love. They say you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. Chris is the strongest man I know. I watched him battle 169 days (and counting) with a smile and positive attitude. He ate when NOTHING sounded good. He drank when he wanted to throw up. He walked and showed up EVERY DAY when he was more tired than we could know. He was a source of strength for everyone around him. Even in the midst of the hardest battle he has faced he was able to grow new relationships and strengthen existing ones.
Today was a GLORIOUS day! Chris got to ring the bell! He is DONE with treatment! I am so proud and privileged to have walked this walk with him. He is resilient. He didn’t want a lot of fanfare. He just wanted to be done…. AND HE IS! His body will continue to fight as the chemo will complete its cycle over the next 18 days, but the treatments are behind us.
Thank you to EACH OF YOU! You walked alongside us. You lifted us in prayer. You encouraged us. You fed us and our families. You embraced us. You LOVED us. We couldn’t have gotten through the past 169 as easily as we did without each of you. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
So, what’s next? Chris will continue to have lab work weekly for the next several weeks. He has a follow up scan in Wichita in mid August. We will return to MD Anderson for follow up appointments and a scan in early October.
Has he had a McDonald’s Coke? He has not! It will come and he can’t wait. For now, chemo is still present and fighting.
Today, I saw Chris quietly hit the automatic button to open the door for someone entering the Cancer Center of KS lobby. You may have missed this small act of kindness if you weren’t paying attention. However, that is the heart my husband has. He has a servant’s heart. He constantly thinks of others and does anything he can to help EVERYONE. I challenge us all to live a little more like Chris. Love each other. Lift each other up. Help others out. And no matter what…. BE KIND. These are the virtues that make Chris the man he is and I could not be more proud of him!