Cancer has been on my mind a lot lately for different reasons. Someone I met a few years ago through work found out recently that his son has stage IV cancer. He is almost the same age as Parker. We went to a benefit meal for him recently. Parker has been having more questions about cancer. So I have been explaining that someone can be sick and not have cancer and that if you have a cold it doesn't mean you have cancer. We also found out recently that a relative has DCIS. So we have been praying for some new warriors. Plus four years ago yesterday Kristin had her mastectomy.
These things led me to think about when Kristin was diagnosed. She had noticed a lump for some time. Her doctor had told her a couple of times that it was just part of pregnancy and then that it was from nursing. She had an ultrasound done that didn't indicate that it was cancer. It seemed to be getting larger so Kristin insisted upon having a mammogram. I remember being concerned that it could be cancer, but I figured it was probably nothing since that is what we had been hearing from her doctor. When Kristin called me at work and told me I needed to come to the hospital I knew the news probably wasn't going to be good. I remember praying the whole way to the hospital. I knew when I saw her that it was cancer. It was still just so shocking. The mammogram and biopsy sounded awful and very painful. I think about our relative going through something similar now. I wish nobody had to go through it.
One of my co-workers was talking to me recently about how someone could do anything but focus on how much time they have left when they are given that information by their doctor for themselves, their child or their spouse. The thing is that nobody here (doctors included) knows how much time we have. I was very thankful for the honesty that Kristin's doctor had when talking about her prognosis. He would tell us that he didn't know how much time she had. He would give us statistics if we asked, but he never pretended to have a crystal ball. I really appreciated his honesty. The thing that Kristin focused on was the treatment she was receiving and how it was helping. She knew that the treatment may not be the cure we were looking for, but she believed it could give her the time she needed to get to her home run treatment. Even though Kristin never received that home run we always focused on the fact the the next one could be it.
I'm sure many know Jimmy V and his speech (if not it is worth a quick Google and a few minutes of watching the video). Since Kristin's passing I think his words, “Don't give up, don't ever give up.” have taken on more meaning. I am SO proud of Kristin for never giving up. She never turned down any treatment. She always wanted to get better for us. She fought so hard, and she never gave up. So I think when someone is given the news that their time may be short Jimmy V's message still rings true and is important to focus on. We should never give up or count down the days. We should live each day to get the most out of it that we can and remember that miracles do happen.
So now I am going to write about what I had intended to with this blog. There are good things that came from cancer for us. Below is a list of some of them.
- We decided to build a home. If it were not for cancer we would probably still be living in our duplex.
- We would not have met and made friends with some wonderful neighbors. Parker wouldn't have friends next door to play with.
- We would not have gone to to Disney World and Universal Studios. That was such an amazing trip and one we will never forget. Kristin did so much planning and organizing it for all of us. Parker still asks at least once a week if we can go back to Florida. We give a special thanks to Memories of Love for helping to make the trip happen. They are a great organization.
- Kristin probably would not have been a stay-at-home mom. Parker and her had a lot of special time together that would not have happened without cancer.
- Parker and Kristin would not have biked to local ponds on a weekly basis during the summer to go fishing. This may have prevented Parker from associating me with being the one that isn't very good at getting the fish off the hook, but maybe I can surprise him this summer :)
- Kristin probably would not have met some very good friends that she got to know through her Mom's Meetup Group. It is hard to imagine the void that would be there without those friends.
- We developed some amazing friendships with people at our church that would have been much different or may never have evolved to where they are today without cancer.
- The connection we have with our church community would have been so much different without cancer. It is hard to imagine feeling quite as connected or as loved by the people there if it had not been for cancer.
- Kristin would have had much less time for crafting, knitting, quilting and making things for Parker.
- Liz and Fynn may not have had hand-knitted blankets from aunt Krissy.
I am sure there are other things that I have missed. So while cancer is a terrible disease, not all that came from it for us was bad. I pray that someday it can be like small pox or measles and no longer affect so many people. I also pray that we all keep living, loving and laughing and that none of us ever give up. Until my next post.
Patrick – 02/18/15
Kristin & Parker
Just 11 Days After Her Mastectomy