Thursday, February 18, 2016

Living with a cancer patient

These past two weeks have been pretty surreal. Had you told us our new year's resolution would be to beat cancer... we would have probably stared at you with the same numbed expression we had when the doctors presented the possibility to us only two short (read EXTREMELY long) weeks ago. Up until now, none of it has felt real. We have shuffled from doctors to specialists to doctors, one hospital room to another. It has been non-stop biopsies, blood tests, and imaging. We have seen more nurses, technicians, specialists, and doctors than I can count on my fingers and toes... and yet this has only just begun. Today we got a call from the Proton Radiation clinic that we hope to qualify for with our insurance. If not... we are willing to beg, borrow, and scrape for Hank to receive this much more pinpointed radiation therapy to reduce the amount of permanent damage that will result from this drastic, but necessary therapy. So prayers that Hank's insurance would approve, are requested and deeply appreciated.
One of the aspects of living with a cancer patient that we are being thrown off by is the NEED to be hypochondriacs. Anyone who knows Taylor and I, know that we are pretty laid back about germs. We let our kids eat off our floor, rarely wash hands, and share food with strangers. (It's a cultural thing we picked up in Korea.) ;) But with Hank's immune system depleting after Chemo treatments... we have to consider him fragile, susceptible to even the tiniest of colds. This has put a damper on our social life. We now find ourselves feeling like the pediatrician nurses at our doctor's office: "Have you traveled outside the U.S. in the past 30 days? Have you had any recent fevers, nausea, vomiting, or sickly symptoms? Have you been in contact with anyone exhibiting any of these symptoms? etc..."
It goes against my nature. Even having the kids wash their hands before meals and snacks... I know, bad mom, but hey... they have been healthy up to now. SO... we are relearning hygiene for the sickly. No sharing cups, no tap water for Hank, no fresh fruit/veggies without a deep cleaning, no raw meat, deli meat, raw eggs, soft cheeses... the list goes on. The most heartbreaking... no digging in the dirt. Poor kid. Also, he is not allowed near construction sites... and guess what is happening two doors down? So guess who can't go outside to play? Yep. Hank is confined to the house for now. Because indoor play places are out of the question, all his friends have runny noses, coughs or the stomach bug, and it has been so windy that he can't go out due to the spores blowing around in the air. Lucky for him, we were given a generous gift to be able to buy a Wii game system. Now he at least has something "special" to do when the days inside get long. He and daddy have been playing a little in the mornings or afternoons... and when Corin is done with homework, the boys enjoy a little play time before dinner.
Now I know you don't want to read a journal of what our days look like each time, but I say the above to give you an idea of what our new reality is... and in turn, these are the needs we foresee for now. The plan is to go in for Chemotherapy every Wednesday... next week it will be Tuesday, but every week thereafter will be on Wednesday for the next year. (Or until our doctor changes the day) With that being said, Wednesdays are going to be very busy for us. Since we have to try and keep the house as sterile as possible, Wednesdays will be consumed with the cleaning that can't be done with Hank at home. Dusting, spraying down toys, and cleaning the mold off the window sills (I need some suggestions on how to eradicate that... we have a very damp home.) and changing air filters. Taylor will likely take Hank to chemo, while I clean (hopefully with the help of friends and family), as the girls are at a sitters (again, need help), and then we have to eat dinner. (yet again, hopefully with help from friends and family.) Wednesdays will definitely be our big need days. I set up a planner on (just search "Hank Lett" for his page) if you are interested in helping out in these ways.
Obviously there will be other needs, like supplies that we would normally not be investing in, babysitting we wouldn't normally need, understanding of last minute changes, and much more. But our biggest need... PRAYERS. Please partner with us in praying for Hank's complete healing and eradication of cancer. Pray for wisdom for Taylor and I as we make hard decisions in the midst of waiting for that. Decisions that may change the course of Hank's future. Decisions that both break our hearts, and give us hope for a life for Hank. Decisions that you may not agree with if you don't have all the facts... I wish I could share all the facts with you. Information is being shot out at us as if we were expecting the gentle spout from a water fountain, but receiving the face numbing... neck jerking blast from a fire hose. Our world has been ripped apart and pieced together with sticky notes... they are barely holding things together and we never know when the temporary glue will release the bond. So please don't misunderstand our lack of responses for not caring. Or our failure to acknowledge your gifts/cards/acts of kindness as ingratitude. We are treading water, staying afloat, and some days better than others. We love you all and appreciate all you are doing for us... but most of all, we appreciate your prayers.Those prayers help us tread that water and stay afloat. Thank you, to all those keeping us in their thoughts and prayers... thank you. We simply can't say it enough.

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