Sunday, October 5, 2014

Chemo and Second Follow-Up MRI

Things have been going pretty well since the last update I wrote. Scott handled the max dosage of chemo very well again, and still didn't experience nausea. He still gets pretty wiped out for several days during and after taking it, but he says even the fatigue is getting to be more manageable. The Aphasia is still a battle. Reading is still tough, although Scott says he does feel he is making some progress and getting a little better. I think he's doing phenomenal, although of course I wish the progress was quicker. I remember in the hospital when they told me he would need speech therapy for at least a few months, and that was really difficult news for me to hear. At first I thought he might regain those skills within a couple of weeks, so to hear that it would take months was overwhelming. Once those first few months came and went, it became even more apparent that this was going to be a very slow and gradual process of recovery. Now, six months in, it's tough to realize again that he is probably only halfway to what we hope is a complete recovery.

A month ago, Scott had another MRI. I know we are pretty early in the game, but I couldn't help but be nervous. I don't know if I'll ever be able to shake those nerves going in to those. When they showed us the images from his MRI, they said a lot of the swelling and inflammation had gone down which helped them get a much clearer picture of how things looked. This time, they said everything looked great - no regrowth, and nothing to be concerned about, which is great news. Also, Scott's hair has started growing back, so it's been nice to see him with hair again :)

We're still not really sure what is in our future as far as Scott's schooling or how we plan to provide for our family long-term. A lot of that depends on Scott's recovery over the next 6 months. A while back I know I mentioned the possibility of me starting to work on an MBA. That will probably be in my future at some point, but I've decided that now is not the time I want to pursue it. With two kids under the age of 2 at home, it's just too much for me right now. If I did do an MBA, it would take away most of my nights and weekends, which I'm not willing to sacrifice that time I have with Scott or my kids right now. If we don't have more than a few years, I don't want to look back and regret sacrificing that time together for something I could do later on.

Going through this experience is constantly teaching me and causing me to grow. Having been on a mission and having the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about religion and different types of life situations and trials, it always seemed that many people didn't believe in God because of all the bad things that happen. There were always the questions of, "why me?" and wondering how a loving God could allow so many bad things to happen. Of course after learning the odds of Scott having what he does, it's hard not to think - how did this happen to us? It would have been so easy for this trial to pass us by. I know it would be easy to wonder and question Heavenly Father's love for us, but the truth is, this is one of the times in my life that I have felt His love the most. I know that might sound a little backward, but I can't deny the fact that He has given us an abundance of strength and love through all of this. I feel like He knew we needed this trial, but because He loves us so much, He has tried to make it as easy on us as He can. This trial could be extremely difficult financially, emotionally, spiritually, and, for Scott, physically. And it has been. I don't think anyone could go through something like this without difficulty, tears, and discouragement, but we've been amazed at how well we've been able to handle it and push forward. It's been amazing how we've been provided everything we have needed and more through family, friends, ward members, and neighbors. I know I've said this before, but I can't believe how generous, kind, and loving everyone has been. I've learned so much from all of you about how I need to live my life and the ways that I need to give to others. It's through all of you that I have gained a lot of strength.

I've also been amazed at how Heavenly Father prepared us for this trial. When I look back over the last couple of years, I can see ways that he blessed us and prepared us to go through this. We've both been blessed with amazing bosses, people who have been completely understanding, patient, and willing to work with our situation. I also have to recognize everything I've been given in the first place. We've had the chance find each other, be married for eternity, have 2 adorable kids, and know that we can be together in the next life. Some people never have the opportunity to have those things in this life. No matter what happens, I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have of a loving Savior and Heavenly Father and the Plan of Salvation. In fact, I've realized that gratitude, even during this difficult time is what has helped me have a positive, hopeful perspective. In April's conference, President Uchtdorf said something that I keep going back to over and over again. He said:

"Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.

This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind. True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will."

His words have helped me realize that it is okay when we aren't exactly happy with trials we are going through. They are hard. While I'm grateful for all I'm learning, I'm not happy that Scott has cancer. But, that doesn't mean we can't have gratitude, happiness, and faith. Those are what help us see past the pain and discouragement and know that there is a purpose and meaning that we will better understand someday. I truly feel that gratitude has, like President Uchtdorf said, helped heal my heart and expand my mind to be open and receptive to the things I have been learning. It's definitely a process with good days and bad, but slowly we are moving forward and keep hoping for the best.