I know that many of you are very concerned about Nate and our little family. In an effort to keep everyone informed without blowing up your newsfeed, I’ll do my best to make frequent updates on the latest cancer crap on this here blog.
Moreover, as I’ve always tried to do on this blog, Imma be real with you. I often feel like Moses – I have so many things I really want to tell people but I am ‘slow of speech’ and can never quite say exactly what I want to say. Fortunately, however, I don’t need Aaron as my spokesman…I have this blog.
So, if you ever wonder how we are doing (physically & emotionally) check here.
By now, anyone who has read this blog probably knows I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints…aka Mormon. Because I already have seen God’s hand so much throughout this trial I am going to refer to his blessing frequently. I’ll use a lot of Mormon lingo too. I’ll do my best to link any lingo to our Church’s webpage where it explains what it means. But if you are ever get lost…go HERE.
A little over 2 months ago Nate had a pretty bad cold which we finally determined was a sinus infection. He got on antibiotics for it and started to get a little better but never totally got over it. He went into the doctor to see if there was more to this ‘sinus infection.’ The doc didn’t think anything was serious and said to take another round of antibiotics and then come back in 2 weeks later if things didn’t improve. After 2 weeks things not only didn’t improve, they got worse. His left cheek started going numb, his left eye started bugging out and getting black spots in it, and you could tell just by looking at Nate that the left side of his face was swollen. When Nate went back to the doc with no improvement the doctor immediately ordered a CT scan. The CT scan came back showing his whole maxillary sinus full of, what the doctor said, “junk”. We were all hopeful that this was in fact just a really bad sinus infection and his whole maxillary sinus was full of snot and “junk”. However with Nate’s more serious symptoms the doc ordered an MRI. The MRI came back showing that the “junk” was actual tissue (aka a tumor) and it had protruded through 3 of his bones (into his eye socket, his septum, and going down towards his teeth)!
|The black space on his right side is what the sinus is suppose to look like…that big gray/white blob on his left is the tumor. pretty crazy.|
An hour later we were sitting in the Doc’s patient room waiting for him to come. I had to keep telling myself to breath and be strong – I was determined to keep it together. The Doc (p.s. Our doctor is Dr. Beus – real good guy – Imma start calling him Dr. B) came in pretty quickly and gave it to us straight up…
Dr B. : You guys probably can guess it’s never a good thing having us call you in here like this…after surgery I was sure that is was just a papilloma. But I got the lab results in late Friday afternoon. They did come back cancerous….
*Kacee starts crying*
Despite my efforts to “be tough,” the instant he said the C word the tears started flowing. I was strong enough to at least silent cry as we talked to him and I was able to get all my questions out without crying through them. Dr. B told us best case scenario and worst case (worst case made the tears flow harder). I was very thankful for him not sugar coating anything even though it was super hard to hear.
After talking to him we all stood up to go and set up the tons of appointments that Nate was going to have to go through the next couple of days. As we were walking out Nate took my hand and with a smirk said, “well, you picked a good one.” Of course Nate could instantly joke about it but it was too soon…waaaaay too soon for me. After he said that and as we were walking towards the lobby I felt the sobs building fast. I quickly mumbled to Nate I would wait for him outside the office and took off. I barely made it out before I was bawling. I hadn’t been crying for a full minute before God sent a small angel…a really small angel. I felt someone put their arm around me and I looked up…then down into the wrinkled and sweet eyes of the sweetest, tiniest, grandma. She had a mission tag on and it read Sister Cox (people in our church serve missions on their own when they are young and can serve a mission with their spouse after they retire). She squeezed me and asked me if I was alright…obviously no, ha. Intermixed with crys I told her that we just found out my husband has cancer. Her arm tightened around me and she started comforting me…reminding me that I have a Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me and is very aware of our situation. She reminded me that I have parents who love me so much and that, with the help of others, we can and will get through it. She said it would be hard, but we could do it. All I could really do was just (bend over – I’m 5’4″ and she only came to my shoulder to give you perspective) and hug that sweet old woman. She hugged me tight, reaffirmed that I could get through this and then turned me over to Nate who was waiting behind us. Sister Cox was truly an angel on earth in that moment and truly a blessing from the Big Man.
The next few hours were a whirlwind of telling our families. Before we told someone I told myself to not cry…ha, never happened. Sometimes I could at least get through telling someone about it but they all asked that cry-initiator question… “are you okay?!” haha. Both of our families and close friends were amazing. I have never felt so much love and was just overwhelmed and thankful for their comfort. Later that night Nate’s whole immediate family (who thankfully all live close) and Shea, my baby brother who was up for fall break, met and we had a family prayer to start a fast for Nate. The men also gave both Nate and I priesthood blessings. Those blessings gave me comfort and strength – this will be hard but we will get through it.
The Past Few Days:
Monday was definitely one of the most draining days of my life. And it wasn’t only sad, scared, or shocking feelings. I really felt so much love from our family and friends and our Heavenly Father. It was both a very good day with all of the love and, obviously, a very bad day. I also have to give a special and huge shout out to my baby brother, Shea Majik (yes, his middle name really is Majik and yes, it is very fitting). I was thinking about it and, no offense to my other siblings and family, but there is no one I would have rather been here than him. Shea knows how to push my buttons more than anyone else in my family, and if you’ve been around us long enough you’d know it’s true. We argue a lot and are too competitive with each other…but it’s just because we are very similar. We have always had an unspoken bond – I knew Shea just kinda ‘got’ me. He was the perfect person to have staying with us when we got the news. He knew I needed his silent comfort, his strong hugs, his spiritual strength, and someone to clean our house (because Heaven knows that always makes me happy). So, thank you, Majik, seriously couldn’t have gone through that Monday without you. These past couple of days I have actually surprised myself at how well I am handling it. I mean, no question, it sucks. Sucks real bad. But I really do feel confident that we will get through this. I definitely have my moments though…i.e. I am writing this at 4:00 am because I got up with Ames and then couldn’t fall back asleep…
As I lay in bed after getting Ames back to sleep I just kept thinking, “Can I really do this? Am I strong enough to handle all this?” As confident as I try to be, I definitely have doubts about many aspects of this trial that have already hit me. As I was laying there pondering my thoughts turned to the sleeping hunk of a man beside me. He def has the brunt of this whole thing and when I think about him handling it, I have absolutely 0 doubts because, well, it’s Nate. Especially knowing his spiritual side, it makes total sense that Nate was given one of life’s hardest trials. But then thinking about myself handling it…I’m not 100% sure. I know that I can put on a good face and I know I can comfort and be there for Ames and Nate…but sometimes I feel super weak and just want to run away from all of my burdens. I also kept thinking of why this trial hit us now. This year had already been the most difficult year I have ever gone though. I had to deal with PPD crap (read about it here), and then Nate lost his dream job, and then, you know, why not end the year with having to watch your husband lose half of his face and go through cancer?! As I was pondering and asking our Heavenly Father ‘why now’ I remembered a priesthood blessing Nate had given me when I was in one of my lowest times of PPD…in the blessing he said that going through all of the emotional crap was going to just make me stronger and was preparing me for bigger things down the road…this is definitely a bigger thing down the road. And although I’m not perfect, going through as bad of a case of PPD as I did definitely made me able to handle my emotions. I know now what emotions to give credit to, and what emotions I just have to blow off. I also know how to still enjoy life even when your emotions don’t feel super happy. And I know that it gets better with time. I then thought about Nate losing his job. It seriously was one of those things that stunned everyone…Nate was way, way good at his job, everyone loved him, and there was absolutely no logical explanation to why he got let go (read here about it). And then it all just happen to work out that he got a job in SLC and we were able to move into my grandparents house and help them out as they were quickly moving to St. George. My grandparents house is 0.35 from Nate’s parents and all of his siblings and their families live within 30 mins. As we were moving up here neither of us knew why it had all happened. We both felt we were supposed to move up here (mostly begrudgingly) but had no idea why. And now we do…if we hadn’t been up here with better doctors and family around there is no way we would be able to get through this cancer crap.
As I was laying there and even more so as I am typing it all out I know that the previous trials we had to go through this year were all just practice. They were just really, extremely hard repeats. One of those workouts that you really didn’t think you would get through, but somehow you were laying on your back afterwards amazed that you did. Those workouts made us strong, both physically and mentally, and now we are lined up for the race. It super sucks that our race is cancer. But I 100% do know that we were given this trial for a reason. It’s going to be hard – every race is. But after going through tons of races I know that if you race relaxed, confident, and have lots of fans cheering you on the race is always easier, more enjoyable, and the outcome is way better.
As we ‘race’ we (especially me) will do all we can to stay relaxed and confident. All we ask is that all of our ‘fans’ out there just keep cheering us on.
We can and will domiNATE cancer.