There’s no delicate way to say this, so let’s just be out with it already, shall we?
Craig just posted on his blog.
I’ve been pretty evasive on Facebook. Asking for prayers (and fervent prayers, at that), but not quite spelling out what those prayer are for.
Well, let me tell you what they’re for: For life. For a good life. For a long life. For a healthy life. For my husband.
Because about a month ago, Craig was diagnosed with skin cancer: malignant melanoma . When you first look it up, the first thing you’ll read is that it’s the least common of the skin cancers but also the most deadly. Scary, for sure. In the last month, we’ve learned a bit more than that. We now know that it is Stage IIIa- which is both a blessing and even more terrifying at the same time.
Let’s back up a bit, shall we?
In August, Craig was scheduled to go in for his annual physical. While there, he asked about a mole on the back of his left calf. He’d had it checked out by a dermatologist when we were in Florida a couple of years ago, but she said that it was nothing. A friend of ours, who is an OB/GYN at Baylor here in Dallas, mentioned during a golf game this summer that he really should have it removed. So when the doctor said that it was nothing but wanted to remove a DIFFERENT mole, Craig insisted that he also biopsy the one he was worried about.
Less than a week later, the results of the biopsy showed that the tumor the doctor was worried about was benign (nothing to worry about). But the one that Craig insisted he biopsy was, indeed, skin cancer.
Lesson #1: Always trust your gut.
The next day, we both used our frienemy, The Internet, to learn more about “Malignant Melanomas” and promptly scared ourselves. Craig coped (and continues to cope) by telling inappropriate jokes. I coped by drinking copious amounts of alcohol (and am working on coping by running). Life goes on.
Lesson #2: The Internet is not always your friend.
Once it was confirmed as skin cancer, he was referred to a plastic surgeon (to remove the tumor) and a general surgeon (to remove the sentinel lymph node in his groin to see if the cancer had spread). After some headaches around scheduling around vacations, two separate surgeons and Labor Day weekend, Craig finally had his first surgery on Wednesday, September 16th.
He had to learn how to use crutches because of the chunk that they took out of his leg and he was on some nice narcotic pain meds for a few days, but he did fairly well with the surgery.
At this point, we were really hoping that we were mostly done with this ordeal. We had caught the cancer early enough that it hadn’t spread and could just deal with Stage II.
Six days later, we got the results of the biopsy of the sentinel lymph node. The cancer had spread.
This is where I break in the story to tell you how amazing our support network of friends surrounded us with love and prayer. I was beside myself. I know Craig was taking the news pretty rough as well. But in the midst of it all, we had friends praying over us for strength, for recovery, for healing. And you know what?
Lesson #3: Prayer works!
Back in to surgery on Wednesday, September 23rd to remove the rest of the lymph nodes. Alfredo flew in from Milwaukee (after a summer-long world tour) to support us post-surgery and a former neighbor and friend stayed with me until Craig got out of surgery. The recovery from this surgery was a bit rougher, but Craig still did incredibly well.
On Tuesday of this week, we got the results of the second surgery: The cancer hadn’t spread beyond the sentinel lymph node.
Today, we met with the oncologist and discussed treatment. Craig will be on a month-long 5-day a week intensive in-clinic Interferon treatment followed by 11 months of 3 times a week in-home Interferon treatments. We have at least another year before life starts resembling ‘normal’ again.
We have referrals to a dermatologist to get a baseline ‘normal’ for his existing skin conditions and a urologist to discuss fertility issues.
Everyone we have told keeps asking if there is something they can do to help and I keep telling them the same thing: KEEP PRAYING! Pray that:
1) Craig responds well to Interferon and doesn’t get sick from it.
2) The cancer doesn’t spread or reoccur.
3) Craig is able to continue working.
4) Craig is able to finish his MBA program.
5) Our family stays strong through the trials of this ordeal.
We are so incredibly thankful for everyone’s general prayers so far and know that you will pray more specifically for us moving forward. We are facing a challenging year ahead but know that with God, ALL things are possible!