If you've visited here before you know I'm pretty transparent. I believe in truth in advertising...warts and all. And believe you me, the past weeks have shown me to be pretty warty. But the past 3 months I've been hesitant about sharing something very personal. So much so in fact, I've avoided most social media. I'm not sure why, but I think it was because I was afraid of doubt creeping into my thoughts while waiting for test results to come back. And we all know how much Satan loves to work on us when he senses even the tiniest doubt.
I don't know any other way to say this than to just say it.
Cat Daddy has renal cell carcinoma and will be having his right kidney removed in June.
To look at him, you'd never guess anything is wrong. In a way, it's very surreal.
This all began with a routine yearly exam.
(Do y'all remember me saying in my last post about our plans and God's plan for us? Stay with me here and you'll see His plan for Danny unfold.)
Our original plan for Antique Week was a space inside Zapp Hall for me and him down in Round Top at The Show. Silly us!
We had gone down a week ahead of time to drop off a small load at the storeroom when we got a phone call from the doctor's office. His chest X-ray had revealed shadows on his lung and the doctor wanted a second, more detailed X-ray performed. He also said that if he still couldn't tell what was going on, he wanted a CT scan done.
(Keep in mind, this doctor called on a Saturday...a Sat.Ur.Day! Step one.)
Not knowing how soon they could get these ordered and as we continued on down to Warrenton, we decided we needed to be close together during the show. If he had to go back to Dallas for tests, we both knew our Zapp family would be there for us. And they were. Between Cheryl squeezing him in at the last minute, right in front of the hall, Brande and Kevin being so understanding of our having to cancel at the last minute, and those few who knew the situation being so helpful, we were blessed.
(And when we had one of our top 5 shows ever, we knew we had made the right decision and were working within His will. Step two.)
The second X-ray came back inconclusive as well and the imaging department was able to squeeze him in for the scan shortly after we returned home from the show.
Then began the merry-go-round between doctor visits and imaging departments.
The good news was his lungs were fine. Just scarring from a previous surgery, but the scan had caught a little of his thyroid gland and the upper part of his kidney. Both showed abnormalities. Nodules in the thyroid and a possible cyst in the kidney. Dr. Gomez then ordered a sonogram to be done on his kidney to determine what was going on. He felt the thyroid could wait, but the kidney needed to be addressed PDQ.
(Most kidney cysts and tumors go undetected and are only found either after symptoms appear (of which he had none) or during a CT scan for something else. Step 3)
The sonogram revealed a mass roughly the size of a baseball. At this point, his doctor scheduled him an appointment with a urologist. Dr. Shuford, the urologist, couldn't be sure if the mass was benign or malignant and ordered another CT scan to make a definitive diagnosis. He did explain what the best and worst case scenarios could be, but considering the size of it, we kind of knew what to expect.
(The mass was 10 cm, his kidney 12. While this sounds scary big, if the tumor had been just a little smaller, it probably would not have shown on the initial CT scan and gone undetected until symptoms appeared. Step 4)
This past Wednesday we went in to get the results. Yes it was renal cell, but thankfully, it had not spread into the lymph nodes. It was fully contained in the kidney and Dr. Shuford was confident once the kidney was removed, there would be no need for chemo or radiation.
(I keep repeating the same thing over and over to our friends and family. Not the diagnosis we wanted, but definitely the prognosis we prayed for. Step 5)
When we asked what sort of time-table/urgency we were looking at, he reassured us it didn't have to be done immediately then asked what we had in mind. Please don't think us crazy, but we had really wanted to take a short vacation to Tennessee. Of course that was before all this and we were prepared to do as the doctor ordered. He assured us waiting a few weeks wasn't going to change anything, but he wouldn't want us putting it off for six months! And then said "Go!"
(I don't know if that's the direction we'll head or not. God's been steering our course since the get-go and we'll continue to go with His perfect plan for us. Step 6)
I know this is a long post...even for me...but I also know we wouldn't be where we are now without God's grace. He has surrounded us with the most loving and positive people. They have covered Danny with their love and prayers. I can't help but believe that one of the ways God speaks to us is through the folks He plants in our lives...both friends and family. Their gentle touch and hugs, His. Their words of encouragement and hope, His. Their compassion...all gifts from Him that they freely share. I cannot thank them enough for their unshakable loyalty to us by their quietly respecting our privacy while keeping us in their prayers. I thank God Almighty for each of them every single day. Knowing they are there, only a phone call away, gives me a peace that cannot be measured nor bought.
In all things, God will be and should be glorified. That is why I'm writing this post. From the start of this adventure back in March until now, God has had His hands on Danny. We aren't promised a perfect existence. We lost that with the first bite of the forbidden fruit. But what we are promised is He will never forsake us. I am most beholden and I will praise Him and His mighty name...I AM...with every breath I take.