Monday, May 18, 2015

Twists in the Road

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.

17 comments: said...

I'm glad you two have each other. There's a lotta love there. Best wishes to that sweetheart of yours for a complication free recovery.

cheryl rogers photography said...

I know this is a tough time. Just the workload of getting through to a final diagnosis is exhausting and all the worry? well, it can be a lot to bear. My thoughts are with you and Danny as you travel this course and I hope if there is anything you need that you will only ask. I remind myself often that there are wonderful, miraculous things all around. With your positive mind-sets, the road will be a lot less bumpy but there will undoubtedly still be bumps so... keep my number and call me if I can help. I mean, aside from prayers--which, of course are offered without you asking! Be good to yourselves and each other and try really hard to rest!

Unknown said...

Thinking of you. I know it's really does help.

About 7 years ago my Dad was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer quite by accident. He was there for something else and within an hour there was the Urologist telling us that they were going to do further tests. All said and done...he lost a kidney...and had Chemo. But now...he is cancer free and feeling pretty good.

The power of positive thinking and prayer, I'm certain, had an effect there.

All the best...

Laura said...

Although we live miles apart, and our paths cross by chance, you have always been a model of God's grace and love.

In how you love the Lord, love your family, love your friends, and share your love of your work, you model His grace every single day.

There are so many prayer warriors in blog land.

You have just opened the door to that glorious,wonderful power.

You and Danny are so loved.

You can rest in that perfection.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with both of you through this. Your strength is boundless. XOX

holli said...

Prayers and positive thoughts and more prayers and big hugs going to you and Cat Daddy!! Love yall and you've got this. God is so good to reveal those steps and lessons to yall.

donna baker said...

Sounds like a good diagnosis if that is anything good about cancer. Best thing is that he will have you there for the journey.

Debra@CommonGround said...

In the toughest of time, God gives us grace even for our attitudes and outlooks. It's always evident that God is working through you guys. I know that He has good plans for your lives. You both are in my prayers, love you!

Hayley Fraser said...

Sending good vibes your way...Hoping the sunshine you put out into the world with all you say and do reflects back on you and your sweet husband many times over...XOXO

Beth Leintz said...

Continued thoughts and prayers for both of you. Your example of faith and grace is inspiring, thank you for sharing.

lezlee said...

oh, I am so glad I made myself a new blog the other day...I deleted my face book and was missing my bloggy friends...and I am sorry and grateful for what y'all are going through. I will sure remember Danny in my prayers and am thankful y'all know from where all blessings flow.
Lezlee, lol, formerly Prior
Hope to see yall soon when Danny is "on the road" to recovery.

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart with us. You inspire me to think more positive thoughts and to have faith in what is in store for us.
I wish the best for you and your love. May God's blessings be with you every step of the way.


Pam @ Frippery said...

Debbie, your faith is beautiful to behold. I am here to tell you everything will be alright. I had renal cell carcinoma diagnosed in December a week after the all clear for my breast cancer. Found on a CT scan I had because of elevated liver enzymes from taking tamoxifen to prevent a recurrence of BC. Lucky break or serendipity as my surgeon called it. I had surgery January 6th and started a new full time job on the 20th! The miracle of modern medicine and a lot of divine providence. Fell free to quiz me on my experience. CD will be cancer free and on the mend before you can say LYttH! and I do, Love Pammie

Mrs. Kelley Dibble said...

Pam's comment made my day! EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE ALL RIGHT!

Prayers offered heavenward on your sweetheart's behalf, dear!!!

Hugs to you and yours,

Lisa said...

I feel so confident that everything will turn out well because y'all have at least one guardian angel looking out for you. I can name a couple of miracles that have happened just since I've known you. 1. being Danny's lung emergency in 98. That could have ended very badly and 2. sweet Bella. God definitely held her hand throughout her tiny first year. So hold the wheel tightly thru the twist in this road and then be ready for the rest of the road trip. Lisa

Dixie said...

Your attitude, optimism and faith are of no surprise to me. Ditto what Laura said. You are two of my favorites on the planet. Gods Grace and Healing power are my prayer for CD and you dear friend. Big (((HUG))). Dixie

Bohemian said...

Prayers still going up during this difficult and trying time for you all... Virtual Hugs and Positive Healing Energies from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian