I thought I would let you all in on a little secret of mine. I am slightly in denial. While Joel remains on the 5th floor he is either a surgery patient or a rehab patient. Currently Joel falls under the rehab heading and well he is a rehab patient I don’t have to think about the elephant in the room. I neatly put cancer in a box. I don’t think about Joel having cancer… a brain tumor… yes…but they got it all.

It is getting harder and harder to keep cancer in its neat and tidy box because in reality there is nothing neat and tidy about it. I think if I’m honest with myself I’m still having a hard time believing that this is all really happening. I am sitting at the beginning of a new trail ready to be blazed and can no longer pretend it isn’t there.

I met with Oncology this morning and our radiologist this afternoon and what lays ahead is not pretty. Listening to them talk about all the side effects and potential side effects, we had to remind ourselves why we are about to put our son through all of this. Survival rate without doing this his tumor will grow back and left untreated would be fatal.

Over the last few years Dave and I have been working hard at making changes to do things as naturally as possible. We switched to organic this and that…moved to the country so we can grow our own etc. Now we sit ready to sign papers to allow our son to go through radiation and to be injected with all sorts of chemicals.

Did you know a potential (all be it more rare) side effect of radiation and chemo is more cancer. Crazy isn’t it… the radiologist actually said, ‘He needs to survive this to worry about that.”

Joel has to have 6 weeks of radiation to not just the tumor bed but to his brain and spine. Even though they do not target anything else the rays have to have an exit point… the radiologist listed all sorts of other organs that may be affected by the radiation. All sorts of things in the brain that may not function to capacity. It was the heaviest 10 minutes of my life listening to all the side effects and potential side effects.

I won’t lie to you it was scary… I don’t know what parent could hear all that and not be a little discouraged. I am at the point that I guess I am grieving the lost of what was. Our lives are different now. We have procedures, treatments, transfusions and testing ahead of us. We have hair loss, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness ahead of us. It isn’t going to be a neat and tidy box it is going to be messy.

Next week is going to be busy getting Joel ready for treatment. He is going to have a mold of his face done to make a mask for him to hold him in the exact position during radiation. He will also have a port a cath put in which sits just under the skin and makes drawing blood and giving meds easier. Having the port a cath put in is handled by general surgery.

All that said we still have hope. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Dave and I know that God has a plan for Joel. As we listened to all the things that may or may not happen to Joel we just needed to remind ourselves that God knew this day before He created the world. Just as we have no idea what the future holds for any of us God does, and there is comfort in that.

The good news is we have heard officially that all treatment will happen here in Ottawa. Our rehab team has okayed a pass for a few hours on Saturday. If that goes well and things continue to progress then they will try a 12 hour pass the next weekend followed by an over night the weekend after that. They need to see progress each week for this to happen.

It may not be an easy road ahead of us but we know we are not walking this alone.

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