Friday, June 12, 2015

Suddenly Life as We Knew it Stopped...And Rerouted

We had just received the amazing and exciting news that we are expecting our first child, so I (Ben) decided to spring into action and start finishing projects around the house in anticipation for our new arrival.  Every night I would come home from work and paint or hang trim...basically projects that have been ignored since buying a boat. What I couldn't figure out is why was I so fatigued all the time, and why that pulled muscle in my neck continued to swell but not hurt. After a long month of testing and a surgical biopsy of what turned out to be a Lymph Node in my neck and not a pulled muscle, we got the answers we were searching for, but didn't want to hear..."I'm sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer."
Ben before his lymph node biopsy surgery
The news was hard to hear, but in a strange way it was also relief. I know how that sounds and maybe you just mumbled the word "idiot" under your breath, but let me explain why I feel this way. It was a hard month of so many unanswered questions and let me tell you that Dr. Google can really mess with your mind, so I was happy I had real answers.

I could feel something was seriously wrong with me and needed to know who my enemy was so I could start to fight back. I was diagnosed with a form of cancer called Hodgkins Lymphoma and was lucky enough to catch it somewhat early at stage 2b. They found a tumor the size of a fist in my chest, a slightly smaller one in my right neck/collarbone area, and a few other small one's scattered in my arm pit. The good news is this is a cancer that responds extremely well to chemotherapy treatment with very encouraging statistics even at stage 4.

So many people are affected by this terrible disease in so many different forms and at every age level including children, so having a "why me" perspective would be disrespectful to others fighting this fight. I choose to be thankful and grateful that I'm one of the lucky ones with good odds, a great Oncology team at Northwestern, excellent insurance, and a very supportive workplace.

The outpouring of support has been overwhelming.  I can't describe the feeling when someone tells you they've been praying for you, dropped off food, mailed a thoughtful card, or sent flowers and chocolates. The support we have received from friends, family, co workers, and people I've never even met sending well wishes has been nothing less than amazing. This support team, our baby's arrival in December, and my absolutely amazing wife has given me the strength I need to fight and WIN!

So where does that leave boating? This was to be our biggest travel summer yet with 3 weeks planned in the North Channel and other smaller Michigan trips, but sadly we have had to cancel our plans. Depending how I feel during chemo we will try to take some long weekend getaways around Michigan which we will gladly share with you. Since I will have even less hair than normal most of the pictures will be of Dana and Seapickle :-) We have always said our boat is a healing place for whatever ails us so we will gladly consider it's use part of treatment. It is our happy place.


Captain Ben of Seapickle II, enjoying the healing effects of Lake Michigan

1 comment:

  1. Stay strong! My neighbor has been Stage 4 for probably 12 years! She mows the lawn and snow blows and tells jokes. Good days and bad she fights and wins all the time. She doesn't have the same cancer you do and it's all over. Her attitude has pulled her through and I'm sure Sea Pickle and Dana will pull you through too buddy! oh, and the baby! :) Congrats on that part....Hope we see you out, weather permitting...