Friday, July 20, 2012

Our World Shifted in Barcelona

I've been trying to figure out how to share some difficult news about our family, and I think I want to start by saying up front that we are guardedly optimistic that everything will be okay. BUT while we were in Barcelona, my husband Paul started having difficulty breathing, and I took him to the hospital. It turns out that his respiratory problems were being caused by a large tumor in his chest. He was quickly diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma, an aggressive but highly treatable form of cancer.  The doctors began chemotherapy immediately. We sent these two fantastic kids home early.
Paul and I stayed on in Barcelona for another ten days, while the doctors stabilized his heart and lungs enough to fly and gave him his second round of chemotherapy. We finally arrived home early Wednesday  morning. Paul flew in a medical plane, and I flew commercially. He is currently in the hospital here in California, and he will receive his third round of chemotherapy today.  There's a lot more to the story, like the difficulties of being in a hospital in a country where you barely speak the language, the surreal nature of staring out at the Barcelona beach outside his hospital room, and speaking with the U.S. Consulate because they called when they heard my husband was being medically evacuated and wanted to know if they could help.  But for now,  I want to share the positives and blessings we have found in our story.
First and foremost, lymphoblastic lymphoma is a highly treatable form of cancer. Paul is responding well to the chemo, and the tumor is less than a third of its original size already. We are all guardedly optimistic about remission and recovery.  His cancer also has a very cool color for support bracelets and t-shirts - lime green. We have been blessed and are eternally grateful to our friends and family who picked our kids up at the airport and took care of them for the last two weeks (plus, pretty pleased that the 14 and 17 year old were able to manage the trans-Atlantic flight, immigration and customs on their own) and who are now sending us their continuing love, prayers and support. The travel insurance and health insurance companies came through big time - paying for all our care while we were there and for Paul's transportation back to the United States. Finally, we received outstanding care in Barcelona - the doctors and nurses were all fantastic. Plus, the hospital had an international department which held my hand for two weeks, helped me find a relatively inexpensive hotel, coordinated telephone calls and helped us get home. 
Home. That is also a huge blessing - we are so happy to be home in the U.S. And we will be even happier when Paul is home from the hospital.
So, that's our news. I don't think my blog is going to change a lot. I'll still be blogging about my art, with a little of my life thrown in. My life has shifted, but it is still my life. I know my family and I will get through this difficult time. Thank you in advance for all your prayers, thoughts and good wishes. And now I'm going to be brave and push "publish."

42 comments:

laurie said...

please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. also, take good care of yourself during these trying times. and keep us posted on paul's recovery. big hugs to you!

lynne said...

Maria
I am astonished at your bravery, bravery on so many levels but in the first instance, to share this with us.
During the most traumatic of times it is wonderful to know that insurance companies, etc were there for you and your family, knowing you were all in safe hands counts for so much.
Please keep us up-dated on your husband's progress but as you say, there are positives, especially that he is responding so well.
I hope you don't mind that I replied to your post.
Wishes and Postive Thoughts.
Lynne

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for sharing about this difficult time - I will definitely keep you & Paul & your family in my prayers. I love how you've shared this is such a positive light & I'm standing with you believing for complete healing!

Welcome Home!

Anonymous said...

omg, Rinda, what a crazy thing to have happen!! Sending good, healing, strength filled thoughts to everyone. If you need something, let me know!!

Mariana

scrappyjacky said...

Oh Rinda....this was not what I was expecting to read.....a very brave post....my heart goes out to you and your family....you will all be in my thoughts and prayers...and I'm so pleased to hear that there are already positive results to Paul's treatment.
I'm sure you're so relieved to be back at home....as it must have been doubly scary in a foreign country.
And on a lighter note....lime green is one of my favourite colours....a very bright,positive colour.

helena said...

Oh Rinda what a shock - hugs and good wishes beaming your way. So much for you and your family to deal with (gives a whole extra meaning to your OLW). Remember to take care of yourself as well as others.

Sian said...

The tears are flowing here. Can't stop them. I wish there was something, anything at all that I could say ..

Paul, you found a place in our hearts that Saturday. We're thinking about you and the family xxx

heart.hearth.home. said...

Bless everyone who has helped you and your family this past fortnight. Thank goodness your husband's lymphoma was diagnosed and treatment started so quickly and that he has responded to the chemo. And your brave children for making it home safely in the most difficult of circumstances.
My heart goes out to you and thank you for bravely sharing this with your blogging friends. Thinking of you, Irene x

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

Good job, brave girl! I'm so glad that you shared this on your blog, Rinda. As I mentioned to you before, the love and support you will receive from our lovely blog friends will overwhelm you!!!

I had to chuckle a little when I read that you like the color of Paul's cancer awareness swag. When my mom found out about her cancer she said, "Well, at least I really like teal!"

Hang in there, Rinda. We're all here for you! xo

Cheri said...

OMG Rinda! I can't imagine having to deal with this at all much less on foreign soil. It sounds like Paul had very good care all around. Positive healing thoughts for you and him - hoping he continues to respond well to the chemotherapy. And many kudos to the children for handling that flight home on their own. Not exactly a happy way to end what was otherwise a lovely trip, but you'll have quite the story to share with your grandchildren some day!

Kirsty.a said...

Thanks for sharing this. Wishing you and Paul all the very best

Gloria said...

Rinda, so very sorry to hear about this, but happy that your husband is doing a lot better and that your are home now. Sending ::healing thoughts:: to your husband Paul and a thumbs up to you for your "bravery" and self-control. Take care and thank you for sharing.

dogmatix said...

Thankyou for sharing something so personal and difficult for you and your family. I am so glad there were some positives to come out of it and that you have such a positive strength of character that will no doubt carry you all through.

My thoughts are with you and yours xx

Ginger said...

Rinda this is a shock to read but I do believe in positive thoughts and will certainly be sending them your way as I think of you and your family. It is good to hear there is improvement of Paul's condition and nice to know you both received quality care while in Spain.

Take care :)

PS - I'm a fan of lime green as well :)

debs14 said...

Oh my goodness Rinda, what an awful experience. I know from a friend of mine who has emigrated to live in Spain that the hospital care she received when she had a heart problem was brilliant and I am sure that Paul had the best possible care while he was in hospital there. How scary to have to deal with such a terrible shock especially in a foreign country where you do not speak the language. You must be so relieved to be home and for the security that gives you. And how fabulous of your children to be mature enough to circumnavigate the globe in a responsible way when they too must have been so worried. I am relieved to hear that it is a treatable condition and I sincerely hope that he continues to respond to treatment.
We take so much for granted don't we? And the rug can be pulled from under our feet at any time. Take good care of yourself whilst helping him recover and keep us informed about his progress.

Elizabeth said...

So sorry about your husband. Your children must have been very worried. It's good to know this is a treatable cancer and he is responding well to the chemo. Your family is in my prayers, and I do believe in the power of prayer.

Gem's Crafts said...

What a shock to find out something like this when on holiday in a foreign country, but how brave you must have been. My brother in law was diagnosed with cancer 18months ago, and he has come out the other side fighting fit, I'm sure that soon that will be your husband too. I shall be thinking of you all, especially when wearing the lime green :)

Jo Murray said...

Oh Rinda... what a terrible shock, and trying experience. Thank heavens you are home safe and your husband is responding well to treatment. All will be well in time. Meanwhile I'll be sending good vibes your way.

Jo.C said...

Thinking about you all and sending hugs from over here. xx

nancy y said...

Rinda,
you are a brave soul as is your family! To think of those kids handling all of that, they are amazing.

I think you have a terrific outlook on life and will be keeping you, Paul and the family close in my thoughts and prayers.
Nancy

Missus Wookie said...

Oh Rinda - how scary but I am glad you are home and that Paul is in the hospital and responding well to treatment.

Tracy Bollinger said...

Wow Rinda....You have been through a lot. Kudo's to the person responsible for the travel health insurance. I was really scared for you until I read that. Huge positive thoughts your way! Take care of the hubby!

Gwen Ward said...

How very brave you all were in such a difficult situation. It is good to know that the cancer is treatable, and I send all good wishes to you all. xx

Karen said...

Like the others, I am totally in shock after reading this post. I cannot imagine what you've gone through, but knowing you it was done with calm and courage! Know that we will be praying for you, Paul, and the family. I was so glad to hear that Paul is responding so well to treatment. Thank goodness your children were old enough to return home alone, and bravo! to them as well.

~Lisa said...

Rinda, I just am in shock reading your blog but so very THANKFUL that Paul is back safely back home. Who ever thought of buying the travel insurance is so smart! Usually we just automatically check no on the forms if offered. You have given me an example of why it is so important to have from now on.
You have such a positive outlook on what's going on and thank you for being so strong and sharing this with us. You & Paul should be commended for also raising 2 such wonderful kids that were able to get themselves through all the travel arrangements and deal with what was happening, HUGE kudos to you both.
Know that you & your family are in my prayers & thoughts. PLEASE, if there is anything I/we ate West Coast can do, DO NOT HESITATE TO LET US KNOW!!
Big hugs to you
~Lisa

Alison said...

like everyone else, I am absolutely shocked to read this Rinda! I'm so glad you are all home safely and that Paul is responding to treatment...and that you had such good care in Barcelona..know that you're all in my thoughts and prayers!
Alison xx

Maria said...

Rinda, so happy to hear you and Paul are now home and that he is responding so well to the chemo. I will not repeat what others have said. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
(the other) Maria

Amy said...

Dear Rinda, my goodness, this is such unexpected shocking news for Paul and all of you.
Keep your focus on the positive, it sounds as though there is great reason to believe he will make a full recovery - despite feeling scared and overwhelmed right now.

Friends from far away places are praying for you all and sending their best vibes for strength and hope.

Take care - you will not be out of my thoughts,

Axx

Irene said...

Thank God you are all back in America where Paul can concentrate on getting better. Sending prayers your way and asking God to bless Paul with a speedy recovery.

annarobyn said...

Rinda . . . healing cyber hugs to you and Paul and your sweet children. You're all in my prayers.

Karen said...

You and your family are in my prayers. Thank God that Paul's cancer was found in time and that he received the excellent treatment that he is responding to. Take care of yourself as well as your family. x

Gail said...

Rinda, i was so shocked to read this. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Glad to hear that Paul is responding well to the chemo.

Dawn said...

Rinda, thank you for sharing this with us all! My best wishes to Paul for a speedy recovery and hugs to you and the kids!

furrypig said...

Wow Rinda what an experience to go through whilst on holiday! Sounds like everything has gone well and I am so pleased that Paul is improbing and responding to treatment so well. Looks like my package was meant to be there to brighten your day! Sending lots of love and positive vibes your way xxx

Fiona@staring at the sea said...

Goodness Rinda, what shocking news. So glad you had such good care while in a foreign country. Lime green is such a bright positive colour and as you may already know the SU version is called Lucky Limeade, so that has to bode well :o)You'll all be in my thoughts as you move forward and deal with this as a family xx

boysmum2 said...

Wow, all my thoughts, prayers and best wishes sent your way today and for as long as they are needed. I am sure the kids loved flyingmon thier own but hopefully next time in a better situation x x x

S said...

Oh my. What an ordeal. I am happy that you have all managed to make it home safely and that Paul is already making progress against the lymphoma. I've said a prayer already for his recovery and will continue to do so. Bless all of you!

Carola Bartz said...

Rinda -
That is a shift in life big time. I don't know where to start and what to say. What an ordeal to go through. This is already hard enough when it happens at home, but to experience it in a foreign country is even harder. I am glad that you had so much help through this rough time, and I pray and wish for you that there will be more help and support in the future. You and your family are in my thoughts, and I wish for Paul that the cancer is in remission. If there is anything I can do for you, let me know - after all, I am not too far away from you.

Becky said...

Hi Rinda
Just been catching up on your blog. So sorry to hear about Paul and hope that he is continuing to respond well to treatment. Will be thinking of you all during these difficult times. So glad you have such wonderful support x

Jimjams said...

Oh Rinda - I'm so behind with blog reading that I missed this - I'm glad that he's had the best of care and that you had help and support in Barcelona. Well done to the kids for being mature and not adding to your burdens.

Sonja said...

Rinda, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened. How scary to have it happen overseas. So glad things went as smoothly as they did. I hope he's home soon and his treatment is going well. Sending you lots of love!

Jennifer Grace said...

Rinda, I'm so sorry I haven't been by your blog a huge amount lately, and had missed this news. I'm glad to read in more recent posts that he is home now and that the treatments are still going well. You're all in my thoughts, x