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."