Friday, August 31, 2012

Treatment - Day 1

I was hoping that I would fly to Vancouver today after my Mom arrived, but that was not to be.  Fog at both Quesnel and Williams Lake's airports delayed flights from Vancouver.  So my Mom arrived a little later than expected.

I'll be flying out tomorrow - I have my flight booked.  I am so excited to see Ken - I miss him so much.  But at the same time, I hate being away from my babies.  It's a "can't win" scenario (in that regard).

Ken had a Hickman Line put in this afternoon, then began chemotherapy a short while later.  It's all happening so fast, and don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for it.  The chemo made Ken ill - he told me he was sweating like crazy, and very nauseous.  But I guess his oncologist gave him something to help with both the nausea and the pain, because when I spoke to him on the phone a while later, he sounded upbeat, albeit somewhat stoned.

I'm so glad I get to see him tomorrow - it feels so unfair that I found someone who is everything I was missing in life, only to be faced with the possibility of losing him.

With any luck, my next report with be exceedingly positive, and nothing but good news!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

So many arrangements...

Ken spent the majority of today waiting for his flight out.  I waited with him.

We got him a pass to leave in the morning - we had to make arrangements just in case the worst case scenario happened.  We saw a lawyer, had Power of Attorney designated.

Most of the day was spent waiting.

Finally at around 3:30pm, Ken got the news that the jet was on the way.  We was transferred via ambulance to the airport, then shipped to Vancouver.

My heart breaks.

He arrived at the hospital a bit before 6pm, and was settled.  It was not an easy flight for him.

And by the time he arrived in Vancouver, his pain was out of control.  Thankfully he was later given medication to help relieve it.

I've spoken to my family; my Mom is coming up to take care of the babies.  I've been very blessed - there is a charity called Hope Air that is willing to fly me to Vancouver to be with him.  I am so thankful - without this service, spending time with my soul mate would be so much more difficult.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CT Scan and more news

Ken had his CT scan this morning - they injected him with some sort of dye so that they could see his lymph nodes better.  It was a very stressful experience for him - because they spent so much time scanning his head, he's paranoid that something is going on there.  I try to reduce his anxiety as best I can - the only thing I can think of is that because is tumor is located in his neck, they want to be especially thorough in regards to the tissue surrounding it.

I was working today while he was having his test done, and really was not prepared for the call I got in the afternoon.

The oncologist called.

They wanted Ken in the hospital as soon as possible.

They wanted to airlift him to Vancouver immediately, to be admitted into the Cancer ward, to begin treatment.

I was so scared when he told me that.  He was terrified.  We didn't know if it was the result of the CT scan, or the bone marrow biopsy...

We did get confirmation on the type of Cancer, though.

Burkitt's Lymphoma.

One of the rarest, and the most aggressive Cancer know.  Fewer than 300 people are diagnosed with it in the United States every year.  And the tumors can double in size in as little as 24 hours.

The good news is, that it is not only treatable, but CURABLE.

As in, no recurrence in 91% of the cases within 8 years - if caught early enough.

I can only pray that is the case.

So tonight, Ken is waiting in his hospital room, unable to sleep.  I'm at home with the boys, unable to sleep.  I left work early.  I've desperately tried to make arrangements, but there is still so much to do.  Ken's family will be down tomorrow.  There is so much to do.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More tests...

Ken had more tests today - an echocardiogram and a pulmonary capacity test.  And even more tomorrow.

I am praying that the oncologists gets their ducks in a row and gets him started on treatment ASAP.  This is killing me emotionally.

Two more days, and we should have the formal staging as a part of the diagnosis, and hopefully a treatment plan.

Monday, August 27, 2012

At the Cancer Care unit

We're in Prince George today, waiting for Ken to get a bone marrow biopsy. The oncologist here (who isn't the one he's been referred to) has ordered more tests to be done as soon as possible. I don't know if this is a good thing, or a sign that things are incredibly bad.

I'm scared, so is he.

The clock is ticking so slow. Will they let me go in with him?

Still waiting. It's now one minute past his appointment time.

Now two.

The waiting is tearing me up on the inside. I hate this.

I'm trying to think of other things right now, like the fact that my mouth hurts from where I burned it on hot cheese last night.

Still waiting.


It's done. It was awful. Ken doesn't freeze well so they had to give him additional freezing.

The freezing part seemed to be worse for him.  He's doing ok now that they're done.

The doctor suspects he has a rarer form of lymphoma that is very aggressive. But it is treatable if that's the case. We can only hope he starts treatment very quickly.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

10 days ago, the world stopped turning...

... and came crashing down around me.

10 days ago, my young, healthy husband was diagnosed with cancer.

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.


In less than a month, a lump the size of a grape that he found in a lymph node under his jaw had grown to the size of a lemon.

In one month.

As a family, we have faced many, many challenges in the last 2 years.  The types of challenges that no one ever wants to deal with.

But we survived, grew stronger, and life went on.

This is uncharted territory for me.  I feel lost.

I am scared.

I know that I am not the first person to go through this, and I will not be the last.  By chronicling the challenges we are about to face, I hope that I can help others find the strength to also carry on.

My name is Amy Carlson.

I met my husband Ken in December of 2009; I am his third and final wife... something that I have always said with a bit of a chuckle, but it doesn't seem so funny now.

Ken  has four children - Ashley, Thor, Duncan and Stewart.  Duncan and Stewart live with us full time (they're my babies).  Their ages range from 7 years, down to 9 months.

I never thought I'd be dealing with two children in diapers, and a diagnosis of cancer at the same time.  The concept has been completely foreign to me up until now... I though having two infants was enough of a challenge!

The last 10 days, I've been doing my best to live in denial; truly I have.  Every so often, little bits of reality sneak through, and it hurts so badly.

Yesterday, I had to pick up another pain medication for Ken (his tumor his growing so fast, that it's tearing the normal tissue surrounding it, causing a great deal of discomfort).  We know the pharmacist.  He asked me if Ken had been on this medication before - I didn't know.  He asked what kind of pain he was having.

I could tell by the look in his eyes that he did not expect me to say Lymphoma.

No one expects it.  Ken is all of 31.


And upon leaving the pharmacy, all I wanted to do is cry.

We don't know much at his point.  Ken has yet to speak to the oncologist he's been referred to.  We don't know if he'll need surgery, or if chemotherapy will take care of the tumor.

We just don't know.

And at this point, it's the not knowing that's the worse part.