We are all sleeping fitfully this night.
JJ fell asleep on the couch as soon as we got home from a whirlwind day of medical exams and tests. He has been video-chatting with a friend across the country. He is actually handling this quite well. We have a courageous son.
EJ slept a bit in his recliner. I heard him and JJ’s voices talking at some point in the night. EJ has also chatted with family and friends on FB.
I tried to sleep on the little loveseat. It’s not the most comfortable place to sleep. It’s too short, for one thing. About 4 p.m. I went upstairs to try to sleep. I know that I need energy for the coming day. The bed is comfortable, but the aloneness is not. After a few minutes of crying in the lonely dark, I headed back downstairs to rejoin EJ and JJ.
I have been trying to share what has happened in general terms so as not to embarrass JJ, but he said a few moments ago that I have his permission to share exactly what is happening. Who knows? Maybe this will help others be aware–more than we were.
JJ has a mass in one of his testicles. The mass is very big. Like the size of a baseball. The urologist said that there is a more than 95+ chance that the mass is cancerous. He said that if JJ were in Stage 1, trying to do a biopsy would push him immediately into Stage 4. So the testicle is being removed in a few hours. We only hope the cancer hasn’t spread. I am worried because JJ has gotten very thin. We thought he wasn’t eating because of the stress of working and starting college. He’s been very, very busy. Jared said that at first he thought, “Oh, wow, I’m a MAN!” Uh, they don’t get THAT big, son.
This has happened so quickly that we are stunned. We haven’t had time to adjust to anything. We believe that God is good, and He loves us, and He will help us through no matter what we have to face. However, we also are facing a terrible thing: Cancer, a person’s worse nightmare, a parent’s greatest fear. We want to hang on to hope, but not false hope. We know that God can heal. However, we also know that sometimes really awful things happen. To me, faith isn’t about only trusting God in good times, and it isn’t about trusting Him only if things turn out the way that we want–in this case, that JJ would come through this ok. Faith also involves trusting God when our world is falling apart.
I once went through a very difficult time. Well, actually I have been through many difficult times, but in this particular time, I cried with a friend. And after we had cried and talked for a bit, she said, “You know, TJ, your faith and my faith isn’t pretty. It’s messy. We cry and struggle. But deep down below the messiness there is within us a solid foundation that says, “I love and trust God and I will not let Him go.”
I have always believed in honesty, in being real about where I am. My faith isn’t always pretty. I don’t want this thing to happen to JJ. I want to be angry, but I don’t know who to be angry towards. My heart breaks that JJ has to endure this surgery. I do not know how I will endure if the cancer has spread. One moment at a time, I expect.
Meanwhile, we try to face this honestly. JJ says, “You know, this really sucks.” And we agree. It does. He says, “I can endure losing a testicle, but it’s going to be really bad if the doctor finds out that I have to lose two, or that the cancer has spread through my body.” Absolutely. We agree. He said, “Oh, wow, if I get through this, does that mean I can wear a ‘I survived cancer’ t-shirt?” Of course. He also is honestly looking at the possibility that he might not ever be able to have children. Only one testicle is involved right now, but if it spread to two? “I’d adopt,” he says.
EJ and I are facing the nightmare of having a sick child. We would suffer this for him if we could. I feel as if I am on the edge of a cliff. We are thinking, “How can we endure if JJ’s cancer spreads?” Please, my Adonai, do not let it have spread. Please let us have joy at the end of this day. But if not, help us endure.
Our friend finished working on my not-working computer a day or two ago, but we haven’t had time to retrieve it. EJ is sharing his computer with me. A few minutes after I rejoined my family, EJ handed his computer to me and settled back down in his recliner to try to sleep a little bit more.
I am overwhelmed by the love and support and prayers of people. As I read the comments here and elsewhere, tears slipped down my face. “Stop crying, Mom!” JJ said. Ok. I wiped the tears away.
But I am crying because I am scared and I am crying because God won’t let me go through this alone. He is sending wonderful people.