I haven't thought about Outward Bound for years now and I outgrew the fear of how I'd perform long ago. Having experienced life's vicissitudes, I've built abundant inner resources, gleaned from the passage of time, the wisdom that comes from deep introspection and the benefit of psychotherapy. I no longer have an unstable, unorganized or un-examined inner life. Although there probably was a point in time where I might have loved the challenge of Outward Bound, it has long since passed and I don't feel that I've missed anything by not having gone on that journey. In point of fact, my inner life IS my life and now in this refining fire of Phil's cancer Inward Bound is the only journey I'm truly interested in.
Speaking of Phil's journey, there is news to share. He is recently home from his latest chemotherapy regimen and did very well with it; the best round so far in some ways. He tolerated the triple medication cocktail so well that he ate heartily and rarely had any nausea. He enjoyed visitors and walked the halls daily, keeping up his strength and maintaining his popularity with the staff. Prior to admission however he was noting some soreness in his left rib cage and fluctuating shoulder pain. During the hospital stay Dr. Kossman ordered a chest xray which showed Phil had another pleural effusion and there was a questionable area in the center of his chest. This could have been artifact from the pleural effusion but he needed a CT scan to find out what it really was. An Interventional Radiologist was on hand for the CT and drew 1 Liter of fluid off of Phil's lungs (that's a lot!) and a quick read showed a lymph node in the middle of his chest.
Now, it's never a good thing when Dr. Kossman calls me first thing in the morning and says he needs to talk to me about "what's going on with your husband". I'm all too familiar with this drill. This happened the morning after the CT scan before I went in to see Phil. He reminded me again about the liter of fluid and the lymph node in Phil's chest. But he went on to say that the fluid was all lymphocytes meaning that Phil's lymphoma was recurring and the lymph node in his chest measured 5 cm. Ah shit. Not good. Not what we were prepared for and yet, I think, we both knew deep inside that pleural effusions don't just keep recurring for NO reason, and certainly not effusions of that size. Later as Phil and I cried and talked about it together, we realized that the lymph node had grown since his last chemo treatment 9 weeks ago when he had developed the right sided effusion and had his last CT scan. In other words, it grew quickly and right on the heels of very aggressive chemotherapy. Ah double shit. Not good at all.
Well, that was a week ago and we've since celebrated my father's 80th birthday with my five siblings, and Father's Day as well with both he and Phil. It was a crusher of a weekend, celebrating my awesome dad and the life he's lived, the family he's raised and the lives he's touched. He played a huge role in raising my sister Terry's sons and seeing that documented in picture after picture was very special and yet full of conflicting emotions of grief, hope, awe, wonder, thanksgiving and also plenty of prayerful petition that Phil will live to see his kids grow up. While we do not know where God will take us from here we do know that He has laid a path in front of us and has walked with us every step of the way. To question the wisdom of His ways now would be folly.
Phil is in recovery from his current chemotherapy and will hopefully not need any transfusions over this weekend. So far so good. We will meet with Dr. Kossman Monday to recheck his counts and again on Friday (while we move into our new house by the way). He is going to be followed closely and Kossman will be culling through the literature to see where we go from here for the best treatment strategy. When we know something we will share it with you. Until then, please continue to cover Phil and our family in your generous prayers.
As for Phil, he says Inward Bound is where the real journey is, the journey to the center of who God made us. We're going deeper still.
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.