On September 21 I finished teaching my 1st period class and texted Jake to see how his appointment to go over test results with our doctor went. I didn’t even go with him because we were sure the doctor would prescribe him some antibiotics and send him home. Jake replied to my text, “I’m outside by your car. Come talk to me for a second. :)”
We had our first conversation about cancer. The CT scan showed a mass in his chest that was likely Lymphoma. Jake left the doctor’s office scheduled for another CT scan, a biopsy of the mass, and a referral to the Intermountain Cancer Clinic.
The next few weeks dragged and flew by. We waited for results, did other tests, prayed and fasted, and sat in waiting rooms. Each doctor and each procedure held some variation of the phrase, “you guys are really young to have to go through this”.
At first it bugged me. It’s pretty obvious that we are young and this wasn’t exactly part of our plan. The past few days though I realized that I was missing the second part of the sentiment. The “you’re too young” stuff was always followed by. “You guys are doing really great though”. We are. Not by ourselves. With the help of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and all of the prayers and faith of all of you, we are.
Chemotherapy round 1 was yesterday. We spent the day at the hospital meeting with our doctor, doing some blood work, and a blood transfusion. (Per Jake’s request, they even added some horse blood to the mix... or so they told him. ;) ) Jake slept through most of the treatment. They had him all set up in a reclining lazy boy chair. When he was awake he was brought warm blankets and snacks. We ordered him a cheeseburger and a vanilla shake from the cafeteria. He said he could get used to treatment like this.
Our doctor, with a few more test results, confirmed that Jake’s cancer is Stage 4. It has spread to the bone marrow in some parts of his body. This doesn’t change treatment at all or the fact that we’re going for cure.
Chemotherapy is quite the process. One of the medications used in Jake’s treatment is bright red. It’s called Doxorubicin, but our nurse told us lots of people call it the “Red Devil”. She prefers another name though, the “Red Angel”. That medicine gives you the most grief during chemotherapy. It’s why your hair falls out, where the nausea and some of the other symptoms come. But it’s also the one that is really getting rid of those cancer cells.
Jake will experience some of the negative symptoms of chemotherapy. It is such a comfort though to know it’ll be for a good reason. We’ll manage all those side-effects. These medicines are getting rid of all of the cells that are trying to hurt Jake’s body.
After chemo last night I asked Jake if it was something he thought he’d be able to do a few more times to get rid of this lymphoma. We’re already scheduled for his next dose on November 1st. With his big orbit commercial smile He said, “Yep. We can do this.”
He’s right. Maybe that’s why we’re so happy.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!