The past week has been a long and grueling time for the Schaubhut family. Carl’s 10 plus hour long surgery went very well. As we spent these long hours in the surgery waiting room, I was not afraid, confident that the surgery would go well and it did. The days in ICU were difficult for Carl as he struggled to deal with multiple tubes, IV lines and wires attached all over coming from everywhere. He was scared and rightly so but he progressed very well getting stronger each day.
It was great to walk with him each day as he showed just how strong he truly is while progressing in his healing. As he improved each day, he felt the strength of the support of all who are sending prayers and well wishes his way. The barium swallow test on Wednesday showed that there are no esophageal leaks which mean that the esophagus is healing well after surgery. Today, he took his first shower in a week and is homeward bound.
The pathology report which we received today showed good results as only 5 out of 42 lymph nodes contained cancer cells. I hoped for great results where no nodes were positive. The tumor which was removed still had some living cancer cells. What does all of this mean for his recovery? He will probably require another round of more aggressive chemotherapy after post-operative healing is completed. This news seems to be the worst blow yet in his fight against the disease yet the oncologist is encouraged by the clear surgical margins and his progress thus far.
Today, the cancer diagnosis is very real and the road to complete recovery seems very daunting. While I am grateful for the expertise of Dr. Bolton who accomplished a complete surgical removal of the tumor, the wishful thinking that a complete cure at this point is not present is upsetting to me today. It is difficult for me to see my dear son suffer physically and emotionally. While he is comfortable to be home in his familiar surroundings, all is not close to being back to any sense of “normalcy”. Feeding through a tube is Carl’s reality for the months ahead. Eating is a sensation which will not be experienced in several weeks. This may not be so important for some individuals but this is very difficult for Carl as a chef whose passion is the creation of food which is enjoyed by and shared with others.
Thus the roller coaster of emotions continues. The highs of getting the chest tube removed are replaced with the lows of the pathology report results. The Lord is taking care of Carl and all of us during this difficult journey. The Lord has blessed Carl with a wonderfully loving wife, siblings, mother-in-law and friends who are not flinching in standing by his side to provide him care and support. He is also blessed with a great medical team of caring individuals. For your love and support, we are forever grateful. These are the blessings of this cancer journey. After all, tomorrow is another day.