Finally the day came when the Dr came in to Greg's hospital room to tell us the findings of the biopsy. I started praying in my head, "Jesus, we need you now more than ever. God, I am scared....We cannot do this alone, I am so glad you are here with us. Please be near us as we hear this and give us courage to face whatever it is"
The Dr. sat down on the end of the bed. It was easy to see that he wished the news he was bringing us was different, he looked at us with compassion and said,
"We took three samples of tissue from the tumor. The samples show that the tumor is definitely malignant. This is very serious. It seems to be growing steadily. We do not feel that radiation or chemo is a good option right at this point. The tumor is growing off a nerve coming out of your spinal cord. The tumor has grown quite large and is not inside your lung as we originally thought. The tumor has grown behind your lung, inside your ribcage. It is about the size of a football. Part of the tissue is dead already (Thank you God! My thought, not necessarily his) but there is still a lot of cancerous tissue. We need to do an MRI after Christmas to get a clearer picture of what we are dealing with."I crawled into the bed with Greg after the Dr left and we cried together. They were tears of sadness for the life we might not get to live together, tears of joy for the years we had shared so far and we sunk into that moment of just being alive......and together. It was a moment of realization that we could not take life, or the moments we had to hold each other for granted anymore. It could be very short.
Greg, at that point, was on continuous oxygen. Just walking across the room left him quite short of breath. The respiratory therapist came to do a test to see if Greg needed oxygen at home as well. He was borderline. They gave him some breathing exercises to help build his lung strength. I was beginning to realize how very different life was going to be from now on. I thought we would maybe be spending Christmas there in the hospital, but where we spent it didn't matter to me at that point. I was glad Greg was still there with me and our baby. I just wanted to spend as much time with him as possible.
We were able to get out of the hospital and go to the farm for Christmas, it was such a blessing!
We even managed to do some family pictures. Greg was able to leave the hospital and not be on continuous oxygen, however he could not move very fast and the bitter cold air would almost take his breath away. He had to breath into a scarf crumpled over his mouth if we were outside at any point. It was a good, but heavy Christmas. Uncertain of what the path ahead was, we tried to make the most of every moment.
Greg had lost about 25 pounds already that month. He was very pale. Through the fearful moments, we prayed and continued to believe that he would make it through this and he would be healed.
January 2002 is a blur to me. I don't have many clear memories of it at all. My days were filled with helping Greg perform even the most basic daily tasks. We spent much time going to Dr. appointments in Regina, meeting with the surgeons, Dr.'s appointments at home, blood work, and an MRI and CT Scan in Regina.
I remember tucking Greg in at night and listening to a tape that my dad gave us of healing scriptures and confessions. One night Greg said, "Honey, I know this is going to be hard, but we need to talk about some things." Just the very thought of what our future might look like ended with both of us sobbing, let alone talking about it. Greg told me what he wanted for me and our baby if he did not make it. He asked me what I thought would happen with us. It seemed wrong on so many levels. He told me that as hard as it was to say, he wanted me to remarry. He wanted me to make sure that our baby knew about him and how much he loved him/her already. He so desperately wanted to meet and hold our baby. The possibility that I may raise this baby alone was not something that I had EVER thought I would have to talk with my husband about at 8 months pregnant. We had only been married for 3 and a half years. My heart couldn't even process being with anyone but him. It was absurd. It felt like I was betraying my heart even thinking about moving on without my soul mate. I knew I could never find anyone to love me like he did. How could I do this without him? The days and nights were very surreal to us. We filled them with as much prayer as we could because that was the only thing in our control.
Greg's surgery was booked for the 16th of January, 2002.