Greg was experiencing pain in his shoulder every once in awhile, but we just chalked it up to a previous rotator cuff injury. Usually a mild muscle relaxant or massage would do the trick, but once in awhile it did not. Sometimes we would have to take a trip to the emergency room for him to have an injection of something stronger. Greg was getting tired out a lot easier and would sweat buckets when he would trim, going through two sets of clothes per horse by the end. Greg would joke about being out of shape and said he better start lifting weights again. He began to wake up some nights in a cold sweat, completely drenched and was starting to feel out of breath all the time if he exerted himself at all.
On December 11, Greg went to play floor hockey with a good friend of ours. When they came home, he was in a lot of pain. So much in fact, that when we left their house, we went straight to the ER. They told him that they felt it was muscle spasms. They gave him an injection and we went home. Greg tried to sleep it off like before. He didn't sleep much that night and in the morning I told him I did not think this was just muscle spasms. By evening things still had not settled down much so I told him I thought we should go to the Dr's office and tell them we were not leaving until this got figured out. I had no idea this would be a night that would be etched into our memories for the rest of our lives.
We went to the Medical Clinic and since we did not have a regular Dr yet, we saw the walk in Dr. He happened to be a military Dr. who took shifts at the in-town clinic as well. He was a very nice man and seemed genuinely concerned with Greg's situation. I was to babysit for our friends Todd & Christine that night at 7. I waited with Greg as long as I could at the Dr's and then left to go babysit. When I left, we were in the office waiting for the results of an x-ray that had been done. I kissed Greg goodbye and he told me he would meet me at Todd & Christine's house when he was done. I left, preparing myself to hear the results when he arrived at the house. I thought the best thing we could hear was that it was just something that required rest to heal from and the worst thing was maybe that he was going to have to have surgery to repair something in his shoulder. I wasn't even close....
It seemed to be taking a very long time for Greg to get to the house and I admit I was starting to feel a little worried about things, wondering what on earth could keep him so long. The kids were in bed and finally around 9pm he arrived at the door. I opened it and let him in. He closed the door behind him and then turned and wrapped me in his arms and held me tight. He put his hand on my tummy which was 7 months pregnant. His eyes filled up with tears. I said, "So, how did it go? Did they figure anything out?"
His words still echo in my head, "They told me they think I have cancer."
I thought this was some sort of really bad joke. I looked into his eyes and told him to be serious.
He said, "I am honey." I backed up and sat down on the couch and he came to join me.
"Why do they think that? They have got to be wrong," I said. Then he proceeded to fill me in.
The first x-ray that they took when I was there was of his right shoulder. When the Dr. looked at the x-ray, there was something odd showing on the bottom edge. They sent him for another set of x-rays, this time on his chest as well. They found a football size tumor inside his ribcage on the right side. It had completely collapsed his right lung and was expanding his ribcage and pushing his collar bone up. I asked him if they thought he was going to live. They had not given him any ideas as far as that was concerned, they had no idea until more tests done. We had no plan of action yet, but we were to go in to Regina to see a specialist in a couple of days to start figuring that out.
We sat there on the couch and cried just holding each other, our unborn child moving in my tummy between us. Neither one of us knew what to say. We were still in disbelief and shock. This was something that other people deal with, not something we ever expected to face.
A short time later our friends got home and asked how the appointment had gone. Greg told them, "They say I have cancer and at this point they are not sure how bad it is." Todd said, "And what do you think?" In that moment Greg uttered some life changing words that I believe made the difference to whether he was going to live or die.
"I know my God is bigger than this and I know that He can heal me."Todd said, "We will agree with you for that then!" He called us the next morning to ask us to come back to their house that night. He had arranged for a group of people to get together the next night to pray over Greg and anoint him with oil. True friends they are.
We called other friends and family and asked them to pray.
We went home and tried to process all we had been told. That night and in the months to come, there were many, many tears and emotions to work through. I had to face the possibility that my baby might never know it's daddy. Could I do this on my own? I was scared.....I didn't want to lose him. I didn't want to do this life alone without him.
From this point on things went downhill with his health very quickly and life became a whirlwind vacuum.
By December 14th Greg was admitted to hospital in the closest major center. Greg was still in a great deal of pain without medication, so he was on strong IV pain meds and oxygen continuously. They decided to do a biopsy on the tumor.
To be continued....