I have had lots of time to reflect over the last few weeks on why this might be happening to us, the events that have led us to this moment, ultimately looking for the ways the Lord may have been preparing our hearts and path for something like cancer, if there even is such a thing as "prepared."
Here is what I have uncovered thus far and I am certain there will be more to come:
1. Our home: back in August we found a house we loved. We were late to the table with our offer. In September, we found another one that we liked, but it needed some renovations. We had an offer on it and 2 days before our "back out" period ran out we terminated our contract due to a few major repairs and cold feet. We are currently under contract (closing December 16th!) on another house that we again love, that requires no renovation what so ever. Had we not backed out of the house we only liked we would be in the middle of some serious home renovations at this point, which would be nearly impossible to manage right now.
2. The arm swelling: we noticed it prior to the wedding. Brad even had it checked the week before the wedding and everyone thought it was an injury. Had we known what we do now prior to October 19th there is a good chance we wouldn't have had our wedding. We wouldn't have had the best night of our lives and we wouldn't be "the Whitmer's" yet.
3. Plane rides: in the last several months we have been on lots of planes. Blood clots and plane rides typically don't go hand and hand. The two weekends prior to uncovering our current situation Brad had been on 4 airplanes. That's four chances that his clot had to let go and yet it didn't.
4. Honeymoon in Thailand: we had purposefully chosen to delay our honeymoon by a month for a variety of reasons. I think that decision we made over 6 months ago was one of our bigger blessings. Had we gone the Sunday or Monday after our wedding, who knows what would have happened to Brad. With a clot the size of a thumb and a plane ride over 15 hours there is a high chance he could have had a massive pulmonary embolism.
5. Largo Medical Center (LMC): when we were determining where his care would be handled we were presented with 2 options - LMC or Moffitt Cancer Center. We picked LMC because we knew he would be treated like royalty, which he totally has been, and it is closer to our home. Come to find out, we are going to have to transition the next part of his care to Moffitt because cancer is just what they do every day and Arm B is intricate. They have it mastered. However, we are able to be at LMC during the hardest, longest inpatient stay he should have on this journey. We have been blessed with the best set - up, nurses and support anyone could possibly have while in a hospital.
I am sure there are a multitude of other pieces of our puzzle that God has been laying ahead of us that I hope to uncover as we go and although it royally sucks and no person should have to endure cancer, Brad is handling every piece of this with a truly unexplainable attitude. He was raised to be strong, trusting and positive (we all have Carl and Beth to thank for this!), all qualities that are playing such a huge role in his journey and beating this beast.
I write this as Brad is sleeping next to me. He is extra tired and the chemotherapy, as expected, is starting to cause some side effects. But today, he was able to go for a short walk outside and we found out his bone marrow came back completely negative. Another answered prayer. Another puzzle piece:
6. Brad's strength: his overall health. Brad's health and strength prior to this stupid diagnosis couldn't have been better. He's prepared to tackle this head on. His blood counts continue to be as close to perfect as possible.
I still don't know "why" this has happened to us and who knows if we ever will, but I do know that this journey, Brad's journey, will be used to glorify the Lord and one day may be a bright light in someone else's battle.
What's next: we continue to hang out at LMC until his doctors feel it is safe to go home.
Prayer requests: pray for rest. Pray that fevers stay away and that his body remains strong. Continue to pray that time passes quickly. That he can truly feel and understand the support and cheering squad he has surrounding him. Just keep praying for healing. Our prayers are being heard and answered.
We love you all more than we can physically show right now, but please know we do.