Disclaimer: I am not a "blogger" nor did I ever intend to be. However, in an effort to keep everyone who knows, loves and is praying for us, even more specifically for Brad, up to date as we navigate this unexpected adventure I will become a temporary blogger.
On October 19th Brad and I vowed to love each other for better or worse, in sickness and in health. We celebrated with our people, danced the night away and truly had one of the best nights of our lives. At the time we didn't realize that the vow we made to love "in sickness and in health" would become a reality so much sooner than we imagined.
Rewind about 10 days prior to our wedding day: we noticed that Brad had some swelling in his upper left arm. We Crossfit, he's strong (have you seen his guns!?) and we assumed he had pulled a muscle in his bicep. He even asked a few folks at the hospital he works at to check it out. On the day of our wedding it was clear that the swelling had continued down his arm to his hand so much so that I had to work extra hard to get his ring on during our ceremony. Nonetheless that night we danced like no one was watching. Note: this was and still is the only sign that something may be wrong.
The Monday we got back to Tampa (we had already planned to delay our honeymoon & now considered it a huge blessing) Brad went and got an ultrasound. They found a blood clot the size of my thumb in his subclavian vein, nearly occluded and restricting blood flow back to his heart and head. We first thought this was Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a result of something he did in the gym. After a procedure (venogram + penumbra) to help remove, or decrease the size of the clot, and a CT scan we were told the reason for this clotting was in fact not the results of an athletic injury but due to a baseball sized mass in his chest. Following that procedure and scan and after 2 more x rays, 1 MRI of his head, 1 CT biopsy, 1 bone marrow biopsy and a whole bunch of needle sticks it was confirmed that he had cancer. Brad has been diagnosed with T - Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. We are staying away from google and can't tell you too many details about it, but we know it sucks.
By no means was this the way we intended to spend our first 10 days of marriage, but sitting in each doctor's office or exam room and being referred to as his "wife" brings my heart more joy than anything. Together, with our families, we will get through this. We have an army of people praying for him, for us, for our doctors and for healing.
I plan to use this blog to keep everyone in the loop and keep it as updated as possible. Let this place be the single source of truth of what is happening with Brad's treatment, progress and the place to look for specific prayer requests. We know this won't be easy. We know it will be nothing short of a long, tough journey, but we also know we love and are loved by a God much bigger than us and this diagnosis.
What's next: tomorrow (10/29) will be our first meeting with the oncologist. They will begin to layout the treatment plan and next steps to begin our journey and beat this diagnosis. Brad will also have a PET scan this week to make sure there are no other tumors in his body.
Prayer requests: for this PET scan. That it comes back that we have caught the one and only tumor. For the doctors planning his treatment road map. For his family. For me. That we are able to be a source of joy, comfort and encouragement to Brad and that no matter the challenge of the day - we point him back to the truth that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1
We love you all.
Brad & Natalie