He found a lump near his ear when he was shaving.
He went to the doctor right away and was referred for tests and then to an ENT specialist/surgeon. The doctors said most of these tumors are benign. But to be sure, the surgeon ordered a deep needle biopsy.
On Nov. 22 we received the report: malignant melanoma.
A few days later, in a Sunday School class poetry workshop, two weeks after we joined Blossom Hill Mennonite Church, I wrote these words on a blank labyrinth page:
Here is the poem written in an easier-to read version:
I also found this lovely poem online which helped me find words to tell Stuart “I’m going to love you through this” and “WE have cancer.” I have always been impressed by friends who have offered unconditional support to their loved ones during cancer. I hope I will have the strength to be his advocate in the medical system and an oasis of comfort and love at home.
We have started a Caring Bridge site so that the many friends and family who have reached out to us can follow the journey. Doing so has led us to hear many stories, most of them very hopeful, especially about the breakthroughs in immunotherapy. Stuart will soon be getting infusions of the drug KEYTRUDA. Stuart has no pain or loss of energy, and we hope that continues to be true as he progresses through therapy.
Meanwhile, when not going to Philadelphia and Lancaster for doctor appointments, life continues much as it did before. We are getting ready for Christmas and for the joyful reunion with our children and grandchildren.
Stuart’s genealogy project, which I wrote about last month, is now finished! He started working on the project 40 years ago. But this was the year to bear down on it like a book or a dissertation and pull all the pieces together from multiple sources. I am proud of him. He made a Christmas gift for our grandchildren that also interests other family members who have ordered their own copies. Both of us learned a lot as we wrote our letters to our grandchildren now included in the book.
Speaking of grandchildren, we are looking forward to the arrival of Anthony and Chelsea’s family soon. Daughter Kate says that every day Lydia asks, “how many days?” She’s not asking about Christmas, she’s asking when Owen and Julia are coming. My grandma heart rejoices when I recognize the love the littlest one has for her older cousins and when I hear them inquire about her every week.
May your Christmas or Hannukah be merry and bright this year.
Hug your loved ones close, as we will ours.
Will you be seeing family soon? Love to hear your plans.