Analisa and JD’s Fight Against Lung Cancer
“Cancer.” How do you react when that word comes out of the doctor’s mouth? What feelings flood through you as you process it? “Complete shock, disbelief, numbness, surreal. My husband is only 39. He has never smoked or had even a drop of alcohol, has always been active, and has been really strong and a very healthy eater the last few years! My heart broke for him, and then for our 4 young daughters, and then for myself. He is my best friend, my everything. How was I going to battle this life without him?” Analisa and her husband heard the word “cancer” come out of a doctor’s mouth. JD, Analisa’s husband, was diagnosed with lung cancer.
When dealing with cancer, you are constantly faced with challenges; whether that’s before or after the diagnosis. Analisa share with us some of their most difficult challenges, “The waiting and unknown. For months he was told he had a sinus infection, and then pneumonia. Once he went to a pulmonologist, she informed him some tests were necessary and it was excruciating to wait for results. When results came somewhat quickly, that was scary too, as it became clear something very serious was going on. She dropped the bomb that the radiologist’s report was stating lung cancer, but by doing a biopsy she was hoping the radiologist was wrong. That was Friday morning of Memorial weekend. It was the longest holiday weekend of my life. She confirmed that it was indeed Lung cancer on Wednesday morning, June 1st, and then broke our hearts again 2 days later when she said he was already stage 4. It was not only in his lungs, but in his neck, and spots on his brain, and he has a blood clot in his neck. We were then given more instructions to schedule a number of appointments for more tests and consults which meant more waiting (it was Friday afternoon). He immediately had to get an ultrasound to see if there was more than 1 blood clot and a blood thinner medication that was an injection twice a day. Not super fun for my husband who hates needles. I had to give him his shots for the first few days, and it’s best to give them in the love handle area which was difficult to do on him as he is super lean. Needless to say, it was probably the hardest weekend of our lives.”
So with all of these battles and struggles, what do you do to combat them? How do you find the strength to stand up and fight back? You find support. Family, friends, and community. Reaching out to people is one of the best ways to receive the comfort and help you need to stay afloat in a situation like JD and Analisa’s. Analisa shared with us what their greatest form of support during this battle is. “Our family and friends have been indispensable through this nightmare. The kindness and concern of friends, co-workers of my husband, neighbors, and acquaintances has been nothing short of incredible. Our church family, as well as the previously mentioned people, all rallied around and prayed, and fasted, and offered support in anyway they could and knew how. My relationship with God was strengthened even more as I leaned on him instead of being bitter and angry like I sometimes wanted to be.”
In addition to support, sometimes inspirational saying, songs, or quotes can be motivation. Analisa told us a little bit about her inspirational quote,” A sweet friend gave me this quote one day at church and I taped it to my bathroom mirror so my husband and I can see it multiple times a day, and I find myself thinking of it throughout the day. ‘All the strength you will ever need is within you now. It was put there by your Creator, who knew what you would face and made you equal to it!’ – Norman Vincent Peale”
When sharing her story with us, Analisa also provided advice for others going through situations like theirs. Whether its cancer, a different illness, or a difficult time, here are a few of her tips:
“-Pray pray pray and never give up hope or let the scary details of the battle you are facing bring you down for very long.
-Believe in and recognize miracles…even little ones. They still exist and our Heavenly Father wants to give us them.
-One day at a time. It is completely overwhelming and earth shattering when you receive news like this but it does get a little easier. Find things that bring you peace. For me, it was creating a binder that held all of the doctor’s instructions, cards, our questions, etc., as well as letting go of unimportant tasks and not worrying myself with the unknown and what if scenarios.
-Knowledge is power and finding doctors who will fight for you and that you mesh well with is so important. Be confident in your doctors and his/her staff and their abilities, and if you are not then find a new doctor. We chose to seek radiation treatment at the hospital where he was diagnosed as we fell in love with the radiation oncologist and his team, but will be receiving chemo through Seattle Cancer Care as we did not care for the medical oncologist at the hospital.
-My husband and I use laughter as a coping mechanism and I highly recommend it.
– Also, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to let people help. You are not only allowing them to help lift your burden, you are giving them a chance to serve you which brings them happiness and blessings too. Take advantage of any and all the resources hospitals and cancer centers offer. No one should feel alone in this and there are so many programs and services available, especially if you don’t have friends and or family nearby or that you can count on.
-Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Understanding can bring peace where as the unknown is often even scarier than the answers.
-Lastly, a positive attitude in a really crappy situation is key. It can make or break you and it’s OK to have bad days or moments but try to smile and laugh even when you don’t feel like it as it does help. In other words, fake it till you make it!!”
For more on Analisa and JD’s story, you can visit their GiveForward page here.