Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Waiting Place...

I decided to start a new blog.  Not because I have been really successful at my last blog, but because I need a place to go to deal with the challenges we are facing right now in our family.  I want to be open and honest on this blog and leave myself vulnerable to criticism and other things.  This is important to me in the hopes that what is written may help someone else who may be facing the same thing.

In coming up with a name for my blog I wanted to try to connect to other people or at least make it feel like I am trying to make a connection to what we are going through.  I decided to call it The Waiting Place.

Dr. Seuss has a book called Oh, the Places You'll Go.  It is a perfect story of how we are all on a journey in our lives.  We can choose different roads and different paths.  We can be successful or we can fail.  Any way we look at it, life is a journey filled with challenges and choices.  In the book there is a place where life is at a stand still.  It's called The Waiting Place.  To quote Dr. Seuss:

"The Waiting Place... for people just waiting.  Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow.  Everyone is just waiting..."

I think you get the picture, they're all waiting.

I chose to call it that because I feel like my life has been full of waiting.  From an early age I couldn't wait to be big enough.  I couldn't wait to get to every stage in my life.  From getting my ears pierced to getting baptized to going to Junior High then High School, to dating, driving and graduating, to becoming a young adult, to finding my soul mate and getting married.  To finishing school and having kids.

These last few years have been years of challenges laced with waiting, and maybe I haven't gotten the message or learned what I needed, so now we are being given one of the hardest challenges I think a young family can face.  I never thought it could happen to us, but it has and our whole lives have been turned upside down.

Just a little background for those who are not aware...

My husband and I moved out to Seattle to work for a company with the intention to possibly buy it down the road.  Over the last 10 years there have been good years and bad.  But like everything else when the economy took a huge hit every industry felt the effects.  In the last 3 1/2 years nobody got raises and Aaron started working 7 days a week to make up the difference in a lack of pay.  It was hard.  I felt like I was alone and hardly ever saw him.  I was at home with our boys, and Aaron was out in the world working hard to make a living and support us.

To make a long story short things turned from bad to worse in the spring of 2012 and my husband was laid off on July 2nd, 2012.  Fortunately, we saw the writing on the wall and I was able to find a job which started the same day he lost his.  I worked full-time and he stayed at home with the boys.  It was a nice change, but after a few months I really wanted to come home.  I missed being a stay-at-home mom and prayed every day to come home.  Aaron started having some luck with the job hunt and found a couple of opportunities.  I really hoped he would be hired for a job in Texas.  It would have been great pay and the cost of living was low.  Unfortunately, he did not get that job.  I always thought it was strange that his interview was so bad.  He is educated, experienced, smart, hard working, witty, and people love him. They love working with him and for him.  He is a good man.  But the day of the final interview, everything went wrong.  I can't explain all the details, but I can say it wasn't the right time for this job.  I think he was the right person, just not the right time for him.  At the time I was devastated and heart broken.  It was really hard, but I know now it was not right.  We had bigger things to deal with on the horizon and that job could have destroyed us.

Instead he found a job that kept us local and it was not in his field of experience or degree.  He was hired because of his extensive management skills.  The job isn't a step up, but it's a job where he can actually work around 40 hour a week with a home office and a somewhat flexible schedule.  Little did I know how valuable this would become.  I was so disappointed in this job at first.  I thought he deserved more because he did more before and worked hard, but I realize now that this is what we need.

The day he started his job, I found out my job was on the fritz.  Things weren't progressing in the company and so layoffs occurred.  I had a feeling to ask for my benefits if I was able to stay on part-time.  When the hammer came down I barely had a job, but my benefits were in tact.  I get to work part of the time out of the house and spend one day in the office and so I don't have to put my kids in daycare.  Again, I didn't realize at the time how valuable that was going to be, but I do now.

On a side note, so many things have happened this year and the way things have come together, unexpectedly, I have to say I know there is a God.  We don't always know how our lives are going to go, but I do know that if we have a little faith, things will work out the way they are supposed to.  Maybe not the way we think they are supposed but way they ARE supposed to.

So at this point things are working out, but one piece is still missing from my story and that is the biggest part to our wait. 

See for a year and a half my husband has had a skin issue and at first we chalked it up to eczema. Then over the last few months it spread all over his body and the itching became unbearable.  He started going to a dermatologist but all the tests came back negative.  We did our own research on his itchy skin in combination with all of the other unusual symptoms (night sweats, lack of appetite, weight loss, insomnia, fatigue, etc.) we wondered if it was something more.  I felt he was sick and he asked several doctors if it could be cancer or some else like Crohn's disease.  They all said very unlikely.  So the testing continued.

Just before going to Boise, ID for training Aaron started having problems with his arm.  While in Boise, he woke up one morning and his left shoulder was slumped and his left arm was swollen.  He called a doctor and had an appointment upon his return to Seattle.  On December 20th, his doctor suspected it was a blood clot in his shoulder, but wanted to be sure and see how big it was.  So he took some x-rays and then sent Aaron over to Valley Medical Hospital to have a vascular ultrasound done. 

My mom was visiting at the time, to help with some child care for the week, until things settled at my job.   As Aaron headed over to the hospital, I tooled around town with my Mom and my boys.  After 5pm I got a text from Aaron, that I didn't see until after 6pm, that said he was being checked into the ER.  "What is going on?"  was my text back.  I talked to him and he said they found a blood clot and they also found something else.  He wouldn't tell me over the phone.  Luckily we weren't that far from the hospital and it was on the way home which was good for my mom.

I came into the ER and found Aaron lying in a bed with a tube sticking out of his arm and dressed in one of those sexy hospital gowns.  I didn't wait for him to tell me, I asked almost as soon as I saw him.  He answered somberly that they had found a mass in his chest.  It took a while for it to sink in.  I think I was in shock most of the night and didn't break down too bad.  I sat next to him on his left, when he said they think it's Lymphoma.  Again, my comprehension was slow, but I didn't let Aaron know.  I sat there trying to figure it out and after a few seconds popped up with "so they found cancer".  The blood clot for some reason was the least of my concern.  Sure the clot could dislodge and he could be a vegetable or even dead, but my mind only focused on the cancer.  Only when I heard the "C" word did I contemplate the fragility his life.  They did a CT scan and confirmed the mass that night, but as most know with ER's it was a long night of waiting.  We left the ER after midnight with little information except that it could be Lymphoma and he had to take shots and medication for this clot.  We were left with all these questions and no answers, Christmas was in a few days and we had so much that had gone on all year we didn't even have our tree up.  On top of that because of the Holiday's we couldn't get into see an oncologist until New Year's Eve.  Maybe a week and a half doesn't seem that long to most but when you put a death sentence on it, it feels like an eternity.  The only day we tried to act normal was on Christmas because we wanted the boys to have a good day.  But everyother day, we cried.

I call my blog the Waiting Place because aside from all that I have waited for my entire life, this wait has been the most torturous wait.  Everyday I think about life and death and how real death could be for my husband.  I think about being a single mom and whether our boys are going to know that they have a father who loves, adores, and cherishes them.  The question I have asked so many times is if the worst happens will they remember him.  Our sons are only 4 and 2.  It took us 9 1/2 years with help to conceive one child and the second came 2 years later after the first.  And now the thought of them having to possibly grow up with out their father kills me.  Everyone tells me that I shouldn't think that way, but the fact remains, his life is at risk and our only hope is that all the fundraising and charity that has gone into research for this disease will help the doctors come up with the right way to treat him, to cure him and make it possible for him to live a long healthy life.

The Waiting Place is where I'm at.  But I'm not just waiting I am hoping and praying that things will be okay...

I wanted to make sure I post this today, because tomorrow we find out the results of his biopsy.  One month and 1 day after his trip to the hospital, we will finally have a clearer picture of what he has and what stage and what the course of treatment will be.  I am a little scared... I take it back... I am very scared, but because of the way things have happened this year there is a little light inside of me that tells me, to have faith.  I believe that God wanted it to be found, because if you know anything about blood clots, they usually occur in the legs.  But because his clot was in his shoulder, they found the cancer on the x-ray.  I believe God wants him to live and I want him to live.  Now that being said, I could find out differently tomorrow, but the doctor assured us that he wasn't going to die from this today.

I'm a little relieved... but it still makes tonight a very long night of waiting.


  1. I'm not commenting much because we've talked already, but only to let you know I've read your blog and you guys are in our prayers. Hugs. Sorry about my crappy cell phone signal. I can't seem to connect with you. I was just wanting to see if you needed any help with your boys tomorrow....

    1. :) You need a land line. LOL
      Thank you so much for all of your support! We really appreciate and we are so glad to have friends like you. Love you!

  2. We are waiting with you. We will keep praying for the best! We love you!

  3. If theres one thing I know about Aaron, he's no quiter. WHAT EVER IT IS, he'll beat it. I don't care if its uncureable, he'll find a cure. He's that kind of man, nothing stops him. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but with setbacks in life, sometimes its hard to see the forest through the trees. I'm really trying to tred lightly right now with my words, so please don't take offence in what I say, this news just has me so fired up right now. I don't know about you, but there are times that I want to post something and choose not to because the words aren't right or I'm not articulate enough or it just isn't my place to say, so I don't, but today, right now, I choose to write this, and to hell with places, to hell with articulation, and to Hell with CANCER. This is just another curve ball in the big game of life, but I refuse to think this is the bottom of the ninth. Aarons book of life, isn't a tragic short story. His is an epic adventure, three part series like J.R.R Tolkens the Lord of the Rings. I can only imagine what your going through right now, and I would still be wrong, but I know this for sure, if there is a family that can make it through this plot twist, its you guys, and I can't help but wonder how you guys will turn these lemons into lemonade. Or whose lives you'll touch, or who knows maybe even save, because let's face it your mans a hero. Erika you once told something just after Aaron lost his job about a dream you had. I don't want to go into great detail, but I can't help but think about the Scripture helaman 5:12. I don't want to get preachy and I fear I've already said to much. I just hope. My words are of some comfort to you guys, and our prayers are with you guys always. If you guys ever need anything at any time, I how you know you can turn to the Wahlquist family.

    1. Love your comment! It made me smile. It made Aaron smile as well! Love you guys!

  4. Madi, Cami, and I love you guys.
    I will be waiting for the results along with you! Get as much sleep as you can. I don't get the feeling at all that this is the end, but only the beginning of something really great for you guys. We just don't see it yet but it is there! I love you!!

    1. Love you guys too! Thank you for all your support!

  5. I'm just sitting here in SHOCK! I had no idea. We love you, we're praying for you, and if we can jump in and help, we'll do that too.

    1. Thank you for all of your love and support!

  6. Love and hugs from the Gibbs Family! You are in our prayers. And thank you for this blog and for sharing what you are all going through as well as your hopes and fears. I hope you feel the love and support of so many people whose lives you have and will touch and who are inspired by both of you and your courage. Hugs and Kisses!!

    The ultimate measure of a man [and a woman] is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.
    Billy Graham

    1. Thank you so much for those words of encouragement! I hope things are well with you and your family.