Yesterday was a tough day. A day full of emotions. A day where the Roberts had to remind themselves to…
Breathe. Just breathe.
Yesterday was the first opportunity the Roberts had to meet with a specialist in gastrointestinal cancers, specifically Cholangiocarcinoma.
Can you imagine the anticipation? Can you imagine the high hopes? Finally…someone who knows a lot about this horrible disease. Someone who knows more than what the Roberts are finding on Google. Someone to tell them what they are finding on Google is wrong…and to stay off the Internet. Someone to say, “this isn’t nearly as bad as your other doctors have made it out to be. It’s only because it’s rare that it’s so scary.” “We got this.”
Someone who will help Carrie and Travis breathe again.
Their appointment was at noon and the morning had been good. Records picked up. Kids dropped off. Business running smoothly. There was even some laughter. The drive to Emory was pretty to say the least. The mature trees and full azaleas were bursting with color against quaint cottages and impressive estates. It was almost…peaceful.
And then the trees cleared. And as Emory appeared ahead, hearts started racing. Suddenly the peace and tranquility was gone. Suddenly stomachs were churning. Suddenly it was getting harder to breathe.
Despite looking “dapper” (the physician assistant’s word…not mine) in his “baby blues” (pants) and polo with sleeves rolled up, Travis was…a wreck. The wait in the waiting room was three hours.
At least it felt that way to Carrie and Travis.
Finally, Amar’e Stoudemire, called Travis back.
Ok. So it wasn’t Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks…but he was a dead ringer!
Charm and wit are a big part of Travis’ personality. It is how he has been able to get away with the things he has gotten away with most of his life. Make them laugh and he gets whatever it is he wants.
Doing what you know calms you. It helps you breathe. Being witty and charming calms Travis. Only…Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t exactly find Travis charming. Luckily he was only there for a few minutes.
The doctor and physician assistant came in next and it wasn’t long before all of the oxygen got sucked out of the room. Nobody could breathe. Everybody was gasping for air.
It felt that way.
The doctor got right to the point, explained the clinical trial they had going on and asked if Travis had any questions.
Any questions!?! Apparently, he didn’t know Travis.
Travis went through a litany of questions and as each answer came the Roberts quickly realized this visit was going to be no different from the others. It wasn’t that the other doctors weren’t familiar cholangiocarcinoma. It wasn’t that Google was wrong. The Internet wasn’t this place with only worse case scenarios. It was that this disease is that bad.
Breathe. Just breathe.
How long? That’s what everyone wants to know. How long do they have? The problem is cancer is different for everyone. It reacts differently to everyone. The treatments are different for everyone. So doctors talk in averages.
“So give me the averages.”
“Can you cure it?”
“Can you get it into remission and buy me some time.”
“I don’t think so. It is unlikely”
Breathe reader. Just breathe.
Where did all of the oxygen in the room go? Why were the Roberts struggling to breathe?With tears in his eyes, Travis tried to catch his breath and then did what he does.
He made a joke.
“Well. I guess that’s Game Over.”
Breathe Carrie. Just breathe.
And then he left. Most of us, in that situation, would have gone home. We would have turned off the lights, crawled into bed and cried. But not Travis. Travis got in his truck and drove 7 miles across town, put on a happy face, and walked into a room full of lawyers for a mediation between his company and a general contractor as if he wasn’t just handed a death sentence. Somehow. Travis figured out how to breathe.
Yesterday was not the day the Roberts were hoping for…praying for. Yesterday did not make things any easier. But the good news is…there is always tomorrow.
They will head to MD Anderson Sunday night for a three day visit. Their expectations are set. They know they are not going to suddenly hear about high success rates. About high survival rates. They are looking for a plan. The best plan. A plan to fight and beat the odds.
There are two HUGE prayers that we ask you get on your knees for over the next 72 hours. First…pray for a mistake. Weird? Our prayer is that the liver biopsy reading was wrong. A mistake was made. Is it a long shot? Maybe. Maybe not. It happens. MD Anderson will be reading the slides. Pray that it is something. Anything else. Second…in order for them to find something different they need to get the slides. The slides are in transit. They are not there yet. They need to get there by Tuesday in order to be read in time for Carrie and Travis to discuss treatment options with the doctors at MD Anderson. Please fervently pray for both of these things.
Every night Travis practices dying. If you know Travis, when you are finished laughing, you won’t be surprised by this. To hear him tell it is hilarious despite its morbidity.
“Yeah. I just lay down and close my eyes and think ‘I’m dead’. It’s not too bad. I hold my breath and I just practice dying.”
Breathe Travis. Just breathe.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. - Psalm 3:5