Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kiss this RECTUM goodbye!

Jeff here...
This is my first blog post ever and I'm only doing it because JaNae made me promise that I would post to her blog while she is in surgery.  So being true to my word...  I'm blogging about my wife and the cancer in her tail.

As I write this, she was just wheeled away into the OR. The last words to me were something like "Kiss this rectum goodbye."  Hopefully in 3-4 hours we'll be able to see her and everything will have gone well.

I guess this is where I need to give a little history about her cancer...  just to give kind of an update to explain what has happened so far.  She started feeling like her bowels were changing and she was concerned something was wrong.  She was talking with friends and family who have celiac disease and suggested that she may also have it.  She considered going onto a gluten free diet to see how that would make her feel but I was kind of opposed to it.  I realize some may be offended, but I've been trying to buy extra gluten and put it in a salt shaker so I can add it to my food.  She needed to find a new physician here since we moved so I suggested that she find one and be tested.  Her tests were negative and she was relieved...  but it left us with questions.  What was causing her symptoms?

She had told me before that she occasionally had a little bleeding but didn't think much of it.  She said it was similar to when she was pregnant and had a small hemorrhoid.  (Sorry JaNae to tell your secret... but we are all saying goodbye to your rectum after all!)  Anyway, we were not really worried about it... and then one day she asked me to look in the toilet, and we decided she needed a colonoscopy.  It took a few weeks to get the appointment, do more testing, and then finally have the colonoscopy. As we left to take her to the appointment, our 12 year old said "Mom, just don't have cancer. OK?"

We were so surprised when the gastroenterologist told us she found a mass.  It  was about 5cm in size and located at the junction of the colon and rectum.  The next day the biopsy confirmed the diagnosis, invasive adenocarcinoma.  She had a CT scan the next morning and they could not see any spread of cancer to her liver or anywhere.

We were shell shocked for a few days.  At first, JaNae felt she didn't want to tell anyone.  She told me she didn't want any attention or for people to feel sorry for her.  The very next day, she changed her mind.  "I don't care who knows." she said, "I've done nothing wrong and have nothing to be ashamed of."  JaNae has never smoked.  The only time she ever drank alcohol was when we were on a cruise and ordered a virgin drink and it tasted " a little funny".  Luckily the lady next to us who described herself as a recovering alcoholic had offered to test the drink.  Her analysis was that is contained a hefty amount of rum... definitely not virgin!  JaNae has been a pretty good gal.

Once we started letting people know, we received all kinds of support. Our daughter made blue friendship bracelets to show support.  All of the kids are doing extra chores to help more.  We have had dinners brought in, people watching our kids, hugs, prayers, fasting, and a lot of love.  Our friend Stacy drove to Boise and back just to see JaNae for an hour... that is about 7 hours of driving just to visit.  She had two of her sons with her and I was so impressed at her example of service.  This is something that they will remember all of their lives, driving across the state to be supportive of a friend who is scared and anxious.  She had other friends who brought over what I think was a hat box full of treats and goodies that were all yellow.  They gave a cute note about providing sunshine to an area where "the sun don't shine."   We have had home made pizza that was awesome, delicious soup, and other good food.  Some close friends, the Wilks, brought over about 5 home made dinners that were frozen and ready to bake... those are for after the surgery and I'm so thankful that we don't have to worry about what we'll eat.  Thank you so much to everyone who has served us... you have been a blessing in our lives.

So on with the story... she's been in the OR for about 45 minutes now...

We found out she had a family history of Lynch Syndrome which is a genetic defect of some DNA repair genes.  Her great uncle had colon cancer and his daughter died of colon cancer at age 35...  JaNae needed to be tested for these defects.  We were able to get the results of the genetic tests done on her extended family so her tests could be more focused... we waited for weeks to get the results and they were normal.  Yeah!

About 2 weeks ago, she had an ultrasound (up the tailpipe) to look for local spread or lymph nodes involved... and none were seen.  That was very uncomfortable for her and as they filled a internal balloon with saline, she would squeeze my hand very tightly.  My hand is still sore!  (I'm sure glad it was my hand and not something else... like my throat.)

So this week we have been preparing for surgery...  it has been hard on us a bit.  I woke up to the sound of the sewing machine yesterday and she told me she'd been sewing since 4am.  She's been making a quilt for our daughter. She once told me that sewing is her drug of choice. I'm glad she has something that relaxes her. She has had a good sense of humor and has made several jokes.  She said "If I have to have cancer it might as well be colorectal... at least I'll still have a good rack!"  She teases those who ask her about it by saying "you just want to know about my stool don't you?"  Her mother is not sure where JaNae got her sense of humor but I can say that we have all laughed very hard at times.  Her sister said that laughing while having tears in her eyes is her favorite thing and we all do that around JaNae a lot lately.

She's now been in there for about 75 minutes. This waiting room is very busy and there is a screen telling where every patient is located and what's going on.  It's like being in an airport...  they told us to expect 5-7 days  in the hospital... she told me she's going to bust out in 3! ...maybe they'll have to use restraints.

I hope this was acceptable for my first blog post ever.  I hope you will post a brief note so we know you dropped by.  Thanks for the support and love. I'll be updating this before turning it over to her.  I'm sure she'll want to tell you her cancer tale.


  1. Jeff, thank you for the update. I had been wondering where things were at this point. I love JaNae's sense of humor. Sending prayers. Let us know how it goes.

  2. Megan Eddie informed me a few weeks ago about Janae and I started bawling. I wish we were closer and could help out with the kids, or food, or whatever! I'm glad you have so many people who love you close by. It sounds like you BOTH are having a good sense of humor through it all. Chase and I pray for your family every day and I hope that you will feel the strength of all those who love you. I think of you guys often! I think of Janae every time I see the adorable quilt she made Nixon and the toys she passed on to us. Nixon loves them! Tears are streaming down my cheeks as I write know that we are thinking and praying for your family always! We love you!

  3. I have been thinking about JaNae all week. I am so grateful I have been able to get to know her better. Please tell her she is in my prayers. We are gone this weekend but then if there is anything we can do please let Jared or I know.

  4. This blog post was very acceptable- good job Jeff! Thank you so much for keeping us informed. I think about JaNae everyday and wish I could be next door, to give her chocolate, rub her feet, and take your kiddos. I feel helpless to far away; BUT know that she is in our prayers daily and we love you all so much. Keep us posted, and let us know if you need ANYTHING. I can always make the drive- especially for such a great friend!

  5. Dear Jeff and JaNae,
    I am sitting here crying while typing this. I am so sorry you have to go through all of this. I love your sense of humor. We have been worrying and praying for you. We want you to know you are loved so much! You are a great family and the Lord is watching out for you.

  6. Thank you Jeff for the update! You guys are amazing! We sure love your family. Please let us know what we can do to help!! Your family is in our thoughts & prayers!

  7. You guys are hilarious, thats one of the things we love most about you two! Thanks for the update, our prayers are with you and your good family! Tell Janae she is loved.

  8. Good post Jeff! Keep em coming! Your family has been in our thoughts today. We look forward to the updates. We love you guys!

  9. I think about you, JaNae and the kids ALL the time!! I wish there was more that i could do... just know that you all are in my families prayers EVERY night!! We love you all!!

  10. Great job on the blog, Jeff. We have all been sitting around the computer reading and chuckling. Meg especially laughed at the part about JaNae squeezing your hand and being glad it wasn't your throat! So glad that you have a good sense of humor - it helps with tough and scary situations.

    So glad that the surgery was successful and that JaNae is controling the pain. We have been praying that the surgery would go well!

    Thanks so much for keeping us posted. We love you guys!

  11. I'm so happy to hear how the surgery went. I've been thinking about you guys all week. Our thought and prayers are with you! Baird's

  12. thank you for doing this blog jeff. it is tender. you all are in our prayers. JaNae is so dear to me and you are taking good care of her.

  13. This blog is wonderful!!! Thank you so much for letting us know how you guys are doing!!! We have been praying for you and will continue to do so! You guys have such a great attitude and sense of humor! We hope you can get home to your sweet family very soon! Just know we are thinking of you and praying for a speedy recovery...

  14. I have been just sick about this since we heard. I love JaNae so much! We are praying for her and for all of you during this scary, difficult time. Thanks for posting!

    1. Saunja, I'm glad you found it! I sent you and email but it came back "undeliverable". Hope you guys are well and happy. -Jeff

  15. Nice job Jeff. Appreciate the post. We are thinking and praying for you.

  16. JaNae,
    We are praying for you! If you can get though a season of Dowton Abbey you can make it through this! Plus when you are through it all I have a list of todo's for you....
    1. Can I borrow all of your seasons of Dowton Abbey?
    2. Attend our Masters Speech Language Pathology program and graduate class of 2014. Yes you have skill girl! Talk about on camera and k's vs. g' have skill!
    3. If you get bored we will just put your son and another client in a room together with one green chair...that should get you smiling!

    Praying...and see you soon!

    -amy hardy ;)