Those were the words the Dr. said while I took notes for The Moore Family a little less than ten years ago in the oncologists office. My pen came to a halt because the fear of those words was so strong that I didn't need to write them down. They were permanently tattooed into my memory.
It was Christmas Eve of 2010 when Waylon experienced the worst headache of his life. He went to the ER and they were about to send him home with a diagnosis of a really bad migraine when his Uncle Craig spoke up and strongly advocated for an MRI. The MRI results shocked everyone as the Dr. pulled up a chair and said, 'I wasn't expecting this at all. There is a baseball sized tumor behind your left eye.' Leading up to the 'worst headache of his life' Waylon and Cece were having date night at a local restaurant when he had tunnel vision. It quickly resolved and they simply brushed it off, attributing it to being hungry.
Oligodendroglioma is a tumor that forms in the brain. These uncommon tumors usually develop in either the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain.
Waylon was recovering from brain surgery, an ear shot away from him we were trying to pronounce the brain tumors name, when Waylons voice was heard, calm and annunciated. Staring straight at the wall, he corrected us, 'aa·luh·gow·den·drow·glai·ow·muh.'
Finally, someone spoke, 'Yeah, what he said.'
Over the last ten years, Waylon and Cece and their three children have had to adapt. They have navigated the cancer terminology, jumping from stone to stone like a nightmarish game of, 'the floor is lava.' Waylon started a handyman business, MASMAN. Cece started cleaning houses. They were finally getting to point of the new normal, and hitting a good stride.
There have been ugly times. Brain cancer changes the behavior of a persons brain. It robs the short term memory, and causes a person to go from zero to hundred disabling the body to recognize when the parasympathetic nervous system needs to automatically kick in. The Moore Family recognized these challenges, and attended brain cancer support groups and marriage counseling. They also did one of the hardest things which is asking for help, then accepted the help. Family and friends and complete strangers carried The Moore Family so they could stay home, so they could eat, so they could heal.
There have also been good times too. After years of being completely immersed with cancer talk, Waylon took Cece on a special date to celebrate their wedding anniversary. They were at a busy restaurant when Waylon suddenly stood up from sitting and began clinking his glass with a fork, demanding the attention of the room. With years of unpredictability from radiation and chemotherapy, Cece was panicking, not knowing what Waylon was actually about to do. He had their attention now. Waylon professed his love directly to Cece. Addressing the room, he shared how this woman had stood by his side through brain cancer, declaring his gratitude. He stood up and professed his love for his forever bride, in sickness and in health. He brought strangers to tears. He nurtured a space, long over due, where Cece fell in love all over again.
Last Monday Waylon had a routine MRI. His dr called him and said, 'Everything looks fine, see you next year.' It was a sigh of relief knowing that you've just been cleared for another year to go about your life. The next day, his dr called him back. After having a better look, the tumor is back.
Not if, but when.
Time can be so rude sometimes. The way it shifts time so quickly. In ways of a vigorously shaken snow globe where you are finally locating the million particles of being disturbed; deciding which ones you'll pick up again, and which ones you will leave be.
When the brain cancer comes back, has arrived.
Today, November 3rd, Waylon is having a repeat MRI to see if he can tolerate an awake craniotomy. They will run a gamut of tests, determining the best course of brain surgery due to the tumor being located next to a blood vessel in the left side of his brain. Within the next six weeks, Waylon will under go brain surgery. That will be scheduled after the testing today. I will update with those plans, as they are discovered.
When I asked Cece if I could create a GoFundMe for her, she was hesitant. She expressed to me, 'What if I got my one shot to be helped last time? Besides, I know there are other people who might need help more than us.' So, I pleaded with her, 'What if we get more than one shot at life? What if we need help more than one time in our lives? That's the amazing gift about life, sometimes we get more than one chance.' We don't have April with Sweet Blessings Bakery selflessly offering up her cafe, like last time. Times are bizarrely different now, but we still have hope. We still love The Moore family because they are an inspirational couple on marriage, on resiliency, and over coming huge road blocks.
As the holidays approach, I am asking you to please help The Moore Family. The snow globe of their lives has been tipped over again. Waylon won't be able to work, Cece will have to take a step back from cleaning houses to be by his side as his care taker. I am not asking you for wrapped Christmas gifts for their kids, or anything non-essential. They live pay check to paycheck, and I am asking you to help them stay in their home, the best place for healing. I am asking you to provide them with funds so they can have dinner on their table. I am asking you for a personal favor to help a family we love dearly. If monetary help is not in your means, then we welcome your prayers of healing and love.
Ten years ago this Christmas, we sat in the the Dr.'s office, and Waylon and Cece had tears in their eyes, fear from worrying thoughts. Feelings of what felt like impeding doom. As they embraced, Cece looked at me and sobbed, 'WHEN it comes back...?!' I redirected her, 'Yes. And when it comes back, we will help you again.'
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