It has been a long time since I posted an article here. No, we didn’t get sent to prison or banished to Siberia. CANCER happened!!! Now that we are on the other side of it, hopefully I will be posting more regularly again. To begin, we would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, money, time, advice, and so many other things that helped get us through the past six months. Here is a brief summary of the events that led to our being missing-in-action:
Fr. Joseph, my husband, found out in March that he had testicular cancer. Yeah, I heard a lot of jokes about it, most of them from Fr. Joseph!!! He had surgery right away to remove the testicle and tumor. However, he ended up being in the hospital for almost three weeks. He wasn’t healing as quickly as expected, and here in Russia they keep you in the hospital until they are sure you are well. Thankfully, Fr. Joseph was able to make visits to church during this time, because there is a beautiful Orthodox church inside the hospital. Finally, he was released to come home.
Next up was CHEMO!!! That wonderful treatment will either cure you or kill you! Fr. Joseph was advised that he would need either four or six rounds. Each round would mean a week in the hospital, constantly sick, being pumped full of delightful intravenous cocktails, and receiving multiple shots in the rump. Then he would get to come home for two weeks to “recover”. Sounds like fun, huh? Especially when you throw in the suppressed immune system and eight little “germ magnets” just waiting for his return. As we are always up for a good challenge, he was scheduled to begin treatment in Moscow in the early part of May.
His treatment was delayed a couple weeks, for a few reasons. One, he needed to finish healing up from his surgery. Two, PASCHA. Three, we had friends from America already scheduled to visit during Bright Week. Four, Fr. Joseph went to Mt. Athos to pray for healing from cancer. Five, all three of our sons’ birthdays are in May, and he didn’t want to miss them. There was no way to schedule the treatment so that he wouldn’t be in the hospital during one of their birthdays. The biggest reason was that we had to leave the country! Our visa status currently requires us to leave the country every six months. For us, that would have been in June, which would have been in the middle of his treatment. But it’s probably not a good idea to skip the country when you’re sick as a dog with a suppressed immune system, so Fr. Joseph decided to wait a little while longer to begin treatment. In early May, we took a road trip to the Pskov-Caves Monastery, and we walked across the border into Estonia. Soon afterwards, Fr. Joseph went to Moscow and began his first round of chemo.
Thankfully, he only had to do four rounds of chemo. I think God knew our sanity was about gone, so He decided to have mercy on us. Once he finished all four rounds, they did bloodwork, and a CT scan. Everything looked wonderful, so he was released with instructions to come back in six months for more bloodwork and another CT scan.
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank the doctors, nurses, priests, our family and friends, the Orthodox Christians Fight Cancer group, and anyone else who helped us through this challenge!!! We are very grateful, and we couldn’t have made it through this ordeal without each one of you. Above all, we thank God for His mercy in healing Fr. Joseph!!!