24-48 hours after chemo...

So they said it would be hard…and it was. His body could not seem to get enough of the ailment out of him beyond the 24-48. His nausea is constant and the vomiting is soon thereafter. The routine of going to the bathroom together has become a part of our daily and nightly ritual, out of bed and to the toilet so he can extract any buildup he had acquired from lying down. The buildup he has on top of the tumor is all that would come out until two days ago, we had our first little victory. The other morning, there was stomach bile...this meant his tumor was moving aside or somehow shrinking because of the treatment thus far. This has now happened twice and we have our own little celebration together. I know…graphic, but again, this has become a daily part of our lives, so we will celebrate the little things. We look at the extractions, though painful and horrible to go through, as something to rid the cancer…to push it out of his body…to be free of it…to be done…and to move on from this disease.

The days following the infamous 24-48 hours later consisted of more nausea, but with some eating. Again, another small victory. It is nowhere near what my athletic build of a husband ate in the past, but it has become a few bites of food once a day. We have been utilizing the feeding tube the past few weeks due to the lack of swallowing John is capable of doing. I am now his nurse and he is now my patient. Every day starts with a few cc’s of liquid either from the juicer of all natural greens or a protein filled drink…all to keep his health and weight maintained to the best of our abilities. He has lost 14 pounds in the last three weeks, but again, we are trying our hardest to keep as much food in him as possible. These little victories start to add up and I am so proud of how far he has come and how much he is pushing himself. This is not an easy road, but he has taken great strides to get himself better. Yesterday, John felt up for going to the beach, so we took him. It was such a wonderful day and the water, sand, sun and sea air was different for him to look at and feel besides the television or our bedroom fan. I know being in bed for him all the time is difficult, but it is also the place helping with the healing process right now. Keeping him comfortable is important and we believe will speed up his recovery process.

Visitors are in and out of the house from out of state and those who live near. My mom was recently in town and was such an amazing spirit and force to have around. Nichole’s beautiful face is also here from Chicago and those who live near come as often as they can. Today, Nichole asked me what our story was and how we met. This is probably my favorite subject when it comes to John and I and where we came from as a couple. It was almost six years ago and I spent Thanksgiving with Stephanie that year, John’s aunt. Her and I had been such great friends and when she found out my parents were going out of town that holiday, she invited me to spend it with hers. I am so glad I did. I do not remember the meal or what we ate, I do not remember the games played or what football matchups were on television, and I could barely remember my first name when he walked through the door that day…wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey. Talk about love at first sight. After that question, it was then, I starting looking back at everything we have enjoyed together, laughed at, spent time with, loved as much, where we lived, who we encountered, and what we have endured as a couple…it brought a smile to my face. These years spent with John have been the best years of my life. This is so easy to say even with all the muck we have been through as a team.

Who else is on our team now? All of you. Team Goddard.



Word of the day. Anticipation. Last night was difficult because of the anticipation for today…John’s first round of chemo. We called his dad last night to see how he was doing and got more news that shook us to the core. His father has to undergo surgery to remove a part of his leg where the tumors have been living and fighting back against his treatment plans for over four years. The doctors decided they did not want to take any more risks and gut his thigh, replacing it with the muscle and skin from his calf before it decided to move up his body and hurt him further. Anticipation…for both John and his father. We were all thinking positive thoughts but the countdown was difficult in itself.

John has now been through 4 (21 more to go) rounds of radiation and went through his first round of chemo today. I have been taking photos and recording videos so far of our journey and here he is before his first treatment.

I sat right next to him at the hospital with a room full of others going through their own struggles. I brought my computer to get some work done and instead, stared at him the entire time. The initial medicine made him drowsy, so you guessed it, I watched him sleep. He had a couple of bags of fluids and anti nausea medicines. This then proceeded to his bag full of chemo medicine. I looked at the bag with such hope. I just kept looking at the clear solution like it was going to look right back to me. Hanging high above our heads, the nurse switched the capsules and linked it to his aching body. Then…the machine started. I watched each drip for over 30 minutes and then realized my neck was aching from gawking at it for so long. It was like a hypnotic rhythm...three drips, pause…two drips, pause…then three again, pause. It kept that beat the entire time. It was his first time today. It was so surreal in the sense that we thought this day would never come much less be real. After that bag, he was taken back for his fourth round of radiation, brought back for two final bags of fluids and he was done.

I am not sure of the medicine they gave him, but for a few hours, we had the old John back. The John that was not in pain. The John with the beautiful blue sparkle in his eyes. The John that laughed at himself when he would say something cute. It was really stunning because the last few days since radiation started have been difficult. I can see it in his eyes after treatment and I know I will see it again. He is so incredibly strong and is fighting so hard but anyone would feel his pain. They say the 24-48 hours after chemo are the hardest so we are trying to stay ahead of the nausea by staying on a routine of medicine to keep him comfortable. Naturally, he is lethargic, but still in very good spirits.

I spoke to my sister in law Megan tonight and she updated me on Big John. She stated the surgery was a success and so far, the skin and muscle were taking to his leg. All great news and we joked about how he would be up and walking around with his new prosthetic leg in a few weeks.

It is amazing the determination these two men have. They share something so hurtful yet also share the same fortitude. Their sweet souls are going to move mountains and we are so lucky to be a part of it.


2 down...23 more to go

The title says it all. The radiation specialist recommended twenty five total days of treatment spread amongst five weeks, Monday through Friday. In relation to the radiation, they also recommended chemotherapy once a week for six hours every Monday starting next week. They wanted to get ahead of the game and begin to shrink the mass in his esophagus by starting radiation this week. Day one was difficult but day two was better. Rather than throwing up ten times today as he did yesterday, he threw up twice. The nausea medicine kicked in before but his body still fought back. All I can do is comfort him as the radiation seeps in his body gives him an adverse reaction.

The coming weeks are going to be hard and we have always known that since his diagnosis weeks ago. The power of good energy, loving touch, and powerful words are what I send to him…and thankfully, so is everyone we have ever met it seems. I really mean everyone. I was talking to a beautiful friend today trying to describe how we feel right now. She, like many, ask how we are doing daily..for that, I am grateful. I then told her it was so hard to describe, but for some reason, I found the words today. I feel as though John and I are embracing each other and everyone is surrounding us, in a circle, with their hands touching us with absolute love and positive energy. It is an amazing feeling and we talk about it every night. This love is a force to be reckoned with and this cancer does not have a chance. I will not stop thanking everyone ever...so here I go again. :) Thank you. Thank YOU. Because you are reading this, you care. Because you become a follower of this, you care. Because you are sending your love to him, you care. Because you think about him, you care. Because you feel sadness, you care. Because you are the beautiful spirit you are, you care. I am so incredibly thankful and in awe everyday of this love each and every one of you show toward my sweet angel. Please, keep them coming. I would love to respond to each one of your emails, texts, and phone calls, but I do not think I could even get back to everyone for weeks because of the outpouring of love from so many…and that is really a beautiful thing. Thank you again to all of you for wanting to stand next to him, next to us, and against this illness as a force. We are stronger because of you….family and friends alike.


the journey thus far....

His smile and his laughter. It is his beautiful expression he gets from his eyes all the way down to his toes. His cute, little wrinkles he gets around his beautiful blues show how big he is smiling. When he is sitting down, he tends to kick out his legs and cross them at his ankles when he is laughing hardest. I have so many favorite things about him....his smile is definitely up at the top of my list. :) We both laughed quite a bit this weekend because of competitive games and stories of the past. We are so thankful for the family and friends who have come in town and who are coming to visit very soon.

This week has been full of appointments and they are not going to slow down anytime soon. Monday, we met with the surgeon at MD Anderson. He stated the same thing Florida Hospital doctor's have been saying. There is no need to do surgery right now, causing him more pain than what he is already going through. They will have to see how he does out of his first full round of treatment. Tuesday he got a port put in his chest to make it easier to access his blood and to submit his chemo treatment week to week. He had to be put under once again, and is recovering from the pain day to day. Today, Wednesday, was hard for several reasons. We met with the oncologist at MD Anderson today and he was in complete shock about John’s condition. He stated he had never seen it move so rapidly, be so severe and in someone so young. He said we were on the right track with FL Hospital and to stay there with those well respected group of doctors. John then wanted to know life expectancy and what he would be facing with and without treatment options. I know this question may be hard for some, but he has every right to ask, so he did. The prognosis was the same as before…without treatment, under a year…with treatment, longer if they could get it under control. Sadness always floods the room when something like this is said, even from the doctor’s side.

From that appointment, we went to his first radiation treatment. Here is the road map they drew on him.

Since the area was so large, they wanted to see how his reaction would be after his first round of radiation. On our way home, he got sick and we had to pull over. As soon as we got in the door, once again, he got sick and threw up. I gave him some nausea medicine and he fought to keep it down. It seemed like anything he put in his mouth would come right back up again. Finally, after a couple of hours battling his own body and his own nausea, he fell asleep and is doing that now…right next to me. My sweet angel has worn himself completely out and is exhausted. I feel so horrible for him. I do not think either of us thought he was going to react so quickly to the treatment. His body just violently lashed back out at him for trying to get rid of the mass in the first place. The radiation treatment cycle will continue for 24 more sessions and chemotherapy will be every Monday for 6 hours at a time…the first one starting this Monday.

The key to this prognosis, sadness and “bump in the road” is always staying strong and utterly positive, especially around him. I am not saying it is not okay to cry...we do, together, every night. What I am saying is that this is about nobody else but John and we all should be honored to battle along side with him. He has not left, he is still very much here and he still has incredible fight left in him. Again, I know it is okay to be sad and to ask “Why?” but I also know it is even better to love without conditions, to push each other to be better, and to always be by his side even in the darkest moments…because I am his wife and he is my husband, he is my best friend and soul mate, and we are a team.


Everything looks different….

Every color, every smell, every statement, every glance…looks and feels different…there is more of an appreciation for the little things. It is like I cannot get enough of his touch, smile, love, stares, kisses, and voice. Things are not really any different than they were before between us, they have only enhanced. We have always been this way with each other. It is such a rare bond we share and this illness is not going to break it. It has only made us stronger together.

Stage 4

Everything happens in stages….life, love, and evidently cancer.

Monday we found out the results and Monday was the day everything changed. My sweet angel has stage 4 cancer. Stage 4 is the worst you can have and is exactly how we felt that day…as bad as it gets. Talk about being blindsided. We did not think it was going to be so severe. The doctor did not seem to have an easy time with the reveal either. He then began to tell us the extent. It has spread into his chest and into his abdomen from the source, his esophagus. How could this happen? The doctors cannot seem to figure it out either as to why a young, healthy, in-shape 27 year old man has cancer. He then told us the spreading was happening so quickly and it was incurable. Incurable…like we cannot even fix it. Like hell we won’t. Obviously treatment is our option and the doctors agree because we are not giving up without a fight.

We have had several appointments so far and second opinions from MD Anderson Orlando begin next week along with treatment. Radiation starts the ball rolling and then from there, chemotherapy and surgery. He had a procedure to put a feeding tube in this past Tuesday which has caused him so much pain and has even made him pass out. This tube is to ensure we can still get nutrients in his body when radiation starts in case it causes his tumor to swell in the coming treatments.

There have been many tearful nights. The question is why? Why is the question I cannot stop asking. I get it…there is some sort of plan for us. Everything happens for a reason. I get it...but why in the world would it happen to someone so perfect and at such a young age? He is my life…my soul mate…my sweet angel. He should never be in pain for one second and we both know, it is only going to get harder with treatment. I am not going to lie, this is so hard. We are lucky because we have had so much support from family and friends. It is amazing the outpouring of love and I cannot seem to thank everyone enough.

I have to thank John more than anyone. He has been so brave. I am so lucky to have him in my life. He is my everything and like always, I am going to be right next to him every step of the way. I love him more than breathing and this has to go away.


busy day....

We had a BIG day today that wore the two of us out. We have had a storage unit since we moved in with Michelle and today, we’ve decided to downsize that unit and get rid of the monthly fee. It only took a few hours, but we have posted some things on Craig’s List and gave some things to Goodwill. Obviously, the more important items we will keep and put in friends garages and the guest room. It feels good to get that done and out of the way. After, we went to the grocery store and came home to a beautiful phone call.

One of our best friends Dustin called me today and could not have said kinder words. He proceeded to tell me all the wonderful things they are trying to get together amongst friends in Indy. Just the thought of all them gathered in a room makes me smile because they are some of the funniest, caring, greatest people I have ever met. I could only imagine the banter inside that room that night. He told me they gathered because of John. Wow. I have always known their hearts were beautiful and that gathering did not prove that to us, but rather reinforced how amazingly special they are. I know…they are not the only ones gathering on his behalf. That is the incredible part. There are so many people out there wanting to give of their thoughts, prayers, and time for him…my perfect soul mate. I always end my thoughts for the day with a thank you to our family and friends and this one will be no different. Thank you. We love all of you dearly and as always, are so lucky to have you journey this road with us. Monday is the big day and this is when we really put everything into motion. Until then, happy Easter everyone. :)


When you know it isn’t sprinkling anymore…

The saying “When it rains, it pours” came to mind this week as I rear ended someone on the way to work Wednesday. It was 8:30 that humid morning and I was about to merge onto Maitland Avenue from 17-92 when all of a sudden….bam….everyone slams on their brakes. I get tapped from behind which in turn, sends me crashing into the guy in front of me and the woman in front of him. Awesome. Only guy I hit in front of me stuck around. The guy that tapped me and the woman he tapped both left. I think I woke up that morning and thought, “Hmmmmmm. What else can I add to our plate today?” I am fine, the Blazer is not. The front end is smashed in and the SUV is done. All in all, I was upset in the moment and felt horrible, but I am not hurt. I am very thankful there were no injuries.

Finally, today we went in for the PET scan. This much anticipated scan lasted a few hours this morning and will give us the answers we have ALL been waiting for. He was so patient and so strong during the testing today, luckily I got to sit in the room with him for most of wait while the radioactive fluid filled his body via IV. He had to sit still and quiet for over an hour for everything to settle in

From there, he went into the testing room where I waited outside because of the rays. All in all, the test took about two and a half hours and I am so proud of him for enduring every step. After the scan, we took a walk around the mall just to get out of the house. It felt nice to walk around. He was so sleepy when we got back home...it had been a long morning.

This past month has been the longest month of our lives. It has been a long wait, but after these next two days, we will know everything. It will be a long weekend but one we will spend together. The plan for Monday is to hopefully go to the beach once we find out the results. Our best friend Michelle will be in tow to be a part of the day with us. So thankful for her.

Thank you again for all the positive thoughts and energy being sent our way. We feel it. If all of you only knew how much we feel your love. Negativity and horrible thoughts will never get to my husband because I will not let that reach him. This is just a bump in the road and we are going to take it day by day. My sweet angel…I hate the pain he has to endure and this ridiculous cancer but we are going to fight it with every ounce of energy and love we have along with all of you.