A clink and conversation on this the first weekend of April 2023. I decided to take the month of March off from clinking to allow myself the space I needed to focus on supporting my husband during his recent surgery on March 7th. For those unaware, Richard had a very invasive Esophagectomy to remove five inches of his Esophagus, five inches of his stomach and fifteen lymph nodes as part of this cancer journey and battle that started last August with the diagnosis of stage IV Esophageal cancer. The day of surgery we checked in at 5:30 a.m. and the surgery took over 8.5 hours and two amazing surgeons. Shauna, Katie and I waited all day and I was finally able to see him in post op at 8:30 that night. Brave and strong, as I promised myself I would be, the moment I got beside him and looked into his face I was broken inside. I whispered I am here; the surgery is over and you are ok. I barley recognized him, he was scared, disoriented and hooked up or connected to what I counted was 11 different wires, tubes and drains. His nurse asked me to step back out as his heart rate and BP went up when he heard my voice, he was trying desperately to focus and communicate with me. I made sure I kept my composure for him but the moment I stepped out into the hallway I cried and cried out from the exhaustion and fear from seeing him like that. I then waited until he was in his SICU room to finally drive home and crash into my bed at 11:30 pm that night. The next 8 days he was in SICU, then he went to the floor and finally came home after 11 days at the hospital. He is home andrecovering, he has a feeding tube that we are hoping will be removed by the middle of next month. He is now on the slow and steady pace of recovery and life beyond the surgery portion of all of this and I am so proud of all he has endured and continues to endure as he works hard to regain his strength and live a new normal life. As I have reflected on these past days I felt compelled to recognize what I call the “Was It’s”. You don’t get through anything this hard without your army of “Was its”. So here is my attempt to explain what I mean and give credit to so many who got us this far. Was it Dr. Nassif the Gastrologist who originally found the tumor? Was it Dr Chris Dakhil our Oncologist? Was it Dr. Salman Hasan our Radiation Oncologist? Was it Dr. Ali Ahmad the amazing Surgical Oncologist who along with Dr. Bethany Harpole the Cardiothoracic Surgeon were the dream team of working robotically together and performing such a successful, intensive and detailed surgery? We are so blessed with the best and to have them here locally. Was it the incredible care team at the Cancer Center here in Wichita or the many other offices who made up the clinical and clerical staff who got all the paperwork completed, scheduled and approved along the way? Was it all the nurses and staff at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, so very grateful for our care there? Was it Home Medical and Phoenix Home Health who help us now at home? Was it our daughter Shauna who has come back many times and has taken Richard for chemo, radiation and many appointments? Was itour daughter Katie who moved in and has supported us as needed? Was it our son in law Brant who came back to help as we needed? Was it Susie C our dear friend and angel nurse along with Dr. Jared Scott who checked on Richard and I throughout this entire process guiding us and keeping ussane through so much we didn’t understand clinically and emotionally?Was it Richards brother Pat who has helped us around the house with everything Richard cannot do? Was it the incredible outpouring of support, prayers, cards, calls, texts and kindness from so many family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances? Was it Richard who stood up to cancer so bravely for the past eight months and will continue to be forever changed in some way by this hard-fought cancer battle, but not defeated? Was itGod who through it all surrounded Richard and our family so wonderfully and perfectly with his very best, “Was It’s” on this planet, I know in my heart all the above to be so true? Praying today that you all know we could have never gotten this far without all of you, that you are all dearly loved and appreciated more than my words or a CLINK could ever truly convey.Have a blessed and wonderful Sunday, YM- You Matter


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