14 weeks ago tonight I sat here and wrote with tears in my eyes as I shared with the world that there was no doubt, my beautiful precious girl had cancer, an announcement that started the roller coaster ride that has become our life.
Since then we have endured one agonizing week of waiting, twelve weeks of intensive chemotherapy and another week of agonizing waiting...
We have hoped hundreds of hopes, prayed thousands of prayers and cried millions of tears...
We have thrown our lives around, watched our other children buffeted by the after shock tsunami's of Nicola's earthquake, and tried to hold on as our feet have been swept out from under us...
All the time we have held fast to the desperate hope that today would bring positive change... today would make it all ok. Today would give us the hope that we needed to keep going through this journey.
To be honest, we've psyched ourselves up a lot. We've watched the way Nicola has handled everything, her superstar performances, the amazement in her doctors every time her bloods came back, her beautiful smile that has managed to shine through almost every single day, and we've assumed that her first restaging was going to bring reassuring wonderful news of an amazing improvement in her cancer.
Well, today has come... and it did not bring us reassurance, it did not bring us comfort, and it did not bring us hope.
The positive is that the cancer has not visibly progressed.
The negative is that there has not been the amazing improvement we had hoped for... in fact, there has been very limited improvement.
The tumor has had limited shrinkage.
The cancer is still prolific through her abdominal region.
The metastasis is still severely impacting on her lungs.
12 weeks of intense chemotherapy and there has been limited change.
To say I am gutted is an understatement.
I feel shocked, I don't want to believe it, I don't want to think it's possible, but I know it is.
So what comes next?
Surgery is absolutely and completely not an option.
Monday we turn our lives inside out and upside down so Nicola and I can fly to Brisbane for her to start 6 weeks of intensive radiation therapy. We have to cross her fingers that her little airways can cope with the stress and pressure of the repeated anesthetics and pray that in 12 weeks we find something to give us a little hope.
I know I should be hopeful, I know I should just believe that everything will be ok and that she will come through this, and God knows, if the power of prayer has anything to do with it she will soldier through without a backward glance...
But I find it hard to cling to something I can't see. I don't like groping blindly in the dark hoping and praying that sooner or later my fingers will just happen to grab hold of a life preserver...
I can see little glimmers, but I'm still desperately waiting for the beacon of hope that is supposed to come.
Who knows, maybe in 12 weeks we will find something... but tonight, the world is just a very cruel, dark and miserable place.