Today is a pretty good day to be alive. Once in a while life gives me a little kick that tells me to adjust my priorities. Usually the hint is to say that my priorities are my health and my family. I would guess they are the same for everyone but since I can’t stand in the shoes of everyone I have to guess. Today was a day to putter about in the garden, have a workout on the weights for a couple of hours, pick the plum tree to dry them in the dehydrator, that sort of thing. Today was also a day to watch the idiot box (TV) with my spouse. She had a diagnosis of cervical cancer in july of this year. That threw a wrench into life in a big way. I was at work and she called me, and I’d known that she was going to the doctor as she had not been feeling right. That call was no surprise, and perhaps a diagnosis that something was wrong was no surprise. We all walk around in one state or another but at some point there are signs that things are just not right and it means a bit more than the common cold. Anyway, she called me at work, and told me she had the diagnosis of cervical cancer, and I listened, and told her I understood, and would see her at the end of the day. Then I walked about 10 feet, and sat down and cried. When I saw a fellow co-worker I said that I’d just had an interesting phone call. He quite reasonably asked what it was about and I couldn’t speak, and started to cry. Cancer of any kind is a really scary thing.
Now a couple of months have gone by. My beautiful girl is still alive, and things are looking pretty good. We took her down to Vancouver (the big city about 400 kilometers away) for surgery to have the tumor removed, and as that surgery was about to start they found the tumor was too large to allow reasonable margins for removal. We came back home, and a couple weeks later she started on chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy was a weekly thing, and the radiation was a daily thing that extended for about 6 weeks. The physical experience of this is a very personal thing indeed. My first typing would have been to suggest the surgery would have been easier but in fact I’ve not been in those shoes. My beautiful girl experienced stupid biology, crippling biology, and pain. We are all prisoners of our biology ( let anyone with diarrhea say we are not)
Many people have experienced this. Tons, stack and stacks, I get that, but it sure the hell feels personal and a bit alone when it comes to my door. Through this process I’m raw emotionally. A next door neighbour decides to trigger his car alarm to show his dissatisfaction with his neighbours and I’m near throwing him in my pond (it really does become very personal). A clerk offers a word or two of incorrect advise to my spouse and I’m off to the customer service desk. A perceived slight on the roadway and I’m tapping on a window in the parking lot. I’m really really angry. This is a nasty little thing romping around my house, and I don’t like it. I really don’t like it. It’s a bit of powerlessness that is a thing to go away from my house, now, but… I can’t make that happen. Instead I am left frightened, really really scared, and wanting to be optimistic but this is really serious stuff and it will take a long time to get out of the woods if indeed that happens. The cold hard fact of the thing is that my spouse may not survive. This stupid cancer bullshit might kill her.
A couple of months go by and we are into September of 2017 and my dear spouse has gone to Vancouver for surgery, been refused for surgery, we’ve come back to the Okanagan, she’s undergone 6 weeks of treatment, and things look really good. The tumor seems to have disappeared. There is at September 23, 2017 no reason to believe that it has spread.
As this journey was going on we went to the cancer clinic for treatments. This as a hell of an awakening. The first time I walk into the doors with my beautiful spouse I see someone outside sitting on a bench with a hat covering what is obviously no hair. As we enter and walk down the hallway there is a woman who is very obviously near death sitting on the chairs in the waiting room. I am experiencing some really up close and personal experience here.