Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our 24th Anniversary

We celebrated our 24th Wedding Anniversary yesterday though the actual date is today. We were given tickets to a great Christmas play at a local church that we saw in the afternoon with Vicki's cousin who was celebrating her birthday on Saturday. After the play we took Vicki's cousin home, went by the bank to pull some cash and headed to dinner. Vicki wanted surf and turf so we stopped in at a local Red Lobster and stuffed ourselves with steak, lobster, shrimp, crab stuffed mushrooms and various other goodies including two kinds of potatoes, rice, salad and refreshments. It was a great meal.

Thoroughly stuffed and bloated we headed up the 101 to Casino Arizona and joined about a bazillion people who had the same idea. After driving around to find a parking place we flagged down one of the shuttle drivers for a ride (since our parking spot was about as far away from the Casino as you could get and stay on the property) and made our way into the Casino.

On several different occasions we witnessed other customers beat us to machines, literally elbowing and pushing to get there first. Vicki is not in shape to contend though on one occasion I got the distinct impression she would have belted a pushy broad were it not for her weakened state due to the chemo.

It mattered not however as we managed to find a couple of machines that were fun to play and actually paid more than they took. In the end we played one last machine that ended up more than doubling our bankroll of $100 and we made our exit post haste.

Vic's cousin was having a birthday bash at a local bar so we made an appearance there, chatted with friends and relatives and were home by 11:30 or so. This was a big day out for Vicki and I was worried she would get overtired, but she seemed to do OK.

So a good time was had by all and we look forward to the next 24 or whatever portion of that the good lord will provide. I hope that you and your spouse can have as enjoyable a celebration on your anniversary as we had on ours.

Best to all,


Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Her Cancer"

In spite of all the good intentions and loving care a husband can provide, your wife's disease is still hers and hers alone. Sure the whole family is affected and the support group is deeply involved, but in the end it's your wife who undergoes the radiation and chemo. It's also your wife who deals with the building weariness and side effects of long term treatment.

So I've learned during my wife's time with cancer that just being there as a shoulder to cry on can be the most important role a husband plays. It seems simple, but if you're like most husbands you want to fix things. Because you want to fix things the temptation is there to offer advise and assistance when all she really needs comfort.

This for me has been the hardest thing to do, just be there for her to cry on. Sometimes it breaks my heart and sometimes I rage inside at a disease and treatment regimen that so depletes the patients immune system. Yet I know that she is getting the best treatment possible.

It's true that in some sense the whole family suffers from cancer, but the ownership of this diabolical opponent remains with the patient. It's up to the supporting cast to play their roles and assist the star in achieving her best performance. In this case success is survival.

I am thankful that with our 24th Anniversary coming up and with a total of 30 years together as couple gone by that I feel closer to my spouse than any time in our relationship. It sucks that it has to be under these circumstances, but you don't get to chose those.

Some marriages fall apart in tough times, some roll along about the same and some get better. It feels like ours has gotten better. Weird huh?

My hope is that your marriage will get stronger and better this Christmas too.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cancer Husband

I found myself staring out at the eastern horizon as I sat on my patio Friday night. I was lost in "no thought". What I mean by this is that just for a minute or perhaps a small portion of a minute I forgot my wife had cancer. I forgot she was due to be fitted for a mask this coming week that would hold her head in position while some stranger bombarded her skull with lethal radiation.

I forgot that she'd be going into St.
Joes to have a port installed in her upper chest so they could more conveniently infuse her with a mix of toxins to kill the cancer in her body. For just a fleeting moment I stared out at the cloudless evening sky, drank my seven and seven and smoked my cigar with nary a thought in my brain. Then it all came back.

I am, like most men I believe, a person who wants to control and take charge. I like to plan, look at all the alternatives and then take appropriate action. In this thing we're in now I've lost control

Cancer is the enemy and we're in a life and death struggle for our lives, both of our lives, not just my wife's life. I can't imagine any future without her. So of course I want to fight this thing from a position of power and knowledge. Instead I feel powerless. There is little I can do medically to effect the outcome of this fight. I am forced to rely on the skill and knowledge of others. This is a very hard thing for me to do.

Still, I will learn to do it. There will be other people in my family who will help. These people love Vicki and will be there for her as well. Somehow, some way I'll let go enough to let others lend their support.

As I lay in bed last night I did an exercise in my brain. I put myself in Vicki's place. I thought about what I would want if I were facing what she's facing. Maybe if I keep doing that I will be able to offer the love and support she deserves.

My neighbor lost his wife to brain cancer in 2007. I asked him during a conversation the other night if he had ever wished it was he that had the cancer, he that would be going through chemo and radiation. Because that's just what I wish. I would take all the procedures and them some if it would save my wife from them. But I can't.

So in this time of our greatest danger and need I will take a back seat and do my level best to learn how to support. Learn how to be truly empathetic and how to be just "be there" when she needs me.

Wish me luck,


Sunday, September 19, 2010

The "C: Word Part 2

Well, it's been two weeks since my wife's surgery. She's healing just fine and feeling much better. We had a follow-up visit with her surgeon and got the pathology report on the cancer. It is neuroendocrine carcinoma, not a very pleasant type of the disease. We were referred to a doctor who is part of a skull based tumor team based in Barrow's Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital here in Phoenix. The good news is that he's on our insurance and we met with him this week. Now we await a time to have an MRI and PET scan at St. Joes.

After that we meet with the radiologist to learn the stage of the disease. From what we've been told the tumor board will then meet to discuss Vicki's case and recommend a treatment plan. The oncologist has already indicated it will most likely be both chemo and radiation with a chance of more surgery as well.

The oncologist was very upbeat and energetic about getting Vicki in the program and started on treatment. We both feel blessed that a team of doctors is available here to treat Vicki. Now we are all about getting on with the tests and treatments.

Oh, and as luck or fate or whatever would have it, Vicki got a call from a local non-profit she had applied to and will have a second interview this coming week. All this in spite of the fact she told them at their initial call that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Amazing!?

My role as husband here seems defined by my wife's needs and my need to stay employed and insured. So far things have seemed to work out in our favor and I pray they will continue that way.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The "C" Word

My wife had her surgery yesterday. The removal of the large tumor in her sinus cavity was successful, but the tumor was malignant. Now we wait to find out exactly what kind of cancer it is and how we go about fighting it.

I spent time these last couple of days researching paranasal cancers. There is a good deal of information from sites like NIH (national institutes of health) that inform the laymen what the sinuses are, where they are and what kinds of cancer happen there.

This particular type of cancer is rare. It is especially rare in women. As always my wife (the most beautiful and unique woman ever to come in to my life) has found yet another way to express her singularity.

We have a followup appointment with the surgeon this Friday. We may or may not know the results of the stained tissue samples at that time.

Vicki is doing well following the surgery; at least now she can breath through her nose again.

I am supposed to return to work tomorrow. My heart is not in it yet now more than ever i need a job and the insurance that comes with it.

At some point I will most likely get good and drunk and cry. But not now and not where Vicki can see me.

For now I still hold out the foolish hope that the tests will come back with the most easily cured type or better yet they'll find the initial biopsy flawed and tell us the tumor was benign after all.

Please say a prayer for Vicki....and for me.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

Well, this week started off with depressing news for me on the medical front. The blood tests I took came back and my doctor informed me that I am type 2 diabetic with high cholesterol. I am now on medication for the cholesterol and my diet has changed dramatically. Still, it could be worse, at least I'm able to take steps now to get the diabetes under control without the need of insulin therapy and if I can eat properly and exercise my condition should improve.

The weekend was spent chilling out and enjoying sports on the tube. The world cup, though annoying due to the lame horns, did provide some entertainment. In addition the U S Open golf championship brought some excitement as well as some disappointments.

A couple of my kids called today. My oldest son who resides in Atlanta and my middle daughter who lives in Enid, Oklahoma lifted my spirits with news of their lives.

So overall this was a good Father's Day.

I hope yours was good as well.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bringing home the Bacon

So, I guess you heard I got a job. Well, if you haven't heard, then let me tell ya now that I did indeed find gainful employment. So far it seems like a pretty good job, with a great company and pretty good benefits. I will admit that it feels very good to be back in the workforce and even better to once again provide for my family.

We'd been doing OK on the funds from the sale of our last home, but that was destined to run out at some point. Now, we're able to actually think about the possibility of both of us working and becoming prosperous again. (though to a lesser degree than in the old economy)

And that brings me to the really good news we got this week. Vicki will be going in to interview for a job on this coming Tuesday.

If there were any justice in our economy or the slightest bit of fairness, she would have been employed months before I found work. But we all know that isn't the case in our country, perhaps not in any country, that the best qualified and hardest workers always get the best jobs first. So, a semi-slacker like myself gets a good gig and my hard working and vastly qualified spouse sits at home.

Such is the plight of the working class today. Your fate rests on the spin of the wheel, the quirks, age and attitude of the interviewer and in my wife's case perhaps the gender as well. She has sensed the reluctance of young female interviewers to pass her along to the next step. We think it's the intimidation factor of her age, experience and qualifications. A case where the better qualified she is for the position the better chance she has of not getting it.

It would be funny were it not so frustrating and unfair for Vicki.

Wish her luck this next week, will ya?


Saturday, March 27, 2010

A short post on spam comments and spam creators

A while ago I discovered that some people were posting spam comments on this blog.

To alleviate this problem I instituted moderation on the blog comments. Now each time I write a new post I check for them and delete the nefarious spam.

To those individuals who thought they could use this blog to propagate and advertise their spam bullshit, I have just one comment. Bite Me!

On an entirely different topic, my wife had a good time at the Renaissance Fair this year, though not as good as in the past. The idea of a girl's day somehow eluded some of the family participants and it just didn't turn out to be the quality female bonding experience it had been in the past. Knowing my wife and daughters I'm sure they'll find another event and time to replace it. They are a loving and tightly knit group, so they'll figure it out.

Vicki and I are headed to the Chandler Jazz festival tonight. The stately San Marcos Hotel is a great place to kick back and listen to live music while eating the Hotel's awesome Quesadillas.

Take your wife someplace nice this weekend and tell her you love her.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Away from the Blog for far too long

I apologize for the long interval since my last post. Things had been sticky with job hunting and family and you know, life. On the bright side, I finally got a good job with a good company. On the dark side, my wife would have preferred to be the one going back to work. She is feeling down about not getting hired. I am doing my best to remind her what a great worker she is and how valuable an employee she will be be when she does get hired, but in the meantime she's disappointed with her situation.

She has been so supportive of my needs during the first week of my employment that I bragged a little to my coworkers. I am grateful for her support and care. When you've been out of work for a while it takes a bit to get back into the schedule and flow.

We celebrated my first week of work this Friday with some dancing and a visit to one of the local Casinos. We listened to a great band and actually managed to leave with not only our money, but a couple of bucks of the Casino's as well. The night turned into the wee hours keeping us there till early morning though and it's taken the whole weekend to recuperate from the adventure.

Things are going fairly well with the rest of the family. Vicki is planning the girl's yearly outing to the Renaissance Festival for next weekend and it looks like they'll have quite a group again this year. I look forward to seeing more pictures from their outing. Last year it was a great set of pics with the Tortuga Twins.

One of the great pleasures of Husbandhood is being able to take joy in your spouse's independent activities and achievements. I know this annual girl's outing is a fantastic way for the women of the family to bond and enjoy themselves absent the filters needed when in the company of the male family members. This event and others like it allow my wife to stay close to our daughters, her mother and her sisters. While men can't replicate the closeness and essence of feminine relationships, we can at least take comfort that our wives have them. Women without those bonds tend to be psychotic and strange.

Take it from me. The last thing you want in your life is that.

Hang in there my fellow husbands.