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,