Sunday, May 5, 2013

Having your back

One on the most important characteristics of a good spouse is loyalty. I have done my best in the 32 years my wife and I have been together to be faithful and loyal above all else. I'm happy to report my wife has done the same.

Throughout our time together my wife has had several operations, two types of cancer (one very serious requiring a long treatment) and I have been there for her.

Recently she had the opportunity to reciprocate and she did it with an awesome attitude and a gentle hand. I ended up in the hospital for open heart surgery  and it literally kicked my butt. When I woke up I was in a great deal of pain and completely helpless. Vicki spent the first week with me in the hospital and saw me through the Cardiac ICU and the Cardiac recovery unit. Next she took another week off from work to stay home with me and help me adjust to my limited abilities while in recovery. She took care of me like I was a baby and it really helped. I was able to go the next week on my own and after just 5 weeks I went back to work.

Now, after two weeks back at work I'm still learning about my limitations till I'm fully recovered, but feel my care in the Hospital and while at home gave me a sound foundation for a full and speedy recovery. This is something I could not have done without my wife's support, care and love.

It's a wonderful thing to know someone has your back no matter how seriously you are ill or hurt. I am constantly amazed by how our relationship just keeps on getting stronger as we face these trials and hardships together. I guess that's the real test of a marriage; does it get better or fall apart when the going gets tough?

I fell so blessed that in our case it just keeps getting better.

I hope the same for you.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring except me and my spouse

Putting on our best for a Christmas Eve drive

to Worship and listen to carols sung live

by our friends and neighbors from here in Sun Lakes

and Thank God for blessing us with whatever it takes

To survive and flourish in these trying times

And even give thanks in a Christmas Eve Rhyme.

Merry Christmas to all and Hopes for a Happy New Year!


Friday, November 25, 2011


Just a short post to give thanks for Vicki still being with me this year. Last year she was being treated for cancer. The new year has seen her test Cancer free.

It really doesn't get any better than that!


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.