They say things come in threes. This is my third and hopefully my last segment about my journey with my husband through his cancer treatments. In my last piece I wrote about how brutal the treatments were and how they were taking such a huge toll on my husband’s body and mind.
As of today he has been off the treatments for a little over a month. In the beginning of June my husband’s oncologist took him off chemo and told him he would have a two-week break. That was wonderful news; we were thrilled. He had lost so much weight and was so weak, it hurt him to even stand up. So now he would have two weeks to regain some strength before continuing with the treatments.
One week went by and my husband spent most days on the couch, which was not what the doctor ordered. He told him to go outside for a walk and get some sunshine. But he was just so weak that he couldn’t do it. In the second week there was some improvement and I suggested he come with me to St. Anne’s, a quaint little village on the water near where we live. The boats come through the docks in the summer and it’s a beautiful spot to walk along the boardwalk.
I was getting my hair done that day and was walking out of the salon when I heard a crash and saw people running towards someone. I saw a man on the ground and thought “Oh, that poor old man.” All of a sudden I realized it was my husband. I didn’t even recognize him. Apparently he had been going to cross the street when two young men came whipping around the corner on their bikes, knocking him to the ground. I ran over just as they were getting him up off the road. It was horrible, but everyone that was there was more than helpful. The two guys that hit my husband were actually training to ride for cancer in August – how’s that for irony. An ambulance was called but my husband refused to go to the hospital, so we went home. He had a black eye, scrapes on his hands and knees and his ribs hurt. But still, he refused to go to the hospital.
So for a good week or more I watched him spend most days on the couch again. He was in a lot of pain and I suggested he go to his doctor. No, he wouldn’t do that either. I finally lost it one day and told him he either went to the hospital or I was leaving; leaving and never coming back, I think is what I said to him. That made him spring into action and he finally went to emergency, where they discovered he had one broken rib and two fractured ones. They gave him painkillers and sent him home. Now at least with the painkillers he could move around a bit more.
“What next?” is all we would say to one another. But knock on wood, so far there has not been a ‘what next’ in at least a month. So we are more than grateful for that. He saw his surgeon recently and he took an x-ray of my husband’s lungs – it was an all-clear. He saw his oncologist too and will not see him again until October. In December, he will be due for another CT scan.
I am not naive. I do know that once someone has cancer there is always a risk that it will come back. But in the meantime, I think it’s beneficial for both of us to remain positive, hopeful and grateful for every moment. It’s really the moments that matter, isn’t it? Those little things in life that make living so wonderful and yet so very painful. Those moments of pure joy and the moments of pure dread, when you don’t know what’s next. My husband told me recently that even though he looked like he was going to die, he always believed he would be fine. I said to him, “Well, perhaps that’s why you are still here with us.”
I am thankful every day for that.
Photo courtesy of Martha Farley – all rights reserved