I sit here at the computer, trying to think of something to write; something inspiring and full of enlightenment. I come up empty. Perhaps that’s ok. That’s kind of how I feel. Empty, lost, not of this world. My body hurts everywhere all the time. To do anything, it takes every ounce of my being to get it together to do it. Am I depressed? I would say so. But there could be other things at play here as well. I have Hashimoto’s disease, and that raises havoc with hormones and all kinds of other things in my body. So maybe some of what I’m feeling is physical and should be taken care of. Unfortunately, we live in a very different world now, post COVID-19.
What does that mean? Well, it means that if you’ve been struggling with depression, you would be lucky to find someone to talk to now, face to face. If you need a doctor, the visit would have to be done over the phone. How does a doctor prescribe medication if they can’t see the issue with the patient? I guess doctors deal with pretty much the same thing over and over. How is that good for your health though? Everything takes longer to do these days and is harder to manage.
My husband is dealing with Stage 4 lung cancer. I am his caregiver. He has taken to his bed of late. I was told to get him up and walking as much as possible but that’s easier said than done.
I cry a lot. I get angry a lot. Which is worse? I would have to say crying. The anger, at least, makes me feel strong somehow. I totally understand men now. Being angry is much easier on the brain and on the heart.
I have read all I can about my husband’s disease. It has, in the past, been a fast-track ticket to the nearest funeral home. However, with all the new drugs developed for cancer, it can now be held at bay; sometimes for years. That’s great news, right? Yes, it is great news. The problem is, not everyone responds the same. Some people die a couple weeks in, others linger for a few months. You just don’t know what cards you’ve been dealt.
There’s a thing called anticipatory grief; apparently that’s what I have. I have felt this grief, or doom, or whatever you want to call it, for months. Last November I was at a conference and had to have my son come and pick me up because I couldn’t stop crying. Did I have a premonition that my husband’s cancer would come back? No, I didn’t, but what I did feel is that it might come back. I was always worrying about it. I would find distractions but always, in the back of my mind, I worried the cancer would return. Even after the scans were good and there was no evidence of disease, I continued to worry. My husband was fine. On that day at the conference, though, I had never felt such dread and all I wanted to do was get home, get back to my husband. To me, it seemed life or death.
I believe there are things in the universe that we are unaware of, things we don’t know about and that will only be revealed to us when the universe deems it’s time. Yet we do know that the universe dictates to us on a level that we sometimes don’t understand. On that day, I believe the universe was preparing me for something – the pivotal moment when the oncologist would tell us, many months later, that the cancer was back and had spread to other organs in my husband’s body.
My hubby and I met over forty years ago and we have never fallen out of love. We have fought, that’s for sure. We’ve had some good fights but our love for one another is deep. He’s my best friend, my confidante, the love of my life. We have two amazing children who turned out to be pretty damned incredible adults; both are resilient, honest and hard working. And we are close as a family. We’ve had issues, as most families do, but in the end we are there for one another.
So this is it?
We sold our home and moved to an apartment three years ago. We had plans for our future together, my husband and I; how we would spend our twilight years. We were going to travel and explore the world. So far, that plan has been a bust. Now the plan has changed to getting through these cancer treatments. My husband is in treatment right now, and suffers many side effects from the chemo and immunotherapy. He has lost a lot of weight, and is tired most of the time. His body hurts but he keeps motoring on. He has faith that his doctor will be able to bring him back to health.
As with all things that devastate our hearts, there is always a tiny glimmer of hope. My husband and I have hope that this pandemic will resolve itself or a vaccine will be found, and we have hope that his cancer will be held at bay so that he can live for many more years. We see this hope up close when our grandson visits. The fact that he’s here on this planet gives us all hope that the world will continue to turn; that this is not it. That this, this thing called life, will only get better because we have lived through the tough parts of it and survived.
Photo courtesy of Martha Farley – all rights reserved