The cancer goalposts have moved (again).

Monday, August 25, 2014

The cancer goalposts have moved on A again.  Or, maybe we weren't ever seeing them correctly.  Either way, it doesn't matter.  We thought he would finish his chemo in October and he could then have hip surgery.  It turns out we were wrong about that and he won't finish until April.  He handled this news the way he handles everything, like a champ.  He didn't even seem to flinch as he told me.  It's horrible news because he is in so much pain everyday and it means six more months of chemo, six more months until we can fix the pain.  But, he just takes things with a straight face and keeps going.

We have stopped thinking too much about cancer most of the time.  The PICC line is there constantly--no love, you can't do the ice bucket part of the ALS challenge for the same reasons you haven't been able to take a normal shower in almost two years or enjoy the hot tub on our roof.  There's the one day per week that he's in the hospital and it messes up his work schedule.  The day each week he takes his chemo pills.  The day each month he gets IV chemo.  And the constant pain in his hips.  It's a big pain.  "I'm surprised you walked in here based on your x-rays," his doctor commented.  "Can we get you a prescription for crutches?"  "I'd honestly put you in a wheelchair, but I don't want your muscles to atrophy."  He keeps walking.  He helped our friends move our of their apartment, carrying furniture up and down flights of stairs.  You should be in a wheelchair.  Well, should is a complex word.

He has such a strong desire to make his life about living that all of that fades into the background as just parts of the new normal.  Because we don't spend too much of our time on cancer, though, sometimes it's hard to take the news that it isn't over, isn't ending soon.  We have been doing this almost two years now and since A is much better than when he was diagnosed it just seems over.  It's easy to forget how important all the treatment is, that we aren't really out of the woods.  I guess we just want to be and so we mostly act like we are.  Honestly, it's the only way to have a life.

There's nothing to do about the news.  I don't know if A had a moment where he broke down.  He didn't do it with me.  And I didn't do it with him.  I went to bed that night and I didn't even realize how much my heart had broken for him.  The next morning I woke up early to meet a friend for a run.  I opened the door to our apartment and walked to my car and then began crying out of nowhere.  I cried the seven-minute drive to the park, dried my tears and started stretching while waiting for my friend.  As I'm crying I'm a little surprised but this has also become a routine.  Sometimes as a kid, I would think about lots of sad things and then I'd cry.  Now, I've found I do this thing.  I cry without thinking.  There are tears, but my brain doesn't even process what it is.  I hear news, smile and look on the bright side for A, cry as soon as I leave the apartment and never really even process why.  It is how it is.  Part of me wonders if it's unhealthy to grieve separately, but at the same time, it's not tons of grief and it makes A really sad when he knows that I'm sad.  I don't think this way of coping hurts our relationship, especially when there is nothing we can do to improve the situation.  This is just how it is.

All I can do is give extra hugs, extra love, try to make life so pleasant that it's still wonderful and happy even in all the pain.  So, that's where we are.  Mostly that is a very satisfying and happy place.  Apparently we will be here a bit longer.


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