Breast, cancer, lumpectomy, mastectomy, reconstruction, surgery
I’m Driving like Hell, Racing Down the Highway – Blake Shelton
Although the lyrics above are from a song about a guy who realized he let his woman get away without telling her how much she means to him (which is not my case), those words seems to express my feelings these days about how my life is going. I feel like I’m spending my days on those things which I shouldn’t and not on the people and things that matter. Have I lost perspective? It’s so easy to find your way in life one day and then lose it. Yes, just like driving without a map, going 85 mph and not talking to the other people in the back seat.
As I write this I’m sitting in the 3rd Floor waiting room of the CPMC Carol Franc Buck Cancer Clinic waiting for my wife who is undergoing her 3 hour reconstruction which includes a brief procedure from her cancer surgeon to clear margins that will help reduce her chance of cancer returning. This surgery will be about half the time of her original surgery. It is a weird feeling as I felt so prepared for her original surgery that today’s procedure both of us felt so unprepared. The results maybe aren’t so much about mortality I guess, but I feel like I haven’t given today’s proceedings as much attention as they deserve. The same goes with the time I’ve had to spend with our kids.
Last night we each had a brain dump of thoughts. When we communicate it is almost like a game of chess with a time clock. First me for 1 minute, then her for a minute, then me, then her, etc. We race through topics such as how she ran into her friend Jessica at the Starbucks (Jessica is also a breast cancer survivor and an inspiration to my wife), how our son was nominated for a summer Young Scholars program, holiday dinner plans, coordinating pick up of her parents from the airport, etc. This type of communication might not work for many, but it works for us. Twenty-four years together will do that to you. In the end we finally smiled and did a sanity check (maybe it should be an insanity check). How are we feeling? Are we prepared for this next surgery? Is she feeling side effects from the hormone therapy? Apologies to each other are also part of the conversation. These are mostly from me for the guilt of not being there as much as I wish I could, but she understands the stress we are all going through. Who says love is about never having to say you’re sorry?
Back to the present, I’m sitting here waiting with two other gentlemen and have about 90 more minutes to go of waiting. The smile on her face as she chatted her way through the swinging surgical doors are so typical of her, and so atypical of the image of someone going in for a major surgery. The looks of concern on their faces tell me that their cases seem more grave. There is a certain somberness in this room that hits me and reminds me of sitting in this room three months ago. There is a déjà vu with the smells and sounds all around me. I hope we never have to be here again. Once again the stress and anxiety of the week have caught up. The sleepless nights have me and I need to rest.
The next 90 minutes are going to be spent napping and listening to an iPod mix of inspirational songs.
Hopefully the next couple of days will let me catch up, slow down and give everything its proper attention.