Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~Winston Churchill
As most runners know, there are times when you hit the proverbial “wall”. I’ve found that it doesn’t matter whether you are running one fast mile or 5 long ones, the wall is always there. Your body aches and screams for you to stop but it is your mind that powers you on.
In a way I have hit that wall in caring for my wife. That tough edge has been hard to keep up lately. I’m not giving up on her though. In fact her strength is coming back and I’ve been able to let my guard down a bit and that has allowed me to move on a little bit. i think she is showing me that strength again to let me know that I can go on too. She has now started going on and doing her own research online. It has relieved me from having to read some of the more tragic or difficult stories online. I used to go on Breastcancer.org to find answers but lately she has found a few good friends with the same physicians and they have encouraged her, helped her to mentally get stronger to face her fears, and she is spending more time talking to other women online.
She still is fragile though. I just got back from being away four days in Las Vegas at a convention. It was very difficult to be away from her and to leave her with no back-up. Our nightly calls were more about wondering if she was okay. It was also about telling my 9-year old son to watch out and take care of his mom. I’m hoping that I don’t scare him, but I see great maturity in him. I always have see it since he was little baby. He just had this “old sage soul” look about him. At the same time he still has the other issues that little boys have, not cleaning up, not lifting the toilet seat, and not slowing down around the house. All in all he’s a good kid though and I trust him immensely. My favorite moment (you’ll see the relevance below) is when he was 7 and as an advanced reader had picked up an encyclopedia to look up the word embryo, a word he had heard on Animal Planet. The next thing you know he is telling me that apes and humans are very simliar and that men have sperm and women have eggs, but they don’t lay them like chickens. My daughter (5 at the time) stood behind her brother with her arms crossed and looking at me as if to say, “Hey, what’s the big idea?” well let’s just say I don’t think I’ll ever have to have the bird and the bees talk with my chilldren ever. Hopefully that is a fatherly chore that I won’t miss.
It has been 5 weeks now since my wife’s latest surgery and I have had a hard time honestly looking at her scars and even at her chest. Tonight she wanted to start documenting and had me take a few photos of her reconstruction. I was a little nervous. It was the first chance for me to take a look. It is hard for me to look at my beautiful wife with her scars and say that they look great only because I know she is able to sense any hesitation or trepidation in my voice. It is still early and even she knows they aren’t quite ready to be looked at. She is going to need to get some revisions as the original scars haven’t healed straight. She will have a follow up appointment on March 23. It should be an hour procedure.
The hard part was that today the doctor called to make the appointment and our 9 year old son listened in on the other line when my wife was talking. He later told my wife that he had listened. He is really worried that his mother is going to have a third surgery and asked if she was going to be okay. Our daughter caught on and told us that she thought we got rid of “mommy’s lump”. We told them that just like we need to go to the doctor every year that mommy needs to go every month and that she was lucky that her doctors could spend so much time with her. Listening to her talk to the children I realized she is getting stronger. She doesn’t want them to worry. She is even telling me she will just need local anaesthesia for the final surgery. I would prefer general if it were me but she is game. She told me she knows she can “handle it” . I told her that I didn’t think it would be a good idea but she’s the strong one when it comes to blood and guts and told me I was getting soft and where was the guy who stripped her drains 4 months ago? We had a good chuckle.
All this means to me is that my wife is almost fully back and I couldn’t be happier. She’s taught me a lot about myself and our relationship over the past several months. It has been painful and although there are times we wanted to give up, but somehow we’ve built the strength from each other and kept moving and pushed through that wall. The aches and pains are still there but the goal line or finish line is still out there on the horizon.
Life goes on and we’re traveling down the road together. We’re helping each other out and making sure the other doesn’t give up and that we don’t give up on each other.