Breast, cancer, co-survivor, running, tamoxifin, Thanksgiving, wife
This is my most special place in all the world. Once a place touches you like this, the wind nevers blows so cold again. You feel for it, like it was your child.
– Moonlight Graham, Field of Dreams
Ah..what to write. When I run each night, the mind swirls with this thick soup of thoughts. Some people have writer’s block. I have writer’s neurosis. I wish you could see the list of half written blog entries that I have yet to complete. You will, but hopefully they will still be relevant. I guess tonight I will have to address some recent inquiries to my email……
Funny how I still occasionally get an email (this week I got two) which asked how my wife is and why I don’t write about cancer anymore in my blog. The short answer is that this blog was never intended to be about my wife’s cancer. It was just a continuation of my personal thoughts on life. My public memoirs if you will.
The long answer is that I can say that I feel so lucky that my wife is doing great, gets monthly shots and takes daily pills to make sure the cancer does not come back. We are just about at the one year mark of five years of Tamoxifin treatments (20% done is quite an achievement). The monthly shots leave a nice black and blue mark on my wife’s abdomen, my wife’s surgical scars are starting to fade, and occasionally we talk about her side effects, but I take my cues from my wife for the most part. She’s ready to move on. That said, we don’t forget. We don’t forget the fears, we don’t forget the worries, we don’t forget those nights without sleep, and we don’t forget the months of surgeries. Reading some of the blogs and talking to those who have just been diagnosed or who have wives reminds us of where we were and how much our lives have changed.
Breast cancer is now a large part of our lives so much so that we have to escape. No breast cancer walks or runs for me. My runs are my way of running in honor of my wife, mom, mom-in-law, cousins, aunts, and friends who have all been struck by breast cancer. Every night when I run I am reminded of our fortunate results, my wife’s strength, and those others who we have met through our ordeal. By the way, of all the above mentioned, only my mother was over 50 when first diagnosed. Yes, this is in light of the new panel study which says that women should now wait til 50 before having mammograms. It is really a shame that we are now trying to cut back on preventive medicine during a big time for research and discovery. Now is not the time to cut back when we are making so much progress.
Yes, breast cancer as a topic is all around us now and we just can’t escape it so we relish those moments when it doesn’t remotely come close to infiltrating our conversations or thoughts. It is like my friend who works with juvenile delinquents on a daily basis. He has told me that because of his job he doesn’t want to have children of his own. This week I met with a gentleman who has been waiting a month and his wife’s surgery is right after Thanksgiving. I had met him a couple times, but this week he just broke down. His fears and concerns finally overwhelmed his facade. His worries about his wife, his kids, the mounting medical bills, and all the uncertainty surrounding the outcomes finally came to a head. It just took me back a year and I relived it all in one hour. That feeling of hopelessness hit me like a ton of bricks. I broke down with this man I barely knew. I couldn’t tell him things would be alright as I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to hear either. I wanted a path. I wanted a path out of the mess. All I could tell him was to bury himself into caring for his wife. Focus on the task at hand.
That night I ran a long run. Couple that encounter with an incident earlier in the morning where I had a woman faint in the elevator bank in my office bulding. It turns out she was having a heart attack. All she kept saying was “my babies, my babies” . Her predicament had me distracted the rest of the day until I had my conversation with that breast cancer husband. Both incidences had me reeling. They reminded me of how fragile life is. All I wanted that night was to be alone with my thoughts so I could just make sense of it all.
Well I hope that explains it all. Thankful this Thanksgiving? Yep I sure will be. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
I’m glad things are well with you, and your wife I love to hear “And they all live happily ever after” =) Cheers to you both!
Thank you. We all hope to live happily ever after. We are one year down on the 5 year road to recovery when they say that you are fully in remission. Monthly tests and shots are the routine.