Back to School/ Sunday August 18th
Just back from shopping at Staples with Melanoma Man for school supplies. Butter starts fifth grade and iMac starts 8th grade tomorrow. We are coming up on the one year anniversary of Melanoma Man' s diagnosis with metastatic melanoma.
MM reported back to me after his August visit with the Weber, "All the tumors are gone in my chest and abdomen!"
"That' s great, " I said just like that. No exclamation point from the Laundry Thief. Two weeks later he gave me the CT report that came in the mail. As I had already presumed the tumors are still there, stable in size. Then a confession of sorts from MM, " The Weber wants me to have an MRI of my shoulder and brain in two weeks. I just don't see why he wants to do the brain so soon. The plan was October. It doesn't make any sense." His left shoulder has been out of whack for the last four months.
I' m sure it does make sense. I ask him to contact Dr. Weber, which he finally does after five days. He sends me the email response as evidence. The Weber says we'll wait until October. He must be as tired of arguing with Melanoma Man as I am.
Last Tuesday night MM was giving unsolicited pointers to Butter about what kind of attitude Butter should have regarding school starting. Butter has difficulty sleeping every single year for a week before school starts. It means me getting up for one more song, one more pat on the back, one more glass of water. I just try to ride it out, do what needs to be done. This Tuesday night MM has had enough of the interruptions and responds as he often does with a lecture for Butter. It is gasoline on the fire. Since I am the only fireman in the house I figure it shouldn't bother MM. Forty five minutes later I' ve got Butter down from his anxiety high and he is asleep. Back in the living room I remind MM that Butter is just being Butter and that it will be better soon. This remark is apparently uncalled for and there is an email from MM waiting for me when I arrive at work in the a.m. chastising me for my criticism, ending with the words "Shame on you." I wrote back , "have a nice day." Later in the afternoon I call MM trying to mend fences I ask, "Can we start over?" He replies "I don't want to date you anymore."
I am perplexed by his response so I consult with Cici, one third of my my advisory committee. She tries to convince me that his comments and behavior are out of line, that just because he has cancer doesn't mean he can act like a jerk. She recommends confrontation. I'm not a good fighter, especially out loud in person. Of course MM is a professional fighter, a litigator, so I'm no match. All I'm up to is a one line email, " if you don't want to date me anymore, then let's cancel the marriage."
I arrive home to see a pile of library books, fiction, about marriage on the coffee table. The Wife by Meg Wolizter looks promising. She decides to leave him at 32,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean after 40 years of marriage. MM asks for a hug when I come in the door. " No. We're not dating or married anymore,remember?" I say.
" That's not what I meant. I meant we shouldn't date. We should be married." Yeah right, that's what he meant.
Never in our married or unmarried life has this alpha dog asked me for a hug.
Shopping at Staples today he hands me a 3 ring binder, reading from the school supply list, "3 prong folder with pockets."
" Looks like a 3 ring binder. We need those too. Four of them," I say while thinking to myself that his brain is on the fritz. At home I find a drawer full of MM's past years attempts at the 3 prong 2 pocket folder. This item on the school supply list has always stumped him. So maybe the brain is still ok? Saturday night he sat on the sofa with headache and nausea instead of eating dinner. Sunday he said he felt almost nauseous all day. Still he tells those that ask that the has no visible tumors on his last CT scan, which is an interesting interpretation and certainly does not match the radiologist's interpretation.