Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Cancer Battle

People often describe the cancer experience with words like  battle, bravery, courage, war, fight.  I never quite understood it, but I am not the patient. I do see Melanoma Man's determination and courage throughout his experience. One of the tools he uses is knowing just enough, not too much about his disease. I know too much. He doesn't remember June 10-June 18 and it is just as well. Some days he asks me three or four times, " are you going to work next week?" He has forgotten that he tried to turn the tv on with his cell phone, tried to open an envelope with a pair of glasses, tried to adjust the air conditioning in the car using the radio volume button, or open the car door with the window button, can't open jars, forgets to turn off the stove. Most importantly he has forgotten that the neurologist has said he is not to be left unsupervised. His hand eye coordination is still a little bit off, dropping things throughout the day, short of breath, yet planning to cook all next week. Still making plans which is admirable. I do understand the war analogy from the perspective of trauma and how it has changed me. I try to keep it at bay through continuous doing, taking another step, making another list. Then I find myself depleted. Sunday night was one such night. I woke up at 11 with "the headache" which isn't really a headache but more of a whole body experience of pain, chills, nausea, vomiting. I got in the car at 7 which is when Publix opens. I planned to get Coca-cola and saltines. I turned back for home after vomiting out my window a few times. I was trying to pull myself together in time to get MM to his appointment with interventional radiology at 10. I wasn't able to pull it off, so called them to reschedule. I sent MK a text around 8 or 9: "would you bring me a coke(not diet!) and some saltines?" MK brought just that and her good company and her willingness to sit with us in the living room, watching the weather channel and chatting and just being fearlessly with us in spite of our mortality.

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