It's been too long since I've posted here. I admit that a lot of that has sprung up from my denial of how serious her cancer is/ has become. For a long time, we both allowed ourselves to get comfortable in the fact that more often than not, she has felt "fine". With the exception of the occasional headache that makes her wish she was dead or the infrequent visits to the doctor, we have been able to live in our little Piscean fishbowl. It would seem now that we are not going to have that option available anymore.
Last week, Tuesday to Saturday, she was at Stanford University Medical Center participating in a stage one clinical trial. This trial will hopefully beat what she's got, a form of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma that goes after the brain and spinal column. It's generally very, very serious and the immediate diagnosis at a glance seems like a death sentence. I can't believe those words can come from my fingertips, but that is the very real and frightening reality we are faced with.
We knew that the cancer hadn't been beaten by the radiation of a year ago, but with the lack of daily symptoms, we've just remained optimistic. About a month or so ago, she got the knews of the diagnosis and the explanations of the severity of it. Needless to say, we are both still very much in shock and I, for one, am still taking refuge in my denial. I mean, she can't die. She's the strongest and bravest person I've ever known- so she can't die.
She pretty much credits Stanford for keeping her alive to this point after she was in a different clinical trial there in 1997. It was this faith in them that allowed her the courage to go into this current trial. She came home tired and obviously not her self, but feeling like she had received the very best quality of care possible. She even blogged
the experience with her typical sense of humor and amazing ability to capture the essence of the moment and her feelings. I still say she is the best writer nobody has ever heard of.
Neither of us knows what lies ahead for her and the two of us, but we are counting the days down to our trip to Italy in August, when my sister gets married there. On the way over, we're stopping in England for a few days and she and I are going to Ireland for the day. It has been my dream to get her to Ireland ever since she told me the cancer was back. We are now just hoping to accomplish that together. I know how fierce her will is and have no doubt she can win this fight. She is just stubborn enough to pull it off.
we've only told our 13 year-old what is happening, in bits and pieces, but our 5 year-old is still blissfully unaware- which we prefer. At this point, it would just be scary and wouldn't be something she could really grasp. She's a very smart little girl, but we're not confident we can explain things to her yet in a way that she can understand. That may change, but we are playing it safe for now.
Andrew was a wonderful help last week, when it was just me and the kids. He did a great job helping me with his sister and the dog (our 8 month old Cairn Terrier that my wife got for her birthday). He was great. I tried to thank him and praise him as much as possible; he and I have had a fairly traditional conflict-filled father-teenage son relationship the past several months. We had a great time together though last week and I know I would have been a wreck without him. His Father's Day card to me had me crying, of course, because it meant so much more to me this year. I'm lucky.
That is part of the thing that is so bittersweet about these times in our lives; we find out what and where our blessings are when we feel like our worlds are collapsing around us. I know that I am married to the greatest woman I could have ever gotten involved with. She is my very best friend. She is the greatest lover I've ever had. She is the most wonderful and intelligent parent. She has the greatest capacity for compassion. In short, she's the best thing to ever happen to me. I also have two wonderful children who fill my heart with such joy and love. I want to kill them nearly every damned day, but that is always a fleeting frustration that goes away. I recognize my blessings in them. I have wonderful friends and family who really care for us and who are always there to help support us in one way or another. I hope that we don't have to draw upon that resource, but it is such an amazing gift to know it is there in our lives.
I try to remain optimistic in the face of bad news because that is my job- Mr. Optimism. My wife counts on me to always search for the Silver Lining in these things. I'm the one who is supposed to brush her hair out of her eyes and tell her that everything will be ok. It's a job I take very seriously too. She and the kids need that and deserve it.
For all that is happening, we are blessed to have each other. I wouldn't change a thing if I had been told this would happen. I knew what I was getting in to when I married her. I knew her past and I knew that there could be a risk. But I wouldn't lose the experience of marriage and fatherhood with her for all the world. My children and my wife are my life. On top of it, I have spen the past 9 years loving the woman who just so happens to be my best friend. I know that the coming days could throw an immeasurable amount of sorrow at me and the kids, but I can't say that I would prefer to have never known what I know now of love and true companionship.
I love her too damned much...