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Where Never Is Heard An Encouraging Word

July 31, 2013

We are home now after Will’s liver biopsy earlier this afternoon, and while he naps, I need to gather my thoughts because I am once again on the verge of freaking the hell out, and I don’t have that luxury.

It’s becoming all too real again; for a couple of days, the fear receded and we carried on with our lives almost as usual. But today it’s back with a vengeance, and a look at Will’s chart while he was in recovery told me more than I wished to know. Reading the chronicles of peoples’ hospital stays in cold clinical terms is something I’m used to, but right now I’m not a nurse……only a wife who is scared half out of her wits.

Even my nurse friends at the surgery center were grim as they embraced me and told me how sorry they were about all of this, and that Will and I are in their prayers. It’s beginning to dawn on me that maybe this ISN’T a bad dream after all…..that the day is all too likely coming when I will no longer wake up to the gentle touch of this once hale and hearty man.

I want to freeze time, to stop the world from spinning. I think that if I could just do that, the day of reckoning would be put off forever and we could go on as we did before I saw the terms “oncology referral” and “palliative care” in sterile black and white. All that’s left to the imagination now are the words the doctor will use Thursday morning as he delivers the bad news and explains what, if anything, can be done.

My mind keeps flashing back to the dark days long ago when my father was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer, and how helpless my mother seemed as she watched him deteriorate before her eyes. He lived only six weeks. Years later, my sister went through a similar ordeal with my brother-in-law, who was found to have a Stage IV throat cancer; he made it two months. Then last winter it was my niece who had the dubious privilege of seeing her husband lose his battle with cancer.

Now—unless a miracle presents itself—it’s my turn.

I keep telling myself that there’s still hope. My friends and family say the same thing. But the people who know the most about these matters aren’t giving me any positive vibes whatsoever, and that terrifies me. My youngest son keeps asking me how things are going and how I’m holding up—sometimes I think he worries more about me than his Dad—and I can’t tell him because he’s getting married in a week and he doesn’t need any of this to overshadow the happiest day of his life.

Besides……I know this is silly and superstitious, but I don’t want to say what I really feel, because maybe it won’t be true if the words aren’t spoken out loud. Nor will I talk about the “what ifs” and the “when x happens”—as long as I don’t say it, it won’t happen.

Which is just another one of the lies I tell myself when Will is asleep and I’m alone with my racing thoughts and my deepest fears…….

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