There. I said it.
Will is NOT doing well. In fact, things are pretty awful, and now he’s going to undergo actual chemotherapy infusions to try to extend his life by…what, a few weeks? A few months? Why not? He’s already spending parts of every day throwing up, and feeling weak and miserable in the bargain. He hasn’t had a really good day since the week after we got home from our cruise. Today he hasn’t been out of his chair, except to go to the bathroom and (once) outside to smoke some of his medicine. He looks utterly dejected, and even though he still wants to fight, he’s beginning to question whether or not it’s worth the possibility of feeling even worse than he does right now.
In the meantime, I’m fighting panic on the inside while doing my best to remain composed on the outside. Thank goodness I had therapy today; I spent a good forty-five minutes bawling my eyes out, which is a luxury I can’t allow myself at other times. Unless, of course, it’s in the late hours of the night, when I beg God for the answers to why all this is happening and there are none forthcoming. I need to be strong for Will and the family, because if I lose hope, that’s the ballgame.
The trouble is, I can no longer ignore the clinical picture in front of me. I’ve seen way too many people who looked the same way Will does now, and it never ended well. This is why I sometimes wish I didn’t know as much as I do about this accursed disease and the inevitability of death when it reaches the late stages. Will has lived 2 1/2 years since he was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer; that’s 2 1/2 years we might not have had if he hadn’t had access to good medicines and care. But now even his oncologist is wearing a grim expression, and while he hasn’t given us a timeline—nor have we asked for one—the unspoken thought between all of us is that we’re in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, we’re down by two scores, and it’s third and long on our own 20-yard line.
Sorry about the football metaphors…I seem to bring those out when things look bleak. But it’s better than bursting into tears every time he vomits, which is what I feel like doing at this very moment as I hear the waves of nausea wash over him like a flood of garbage, just a room away.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I’m depressed again. It’s mild, it’s situational, and I’m not thinking suicidal thoughts; it’s just that all this sucks big time and there is no other place for these emotions to go but inward when I’m not in the sanctuary of Kathy’s office. At the same time I am oddly agitated, and my mind races so fast even I can’t keep up with it. I know this because a couple of people have caught me in the middle of a conversation coming up with ideas that are way down the line from that point in the chat:
“Mom, does chicken Alfredo sound good for dinner tonight?”
What I think:[yesitsoundsgoodyouknowIloveyourcookingIhopeyourDadcanholditdown][ohyeahdidyouknowthey’retryingtopassalawsayingthatpeoplewithmentalhealthproblemscanbebannedfrombuyinggunsIdidn’tgiveupmySecondAmendmentrightsatthedoortomypsychiatrist’soffice!][Andbytheway…]
What I say:
“When you get back from the home show tomorrow, I need the car to go out and buy Zinnie some dog food.”
Yep, I’m a bit distracted. But then, I don’t know how to do this. I’ve never been in this place before, except in the beginning when we thought Will would die within a couple of months. And who knows, maybe the chemo won’t be as bad as we both think it’ll be, and maybe it’ll buy us a little more time.
But the anger burns, deep down inside…fuck cancer, I want my husband to live until we’re both so old we can barely see each other even with trifocals! I want the roses to bloom in his cheeks again and chase away the pallor. I want a 40th anniversary and a 50th anniversary. But I would settle for a break from the puking and the weakness, if only for a little while.