I’m not normally an optimist by nature, but I’ve been working on it. But I realized today that I was being too glib and hopeful about my husband’s cancer.

I knew something was wrong when the surgeon came out to see me after the surgery was done. All the other patients’ families had their doctors come out to the waiting room and tell them surgery had gone fine and explain a bit about the recovery process.

The surgeon for my husband came out and asked me to go to a more private location with him. I knew that wasn’t good news.

It turned out my husband’s cancer was much worse than they originally thought. Once they opened him up, they discovered lots of areas where cancer was hiding. They had to remove a lot more of his colon than anticipated.

And that’s the weird thing. The surgeon said it looked more like he had ulcerative colitis that had turned into cancer. He asked if my husband had a history of stomach problems and I said yeah, he’s had them as long as I’ve known him. He tried giving up all kinds of foods like gluten in hopes that it would bring relief.

The weirder part is that if he had gone to the doctor ten or twenty years ago, they still wouldn’t have found it. Because when they did the colonoscopy just two days ago, they didn’t see it then. They didn’t see it on the CT scan earlier this week, either. Early detection was just highly unlikely because the usual tests wouldn’t have caught the extent of it.

We are lucky that he had a talented surgeon who looked for every square inch of cancer and found it in unexpected places.

The good news is that once he recovers from all this, he may be able to eat some of the foods again that he once enjoyed. (I’d love to make him some homemade bread if he could eat it again!)

Maybe he’ll be in less pain when this recovery is all over. That would be a silver lining. I’m trying to train myself to see silver linings.

He wants to thank God for his stupidity last weekend in the way he went about trying to get relief, which led him to the emergency room and the very unlikely discovery of his cancer. For him, it’s still the Catholic God.

I still don’t know that the Christian concept of God quite makes sense for me yet. But how I do understand God, as the force working on my side for my good, is bringing me some hope and comfort anyway.

I don’t know if prayers matter but I don’t think they hurt anything, either.

Somehow I think this is still going to be okay. But remind me of that when I’m going through supporting him through chemo.


  1. Tracy says:

    Holly, not sure how helpful this thought may be, but I’ll give it a shot: Not only will things be okay, but they are okay. All is well and all will be well; it is well.
    At least, that’s my understanding of Christian faith (and, kinda, Buddhist, too.)


    1. Holly says:

      Tracy, thanks for that reminder. I’m still somewhere between Christian and Buddhist after all these years and it’s those truths that are common to both I try to focus on.


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