Cancer takes over everything

It’s something weird that I don’t think I’ve ever read anywhere else: a cancer diagnosis turns your whole world upside down. Whether you’re the one with the cancer or it’s an immediate family member, suddenly everything is all cancer, all the time.

I’ve lived with chronic illness for six years now and am even declared officially disabled. But that was nothing in comparison to the all-consuming nature of cancer.

It’s not that I want to think about cancer all the time. Actually, I very much do NOT want to think about cancer so much. Maybe it’s just because it’s still a fairly new diagnosis and eventually I might be able to think about something else.

It’s just nearly impossible to think about anything else. It feels like what I took for granted — my husband’s very life — is now no longer such a certainty.

I worked myself up into a bit of a tailspin yesterday reading some cancer forums. So far my husband’s reaction to his first chemo dose doesn’t seem to be as bad as some of what I’m reading. But there’s still this feeling like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’m still saying prayers to St. Peregrine and so is he. I don’t know if they’ll work or if that’s too superstitious but it makes me feel like I’m doing something.

I made a mistake yesterday, which was contemplating what if he doesn’t win his battle with cancer. If he is able to keep working until the end, I’d get enough life insurance that (with proper management) I’d be okay.

But if he gets too sick to work and loses that life insurance, I don’t actually know if I’d be okay. My disability plus my freelance income is definitely not enough to support myself. I don’t know if I’d have to move back to Michigan, just because it’s cheaper. That would suck. A lot.

And that’s just the financial aspect. Given how badly I reacted to losing my beloved cat, I might be completely non-functional and catatonic if I lose my husband.

My oldest told his therapist that the way he’s dealing with his fears about my husband’s health is by taking the attitude “that’s a problem for future me.” And maybe I should do the same.

I honestly believe he’ll beat it this round. It’s the recurrences I fear, especially because the margins around his cancer weren’t clear and that increases the risks. After all, it was the recurrences that got my aunt who died of melanoma.

Still, I wish and pray in my own pathetic way for a miracle. I selfishly want so many more years with him. He has been so good to me, such a close friend and (as much as I hesitate to use this word because so many people overuse it) a soulmate. He’s irreplaceable. If he goes, I imagine I’ll just be alone forever. I don’t think there’s another him. I don’t want anyone else.

So now I pray for miracles, cash in my chips for the biggest request I’ve ever asked for. I’ve had good luck against improbable odds. We can’t give up now.

And I have to stay away from depressing cancer forums for my own peace of mind.

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