What lurks

I was feeling really anxious and out of sorts all day yesterday. At first, I thought it was about the difference between my perception of the first 20 years of our marriage being low-conflict and my husband thinking it was high-conflict.

We talked that through and then went out and had a fun date night. It was just really good overall.

But then when we came home and after he went to bed, the anxiety crept back in. I glanced at Facebook and saw a post from the stage IV cancer spouses group I’m in, which was about the specific medication my husband starts taking late next week. I burst into tears and it almost immediately turned into ugly, messy, choking sobs.

Of course that was the real source of my anxiety all along. It was lurking quietly around date night for me, even though I had a good time and held it at bay. But even the choice of where we went–a place that I specifically thought he would like and didn’t expect to like myself–was because he starts three whopping years of chemo next week.

How he’ll react to it is still an unknown. Maybe he’ll sail through it with no real complications and it will just kinda suck for him. After all, some people say they tolerate it better than the type of chemo he just finished a couple months ago.

But part of me also wonders if last night was the last real “normal” night we’ll ever have together. If he’ll feel like shit on the new meds for the next three years but will just push through it anyway. If the meds won’t work or will stop working and if decline is waiting sometime in these three years. If this is the beginning of the end.

From there I started double-checking my previous research about what happens to his medical debt after he dies, to make sure I had correct information. I realized we probably need to meet with an attorney to get real, accurate advice. And most likely we have to put my car in my name only (rather than in both of ours, like it is now) as soon as possible, because otherwise it may be considered one of his assets that can be taken to pay off his medical debts when he’s gone. At least I know they can’t touch the life insurance money but they can take 401k.

I try to be hopeful and optimistic. For the most part, I usually am and don’t give into fear. But I can’t lie: him starting a three-year regimen of chemo (pills so toxic he’ll have to wear gloves just to touch them…before then swallowing them?) feels like it’s a scary corner we’re turning.

If I’m scared, he must be even more so. He’s the one who has to actually swallow those pills. I wonder if he’ll be just as anxious about doing so as I was about giving myself injections. If the feeling of dread about them will ever go away (either for him or for me…I still dread my shots and the one two nights ago did really hurt, so now I dread the next one even more.)

I’m pretty brave but sometimes I just want to cry out to…someone? a more powerful adult? God?…and say that this is too much. I cry uncle. I’m not brave enough for this. Make it stop, make it go back to how it was before.

Sometimes, a lot of times actually, I just want to turn back and run away. But there’s nowhere to run because you can’t outrun cancer. It lurks, menacing, whether you acknowledge it’s there or not.

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