The recurrence

The recurrence of my husband’s cancer is hitting me much harder emotionally than his initial diagnosis did.

I think part of it was that I was just in shock with the initial diagnosis. I think another big part of it was that I had naive optimism on my side. I thought for sure that he’d beat the odds. His initial response to chemo was so good that it was easy to stay in that mode: us against the world, beating all the obstacles that were thrown our way. After all, that’s what we’ve always done.

But now with the recurrence already, I can’t help but feel like our luck may have run out.

I know that he may respond very well to the chemo again and be able to keep the cancer at bay. His life (and ours together) will just suck a lot more from being on the continued chemo.

I do wonder sometimes if it was worth it for him to have the reversal surgery, especially because he’s had so many complications so far. It also required him to be off chemo for 6 months (a break he was going to take anyway) which was apparently enough time for the cancer to start growing again.

I guess that also answered previous questions I’ve had, like whether or not he needed to stay on the continuous chemo. I guess he really did.

This doesn’t change the fact that he could still make it several more years on the chemo. But I also see the toll that chemo takes on him. He’s weaker, his blood pressure is higher, and he seems more depressed and unenergetic.

I just want him to be around and healthy to see our youngest graduate from college in four years. I’d really love to make it to our 30th anniversary. I want us to get our debt paid off for lots of reasons. And he may get to live long enough to reach these milestones.

I had him send me a voicemail tonight telling me good night, using his special nickname for me. I hope I don’t ever delete that message because I see myself listening to it over and over again once he’s gone.

I’ve asked him to write letters to me and each of the kids, telling us what we mean to him. He says that’s something he’s only going to do when he feels the end is near and it feels premature to do it now because he’s still fighting with everything he’s got. That makes sense, but I fear that may never happen and I’m trying to reconcile myself to that.

Chemo is so toxic and we can already tell that it’s affecting his heart. In a way, I hope that he will go from a sudden heart attack, rather than from some of the things I’ve read about what slower deaths from cancer are like.

I don’t even know if I will ever get the life insurance payout if he becomes too sick to work. I’m trying not to count on it.

Will I be okay when he’s gone? I predict that I will be in some ways and not in others. Financially, I think I’ll survive, one way or another. My kids have a strong enough sense of family that I think that we’ll stick together. But emotionally, no, I don’t think I’ll be okay for a long time.

I’m just feeling incredibly sad about the recurrence because it makes it seem less likely that he’ll beat the odds. Even his mom hasn’t responded at all to his text informing her that the cancer had returned. It’s just really heartbreaking news.

I’m going to try to rally and get back in positive mode for his sake but that’s really hard to do right now. I just want him to grow old with me.

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