Snippets of life

Today, J’s oncologist told him something that’s giving me reason for hope. I’ll probably get some of the details wrong because that’s what I do, but basically, he got more results of his own genetic tests, and they may indicate that he has more treatment options available to him.

The oncologist also said something like “you have a lot of years left.” We don’t know if that just means that J’s younger than most cancer patients or if it means that the oncologist predicts good survival outcomes for him.

I’m choosing to believe he meant the latter, which is exactly the shot of hope that I so desperately needed.

J also asked me what I wanted for an anniversary gift, since that’s coming up in about 3 weeks. Our normal budget for anniversary gifts is about $50 each. But suddenly, I remembered something I had hoped to get for our 25th anniversary two years ago: an anniversary band to wear with my wedding rings.

At our 25th anniversary, my husband had only been out of the hospital for a month since his cancer diagnosis. That year, the biggest gift was that he was still alive (which, honestly, is still the biggest gift.) We also weren’t exactly in a situation where we could have bought an anniversary band without taking on debt to do it.

But this year, we can actually afford it. So I picked out a beautiful ring that I’ll get on our anniversary. It means so much more than it would have before he got sick. All renewed hope aside, the fact remains that I still have no idea how many more anniversaries we’ll have together.

As kind of an amusing aside, I also got a t-shirt yesterday for “My Neighbor Totoro” since J really loves that movie. I haven’t seen it yet and he said that having the shirt now obliges me to watch it.

I said that was fine and that I would, but I was a little nervous because he described it as being like a Japanese “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the work that Mr. Rogers did, but I don’t think I could watch it now with much interest for many reasons (slow pace, it’s aimed at young children, my abysmal ADHD tendencies.)

He said it was actually a lot like a documentary about the Shinto religion. Then he said something like, “we all know documentaries are never boring,” with kind of a wink. I’m a big fan of documentaries and I’ve forced him to watch many with me over the years, so I really got a kick out of his gentle teasing about it.

I also read recently that Europe may soon be opening their borders to vaccinated American travelers. While at one point, Japan was on the top of J’s “most wanted to visit” list of countries, now he’s saying maybe he’d like to take the trip to Ireland we’ve talked about since early in our marriage. (Which reminds me: I have to consult with my aunt who has done all the genealogy for our family, to find out if it was my grandma or my great-grandma who came here from Ireland. If it was my grandma, I could apply for dual citizenship to Ireland.)

Of course, now with the purchase of the anniversary band, we’d have to save up a bit more money to be able to make a trip like that and still have money left in savings. My daughter’s boyfriend once mentioned paying for us to take a trip somewhere overseas, but sometimes he’s a big talker and I don’t know how serious he was.

Overall, I just feel a bit like I’m rejoining the world of the living again. Being able to make plans for the future—even if they don’t end up panning out—is such a reflection of the hope I feel. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll have more time. Amy’s hoping to move out in a month or two and Dylan’s going off to college in the fall, so we’ll be pretty close to an empty nest. Maybe, just maybe, there are still hopeful things on the horizon.

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