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Don't Take the Girl
Make this my last request Take me out of this world God, please don't take the girl"
Johnny's daddy Was taking him fishin' When he was eight years old
A song. A stupid song was all it took to bring me down. That and Jill mentioning that she was hungry. I heard the song as I idly flipped through radio stations. Out of nowhere everything came pouring out and I sat in the car crying. Great wracking sobs. The kind of crying no man ever gives in to, but there I was, sitting in the car, trying to get it together before my wife came out of the pharmacy.
Then today, after a month she mentioned she was hungry. A simple thing, but something she had not experienced in a month. Hearing it I was overcome, good news just does not happen any more.
To say that Jill getting sick and then being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer has dominated my world this year is an understatement. It has been my world. A world where I blithely assure everyone that "I am ok." The hollow words trip easily down my tongue and out my lips a hundred times a day as I silently scream and wish to be anywhere but answering that question, because I know as sure as night follows day, that the next question will stumble crudely from the person in front of me. "How is Jill doing with the..." trying to delicately not mention her cancer, but the glaring omission seems to give the disease and almost palpable presence around us. "Getting along", "As well as can be expected" "Fighting like a champ." Any of a dozen white lies. Anything to reassure them.
Never mention the months that led up to the diagnosis. Definitely do not mention the pain and fear we went through as her body betrayed her and simply stopped working. The relief of a diagnosis, even a fear inducing, soul draining pit like this. At least we know we can fight. Her, by chemo and surgery, going through the pain despite the oncologist's blunt appraisal of her chances. Me, by holding her hand, being the rock that survives the crashing waves.
I am trying so hard to keep everything normal; to keep the people who visit from nattering on about the latest miracle cure the read about in Natural News or talking about their cousin's friend's daughter's cancer that was cured at such and such a place. If you come visit, we want to see you. Talk about her health if you must, but please, trust that we have talked to our doctors and formulated a plan, and that we would like to talk to you about anything and everything else. I am burning the candle at both ends keeping everything as normal as possible. I carefully run behind Jill cleaning the hair she is losing from her chemotherapy off her pillow and her chair so she won't notice. I have alarms set for her insulin twice a day, her regular medicines at 8 noon and six, her weekly RA injections and her pain/ anti-nausea pills every three hours. The most sleep I get is a three hour stretch. To keep it together and not bother Jill I take showers. She won't notice I have been crying if I am in there.
Today I found my self on the floor of the shower, still sobbing, thinking of everything we are facing. I was brought to reality by the hot water running out. They say a dash of cold water will bring you back to reality. There is nothing like the cold water you get from the taps in Northern Minnesota to really brace you for the days ahead.