I am sorry I havent written in a few weeks…
Life events have a way of giving or changing perspective, enlightening or suppressing emotions, giving one pause or setting one free. This last week has been a complete disaster for me personally, leaving me overwhelmed, under the weather, lethargic, sad, and generally abandoned of feeling. Leukemia brings with it storied highs and tremendous lows, leaving its target families trying their best to muddle along somewhere in the middle.
The Saturday before last I toddled off to work as a very happy Ms. Jacy was home safe and sound, with children and a host of good friends checking in on her throughout the day. By noon a leukemia sized storm was brewing as she slowly began spiking a fever while feeling a tad ill. Refusing to admit something wasnt quite right (the hard-headed Cuban in her) she scoffed at my inquires and thwarted my meddling from afar. Finally after several rebuffed suggestions this woman of mine caved into peer pressure brought forth from one equally stubborn, very close family friend. Against her own better judgement she climbed into said friends car and headed for the hospital.
Not a minute to soon
Upon arriving in the ER, blood was drawn, counts determined to be low and her fever began spiking at 102 degrees. Jacy also began feeling a heightened pain around her Powerport insertion site in combination with redness and some swelling. She called to give me an update, and as I worried about her well-being Jacy promptly cut me short, telling me to stay at work, all would be fine as our friend was staying with her. What she didn’t know, what we couldn’t know was this was the beginning of a 6 day hospital stay that would bring more pain, tears, depression, anger, nausea, and hatred. All emotions geared towards a level of care, a lack of information and a medication induced headache that would rival even the most severe pain ever experienced in her life.
Ms. Jacy had developed an infection within her port, most dangerous considering it is a direct line to her heart. This brought an uneasy rest, fear and for a moment a feeling as though this just can’t go on any longer. Her days were filled with delirium, nausea and a much-needed (at times) drug induced sleep.
In a 6 day period I laid awake almost every night, worrying about her. Whether the infection was worse, whether or not the nurses (not chemo nurses mind you) had the right medications at the right time, are they administering blood transfusions at the right rates and have they given her the appropriate pre-meds prior to delivering the product. What are her plasma counts and if they are being taken into consideration why are her platelet counts so low? Yep every question I could think of running through my brain at all hours of the day and night. Throw in taking care of the children, making sure they weren’t scared or worried about mommy being in the hospital again, ensuring the littlest one Parker understands whats happening since it seems every time he goes to school and mommy promises she will be home when he returns, she is not. Throw in household chores and our ranch (including one escaped horse at 3 in the morning), it was indeed a long sleepless week.
Now as I have said before, I wasnt alone. My barn people came through as always, allowing me the freedom to only do a limited amount of chores, and the flexibility to leave at the drop of a hat. Close family friends were always on other end of the line, asking, pleading for anything they could do to help. And last but not least the constant array of giving people who have helped with dinner for our family. I am incredibly thankful for you all..
But my brain, that dirty little Dura-matter, neurological, master piece floating inside this thick head. If only I could shut it off for more than an hour, it would be grand. If only I could turn off the constant questioning, turn down the vast medical knowledge that spins so freely inside. Tricking me, scaring me, giving me panic attacks in the middle of the night! If only..
To sleep an entire night without nightmares, or wake up sweaty and cold reaching, feeling, to find no one there only to remember she is housed on floor two, room 213, alone, crying, sleeping, covering her head with ice and wondering why this is happening to her. Wanting to hold her, make it all go away, pretend it’s never happened. Is that too much to ask?
I am usually very positive, bringing the uplifting thoughts and prayers, trying my best to understand the meaning in any moment or given time. But lately it is getting harder and harder. Watching her cry, feeling her sorrow, asking herself; why me? Feeling utterly helpless. I am a fixer, it is in my nature. If there is a problem I fix it, I don’t wish to sit around and ponder a problem, cry over the problem, I just want to fix it! I can’t fix this! I can’t take it away! I can’t make her feel better about herself! I can’t help her to understand how beautiful she is, both inside and out! Cancer is chipping away at her confidence. Her kiss is still the same, her smile is still the same, her eyes still light up my heart! Cancer can’t possibly take those truths away! But it is trying very hard mentally.
So I can’t fix it, a hard pill to swallow, and with that, my sorrow continues.
I was raised to believe a good husband protects his wife, shields her from ugly, sadness and pain. That as her partner it is my job to carry this load. My responsibility to take her hand and lead her through this journey, minimizing the painful effects, bearing that burden. But what you don’t know, what you don’t understand until you are lying in bed with a million medical “what if’s” running through your head is Cancer don’t give a fuck how you were raised. Cancer doesn’t care what your ethics are, or the belief system by which they are supported. Cancer only cares about cancer, tearing down its host from the inside out, one cell at a time. Cancer teases its victim and family with good days then pummels them with bad. In the end, you lay there, ice on your head, missing your loved ones, crying because you are alone, listening to machines beep and click, while nurses poke you, prod at you, and take your vitals every 15 minutes, yet you remain trapped in a room you cannot leave. Oh you want to leave, the door is right there, but that I.V. octopus has its tentacles forced deep down within your veins, keeping you from moving any farther than the restroom. Humiliated in an open back robe, red sock slippers and mesh net hospital underwear. In the end cancer not only feels like its killing you, but as though its killing your spouse as well.
I know, its tearing me apart on the inside. Many days there is a smile upon my face, but deep down, I am not there, my sorrow holds strong as I think about my wife either in the hospital or at home, dizzy, forgetting things, some days struggling just to walk down the stairs. Cancer is a rat bastard and I hate it! I hate what it represents, I hate the chemotherapy (yes I blame Cancer but in reality it is really the chemotherapy) killing my wife slowly from the inside out, I hate that it is quietly wreaking havoc on our children, reaching out with its bony finger of gloom, forever changing our lives.
I hate feeling like a man of constant sorrow.