This year has been a great deal harder than I anticipated and not because of the plaque and the world trying to navigate its way back into the swing of things, but because heartache, failure, illness, and grief are just so fucking difficult.
I have been lucky in that the company I am blessed to work for has allowed us to maintain a work-from-home liberal hybrid environment. This year has proven that allowance is critical in my life. Just a few posts ago I wrote about my 20th anniversary and how lucky we both were. Every marriage and every relationship undoubtedly has issues, big and small, to contend with and work through, but I daresay our marriage has seen more than its fair share.
In January this year, my husband sent an email to me asking for a separation. Sure, we had our differences, and we had our ups and downs, but nothing could have prepared me for that. After many, many years of supporting his various job changes and career changes, financially supporting him during times he needed to take off work due to the strain from being a Paramedic takes on oneself, and even raising our three kids (alone for a year so he could better his career 200+ miles away from our home). It was a slap in the face, the wind was knocked out of me and my life turned on its head in a single email – not a face-to-face conversation but a fucking email! I wasn’t what he wanted any longer, I wasn’t who he needed. I was devasted beyond words.
A month later he was offered or applied to, I’m not sure which because he began making decisions without including me, a traveling Medic job that would take him to California for 2-3 months. He accepted, without hesitation, and off he went. We really never discussed us or where we were heading, not entirely. We spoke each night or morning, depending on his schedule and I pretended all was well. He came back at the time our youngest was heading off to basic training so we put on fake smiles and tried our best. We went up to Chicago to watch him graduate from basic training and my Medic decided it was time to finally find a job locally as the travel jobs seemed to be drying up.
While home, he developed a cough and it kept getting worse. I persuaded him to go to the doctor. Fast forward a month of testing and waiting, we found an 8.5×11 mass on his left lung. A blow even I couldn’t have prepared for and fast forward a few more weeks we had an appointment for a bronchoscopy biopsy scheduled. That 45-minute biopsy that turned into 2.5 hours was failed, botched (the doctor stated “the mass oozed and the bleeding had to be controlled”), and ultimately led him to become septic, develop post-operation pneumonia, caused the eventual collapse of his left lung, kidney failure, and respiratory failure all within a week of the biopsy. He spent the next month in the hospital fighting for his life all the while we had no diagnosis of the mass in his lung. I spent each night dutifully in the hospital recording every note that came from a nurse or doctor (of which there were dozens) while working remotely from the hospital. During week four after he was stabilized, but not before he had to have a chest tube to drain the sepsis from his lung, we finally had a diagnosis. High-grade b-cell non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in his left lung.
He’s completed half of his R-CHOP chemotherapy treatments and had a mid-treatment PET scan done which we learned yesterday that the original 8.5×11.1 mass had shrunk to 4.3×2.8 – GREAT NEWS!!! However, during all this commotion, his older brother moved in with us after being released from a 4-year stint in prison. This brother has turned our lives even more upside down if that’s even possible. You see, during his diagnosis, I researched everything related to this treatment, this cancer, and all the foods I could prepare to help him through this journey. After all, I’m no doctor, but I can cook and cook well. I learned about nutrient-dense foods that were critical to his getting over the initial treatments that he undertakes every 21 days. This is not a sob story for me and what I’ve been through, though I admit it’s the hardest thing I’ve dealt with to date. I recognize my hardship pales in comparison to what my husband has undergone. However, this is a vent to the zero people who read me that I am absolutely infuriated that my brother-in-law believes me to be a controlling bitch who refuses to allow my husband to eat fried chicken, pork chops, steak, and drink shots at every chance he gets. Worse, even, he’s convinced my husband of the same thing. For the last 4 weekends, I’ve spent that time in my room trying to escape the negativity that follows this man and who he is turning my husband into.
Time is fickle. Just 10 months ago my husband asked for a separation and it appears he will soon be asking me for that again. Only time will tell, but call it a woman’s hunch. We both walked away with a new perspective on life after he got sick, the problem is I think our perspectives are polar opposites.
Likely in January, one year after the first time, his perspective will reveal he wanted a permanent separation after all. I say January because that will be the time when his treatments are over and my services will no longer be needed. As he has given me every reason to believe this, it’s just a matter of time.
That’s the thing about time. You exert your energy giving your time to others and they either use it, waste it, or destroy it. Time doesn’t come back though, so tread carefully how and when you give it.
Time, y’all. Time is an interesting, horrible bitch, much like Karma.