Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Elephant in the Room

Cancer is a strong word; it makes people feel uncomfortable.  I suppose because the word connotes malignancy, mortality, and death.  It felt as if everyone, including Rick and me, was skating around the word, death.   Yes, we know that each of us will die but most people do not have an idea of when.  Rick was 43 and he didn’t feel it was his time to think about it.

So…nobody talked about the ELEPHANT in the room, except when Rick wasn’t there.  One day he was in the restroom and a relative whispered to me, “He’s in denial.”  I said, “I know, if that’s what it takes to get him through the day, I’m fine with that.” 

I had no idea what it felt like to be diagnosed with terminal cancer.  I was happy with Rick swimming in denial.  I was having a hard enough time dealing with being the wife of the cancer patient.

Another relative wanted to know if the cancer had been staged yet?  I didn’t even know what that meant.  I was just trying to get through the day.  I think in their minds, if it was stage 1, we could do the happy dance.  I just wasn’t sure if they were thinking about if it was stage 3.  I didn’t want to know.  I would leave that to the Dr. Death. I was doing my best to try to take care of him.

At home, the boys were confused; they loved my parents but we weren’t there.  My mom called to let me know that the dishwasher had flooded three-quarters of our house.  Serenity, now!  I told her I would handle it. 

I called my insurance agent and explained my situation.  He told me he would take care of it and he did.  He sent a restoration company out to clean it up.  My poor parents had three blowers going in the house day and night.  We lived in a tiny, three bedroom ranch house.  Believe me, it was cramped before they lifted the carpets and brought in the fans.

“Jane, we’re going to need to leave soon,” my mother told me one day when I spoke to her on the phone from the hospital.  Honestly, I was speechless. “Okay, Mom, I’ll figure something out.  They said he’ll be coming home in a few days.  Can you stay until Rick comes home?”  “I think we can,” she replied.

How will I be able to work and take care of him?  How will I be able to take care of the boys?  Will I be able to make the mortgage, pay the bills, and keep my job?  I could have pulled every hair out of my head in frustration.  Okay God, you’re in control because I just can’t do all of this.

When it rains…it pours!

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