I have composed and recomposed this post a million different ways in my head in the past 48 hours. I am not even sure I will be able to write and post anything. I am so mad when I should not be. Feeling petty and mean and hurt and generally sorry for myself. I cannot even look at my spouse without wanting to spit something mean at him so I am just keep my mouth shut and stare out the window on our silent drives to and from work.
It has been a horrible year. I hate cancer. One of my co-workers has a button pinned to his cubicle. It simply reads "Cancer Sucks". And it does. It does for so many reasons I am not sure I can or want to list why.
I wrote about Zachary over a two year period and his fight with cancer which he eventually lost. Another co-worker lost her husband of 27 years to cancer after a long long battle one month before Marisa was born. I sobbed over these two people because it was unfair that such kind loving people died and left behind equally kind and loving people.
In my life time, I was kept insulated from death. My parents never included me much in the various deaths that occured in our families. My grandparents were all virtually unknown to me and died in far away locations and even far way times. I did not attend their funerals. My uncle passed away from a sudden heart attack one morning and while I attended his service I was young and no one explained it to me, this death stuff. Another uncle passed away from AIDS back in the 80s when it was an "epidemic". Again far away and not really a known entity. I have little experience with prolonged illness and death.
Cancer was always something clinical and unknown to me. I have not had it stop personally at my door step. Close to it but not at it. My Mother in Law has breast cancer. And not the kind you and I know about it. No lumps, just sheets of cancer in her breast tissue. The rarest form of breast cancer, with the survival rate of 1%, the no taking it out by surgery kind of breast cancer. The drugs & treatments are not working kind of cancer. The she is not going to survive this cancer kind of cancer. Cancer sucks.
I like to watch news shows like 20/20, 60 Minutes, Dateline - you name it I watch it. Something I never understood from these various shows how a marriage always seems to fall apart when the family has something traumatic happen to it, like cancer. Now I get it. People isolate themselves. They become emotionally caught up in the bad thing and do not know how to talk anymore. Emotionally, everything goes into the situation and there is not much left for the family, for the relationship. It happens slowly and is hardly notiable, barely believable. There is hope that it will change. Disjointed discussions about how it needs to change, how it needs to get better or else... It feels heartless to talk about it so the one not intimately involved draws back, not wanting to be the bad guy.
It is like driving down a mountain... this behavior. It speeds up and suddenly the landscape is whipping past in a blur and you are looking for the brake, stomping on it trying to make the car slow down but it takes a few heart stopping moments when you think 'crap there is no stopping thousands of pounds of steel fast enough and OMG there is a brick wall coming, fast'. Eventually the car will stop but you are left sweating and your heart is pounding, the brick wall is right THERE. Like a panic attack.
It has been years since I have a good old heart stopping panic attack. Maybe the last time was the scary year after Matthew was born. When I was depressed and hormonal and unaware of what the hell was going on with my head and body. Recently I have had panic attacks again. The only way I can describe them? Like someone put me in a car going down a steep hill toward a brick wall with a plastic bag over my head. It is wicked bad. It makes me feel like I want to flee from the scene of the situation but like a caged animal there is no escape. Cancer sucks.
Feeling this way it is horrible. I want to be a strong and supportive spouse. I want to be a loving daughter in law. I want to be all the things that the hero of book is but I have come to realize over the years that I am not a hero and books are fiction. I am not as strong as I wished I were. I am emotional and I like to chat about it. I wear my shit on my sleeve. Try as I might this is who I am. This past year since my mother in law was diagnosed with IBC has been hard. I am tired of the phone calls. The waiting for the tests. The next drug. The illness surrounding the drugs. Kevin running home to see her, maybe one last time, at ackward times. Especially this past year when it should be a happy time in our house, when we should be enjoying our new young family... What is worse is that I feel petty even writing that.
I feel small and insignificant against cancer. I feel trapped and unable to move. I feel the process of trying to rid one's body of cancer is a death march. A fool's errand but as I thought with Zachary and Ric, maybe. Maybe this time something will work. Maybe tomorrow will be better for Barb and Kevin and Henry and all the rest of left in cancer's wake.
The thing I know is that cancer does not just go away. It is always there. Zachary and Ric are always here. Looking over their shoulders at us, because those left behind have to pick up the ball and keep playing the game without their teammate present. It is not like if the cancer goes away or the death that potentially could accompany cancer makes it any easier. It is like a death march for all of us, not just the person with the cancer. I want to be so angry that I have to spend Easter without my husband. I want to... sigh, I am. I feel like a dog chasing its tail - am I mad at Kevin or the cancer?