Friday, 08 June 2012
The “Big C”
By Dani Ferguson Phillips of The Cataract Club
After 34 years as a single, divorced woman, I married my best friend of 57 years. We just celebrated our first year of marriage and I’m happy to report it has been a blissful year. It has been blissful in spite of the uninvited intruder that has been with us since the first day.
The “Big C” as he is referred to, became a part of our lives two years prior to the wedding but we decided we would not allow him to stop us from having as much future together as we could grab.
Three is definitely a crowd but we have managed to reduce The “Big C” to a tolerated part of our existence. CT scans every three months do not allow us to plan further than three months at a time. After each scan we dissect the latest information and plan our lives for the next three months accordingly.
The slightest change sounds an alarm that only I seem to hear. My husband has the gift of denial. He is able to put the “Big C” on a shelf and leave him there until forced by his oncologist to acknowledge his existence.
I, on the other hand, see the “Big C” out the corner of my eye every minute of every day. I am always aware of his presence as he sits there taunting me with unimaginable scenarios.
If ever I have learned the meaning of the serenity prayer it is now.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
I pray not just for the courage to change the things I can but courage to survive the things I cannot change. I do not fear for myself but for my spouse.
I pray that I will be able to handle his anger when he is no longer able to deny the existence of the “Big C”. I fear the day when he is forced to look at his mortality. Will I know what to say or know how to comfort him when that time comes?
Every day I remind myself to be grateful for this day. Grateful that even though my beloved has cancer, he has been free of pain to this point. He has survived two surgeries with little discomfort and has been able to live a “normal” life for three years.
Though the cancer appears to have spread to both his lungs, it is growing very slowly and exhibiting no signs or symptoms. Our next hurdle is to determine if it has also spread to his remaining kidney as suspected.
My husband will be forced to make a potentially fatal or at the very least, life altering decision to either remove the kidney and spend the remainder of his days on dialysis or leave it and expedite the dying process. Unfortunately, kidney transplantation is not an option, as the drugs required to prohibit rejection would suppress his immune system only to allow the cancer to spread even faster.
So I sit, wait and live each day to the fullest but always aware that the “Big C” is waiting also. Yet in spite of him, I will gather memories and love to last a lifetime.
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