Ebb and Flow

October 09, 2005

Yesterday, especially last evening, was rocky for both of us. After plumbing the depths of despair on Friday we both came back towards normalcy Saturday. One of Michele's best friends, Laura, called and they talked for a long time on the phone. Being able to connect to someone outside of our immediate situation was a very good thing. Michele was able to sort through her feelings and fears without having to worry about me in the process.

I, too, had a long talk with Laura, and felt better for it. The light of a new day strengthened Michele's resolve to go forward with the bone scan on Tuesday. And we both were able to feel less out of control as a result. However late in the afternoon we started doing some Google searches for things like "metastasis" and "bone scan" and "cancer." We also searched for "osteoporosis", and "bone disease related to blood loss." What we found was not encouraging at all.

There are two types of bone cancer: primary and secondary. Primary is when the cancer starts in the bone, or bone marrow. Secondary is when another cancer in the body attaches to the bone, or metastasizes. Seen on an x-ray the metastasis looks like a dark stain or even a whole in the bone. This describes exactly what her leg x-rays from Friday show. Upon reading this, and seeing that none of the other possible causes for her leg pain matched we both realized that she truly does have cancer.

We spent the rest of the evening in kind of a numb stupor. Earlier in the day the upstairs neighbor's dog barked incessantly for several hours. We called the office and complained, and given our stress level, we may have over done it a bit. The idiot mitten in the office told the guy upstairs that we had called, and pretty much what we had said, including our threat to involve the SPCA if the barking didn't stop. He knocked on our door just as we were finishing what passed for dinner and wanted to apologize. Then he wanted to get into having "heard that someone had threatened to call the pound." We denied having any knowledge of that and got him out of our doorway as quickly as possible.

Both of us were very upset by his intrusion and by the break of confidence by the woman in the apartment management office. It did give us a focal point for some anger and we were able to vent some of our frustrations as a result.

This morning Michele woke me up as she was having a nightmare. After I woke her and we talked for a bit she complained of nausea, so we moved her to the big chair in the living room. While she was sitting there her breathing suddenly got very ragged and labored, and she looked very far away to me. After a few minutes her breathing got slower and shallower, and she opened her eyes and told me that she loved me. I told her that I loved her, and that I was right there with her. From my view point then it seemed like she slipped into a peaceful sleep. She woke up, coughing from reflux, about 20 minutes later. Her recollection was that she was dying. She remembers hearing her heart beat in her ears, and thinking that it was very peaceful.

I helped her move back to the bed and we spent a tearful time there holding each other and being together. She is sleeping quietly now. I am glad she is getting some rest, the past few weeks have been especially difficult for her, and if she is going to survive the tests on Tuesday, and what ever lies beyond, she will need all her strength.

I have terribly mixed feelings about everything now. She has suffered so long with the dysfunctional uterine bleeding/menorraghia, and more recently with IBS, that a part of me wants for her to be out of pain and suffering. At the same time I want to keep my partner, my friend, my lover, my wife here with me always. The only guide I have for now is the part of my integrity that says it isn't proper for my to take care of myself by forcing her to change or be something she isn't. While I may want to rush her to the hospital and force every medical remedy known to man on her, that would only be taking care of me. If I truly love her, and I do, then I have to honor her determination about what happens in her life.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.