When we were dating, David introduced me to the Tom Wilson cartoon character, Ziggy, and we exchanged Ziggy cards back and forth. In one, Ziggy was asking, “Ever have one of those lives?” We laughed. We imagined then a similarity in our lives to that of the ever-depressed, downtrodden Ziggy. My Dad used to say something similar, “Life is hard. Then you die.”
Well, our life together has had its ups and downs, but David and I are constantly thankful for the good things in our life. After last week, though, I could honestly ask, “Ever have one of those weeks?”
I am sure we all have gone through something that left us feeling sick, and I don’t mean in the fever, chills way, but nauseated nonetheless. When David was in the hospital for those 11 days in July of 2006, after his operation to remove the cancer on the back of his tongue and in his lymph nodes, I visited him each day. For eight of those days, he could not eat or speak, due to the tracheotomy. For the first several days, he was in a lot of pain. Seeing someone you love going through something like that is not a fun thing. During those days of visiting the hospital I often forgot to eat. I was not hungry. In fact, knowing my husband could not eat, I just did not want to eat. I lost 13 pounds in those 11 days, and I can attest to the fact that stress is neither a good nor lasting way to lose weight. Once David realized I wasn’t eating, he convinced me that he wanted me to enjoy a lunch from the hospital cafeteria each time I visited. Some days they started his liquid tube feeding at the same time and we ate in companionable silence. We did the same thing later during his chemotherapy sessions. At first he shared the generous portions of dessert the nurses gave him, and later, when he was unable to swallow much, I would eat a salad or soup from the cafeteria while he had a tube feeding.
Last week, due to a tremendously stressful situation, I again experienced a sense of nausea over something I had going on in my life. And to make matters worse, David had an annual CT scan which showed some changes in his throat, neccesitating a biopsy. The biopsy was negative, thank goodness, but he will be having a PET scan tomorrow to rule out any possiblity of the cancer returning underneath the skin of his throat. Dr Alt, the ENT who performed the original cancer removal surgery, did say he if fairly certain the changes are simply scar tissue build-up, and a subsequent narrowing of David’s throat, but any change is looked at very carefully in post-cancer patients. David asked if this meant he would have more trouble eating, and was informed that it can happen. It already takes him an hour to eat what he was comfortable eating in 10 minutes b.c. (before cancer). Now we have to consider it might get worse.
Outside of David’s doctor’s appointments, I have been experiencing something stressful regarding the future of the book I have written. I had to step back and take a look at why I wrote it, and the real reason was a sort of ephiany for me. I realized that I had written our true love story as a testament for what David had to endure during his cancer treatment, and as a tribute to our renewed love. Sure, I also wrote it to help other families expteriencing cancer, but the bottom line is: I wrote it for David. For now, that is enough.