Anniversary

I’m a little depressed this morning and I’ve been trying to figure out why. I think now, I know the answer. The two year anniversary of my wife’s death is just a few days away, and this has got me down. I think of her often, at least every day, sometimes more. But this anniversary has got me thinking about all the changes that have happened since she got sick. None of the things that happened because of her illness were welcomed, however some of them have turned out alright. This is what I’ve been thinking about.

As soon as we found out she had cancer, she started chemo treatment. As far as that goes, it went pretty well. The only real side effects were losing her hair and being tired. She took a leave from work to do the six months of treatment. Losing her hair was devastating. She had thick, long, lustrous red hair, of which she was very proud. A statement of her personality, her individuality, her stubborn determination to prove to the world things only she knew were important. After shaving her head to prevent the fallout, I had her shave my own. I wanted to join with her in this un-welcomed adventure as much as possible. It only took eight months from discovery until the cancer took her life. Those months consisted of doctors, nurses, lab people, drugs, treatments, clinics, hospitals, friends, family, funeral directors, and a funeral. It’s all such a blur that I have a hard time picking out individual moments.

I tried to go back to work after all that and found I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t concentrate on my job, nothing about it was right anymore, nothing about it was good. So one day I called my boss and told her I wasn’t coming back. I know she wasn’t happy with me, but that goes along with being in charge. I became just one more thing she’d have to deal with. Now it became my job to deal with these changes the best I could. No one prepares you for losing a loved one. There’s no instruction book. Kind of like raising children. You’re doing it, day after day but when you look at it you can’t understand how you did it. I don’t know where the inner strength came from and I still don’t know why some days I don’t just collapse. I have known people who suffered the loss of their spouse and a year later they were dating and on their way to getting re-married. I just, I can’t even imagine that.

I have found that when great amounts of change are thrust upon me I somehow find a way to deal with it. I don’t know any other way. I usually plow through and then look back and wonder how I did that. Most times there’s no answer. I’ve been asked how I handled the stress. Honestly, I don’t know. I wish I could write a book to help others deal with losing their loved ones but I wouldn’t have enough material for a single page. I made a few podcasts on the subject but when I listened to them I realized they didn’t really have that much content, not much to help anyone. So this is where my head is at today. Thinking about the last two years and asking how I managed. And I get no answers. You can say all kinds of things like, stamina, inner strength, conviction and it’s all just bullshit because some days I feel like falling apart. Where’s the inner strength on days like that?

My wife Ann, had depression. She had hopeless days when nothing felt like it would ever get better. I don’t have those. I always somehow know that things will improve, but I don’t know how I know that, I just always have. So this too shall pass. I may take a break from writing while this anniversary passes and I may just write like a maniac. I’m not sure how this will go. But I’ll leave you with a picture of Ann and I hope it brightens your day.

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Heat


It is the end of May. At this time of year in my part of the world, outside air temperatures should be in the low to mid seventies Fahrenheit. For the last several days we have been in the low to mid nineties. It is hot. Attributable to climate change, no doubt, but that doesn’t help how it feels. We have actually been blessed with low humidity during this period which has made it more bearable, but still. A couple days ago I turned on the air conditioning because I was going to be gone for four to five hours and my dog, Sophie, who is half Malamute, half Husky, suffers from the heat. I set it for seventy four degrees and came back several hours later to find it was eighty degrees in the house. The air didn’t work. With that comes the possibility of spending a lot of money getting the unit fixed or replaced. Although, if the temperature goes back to normal, I can get by without it.

At the end of April I bought a small greenhouse. I have it set up in my back yard and have been growing herbs and tomato’s so far. I’ve actually started a new blog to document my adventures called, conveniently enough, Greenhouse Adventure. You can find it by typing “Greenhouse Adventure.com” into the search bar on your computer. It’s only just begun so don’t expect a lot just yet.

As some of you may know, my wife died of cancer last July. It’s been a rough period for me but I seem to be coming out of it slowly. I want to do more writing, but I just haven’t felt up to it for quite some time. I think now I’m turning a corner, as it’s said, And you may be able to expect to hear from me more often. I hope so. Thanks for the help and support I’ve received during this time. It means a lot. See you soon!

Surreal World

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So here I am in the surreal world of cancer. My earlier post let you know that my wife has cancer. When she started having symptoms and we got the diagnosis, everything changed. And I mean everything. It is amazing how this happened. She started having breathing problems. Suddenly cold air makes her cough uncontrollably. Which means if she goes outside she has to have a scarf over her mouth. Even opening the door to let the dog out means a coughing fit if she doesn’t hold her breath. And holding her breath is hard to do since she has breathing problems. She can’t work. So our income has been slashed in half. And the bills are starting to roll in. We have insurance but everything we have done so far and will do in the near future costs thousands of dollars. Chemo is expensive.

Ann has hundreds of nodules in her lungs. They impede her breathing. So basically doing anything is now a lot harder than it was. Ann has always been in pretty good shape. She had a physical job. Running up and down stairs, lift heavy stuff, monitoring a boiler, driving forklift, etc, etc. Now, talking too much can leave her winded. It’s devastating. Everything about her life has become different. She’s taking loads of medicine for coughing and pain. She is using a nebulizer. She has to write down everything she takes, every time to makes sure she doesn’t overdo any med. She can’t vacuum the carpet with getting winded. Fifty years ago she’d probably be dead in a couple months.

We have a great cancer center at our local hospital. The Virginia Piper cancer center is known around the nation for it’s top notch care. Our local affiliate is excellent with great people working there. So chemo starts next week. In the mean time we are getting used to our new life. And getting used to the idea that my wife will lose her hair. That’s a tough one. A woman’s hair is important to her. It’s part of her identity. My wife has beautiful red hair and it’s going to be awful for her to lose it. But we are at the mercy of this horrible disease. It is now running our lives. We’re grabbing hold of whatever we can control but control is an illusion. You never really have control of anything. You just never really notice until something like this happens.

But we’re doing okay. We’re in pretty good spirits and dealing with this the best we can. Ann is amazing for the resilience’s she has. Her ability to accept what’s happened and deal with it is a lesson for anyone. She makes me stronger. And I love her.

The “C” Word

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About a month ago my wife starting having some health problems. After many rounds of tests and biopsies we now know that my lovely wife Annie has cancer. The “C” word. It started in her uterus and has moved into her lungs. She will start on chemotherapy next week. This is devastating to us both and for our family and friends. But we have positive thoughts about it and we’ll see it through no matter what. I have started a Go Fund Me page. Here is the link. There is also a Caring Bridge page for those that want to keep up with her progress through this ordeal. Here is the link for that. Please consider donating if you can because our medical bills will be huge and our income has been cut in half with her not working. Thank you for following my blog these past four years and thanks in advance for your positive thoughts and prayers. Please feel free to reblog this so others will see it. Thank you!