Dan is super chill. There just isn’t much that can ruffle him. He gets scanxiety (scan anxiety) just like the best of us, but he never really worries or freaks out. The only way I know how to describe him to people is that he is “zen.” There’s not much that can ruffle his feathers. He keeps an even temper, always maintains his sense of humor, and is focused on the simple things each day.
I know this sounds super amazing–and I get that. However, I just have to share a caveat that I am MARRIED to him and have loved him for nearly 15 years and that which is the best about him is also what drives me crazy. Ha! But that’s another post. So, Dan’s lack of irrational decision making, impulsive reactions, and volatile emotional roller coaster rides gives ME the opportunity to do what I DO best. So here is a glimpse of our lives during the 24 hours following our latest MRI results.
6 Days prior to MRI results: Dan has routine scans, we proceed through the week as normal. I try to get all zen like him and sit on the patio, take in nature, and make sure we enjoy some sex before the chemo treatment (ALERT ALERT ALERT TMI WARNING: Dan is unable to have sex the week following treatment in order to protect me from the chemotherapy that would be transmitted.)
Instead of being super zen, we both end up eating a lot of ice cream, sleeping poorly, and getting into ridiculous arguments like, Who do the black sweatpants in the laundry room BELONG TO? Grandpa Don says they are not his–they have a drawstring and GD’s black sweatpants do not. Dan says he doesn’t even own sweatpants, black or no. When casual around the house, he only has a pair of pajama pants. I KNOW Dan actually has black sweatpants. Back and forth. Just claim the effing sweatpants!!!
On Wednesday at 11 am, I was at work while Dan was at the doctor office for results during an appointment with the onc before his chemo treatment. Jim and Char were in town for the results, so he wasn’t alone. (I don’t like it when he is alone and gets news. He was alone with his actual diagnosis and that haunts me.)
A new tumor in his brain that has sprouted and chillaxed since his last MRI requires a consultation with the oncology radiologist. Then we will decide if we want to do targeted radiation (as opposed to whole-brain radiation; this would isolate the cancerous cells) or wait and watch it.
He texted me immediately so I knew. I call and we chat.
I focus on my tasks at work. I keep busy and I do NOT think about it. All afternoon, my IBS kicks it into high gear. I steal a moment to text a few people the troubling news. Ugh. Once home from work, I begin consuming alcohol. I have a stellar Revolution IPA 12 pack in the fridge at my fingertips. The weather is nice so I sit on the patio and talk with a friend that I contacted immediately for such a day as this.
Like a genius, I decide to drink beer for dinner. Weget Raine to bed, and of course, he has no idea what is going on. We read, laugh, and cuddle. Dan chooses beer over ice cream and we finish off the second season of Master of None. That’s a really good show.
The following morning, I actually manage to get Raine to school on time while Dan takes a substitute teaching job. I worry about him being on his feet all day. At home, I sort through and organize all of our medical bills, only to abandon them instead of paying them. I attend a (well-timed) therapy session, which has a two-fold gift; I cry with grief for the overwhelming and desperate desire to have my mom back, right before I enter the office. (I haven’t cried for her in a while so it was definitely needed.) And throughout the session, I become increasingly hopeful as I remember ways that I have been creative with writing and sculpture–and how that creativity helps me cope.
But then—A shopping binge at Target. Resume drinking at noon. Chat with my sweet friend on her porch.
Then I climb into bed, read, and then fall asleep. Sometimes that’s it—The crisp, cool sheets, a blanket with a familiar smell, and lazy reading with big, thick glasses. It’s medicinal.
Tomorrow is another day.