Today 

At first I thought I would use this blog to chronicle Julie’s cancer, treatment, prognosis. An effort to possibly comfort or help others. 

It would be something like, Day 14. Julie had round 3 of her radiation today…blah blah blah. 

That’s not who I am and quite frankly, I hate reading those. A blogger friend documented her journey through this as she cared for her partner who eventually passed from the cancer. It broke my heart and I even found myself crying that they were both going through that. 

I will admit; as I stood in the park that Sunday evening, I thought of her. I have thought of her so many times since. The love and devotion that she felt for her wife. The journey that they took, unwillingly, together. The pain. 

I have allowed thoughts that are dark and dismal to enter my mind at times. Thoughts of my beautiful wife, frail and scared and me helpless to save her. Today is the first time I have ever seen my wife with truly gray hair. 

As I’ve said in the past, she has dark brown, almost black hair that sets off her ice blue eyes. People have suggested that she not color it until after her treatments because if she loses it, it will grow back gray and different, anyways. 

I’ve seen the strands of gray that will pop up from time to time on her temple or the crown and always thought they made her look more distinguished. 

Truthfully, if she wasn’t going through this, I’d probably think she looked like a wise and beautiful scholar but unfortunately it almost felt like natures cruel way of reminding me that even if we win this battle, I will lose her, one day. 

She is still beautiful. She is still the one person who can look at me and tell exactly what thoughts are racing through my head. 

Tomorrow I fly to Texas. We have won the contract to oversee the construction of the next section of Grand Parkway in Houston and the pre construction meeting is Thursday. 

As I was gathering up my things and packing my suitcase I turned on my iPad to see what books I had that I could read to keep me preoccupied. 

I noticed I had three new ones by an author named Mira Gant. All three were about a post apocalyptic world in which zombies had become a day to day occurance and people try to live life in a world they share. 

I asked if she had bought them or if maybe one of the kids had asked to borrow our account. 

“You’ll just sit on that plane and dwell on this (as she very crudely grabbed her right breast) and it is way too soon for you to be this stressed!”

Then she took my face in her hands, kissed my forehead, grabbed a strand of her now gray hair and said, “This is what you are doing to me!” 

We both laughed, I kissed her and thanked her for the books. 

They may suck. They may be amazing but my racing mind may not let me absorb what I read. Who knows. What I know is that she knows me and is still trying to take care of my needs. 

She tells me, “this is my breast and my lump and I’ll decide when we will worry!”

I smile, agree and silently go back to the place in my mind where some days are better than others, emotionally. 

That’s my real fear, you know? Physically, Julie could handle virtually any pain. It’s the emotional damage that everyone will suffer. Fear, anger, hope…the hope is the one I’m trying to desperately hang on to, with both hands!

Today was a good day. Tomorrow she’ll drive me to O’Hare and I’ll board a plane and be gone until Saturday morning. 

I don’t know how long we can maintain our current routine, but for now? I just have hope! 

Number 1

Tonight I experienced the first of what I can only assume are many ass chewings that will be directed at me. 

Julie had dinner with a mutual friend of ours. During their conversation, the friend made a very insensitive comment about Julie losing her hair and hopefully she has a “normal” shaped head. 

Yes…I got the brunt of that. Actually, what was directed at me was how I travel too much and I need to stop worrying so much about my Houston projects and how my boss needs to start respecting the fact that I only have 4 days at home and shouldn’t call on the weekends and damnit! Why do I leave my fucking socks on the floor!!

When she was done, she apologized. When it was happening I sat here, rubbing my head, silently taking it. 

I have thick skin but if this is just the beginning I am going to need to put on some armor. 

Question 

Lately I’ve been consumed by Julie’s cancer and how this impacts our life, but today I’m a bit distracted. 

A friend of Julie’s told her about a week ago that she was seeing someone. That the two of them had decided to commit and see things through. 

Good for them, right?

Well, I can only assume that the friend wasn’t aware that I know the woman she was talking about. 

Today I was at the gun range and I bumped into this woman. We started chatting and I asked, “So how are things going with you a D?”

Apparently, she had NO clue what I was talking about. They aren’t dating, they’ve had a cup of coffee once, several months ago and exchanged a few texts and phone calls but nothing romantic ever developed. 

What on earth would make a 41 year old woman lie about something like that? 

I could see if she was trying to manipulate an ex or make a current love interest jealous but there was nothing to gain by this dishonesty. 

In fact, when I see her now, I look at her with distrust and caution. 

Any insight? 

Surgery 

Julie’s surgery is scheduled for Mid August. She will have a lumpectomy that will remove approximately 3/4 of her breast tissue and will then undergo 7 to 8 weeks of radiation treatment. 

They are telling us that the surgery will be about 30 minutes and then another few hours in recovery but she should be able to go home that same day. 

She will have a drain tube and they will give her a physical therapy schedule for about two weeks to help keep her muscles in her arm from atrophying.

The recovery from the surgery will be the easy compared to the radiation. 

Crap. This is really happening. 

Deep in thought 

It’s funny how life can sometimes force you to look at your life and all the choices you’ve made up to this point. 

I am a firm believer that once you reach a certain age, your character is pretty much set in stone. Oh, you can learn to be more open, less manipulative, even train your brain to think differently but the soul is pretty much set. 

I have had the same values since I was in my late 20’s to early 30’s. Before then, I was like a sheet of plywood a drift in the river. Tossing and turning, flipping from this view to the next. Then at some point, I found my footing and that’s where I’ve been ever since. 

Julie is still being quiet about her breast cancer. (Hell, I may as well call it what it is!) I’m not pushing the topic. I know that she is processing this, just as I am. Her mind is probably racing with thoughts of how this will affect us, her career, school, family, her energy level, her appearance…the list goes on and on. I’m just trying to keep my shit together so my wife doesn’t feel the need to be unnecessarily brave because I’m falling apart. 

I’m in New Mexico and the long flights have taught me that time is not my friend when I’m trying to keep my mind preoccupied. 

Today’s flight was filled with me trying to read geotechnical data and then realizing I wasn’t absorbing a thing, then trying to read a completely mindless book about the zombie apocalypse and having to reread the same page over and over. Finally, I gave in and just let my mind settle on the course it had set for itself. 

What I discovered was that it didn’t wander to the place I thought it would. 

I expected to be bombarded with images of my beautiful wife during radiation and chemo treatments. No hair, thin and frail. Her bright, beautiful blue eyes dimmed and dulled. 

Instead I found myself realizing that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. 

I’ve talked about my ex’s and the relationships we’ve had. Some good, some bad, some indifferent. They all started out the same. We met, we were attracted, we began a relationship, we became disillusioned with each other. 

With Julie it was different. I knew her as a child, a teen, a young adult. I missed out on the years in between when she hit her point of becoming the person she is today, but there is a history that can’t be overlooked. 

I am willing to do whatever is necessary to help her through this. I’ll delegate more responsibility at work, travel less, allow the occasional ass chewing that won’t be related to anything other than her own fear and I’ll hold her hand. In short, I will take care of my wife and every need she has. I will do it grateful that I have the opportunity to do so. Happy that I am able to be the rock that she will need to get through this. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m expecting bad days when I feel overwhelmed but my mind told me one basic truth today; you have never been with another woman that you would give yourself to, unconditionally. 

My last partner would have probably approached something like this from a spiritual perspective. Finding comfort from God and her family. Considering it didn’t take long for me to begin to resent her in our relationship, I’d probably find caring for her to be a chore that o tackled out of obligation rather than love. 

Yes, that’s a shit thing to say but it’s true. 

My partner before her, I would have taken on her care in a way that would have been approached from an attitude of indifference. She was slowly killing herself with drugs and alcohol so to help her through the struggles of cancer would have probably been a relief. At least cancer isn’t “her fault”. 

Why am I writing all this down? Because I’m about to begin what could possibly be the hardest and most painful journey of my life. 

I’m not trying to minimize what Julie is going through and will experience, but I can’t speak to her perspective. 

This blog is and always has been for me. To dump the crap that builds up in my head so that I don’t have live with thoughts left unspoken. 

My wife has cancer. We don’t yet know exactly how severe but I am not going anywhere anytime soon! 

We have hit that stage 

Talking to Julie the other night and I realized that we have hit the stage where she is no longer in denial. 

I’ve talked to some friends who have survived breast cancer and I’ve spoken to some who have been the primary support for those suffering it. They all say the same thing: she will withdraw. 

That’s pretty much the direction she’s heading. Friday I was at the store and she sent me a text. “I think this is probably something I need to do alone.”

I didn’t argue or ask questions. I simply responded, “that’s not going to happen so there’s no need to discuss this further.”

That was the last time we talked about it. 

I’m sure that there will be outbursts and anger that she will direct at me. That’s ok. My shoulders are broad enough to carry that weight. 

I’m sure there will be meltdowns and crying and that’s ok too. Lord knows I find myself crying in a random parking lot when the thought hits me. 

My beautiful wife may be stubborn but I’m even more so. 

She can push, she can yell, she can do whatever pops into her head, but she will have to get a restraining order if she thinks I’m going to walk away from her now. 

I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know if this time with her is all I have. I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss even a minute of it with her! Id rather have a little time to love and cherish her than to be so selfish that I walk away when she needs me most!