I am usually one to go by schedules and plans and precise time lines.
What's on the agenda today?
What is the plan for the week?
Down to the minute.
You know the drill. We all do that. I no longer know what I am doing day to day or even minute to minute. Our lives are appointments, feeding tubes and clinics, prescriptions, needles and doctors and blah blah blah.
I literally Googled: "What are our lives going to be?"
What came up was "Days of Our Lives" Soap Opera.
Where have our lives gone? I mean our real lives with plans and dreams and events. Parties. Galas.
Yesterday, I went looking for Lana.
Where did she go?
I checked under the beds. I looked in my closet.
Hey! I know these clothes. Chanel, Roberto Cavalli, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Who wears them now? I certainly don't!
I am all about sweatsuits and casual shoes.
I once wrote a blog about coming back off that ledge and not falling into the trap of being a slob.
Meet slob extraordinaire. Ha! Do I care? No. Life isn't handbags and shoes but it's love and support. Health and being there for someone that needs you so badly just to get thru the day.
One thing I know for certain... If I had this disease, I would have opted out.
I'm not that brave. I'm not that strong.
I'm not that person to depend on anyone for so much.
We have a good friend that needs a heart/lung transplant and has 2 small children. He's 36 years old. Instead of living his life and loving his time left here on Earth, he sits and waits for those organs in a hotel near a hospital 1500 miles away from his wife and his kids.
Waits for someone to die for him to live. A second chance.
4 months have passed and still he sits alone and waits....
That's his choice to do, but for me, I would cherish each day with my family. That's just me. I'm a chicken. I prefer quality over quantity and that goes with my life as well.
Cut my days short by a year, just give me one good week to love and hold and cherish those that I love. Quality.
Friday at the Radiation Clinic I met a new friend. Maureen. She buried her husband on their 48th wedding anniversary. He had throat cancer. (My heart lurched then broke)
Why is she now in the oncology clinic? She was his caretaker for those 18 months that it took for him to die. Now 7 months later, SHE has cancer. Breast cancer.
She was with him when he went thru radiation and chemo. Fed him thru a feeding tube. Suffered right along with him. The cancer returned. They did a total throat and neck resection and removed his jaw, tongue, teeth, larynx.. everything in the neck. Surgery. She was by his side thru it all.
Time passed. It came back once more. Returned to his bones this time.
I didn't know this but bone cancer is the most painful of cancers and no medication can cut that pain. Morphine does nothing. She said for the last 4 months of his life, he screamed and cried, yelled and begged for pain relief for hours in a day. He slept on the hard floor to ease the pain a bit. Her words broke my heart. How did she cope? How did she manage? How did she get thru this? Just writing this down hurts me and all I was was a concerned ear to listen to her. I can't even fathom what she did and how she did it.
This conversation was an interesting one in that several other caretakers of loved ones joined in as we waited for our significant others to be radiated.
Here we were, 6 to 8 of us discussing our loved ones and how to cope. How to get them thru each day as comfortable and healthy as possible.
One beautiful young wife said something to us all that shocked me to my core but didn't seem to phase anyone else there.
She told us all "I have been stockpiling all of the pain medicine that I can. My husband never wants it after a surgery or procedure so I stash it. I have a lot. When the time comes for him to be in that condition, and I will know when that is, I will crush those pills up and "assist" him. I will crush them up and put them into his feeding tube."
"That's Murder!" I exclaimed loudly. No No No!
Those words were out of mouth in a nanosecond! All eyes turned to look at me. My heart dropped. What did I say? Was I wrong to say that? Isn't that murder? No way could or would I ever do that! I can't even wrap my brain around that thought.
My new friend Maureen took my hand and gently said to me "You'd be surprised what you can or will do. You would do this for your dog or cat. The suffering is worse than you can imagine. Pain pills wouldn't have helped my husband's pain but if they would have, I would have done anything. Anything. They will just know he died of Chronic Cancer."
I recoiled in horror.
I wanted to scream and run away and never look back. I felt for that two minute conversation that I was 4 years old again and so scared. Eyes wide. Tears streaming down my face. No one to turn to. No one to ask for advice. I can't do this anymore.
Thankfully, from the corner of my eye I see my husband slowly approaching. His treatment is over for the day.
I want to run up to him and hold on and never let him go. I'm not going to tell him about Maureen or crushed pills or any of the horror of that conversation.
I am going to run home and look under the beds again for Lana. She's around here somewhere, I just know it....