Working through the Illness

As some of you know, this blog began on Facebook and I duplicated it here for some family members who are not on Facebook. There is much good conversation on the Facebook blog, and the following entry, from today, is the result of some comments on my entry titled Backdoor Bogeyman.

Thanks, everyone, for your responses to my last post. As I was responding to Claire, my words reminded me to tell you all that although I have processed and am still processing Adam’s death, I have never addressed his illness.

Consciously, upon his diagnosis, I determined to put my head down and plow forward with a positive attitude a a no-nonsense approach to his treatment and care. I did that, but it required me to wear blinders because, otherwise, how could I have done that work with that attitude?

At some point I’m going to have to go back and read our Caring Bridge posts and FACE IT.
Not ready to do that now. There’s plenty of time, after all, and no rush.

If any of you found yourselves in the same boat and discovered a way to work through it, I’d love to know about your experiences. I’m sure they will help me with mine.
Love you all.

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Backdoor Bogeyman

The bogeyman always comes in the back door.

Ok, that’s too strong a characterization but it’s how I felt. Tonight, 60 Minutes did a story on a breakthrough immunotherapy treatment for glioblastoma that has been developed at Duke. I’d watched the ads for the show all week so knew they were going to be talking about brain tumors. Adam had tumors in his brain, but they weren’t primary brain cancer, ergo Duke’s refusal to treat them, so I thought it would be ok to watch. And it was.

Until the clip of a patient in one of the clinic rooms.

The first thing that caught my eye was the laminate flooring. Duke Cancer Center’s current building opened the Monday after Adam was diagnosed. He was one of its first patients. Upon seeing that laminate, the “new” smell came roaring back. That big chair where Adam sat; the extra-wide one where I sat, wondering why it was so wide. The neuro tests they did on Adam, they did on this patient. The interview with the doc who refused to treat Adam, and who had this therapy available to him because it was 2012. That last thing is beside the point but I still thought it.

Anyway, I was fine until I saw that room. A breath caught, a bit of nausea, and then it was over, viscerally at least. But the thought will remain with me because apparently it has been seared on my brain and in my heart.

Bringing myself back down to earth

I’m a UNC graduate and Carolina basketball fan, from birth. I was born in Chapel Hill, for blue heaven’s sake. But tonight I was an NC State fan.

While searching my iPhoto library for the photo I needed to express my excitement about NC State’s win against Villanova tonight, I came across a photo of my late husband that reminded me of a wonderful video compiled by a dear friend after Adam’s death. I watched it. It brought me down from the heights.

But you know, I need this purge every now and then. I need to cry and I need to be reminded of those emotions. It’s kind of like going to church at Christmas and Easter. You need it. Need.

Maybe it’s self-serving; I don’t know. But if you’d like to watch, here’s the link to the vid.

Still a Part

More experiences that are both fulfilling and depleting. Is this basically a function of being older? Sometimes I think it is because my peers and I are now in the period of divorce, declining health, death.
Tonight’s experience was more sweet than bitter by a long shot. Friends from the old neighborhood, where I still live, came together to see dear friends who moved away under less than positive circumstances. A few hours together wasn’t enough, but we were grateful for them.
There was a time tonight when all the dads were gathered and, well, our dad wasn’t there. That was really hard. We then watched old pics from the sledding hill, and we weren’t there either, for whatever reason.
The point is that the absence was palpable, at least to the three of us whose dad and husband was missing.
The good news is that being with old friends is immeasurably healing, and I want to thank our longtime friends for continuing to include us so that we can continue to heal. Several of those who were there tonight are people I have no reason to see regularly, and I appreciate deeply the fact that they remember us and our connection to the group.
Thank you, dear friends. Tonight meant more to me than you will ever know.