The original title of this post was “Heartbreak, a little piece at a time” but then I went and got inspired by the king of reggae of all people. This post has been a weeklong work in progress, so if it sounds fragmented, well, it’s because it is. Let’s just say it reflects how my feelings have evolved throughout the week.
My chest hurts. It physically hurts though there is no physical reason for it. My sternum feels like it’s been whacked repeatedly, it feels bruised; it hurts at the slightest touch. I debated with myself long and hard about whether I wanted to write this post or not, it’s almost too personal for my personal blog, but at the same time the reason why I started blogging was to have a place where I could write what I couldn’t say out loud. That’s why I don’t use our names… but then I went and told everyone I know about it and now I find myself wondering whether I can talk about whatever I want or not cause I’m not just communicating with strangers, I’m also communicating with friends and family. The conclusion I came to was that I’m thirty five years old and I need to be able to communicate what I need to communicate without having to worry about anybody’s opinion, or judgment. It just means that my friends and my family may find out something new about me, because at the end of the day, those people who judge will judge me whether I speak my mind or not, so I might as well vent in the process.
So let me tell you why my chest hurts. Many moons ago a Chinese doctor told me that the center of the chest, the sternum, represents our emotions, our feelings. It’s where we send (or more precisely, block) all that emotional energy that we don’t want to, or simply can’t, deal with. I’m a huge repressor of my feelings, I always have been, so my chest has often hurt, off and on. Obviously lately I’ve had to keep it together, be strong, be centered, and you can’t do that if your emotions are all over the place, so you repress them. And that’s why my chest hurts. And that’s why I don’t want to talk about the husband’s illness this time around.
I’ll write about it till my finger’s cramp, but I do not want to talk about it, because I’ll start crying and I won’t be able to stop. All this to say, don’t ask me about the husband, please, again, I will keep everyone posted. If you really can’t help yourself, send me an email but don’t make me talk about it cause I can’t.
What prompted this post? What’s so personal that I can’t talk about it?
Well, Sunday was our last day together, we celebrated Easter, we spent a gorgeous day with absolutely beautiful weather together. And the husband packed his bag. As he was packing his bag he started quietly crying. Now think about this for a sec, you walk into your bedroom and your husband, your man, your rock, your soul mate is packing his bag for the hospital and he’s crying. He’s crying because he doesn’t want to leave his family, he doesn’t want to be ill, he doesn’t want to be shut up in a sterile room for a month, and then another month, he doesn’t want to feel like shit run over again, he’s scared and angry and afraid he’s never going to get better. And tell me, tell me if it doesn’t feel like your heart is going to implode in your chest.
There is nothing I can do. There is nothing I can say to make him feel better, to make it easier, and it breaks my heart.
The unfairness of it all has no explanation, no meaning, nothing that we can cling to and say if we do this or that everything will be alright in the end, because we have no way of knowing. I guess what’s different the second time you hear the doctors say leukemia is that you simply don’t go in with the same blind hope that in the end everything will be alright, because, quite simply, we have no way of knowing.
Now this post has been in the making for a few days, it’s been read, and re-read, written and re-written and what I can say at this point is that now that he’s in the hospital both the husband’s mood and my own have improved greatly. Dreading something is much harder than actually living it. When you’re weathering the storm you’re too busy to worry about the water seeping under the doorframe, so to speak. Whereas when you’re waiting for it, sitting in front of the weather channel going “oh shit, the hurricane’s coming” it feels like the worst thing in the world. So, here we are in the middle of the freaking hurricane.
You know, many months ago I read a blog post where the author was talking about a friend who was fighting cancer or something like that, I can’t remember, but what stuck to my mind is an idea she put forth in her post I think it may even have been the title of the post: “It’s better than chemo” and the sense was that we complain daily about hundreds of little annoyances but really if we compare them to having to undergo treatment for cancer they really start to seem insignificant. And so I started saying it to myself, in my head, occasionally: “the baby kept me up all night… well, it’s better than chemo”, “I have to work late again, eh, it’s better than chemo”, “the car won’t start…”, “that asshole cut me off…”, “I lost my keys…” most things are actually better than chemo, except possibly the alternative to having chemo if you have cancer (i.e. death). It really puts a lot of things into perspective.
I guess that my long and rambling point is that cancer sucks, it sucks that the husband is back in the hospital, it sucks horribly that he’s not yet forty, has two small children and a wife who loves him more than even she thought possible (that would be me) and he has such an aggressive, recurring, crappity crap pot leukemia that won’t leave us the hell alone, it sucks beyond what is humanly imaginable that he has to go through the whole treatment again after less than a year but it sucks infinitely, monumentally less than the alternative, doesn’t it?
So there you go, despite my best intentions of writing a sad, sad post, it seems that the silver lining is always lurking somewhere in the back of my mind. I guess this is what I want to leave with you today, as a sort of hat tipping to my dad and to the husband, the two most optimistic people on the planet, there is always some good to be found in hardship. And that is what we must grab ahold of with all our strength, because in the end, thinking of the good is what gets us through it.
My heart breaks every time I see the husband in pain, or upset, or dreading the chemo, the endless transfusions, the loss of his hair and his strength and his will, and yet we treasure the time we get together when I visit in the hospital, quiet time, just he and I, to talk and dream and plan our future together whatever and whenever it may be. Because though it’s true that we’ve lost the blind hope of the newbies we still need to hope, believe and have faith that in the end “everything’s gonna be alright” because that’s what life is all about (or so Bob Marley says).