|It takes two Baby and I|
will always be by your
side - even on cold days!
As many of you may know from Trip's recent blog update - when we met with the surgeon on November 28th we had the best news we could hope for - Trip is CANCER FREE and the doctor is able to reverse his ileostomy and allow his body to once again, work as nature intended it to. We couldn't wish for more or be happier! I think we were both in shock - we hadn't had high expectations based on how he had been feeling and all of the testing he had undergone... but we were ecstatic!
I think it takes some time to get your mind around good news - not that you are displeased, certainly the opposite, but when you are dealing with day to day crisis' and watching your loved one in severe pain, it is surreal to suddenly be told - all is well - just let your body heal. I think reality started to hit by the time he individually called each of his six children, his brother, sister, ex wife and mother in law... By then - it began to sink in and feel real.
We both rode a wave of euphoria for a few days, close to a week and then I knew he was beginning to see the future once again... How did I know? Well, he began to discuss some world events, financial insecurity and ... well, his pessimism began to creep in ... I think when one is facing life and death, or believes that they are, that there is some personal reckoning with their life, history, past and loved ones future. In some ways it is frightening... many tears, depression and a general feeling of loss. On the other hand there is less worry about the things we feel we can't change as well as some regrets and acceptance of one's role in the world around us and lives of our loved ones.
|Quiet days, listening, waiting...|
For my part, since I can only speak for what I watched Trip go through... My days were absorbed in watching each moment for signs of how could I help? Listening to each sound - for pain, grief, and trying to keep him pulling forward. There was a period of time that was so intense, I didn't think we would make it. Days where he barely moved, or spoke or ate... Mornings when I was afraid to walk downstairs because I didn't know if he would still "be here." So many discussions about how to deal with the end of life decisions and what to do "after." I think that October and November - were my low points. I didn't expect that, since chemotherapy had ended and it seemed all should be "well." But it wasn't.
Why do I mention this now? I think to acknowledge how far we have come. How much he has gone through and the strength and courage we both had to draw from. So many people were so supportive and encouraging and that truly pulled me through when I didn't know where to go next. Now, what I am going to say may sound ungrateful and I don't mean for it to, but the purpose of my blogging these days is to identify with caregivers and how we feel, so forgive me if this does not come through as intended...
So many people said "I knew he would be ok" and yes, theoretically I knew it to, so please don't see me as being fatalistic - but while yes, in theory - all systems were a go - in reality it was not so. I think at one point we both lost hope - we were defeated and exhausted. I was thinking about how to move forward, what would my future hold and he was - not so much giving up, but done. While, the words "you just have to be positive" may be true, when you have gone through more than a year of watching your soul mate fight and be in pain, you wonder when is it ok to stop. There were definitely moments of great despair and hopelessness...
|Not able to paint yet, but making|
jewelry helps pass his days...
Now, I can voice these things since there has been a complete 180 in his healing. He is back to eating and enjoying it most days, he is gaining strength and energy. His body is building up its resistance and preparing for what we hope is his final surgery and we accept that this will all take time. There is still some pain, but it's lessening. The loss of feeling (neuropathy) in his hands and feet is difficult and we must be careful of the heat and cold and general well being of those appendages. I know we will get there. I no longer wake up in fear of how the day may greet me. I wake up,rested, sleeping in and knowing I have to go down and get the stove fired up again and his mush on the table to start the day. I look forward to discussions, playing backgammon and sipping our morning coffee together. We spend our days, side by side, working on small projects and not overdoing it - but creating items for our upcoming trip.
I am grateful, I am not complaining, I am recognizing that it has not been easy, that caregivers have moments of difficulty and need to draw on their own tenacity to move ahead. I am beyond grateful for the excellent care we have received from so many in the healthcare system; I am annoyed with some of the frustrations - but overall realize that his healing has been a bit of an anomaly and he hasn't always responded as expected. And, while it is not perfect, I will always be grateful for our Canadian healthcare system.
I am so appreciative of those who have helped us get to this point - emotionally, spiritually and financially - I had no idea how tough it would be and know that more needs to be in place to help people with the day to day needs. I can't even express my gratitude for the people who have assisted us so that I can be here to care for him. We have been fortunate, many aren't. The travel, day to day needs, ostomy supplies, medications, etc, can wipe out many families. We are ok and that is an amazing feeling!
|Celebratory lunch - after we got|
the GOOD news! His hair is
coming back beautifully!
I watch the phone daily, waiting for the call for Trip's final surgery - which is not looking like it will be before Christmas. It will be soon, he will heal and we shall rejoice! Trip 'n Daisy are happy hippies!
We now enter the Christmas season and my gift is the present. Nothing else matters but today - knowing we are here, still in love and grateful for the moments we have together - and excitement about our future - whatever it may hold! My hope is to be able to visit all of our family this next year, meet our newest grandchildren and see those we have not seen in years. If I can wish you anything this season of love and giving - it is to wish you "enough."
Peace and love,