Monday, September 06, 2010

Life Goes On

I was angry. I was really afraid. I was so alone. Bob was completely convinced that he didn't have cancer anymore. He had convinced others that he had been cured in Brazil. They believed him! A few people even went to Brazil for some of that "healing"!

A year after he was originally diagnosed with Stage 2 squamous cell carcinoma, Bob went to an oral surgeon because he thought that he had a deep infection in his jaw, or that he had Tetanus. The oral surgeon suggested that he get a CT scan and made a referral. The CT scan came back with the results that I (secretly) knew already -- Stage 4 nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The pictures were examined by two separate doctors on two separate occasions. When the diagnosis was presented to Bob, he insisted that the doctors didn't know what they were talking about. He went to Brazil again (I believe he went to Brazil a total of 5 times) and talked to a "healer" who told him that it was an infection (again), and he, in turn, told everyone that he was cancer-free.

I was watching my husband die slowly, knowing that his particular cancer could have been arrested had he chosen conventional treatment. I watched him continue to tell people that he was cured and that I was crazy. He was sure that I wanted him dead. He said that our "contract" was over, that I was far more fearful than he had hoped I would be (as in, living a life without fear; fear is lack of faith and trust in a Higher Power, etc.), and that I was never going to attain any spiritual enlightenment like he had.

So, I was angry. I was really afraid (but not the kind of fear that he meant). I was so alone.

Regardless of how I felt, I knew that any attempt to convince him that he, in fact, WAS dying of cancer would be futile; it might be even more detrimental to our already fragile relationship and might send him over the edge. I really didn't want him to snap. I was willing to set aside my need to be right in order for him to come to terms with his demise in his own good time.

And so he did. It took an agonizingly long time, but he did. It took him getting a tracheostomy and a feeding tube, but he did.

Then came the obstinacy about everything.

When Bob was released early from the hospital (because the drs didn't want him to leave A.M.A.), he didn't want Hospice to start their care with him, but he wanted Home Health Care. The night he came home was the night the seizures started. At first I thought he had fainted, but after a few horrifying evenings and calls to 911 with his refusals to return to the hospital, I realized that they were seizures. I was at wit's end. I couldn't do this on my own. I asked Bob's friends to come help me watch him until he refused to let them stay. I had to get Bob's G.P. to prescribe Hospice. He still wanted Home Health Care. During the Dr. visit, I fell apart. I cried. I begged the Doctor to prescribe Hospice. I pleaded, crying, in front of Bob, God, and everyone else.

Hospice started their visits, and attempted to medicate Bob. He was in excruciating pain, but refused opiates. He refused a lot of things, and really tested the patience of the nurses. Because he was losing weight rapidly, there were many dosage adjustments made and he also took a trip to a Hospice facility for a week.

August to December. 2008. Hospice, arguments, Hospice, refusals, Hospice, sleeping on the closet or bathroom floor, Hospice, concessions, Hospice, arguments, emaciation, Hospice, hospital bed in the bedroom, Hospice, morphine (ahhhh, blessed morphine! He could finally sleep!), Hospice, coma, Hospice, TRANSITION.

Bob died peacefully at home on December 14, 2008.


And life goes on.

I was still very angry, and really afraid, and so alone.

Something was added to that, though. I was hopeful. I saw new opportunities ahead. I took those and ran with them.

Unfortunately I also ran with the anger and the fear and the loneliness. My judgment was clouded. I was grieving. I made a decision of the relationship variety that subsequently became a "valuable life lesson" (a much better way of looking at this than calling it a mistake). It took a year to rectify the situation, and luckily I came out of it relatively unscathed, and hopefully a tad wiser.

I am still hopeful. I still believe that there are unlimited possibilities, and that I should do what I love. I am doing that, and it is glorious!

I also know that I loved Bob well.

I am not angry. I am not afraid. I am not alone.


Blogger Arvind said...

That was very depressing and frustrating to read. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to live through it. Glad to hear you are in a better state of mind now. (came here via Chris Clarke)

September 08, 2010 6:11 AM  

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