Tuesday, October 14, 2014

And The News Came, Fast and Furious

What do you say after your husband dies? What is it that's going to make things better?

I miss him desperately because he knew me. I hate him horribly for not taking better care of himself and dying so soon.

And I hate myself…for not being more understanding.

My husband was told he had a sinus infection on May 23, 2014. Just a few days later he was feeling so poorly that I took him to an urgent care on Memorial Day. They told him he had an infected parotid gland in his neck, gave him an antibiotic and some Lortab and said he'd feel great in two days. "Take off the rest of today and Tuesday. You'll feel so much better and be ready to go back to work on Wednesday."

He never complained about being in pain…when he got to the point that he was feeling so poorly and asking for relief, I knew something was wrong. Like clockwork, I went to work that Wednesday. He did too. 20 minutes into his shift, he couldn't stand up without being dizzy and unsteady on his feet. He couldn't stand on his own and was weak. He did the one thing he'd never done in the 15 years we'd been together: He called me at work and told me to come get him because he couldn't drive.

I left and immediately took him to the ER of the hospital where he worked. Within two hours, they found a mass on his lung, had him on an IV, and had taken x-ays, a CT, and an MRI. The ER doctor made it clear that he was sure my Richie had cancer; he just didn't know what kind. Richie was admitted to the oncology unit from the ER that day, had four biopsies, and a PET scan. The PET scan revealed that the cancer was in his lung, all lymph nodes, and his neck. He'd had a chest xray three months earlier which showed none of these masses. How in the entire fuck do you go from nothing to mass destruction?

I feel like telling this story is a report rather than the emotional hell it's been since day one. I was nothing short of stoic as I sat there in the ER and then the hospital room asking questions about PET scans, CT and MRIs, blood work and biopsies.  I recall being asked by one of the ER physicians what field of medicine I practiced. He truly thought I was a doctor based on my questions and understanding of the babblespeak to which I was subjected. I remember giving a jaded chuckle because the only way someone knows what I know yet isn't a medically trained professional, is because she's seen it happen before.

I'm used to people leaning on me, relying on me, depending on me. I'm not used to being the weak one who asks for help. This road has been the toughest every because of that. I want so badly to isolate from everyone and never speak or think of this again. Magical beans and all that shit.

That night as I walked out of the hospital room, that first night, I had a call from a dear friend who said she was on her way to the hospital. The last thing I wanted to do was talk. I wanted to get home, get clothes for Richie, his CPAP, toothbrush…the real life things that would keep me sane. She cornered me in the parking lot, and I bluntly told her he had cancer and was going to die. I don't know why, but I knew that first night that he would die and it wouldn't take long.

My big mouth. My large, loud, brash mouth lost its shit in that parking lot when she tried to hug me. I knew I would crumble if she hugged me. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs and hitting my car over and over again. I'm sure I looked like a lunatic. Some dumbass do-gooders called security on me. Three different rent-a-cops came at me. All I could do was laugh through my hysterical tears and tell them to go to my husband's room so they could verify that I was losing my shit because my husband was dying of cancer. Yup. That's what I did. To say I wanted to strangle them and everyone else standing around staring at my meltdown is an understatement.

Life as I knew it was no longer normal. Predictable. Happy. Even. Smooth. Calm. I had the monster of cancer looking me in the face every time I glanced at my husband. The tumor on his neck huge, bulging, taking over his body by the second.

That's it kids. That's all I can muster today.


  1. I wish I could have been there...I know we were making plans for me to come down and then? it was too late..I love you..keep them tits up.

  2. This heartache, this horrendous pain. I remember it like yesterday. When I found out about stage four cancer everywhere. I crawled into bed and I sobbed for hours with the covers over my head. Nothing helps. You are in it and it wants to destroy you.

    My children, my husband got me through it. You got me through it. Jackiesue got me through it. Sometimes moment by moment to get through it.I still have on my bulletin board the very first card you sent me. Humble. Humility.

    I love you. I'm sorry for your loss.

    Bruce can be such a freaking pain in my ass but I would be dead without him. He has saved me so many times. He has my back. I treasure him. Even more now.

    Please keep writing. I love reading your words.