CANCER

Final Chapter: Part 1

Hello, I’m the husband. It’s been several days since the passing of my beautiful Megan, and I’m still not sure about posting here, but I think it might give some people, including myself, some closure.

Megs had 3 battles with cancer, the first 2 successfully treated. The first one came one year into our marriage. Somehow it was more of a surprise to me than her. She had discovered a lump just before we left for France. She elected to stay mum about it til we got back.

Little by little it was revealed to us that she had tumors, of completely different kinds, one in each breast.

It’s here that you ask yourself, one year into a marriage, three years into a relationship, she’s 53, you’re 63, do you bolt and try to find yourself a more suitable, healthier mate, or do you stick.

So this was my choice. And before you assign some noble purpose to my decision, don’t. Ok, maybe some of my reasoning to myself pointed out what a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, sexy wife I had. And maybe she’d beat this thing. It wasn’t purely selfish. But also, the neurotic that I am knew that I had probably 30, 35 years of shaving, and having to looking myself in the face 3 or 4 mornings a week and ask myself if I did the right thing, and what an asshole I was to leave the woman I most loved in life, ever, when she needed me the most.

Whatever the reason, I signed up.

So that summer, I took time off of work, and between chemo treatments and other cancer-related running around, we lay on the couch under the living room window and watched the entire series of West Wing seasons, and watched the deer try to sneak small meals of our calandrinia before I jumped off the couch, ran out the front door shouting at them and chasing them off, megs laughing away. In fact just about the only other really significant activity besides figuring out her a flow chart/spread sheet for the seemingly voluminous regimen of meds, draining the tubes coming out of her body from the surgeries and foolin’ around, was making each other laugh. We did lots and lots of that.

And you know what? She got better.

Huh. With each month that passed, I’d wonder if we’d beaten this thing.

We went to Hawaii, went to concerts and baseball games, her Giants always losing, my Dodgers winning, fought with each other about the usual amount for couples, laughed and laughed, and held each other tight, secretly fearing we weren’t out of the woods.

And we weren’t.

The next recurrence-episode-incident came early in ‘15. Somehow the pain of it or my own age and senility renders the second installment of my beautiful, intelligent, funny, sexy wife getting cancer was almost a total blur to me. i seemed to have blocked it out,

Except that it was marked by radiation instead of chemo, Braking Bad instead of West Wing. I couldn’t give you another detail. Eventually, it went away. And we thought, “Maybe we beat this shit!”

Lots of stuff followed: Megs decided to retire from her 20 year career, we sold our house, bought another house with a bit of an ocean view, Megs began writing, cultivating friendships, ran a half marathon, we loved, and fought, and laughed. I took up woodworking to take up my time while she wrote. When Trump got elected, we cried, and then we decided to do something to counteract the evil. I started prep cooking for a group that made Sunday breakfast for the homeless, Megs helped bring Swing Left to the community, and did a lot of good for California law makers who were aligned with her politics.

Life seemed a little normal. For another year and a half.

In December of ‘17, my sweet girl felt some tingling in her left arm. Then some pain. So we went to doctors. Lots of them. All kids of them. I don’t think we heard the same diagnosis twice.

Then 6 or 7 months later, we heard the answer that rang true: cancer. Huh? Cancer? A tumor found a home for itself on top of of something call a brachial plexus. Cancer is nothing if not an anatomy class you never wanted to audit, and were never gonna forget. This tumor, thusly situated, severed all the neural texting between it and everything down to the finger tips. Soon her arm was completely and permanently paralyzed. But at least it was her left arm. What was slowed, but not stopped, was her writing. With tremendous support from her writer friends, she started a blog. As you know if you’re reading this, it was a gift to many, for many reasons.

The writing was crisp, witty, clever, painful, poignant. It, of course, was a gift to herself as well.

Ok, still with me? Figure I dropped a few of you along the way.

Being the travel agent for the family, megs made me put together several trips and excursions in the past 18 months. One was a trip to Italy, with an all-out business class journey to the land of Progeny’s father, where he took them both many times, to his little village, and all over the country. Both girls loved Italy, and Megan was excited about showing it to me. Cancelled. In January, she had me book a trip to Hawaii, to our paradise in Maui. Our oncologist hooked us up with an eminent some-kind-of-specialist at UCSF, who was trying to get Megs into a trial for a new wonder drug. One half of the cancer patients in the trial would get the wonder drug, the other half would get another drug, not the wonder drug, but a really cool drug, nonetheless.

We didn’t know if we’d get into the trial, but they called us up to San Francisco on Friday, the day before we were gonna leave for Maui. HEY, we got into we trial!!! It starts Monday!!! (Insert frowny grumpy sad emoji here!!!) Maui: canceled!!!

And guess what? On Monday we learned we weren’t getting the wonder drug. We were getting the really cool one, that we didn’t need to be in the trial to get. Ugh! Thus the politics and bureaucracy of cancer.

I’m going to regroup a bit, and will be back with the rest of Megan’s uh, story(?), travails(?), life(?).  

-db

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