Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Beginning (or perhaps The End)

Eleven and a half years ago, I found out I had cancer. I was diagnosed with follicular, small-cleaved cell Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is an incurable, ultimately fatal form of cancer. On the bright side, it is slow moving and so far, has produced no debilitating physical side effects.

When I first learned of this, I went through the usual state of shock, walking around looking at people, wondering why me and not that fat guy over there, smoking and stuffing down a Big Mac. I was prone to leaking tears unexpectedly when I thought of my young children not getting to know me.

Time passed. I have gone through four rounds of chemotherapy and still show no outward signs of the disease. My wife and I had come to terms with this and appreciated the time we were able to have. My children are growing and will perhaps have memories of me after all. I considered myself to be a lucky guy.

Then, we were hit again.

I returned from a business trip in Europe, and while lying in bed exhausted from international flight, my wife told me that she had been to a doctor in my absence, and that he thought that she might have multiple myeloma. I remember being paralyzed, struck numb by the thought of this. Throughout my illness, my wife was my rock, the family's foundation, the glue that held us all together. She could not be sick.

There followed a second round of shock when I moved as though encased in molasses. I could not function at work; I struggled to connect with my children. My wife and I lay wordlessly in bed and cried.

That was three years ago now. Since then, we have gone through three stem cell transplants, all failing. We are now faced with the final fight. How long can we forestall the inevitable?

This blog will be that record.


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