This question comes to mind quite often. I am happily married to the best husband in the world. After many years of holding together through lifes ups and downs he is the one in the world who knows me the best. I’m not very good at keeping things from him, I always have to tell him whats on my mind. I told him within a few minutes of finding something wrong with my breast. I thought to myself “Oh I will have it checked out and tell him when I know something” but darn it all that noble thought didn’t last more than 5 minutes. He’s my guy. He’s the one I go to when I am in trouble. So why am I questioning who will take care of me?
The Lovers Path, Cinque Terre, Italy
Well its more complicated then just being loved. My husband has Parkinsons disease. He isn’t by any means an old man, it came on early after a hard infection he had some years ago. Sometimes a trauma to the body can trigger parkinsons. His parkinsons progressed quickly and things became harder for him to manage. He isn’t dependent on me really but he’s got it tough enough managing himself. It became clear to me after a couple years that this would be my roll in the relationship. I was going to be his caretaker.
I know that sometime in this process, whether I live or die, I will be sick. I have been lucky so far. I will soon have my third dose of “super chemo”. I get a dose every 3 weeks for a total of 4 doses. That means I am more than half done and still okay. I am up and out of the house most days and have only minor symptoms beyond the first week after chemo.
Next on my plan is weekly chemo for 12 weeks, I am afraid that may be worse. Who knows, maybe I will make it through on my feet. I like to hope so at least. I have several friends and a family member who survived breast cancer. But as far as I know they needed some help in periods of their recovery. I just hope and pray that I will be through this in about a year as most patients who survive are. I live in Norway which is a good country to live in if you are sick. You get the most modern treatments and it doesn’t cost you anything. Everything you need is covered including the wig.
Thank God that I don’t have the guilt of drawing my family into financial ruin at the same time. The guilt of worrying them, and fear of not being able to take care of them is enough. I wonder how many people in the US take their own lives to stop the expenses? I haven’t ever seen any statistics on that – but it occurs to me that if I were so sick that I didn’t think I was going to make it and driving my family to the point of losing their home – I’d be thinking that way.
I should probably explain that I am an American woman living in Norway because I married a Norwegian man. That makes me think a lot about what it would be like if I lived in the states.
This blog will be about my journey with an unwanted guest – breast cancer – and all it teaches me along the way. It will likely either be a heroic story of survival or a way for my family to understand what I went through when I am gone.
Fall in Norway suits my mood
My story begings in July 2012. I was getting ready for work and just walked by the mirror. I just walked by the mirror and everything changed that day. My left breast looked odd. That is the best I can describe it, something with my nipple didn’t look right. It looked puffy and odd. It felt odd too, heavy but I couldn’t find any kind of lump. I got an appointment to check it out quickly. The 4th of July I had an ultrasound, mamograph, and biopsy. It was indeed cancer, and the adventure began.
I was staying at a health center for other reasons at the time. I had used the first half of 2012 to improve my health. I had lost weight and could stop using high blood pressure medicine. That week was a follow up week at the camp and I should have been there to refresh what I had learned. I took the morning off one of the days to take the tests but decided to stay out the week until the results came in. The results weren’t do until Thursday or Friday. I figured if I stayed at the camp I would have plenty to keep me busy, if I went home I would just be waiting and worrying. Our family has an agreement on this matter – everything is normal until it isn’t normal. When the results were in on Friday I had completed the week and went home to my family. I am proud of myself for sticking it out and doing what I was supposed to that week.
While I waited to start treatment our main rule applied. We did normal things and I especially made sure I did the summer things that are important to me. I figure that if I lay sick in the fall I want to look back on a good summer. If I live I don’t want to waste the good days for nothing – and if I die I REALLY didn’t want to waste any days that I feel okay. Every second counts. Thats the name of a book by Lance Armstrong. I know hes in hot water now but he did do a lot of amazing things in life anyway.
Manarola Italy sea view
The thoughts do come to me. Was our trip to Italy my last big vacation. Have I had my last summer? Have i bathed in the ocean for the last time? Most of the days are okay, but sometimes at night I get to thinking about how frightened I am. And how alone I am in my fear. I have a husband and two sons, plus family and friends, but I don’t want to worry them. I don’t want to cause them pain. So I save it all for myself and keep it inside. I am afraid to let it out. I am afraid if I really lose it no one will be there to catch me. I have never trusted anyone to help me get my head back together. Thats why I always have to be in control.