Before my husband died, he could have told you without looking at a calendar what day and date he received a phone call. I know these dates because I have them written down and know the day of the week, but the actual dates have become fuzzy except that Halloween is now a reminder.
7-years ago tomorrow, November 1, 2010 at 8am, my husband received a phone call from our primary doctor that he needed to be seen at 5pm in the gastroenterologist’s office to go over results of his CT scan and follow-up from the colonoscopy that preceded the CT. It was a Monday and the CT was the previous Friday and the colonoscopy the day before that. Right after that call, he called me at home. I could tell immediately that there was something wrong. He told me he would come home and pick me up to go with for his appointment. Of course nobody would say what the issue was but we knew it wasn’t good because our test results were always given over the phone. We were completely blindsided. The gastroenterologist began by drawing pictures. First was a piece of carpet with the padding and then carpet and carpet fibers on top. He explained that 3 years prior when my husband had a polyp removed inside his colon that the polyp removed was in situ, so basically it sat in the top layers of the carpet fibers and did not penetrate to the pad. He explained the likelihood of cells with the results of the CT scan, that likely cells penetrated through during that time because the CT showed a very large tumor in the very spot that polyp was removed; at the cecum and that it was likely cancer because he also had peritoneal carcinomatosis which meant that it had spread throughout his abdomen. We were speechless. I asked everything that I could think of, but my brain was so overcome with fear or more possibly shock, that I didn’t get too many thoughts out. While in that office, the doctor immediately got on the phone and called an oncologist and made an appointment for us for two days later, first thing in the morning. 7 years of grief, life altering, life distinguishing news that he had cancer. There’s no need to rehash the details here, they are written in journals for now. By Friday of that week we had a definitive diagnosis from biopsy – appendix cancer.
I am a changed woman because of what my husband had to endure. I hold no anger because he was ravaged by a rare disease, but I hold disappointment in my heart and sadness not only for myself and my family, but mostly for him because he embraced life and all it had to offer with such incredible zest. He was an amazing patient, an incredibly strong human being both physically and emotionally to have lived with his cancer diagnosis for as long as he did, knowing each day that he would die from it. I so wish this did not happen to him, but it did. I’m glad God ended his suffering when the miracle of a cure was not possible. I’m grateful that I was the one to love him and walk him home.
Maybe one day Halloween time won’t be a reminder of our lives being turned upside down. I will concentrate today on the fun we always had and continue my gratitude for the laughter that was so prevalent in our lives.