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When your spouse receives a cancer diagnosis…

At the end of February my husband went in for a check-up after not feeling well for a few months.  The general practitioner suggested perhaps it was IBS but prescribed a take home colorectal screening  “just in case”.

After the test, he received a call that the test was positive and he would need a colonoscopy.  This was scheduled in March. After that test we were told he has colon cancer.  Ok… deep breath.  Then a ct scan was ordered. I was at work the day he texted me to tell me that the ct scan results showed the cancer had metastasized and had spread.

Since then it has been a whirlwind of  two er visits, an emergency surgery and four day hospital stay, another ct scan which showed more tumors had grown in 2 weeks, numerous doctor’s appointments and tests, the installation of a chemo port and beginning tomorrow- chemo. (Neither one of us are excited about this.)

He was told to stop working end of March.  I took as many days as I could off to take him to appointments and stay in the hospital with him but in mid April my boss suggested I take full-time FMLA and be with him. (I had recently been approved for intermittent FMLA.) Since I had depleted my sick days earlier in the year by taking my mother to appointments for HER cancer treatments (it’s been a year!), my co-workers were kind and donated sick days for me to use during this time.  Will they be enough to cover the seven and half weeks remaining in the school year?   I don’t think so, but their kindness has been greatly appreciated.

Everything has been so fast and with work, family, and appointments I don’t think I have fully processed this diagnosis and the “what next” and “what ifs”.

I have had moments of optimism, moments of crying, moments of anger, moments of intense grief.  I either want to take on the world or curl up in a ball.

What I have gleaned from this so far is:

  1. Go for check-ups! Could this cancer could have been caught before it was so large and had spread? Seems like it.
  2. Have a big fat emergency fund.  No one wants to worry about the health of their loved ones (or themselves) AND worry about bills.
  3. Health insurance- maybe (That’s another story.)
  4. If that cancer insurance or Aflac salesperson comes to work, maybe, just maybe-  listen to the benefits
  5. Don’t procrastinate on dreams. (My husband had FINALLY scheduled to do something important for his career that he had been talking about for years.  It was scheduled to occur one week after his cancer diagnosis.  It did not go on as scheduled.)
  6. Love each other and get over what needs to be gotten over!

For now, it’s 2 months in.  I’m tired.  I’m sad.  I’m grieving.  I’m worried. Everyone says to “stay positive”.  I am trying- we are trying- but sometimes that is hard.

However, keeping a sense of humor helps.

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