I’m running a bit late to the Theme Reveal Party this year…but then, it’s been quite a year, so far.
And therein lies my theme for the Blogging From A-Z April Challenge, 2018 edition.
My husband died on January 12, after a brief but intense illness with metastatic pancreatic cancer. We’d been married 20 years and 1 day when he was first seen in an emergency room for what we suspected might be appendicitis, but was diagnosed as a “sludgy” gall bladder – not so uncommon for a man in his 50s who had struggled with his weight and a fondness for rich foods for most of his life. As almost an afterthought, we were told there was a “small spot” on his liver, most likely fatty liver disease – again, not at all uncommon for a man of his age and eating habits. It was suggested that he get it checked out by his primary care physician – “to rule out cancer.”
He was feeling better by the time we left, and we were relieved that it wasn’t anything serious. He went on with his life, and didn’t follow up with his doctor –
Even if he had, it would already have been too late. The tumor had leapt from his pancreas to his liver, and set up shop there, with fatal aggressiveness. Jim would feel “off” more and more over the next few months, with abdominal pain he assumed was either his gall bladder acting up, or a persistent constipation, or maybe an ulcer.
But we were also very busy with a brand-new cottage industry selling his artisanal hot sauces, so he simply kept going…until his doctor suggested a colonoscopy to rule out problems there. We were relieved that there were none, but he’d been having leg pain that intensified in the following days. The next week, he went to the doctor for that, was referred to the emergency room, and was admitted with a deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot stretching from his groin to his shin.
During the course of his treatment, proteins caused by cancerous cells were found in his blood, and that led to the diagnosis, which he received on November 13 – a day less than two months before his death. At the time, he was given six to twelve months to live, and we were hoping to beat that diagnosis.
However, things didn’t go as planned. The day of his first (and, as it turned out, only) chemotherapy session, he reacted poorly to two of the drug infusions, and then had what was later diagnosed as a minor heart attack. That resulted in a ten-day stay, and a release on hospice care.
He was released from the hospital on December 13 – a month after his diagnosis, and less than that until he would die in our bed, in the same spot I’m sitting as I type this.
And that wraps up this history, and leads to the theme reveal.
This year, I will be writing the Alphabet of Grief, as I and our children, ages 16 and 13, learn to live in a new way, and process the loss of the man who was my husband and best friend, as well as an involved and loving father to them.
I haven’t had a lot of time to plot, draft, revise, prep, and schedule my posts as I usually like to do. This year’s posts will be more in the manner of stream of consciousness, as this post is. I can’t promise what you’re going to see here; only that it will be genuine.
I’m not sure I can say that I look forward to sharing what I will share in this space. I hope it will be therapeutic for me, and maybe for others, as well. I hope there will be some value in it for everyone who reads it.
I will see you again on Sunday, April 1, with my A post.
Until then, it’s back to my regular life-in-progress.