From the beginning of this nightmare I could never shake the memories of Duane. His diagnosis. His hospital stay. His chemotherapy. His journey's end. I keep comparing, keeping a tally of what he went through and how I've handled it, let me hear it now... Not Smart Becky, not smart! I know, I have a problem with judging myself harshly, but who doesn't.
One particular memory has been haunting me since last week when I scheduled my first chemo appointment.. Duane's last chemo appointment I shared with him. At that time he was already orange, we knew something was going wrong but steps were not being taken quickly enough to catch up with the damage being done to his body. We sat there in the clinic, uncomfortably, usually we talked and enjoyed our "dates" as they became to be but this day was different. I was tired and battling a sciatic nerve problem and he was well, dying and we both secretly knew this was the truth. You would think that those memories alone would have made this last appointment one for the books but it was what happened to the woman sitting next to us that made me never want to set foot in that clinic again. My heart still to this day, 5 years later hurts for her friend as she called for the nurses to come over and check on her cancer fighting friend. The woman had, I assumed, suffered a stroke or something like that. I never asked. She was unresponsive, barely a blood pressure to register and she looked catatonic. I am ashamed of what transpired next, I quickly left my husband, my dying husband, next to the woman who was departing this world to go cry my eyes out in the car. I could not handle the reality of what cancer and chemotherapy does to a body. And that my friend was my last experience with chemotherapy, my last memory, a Duane memory.
But tomorrow I will create MY memories of MY fight, not Duane's epic battle but MY EPIC BATTLE!! I will try and prove that chemo saves lives not damages lives. I can't keep that memory as my own but only as a memory of Duane's. I am different than my precious husband. Please don't think that I'm putting down his memories, my memories of him or his time he fought so valiantly. I am not, but I need to do it in some round about way, am I making sense? My children need me to be Wonder Woman, dragon slayer, evil fighter, kingdom saver. They need to see that cancer is NOT a death sentence. I can't keep comparing what happened to Duane with what's happening to me. All of our memories and experiences with this evil disease need to be rewritten. Duane showed me strength, grace, how to carry on(before it was cool to Keep Calm and Carry ON). I will keep those memories and add to them MY very own memories, our memories, the kids and I.
I'm excited, anxious, scared but mostly.... Ready to Slay a Dragon named Cancer.