I was on the far side of my wife's bed as we listened to those words. Words spoken by one of two young doctors standing on the other side of the bed. The room was dark...not night dark...but "this is not good" dark.
"The tumor is cancerous."
"How bad," my wife asked?
"We are not completely sure but it has moved out of the colon and into some lymph nodes."
I squeezed my wife's hand. She squeezed back and smiled.
I wondered about the doctors...so young...and yet somehow I felt calm. I'm not sure why. They were young oriental females that looked like they could still be in high school but they were so caring...so concerned. I knew our medical provider wouldn't have them there if they weren't qualified but it was more than that. I knew they would do everything they could to help my wife.
Nancy had just had the tumor removed with part of her colon. What next? Would she wear "the bag"?
Chemo...radiation...I had heard the terms or most of the terms...there were more...many more.
I thought about the first afternoon in the emergency room. We were not sure why we were there. She hadn't been feeling well and finally agreed to see a doctor. She had had her blood taken along with the normal check up and she was to return the following week.
That afternoon they called her and told her that she needed to go to the hospital. She ignored the call and didn't bother to tell me. She was a hair dresser and her Friday customers needed their hair done.
They called her on Friday at 10 A.M. and told her she needed to report to the emergency room as soon as possible. She called me at noon and said I needed to take her to the hospital.
"What's wrong," I asked?
"I'm not sure but they want me to go to the emergency room."
She was laying on the bed in the emergency room when the doctor came in. I was by her side.
"We are going to admit you and give you some blood."
"You are a little low so we need to fill you up. You know sort of like a car engine needs oil to operate, you need blood to operate."
"Can't I have some hemoglobin instead. I'm afraid of someone else's blood."
"No, we don't do that anymore. But, I do understand your concern. However, we do check the blood very closely so there is only a 2% chance of you having any problems.
The thing you should know is that you are very low on blood. If you had been brought in here because of a traffic accident I probably would not be able to save you. If you were to have a heart attack right now I probably would not be able to save you. So we need to fill you up and then find out what is going on.
I see from your history that your a soccer player."
"Yes," I interjected. "She's a soccer nut. She plays every Wednesday night and two games on Sunday."
"That's probably why she is still alive. Most people would be dead if they lost the amount of blood she has lost."
/ / / /
to be continued.
I am going through the experience of a friend fighting brain cancer. It has brought back all the memories and horrors of my wife's struggle with colon cancer. Today she is a 7 year survivor of that deadly disease. I decided it's about time I wrote about it.