Tsunamis and tidal waves

If cancer is a tidal wave, brain cancer is a tsunami. Unfortunately, we get, not just the tsunami, but the tidal waves as well. And we struggle to find land.

The island we call home

A hospital room looking at the East River

Her: (waking) How’s everything back at home?

Perhaps the worst feeling I had during this whole damnable thing is the look of fear in my wife’s eyes. It was chilling.

We had started chemo and radiation last month but only had two treatments when she had to be rushed to the hospital because of how the tumor reacted to them.

If cancer is a tidal wave, brain cancer is a tsunami.

This week, she started both radiation and chemotherapy again and – at least so far – she’s been able to tolerate it. Unfortunately, constant new fears continually rise and pound us like tidal waves.

But those tidal waves are my responsibility to buttress. She has to shoulder enough.

  • Her insurance won’t cover several large expenses, so that means a full eight-hour day trying to navigate Obamacare, her insurance company, and credit card company.
  • Our son’s insurance was inexplicably cancelled so that meant another three-hour phone call to Obamacare and his insurance company
  • Our radiator cracked in the middle of the night, which is both extremely rare, and extremely dangerous. That meant a sleepless freezing night trying to get it fixed.
  • Constant medical mixups at her hospital where dosages and timing for medications are screwed up.
  • Other close family members suddenly dealing with their own medical issues.

Each one of these would be a disaster in-and-of themselves and it seems like I’ll never find footing.

Still, troubles are easier when others are willing to dive in and help.

  • The insurance issue was a missed email that meant having to choose between my son’s insurance or my wife’s insurance. Of course I had to choose my wife. But then I called a pediatrician friend of mine who told me not to worry, she would make sure he’s ok.
  • My neighbor Vic knows how to fix things like radiators. He came right over at 9PM, bought materials the next day, and fixed the issue.
  • The nurses at Alison’s hospital immediately stepped in and said they would monitor her medicine to make sure these screwups would stop happening.
  • Other family members stepped in to help out with these new medical emergencies.

Years ago, when my buddy Mike died, wrote about John Dunn’s poem, No Man is an Island. No woman is either.

The strength of one’s social support is a factor both in quality-of-life and survivability in cancer patients.

That we have so many other people willing to dive in to help us with these crashing waves makes me think that we can make it to shore. Maybe it’s only driftwood, but when there’s nothing else, driftwood has to be enough.

Me: Just fine.


Location: home for now, dealing with tidal waves
Mood: fighting the depression
Music: if we are wise We know that there’s always tomorrow
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