Living with cancer #2

Last Friday was my parent teacher conferences. I always put my phone on silence when I am at work. But since my husband was first diagnosed with cancer last year in September, I started the habit of checking on my phone more often.

Living with cancer #2
Natalie Miller Photography + Design

My morning was fully booked. I mean booked so tightly that there wasn’t even room for any bathroom breaks. When I was waiting on a late parent I turned on my phone. And there were two long text messages from my man. He’d had another episode where he almost passed out again, and this time he was at work. It has happened several times before. After resisting two types of chemo and one radiation, his tumor is growing back again on his neck and in his chest. The one on his neck is pushing against his vein and causes him to get lightheaded and dizzy, especially if he turns his head a certain way. He’s even passed out more completely a couple times even if only for a couple seconds.

This is the first time that it happened when he was not with me. He said he was able to walk outside of the meeting room at work but he had to sit on the floor. There was nobody there and that just scared me. What about if he lost consciousness and there was nobody to help him? Or what about when he is driving. And speaking of that what do you think happened next? Of course he drove home! We only live a few miles from his office but still, he drove! His boss asked him if he wanted to have someone drive him and a coworker asked the same thing when he was walking out to his car. But you know men, and my man especially. “No, I’ll be fine.” Then he got in his car and drove off. I can’t let my imagination go too far. But he did make it home without any problem and laid down for a while. That took the pressure off his tumor and he felt much better.

Saturday, we decided to have dim sum for brunch. While we were eating, he felt a bit like he was going to pass out again. But luckily it was not a full attack. Before we left, I ran to the restroom and worried every minute if he will be on the floor when I came back to the table. Sunday, it happened again. We were home this time and he was able to walk to the bed where he laid down for an hour and again felt much better.

Yes, we are worried. Well, I am. He just gets annoyed more than anything. But we are still enjoying our life together. Saturday after brunch we went to a park nearby and the colorful leaves were so breathtaking. We even tried a new restaurant that evening and he found his favorite short rib dish.

What about the dizzy spells? He’s gone through this before. He will be having a biopsy done soon to make sure there are no new surprises and his doctor wants to make sure the tumor is as large as possible to get a good sample. They shouldn’t be able to miss this one, it’s pretty big! Anyway, after that he will get some steroids that should help shrink it a bit until his new chemo starts in a week or so. As long as there’s something we can do we can stay positive. And that’s the way we try to deal with this problem, by focusing on what we can do instead of what we can’t. We were having some wine with our exotic imported dinner (OK, it was carryout from KFC but it was delicious!) and he told me the saying of the glass half full or half empty. It was easy to see which side of that choice we are on. Even as we finished our wine we knew that as long as we can hold hands, look into each other’s eye, smile and laugh together, our glass would always be overflowing. Cheers!

All videos and photos if not credited otherwise, are by Robert Buck and Grace Liang.

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  1. i don’t know how you are able to do it. i mean, you do it bc you have to, but it’s so hard to care about other things and people when you are dealing with your own issues. parent conferences?! i’d be like i don’t care about your kid right now, lol. i know first hand what it’s like to “put on a show” when at that point you don’t care about those other things. i do presentations for my job, and when dealing with a family illness, i couldn’t care less about helping someone else understand the topic i speak on. i commend you.

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