In the last week and a half, several people have asked me how Jason is handling the diagnosis and all the questions, uncertainty, and well, just stuff that goes along with it. Of course, it's really early days, so I don't mean this to be a definitive description, it's just more a snapshot of what the last 10 days have been like. We have a road ahead of us, and we know that.
The day that all this unfolded; the day I got the diagnosis, I was on my own in the city. A good 45 minute drive away from him. I'd left that morning to go to what I thought was really just a cautious, responsible check into what would turn out to be nothing. There was no sense, in my mind, in trying to find someone to watch Grace at the last minute so that Jase could come with me. Plus, at the outset, I confess that I thought: "A day on my own in the city! I'll have this little appointment and then maybe I can go get a pedicure!"
So as the day went on and I realized that there was maybe something to this, and then that there was almost definitely something to this, I was sending him text messages every time I had a chance. That seems so anti-climactic, doesn't it? If this were a movie, that would so not be the way you tell your husband that you're having a biopsy and that things don't look good. Where's the drama? Where's the heartfelt expressions of love and support? This movie stinks!
It's just that there wasn't really time to call him, I was back and forth having tests, filling out forms, talking to people. Plus, it was a very quiet waiting room full of people that would've heard my every word. So we texted back and forth instead. But the thing is, Jason and I have been together for pretty much all of our adult lives. So I knew what he would say if I'd been able to call him. And he knows the same about me. So all that mushy heartfelt stuff was there, but it was subtext. In fact, this was a very pragmatic day, and most of our communications were, on the surface, conveying information.
In fact, once we did talk on the phone, after I'd finally talked to the doctor and paid the bill and gone out by the elevators--I don't even remember if I told him it was cancer. He already knew. And I knew that he knew.
My husband is an optimist. He really thinks that, most of the time, things are pretty darn swell. When I'm frustrated or discouraged about something, he is quick to debate me and demonstrate how, really, it's not that bad. (Which, I'm not gonna lie, is super-annoying sometimes!) He's also a doer. So, that first night, after I got home from the clinic, he read through the whole breast cancer book the clinic had given me. Then the next day, he was online, reading about cancer-fighting foods and complementary treatments, and alkalizing your body or some such. He knows I'm going to be fine, just knows it. Knows it better than I do. But he's also busying himself researching what we're gonna do from here on. How we'll eat differently, what kinds of food we'll buy, where we'll shop--all that stuff.
I'm not there yet. In fact, we had an argument the other day. I know, right? Who argues with a cancer patient?? I thought everybody was just supposed to be nice to me now. I mean, there ought to be some perks! Sheesh. It was the day I was trying to decide whether I'd have the lumpectomy or the mastectomy. Remember, I told y'all I was feeling pretty anxious and uncertain.
I called him over to the laptop. I was looking at statistics on local recurrence of cancer in patients who'd had lumpectomies. (Meaning, cancer returning to that breast.) I was saying I didn't know what to do. And he, being the optimist, started reassuring me about how it would be fine because in the future we are going to change how we do things, and that we were going to beat this and it wouldn't come back.
Well, that made me mad. See, you guys think I'm all sweet and positive all the time? I'm really not. I'm quite thorny, actually. I froze up when he said that, I was angry but I didn't really know why. So I snapped at him, he huffed, I puffed. You know how it goes. I said something snarky like, "I'm not gonna go to some health spa and slather my boob in quinoa paste! I'm not that person!" Even though I know that wasn't what he meant. I just wanted to say it.
It was only later, as we talked, cause he is like that--he always makes me talk and share, that I realized why I was upset. It's that I can't think that far ahead right now. I can't think past the surgery, really. And to me, I needed to make that decision--about what procedure to have, and thinking about how we were going to change our lifestyle in the future wasn't helping. In his mind, he was encouraging me that it was going to be okay, and in my mind he was saying my anxiety was silly.
Feelings. So annoying, am I right??
After that conversation, I told him to just go for it. Read everything, study up, file all this information away. I'm not ready to hear it right now, but I want him to do his thing. Because I know that later, I will be. It's not that I'm against all that stuff, I totally see the value in making lifestyle and diet changes! I just can't go there right now. It's too much for me.
Oops, I think I've made this post more about me than about Jason. To answer my original question...Jason is doing pretty good. At this stage, his plate is about as full as it can get. Things are very busy with the church, it's always full-on with the kids, he's thinking about me and looking after me too, and he was supposed to be completing his master's thesis at the end of this month. Woohoo! In fact, the other day he said to me, "I think I'm running at full capacity--I don't really think I could handle much more right now." Which is like a normal person saying, "OH GOD WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE! DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE A BRIGHT LIGHT??"
So, I know he's feeling the strain. Geez, who wouldn't be? But I always admire this about him, and I wish I was like this: he is able to separate his emotions from what needs to be done. He just gets on with it, he does what he can do in a given day, and he moves on. Gag--so annoyingly healthy!
To sum up, I think I'm in pretty good hands. And, fine! I will try not to be so pissy with him.