When dealing with cancer and treatments, it’s like an emotional roller-coaster that doesn’t stop. When my wife, Sally, went through the rigorous treatments of 6 chemotherapies and 32 radiations within 7 weeks, there was hope that her Stage 4 vulvar cancer was going to at least be contained, but there was a strong chance it would return. We were hoping for years, not much sooner.
At the time, things were looking promising. She actually went back to work in early March, but it wasn’t going to last. After about 3 weeks, Sally was starting to experience pain in her abdomen. She wasn’t scheduled for a scan for another several weeks, but the doctors pushed through a new scan, something the insurance company didn’t want to do.
Waiting for the results was agonizing. In the waiting area, one of the doctors came out and said that her main doctor would call her. The look on his face told me that it wasn’t good. The next day, her cancer doctor called and was crying on the phone. Her cancer had spread into her lungs, spleen and bone. I talked with her separately and the doctor said that the love of my life only had months to live.
At the doctor’s office, her doctor mentioned that they were going to try another treatment. But, I’ll never forget what she said to Sally, “cancer finds a way.” I’m sure that many others can relate to this as I’ve heard other stories of cancer returning to people, even ones I know indirectly.
Sally went through two more brutalizing treatments and the lymphedema got worse again. After a month, the doctors decided to stop the chemotherapy as the cancer continued to spread. A few months was now turning into weeks.
My sister, Susan, flew out from Atlanta to help me take care of Sally. We had no family in Idaho as they were spread out. I couldn’t have gone through this part of the journey without her.
I was already going through the grieving process, but I mostly did it alone. I thought I could handle what was coming, but one of my good friends, Bryan, told me that it was going to hit me very hard when she passes. He was right. From my experience, there is nothing that can prepare you for the loss of the great love of your life, even when you know it’s coming.
The picture is one of the last ones that was taken with the both of us.