Hats Off to My Cancer-Warrior

Back in January I posted about my husband’s cancer surgery on the date of our first anniversary. It’s hard to believe that was almost four months ago, and five months since we found out he had squamous cell cancer of the throat, specifically the base of the tongue. Here’s a summary of our journey:

  1. December 7, 2011 – first learned about the cancer.
  2. January 16, 2012 – surgery to remove the cancer on the tongue.
  3. February 10  – surgery to remove the cancerous lymph nodes.
  4. March 13 – surgery to implant a PEG feeding tube in his stomach.
  5. March 15 – first of 30 radiation sessions.
  6. April 25 – last radiation session.

Today I decided it was time to write about my cancer-warrior. I won’t say this has been an easy journey, far from it. But he has been surprisingly upbeat overall. I think the darkest times were right after he came home from the first surgery. For a man who has been very healthy for 65 years, being weak, unable to eat or sleep or speak properly… it was a real shock to the system. He said he felt like a 65-year-old man.

Right now, he’s out getting his hair cut. He likes being able to reconnect with things from LBC (Life Before Cancer), like hopping in the car, driving over to Pleasanton and seeing the same gal who’s been cutting his hair for the past 18 years. Yes, he needs a quick nap after getting home, but the main point is he’s getting out. He’s not moping around the house singing “woe is me.” He’s even been doing the lawn-mowing for the past few weeks. So what if he needs two days to do what he used to do in an afternoon. He’ll get back to that point.

We’ve been very lucky, both of us, to have had excellent health for so long. True, we eat well but as anyone would tell you that’s not enough these days. We’re not big fans of exercise, either; his is done with a lawn mower and mine is done with a vacuum cleaner. (OK now – you can get your minds out of the gutter!) I have a roll-up exercise mat and hand weights, I know I should do more, but….

So this has been a bit of a wake-up call to both of us. To realize we really do only have so much time here on this particular planet, and it’s best not to waste it.

So hat’s off to Jim, my cancer-warrior, for putting up with all the crap slung his way for the past five months!! Now all we have to do is get him back to eating real food and get that dang feeding tube removed. I’ll be sure to post when that happens.

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