Okay… well.. I could, but I don’t want to. So I am not gonna right now!
Trigger Alert: This post is full of difficult memories of my husband’s llness and death.
I swear if I hear one more person say some bullshit to me like, “Think positive!” I am going to scream. Let me tell you why. When my husband was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer 5 months after we were married I was nothing but positive. I believed he would get better once we got him through chemo. I believed we would be able to settle into our lives as newlyweds without the trauma of cancer and build the life we dreamed of. NEVER for a moment did I doubt it.
When John was diagnosed with an aggressive liver cancer a year after his colon cancer diagnosis, I knew we had more work to do but I chose to hold on to my belief that we would get him through. The first time I ever truly considered the worst was possible was during a conversation with a woman at church. She asked if I needed anything. I responded, “I need my husband to get better.” Her response was, ” What if he doesn’t?” I was shocked into silence. I had never for a moment truly considered the “What if?” I feared it, but I figured that was just my anxiety talking so I ignored it the best I could and focused on getting John well.
Late October John had the entire right lobe of his liver removed to try to save his life. What he endured after the surgery, incuding flatlining in recovery, will always be my battle to win. Still, I held onto the hope that we could get him better.
November 20 I asked the oncologist for a prognosis. He was very clear that some go longer and some go shorter, but typically people with John’s type of cancer live 3 – 6 months without chemo, and 6 – 9 months with it. I took a deep breath and braced myself for the worst because of John’s condition at that time. “3 months. I get him for 3 more months.”
John died 36 days later on December 26, 2013.
So you see, “Think positive'” isn’t the answer. It doesn’t change a damn thing in the long run. Cliches like that silence the person looking for strength and support. The only person helped is the one who doesn’t want to deal with the hard stuff.