The worst part about having any sort of disease is that it doesn’t just affect you. Cancer is really a crappy thing to have to carry for the rest of my life. And I saw a little bit of how it’s making my wife’s life worse, as well.
I had a pre-surgery appointment this past week and I set a date which I thought was a good fit for work, our life and getting the procedure over with. The doctor is TDY for the next couple of weeks preparing for his upcoming deployment, I’ve got a few busy weeks at work, we’ve got two lacrosse tournaments over our anniversary weekend and I figured overlapping some of my convalescent leave with Thanksgiving would be the least intrusive.
Since the doctors aren’t looking to get me in surgery within the next 72 hours, I’m feeling pretty good I’ve moved out of the zone of “dying from cancer” and locked in the zone of “living with cancer.” if the doctors feel no sense of urgency, why should I?
Anyhow, she asked me why I didn’t get an earlier appointment. I told her the doctor offered a date and I took it. And she huffed the entire hour-long drive home. Eventually, she blew up at me. I don’t listen to her. I don’t talk to her. I’m dragging this whole procedure out. Why can’t I do the surgery earlier, so I can start treatment earlier? Why don’t I understand this is hard for her, too? All valid questions. So then I started. First off, I still seem to have anger management issues since getting home (completely normal -I do not have PTSD). Secondly, I know I’m somewhat oblivious to how others feel. Thirdly, I honestly thought I did something right for a change. So I started explaining. And what came out turned into an emotional outburst of my own. Seems I really don’t want to die from cancer. And I am upset that the best medical science can do is make it slightly less likely I’ll die of cancer in the next five years. If I do nothing, there’s a 60% chance of melanoma returning. With treatment, the best I can hope for is reducing that to 40%. It sure sounds good when you’re talking medical gibberish, but a 40% chance of getting more melanoma is not that great a deal.
Long story short, I completely lost control of my emotions, my wife feels like she’s going through this alone, I don’t want to die, I’m not all that confident in the approved medical techniques and I need to work more on anger management.
I’m having more lymph nodes removed just to be sure they did get all the melanoma cells and I should start either the interferon or the clinical trial, whichever is the ultimate decision. And I’m not happy with any of my options.
At least I have a pretty good reason for not writing….