Not Just Bad

Susan’s good stretch lasted maybe 20 hours. In hindsight, maybe it was foolish of me to hope that it would last much longer than that. In fact, I had hoped that she’d be OK for weeks, or at least a few days.

So I couldn’t sleep last night.

Instead, I laid beside Susan as she pressed her hand to my chest to stop the flow of blood from the knife wound she was certain she had just given me.

There was more. All of it horrible.

Around 2:00am, I gave her more drugs, hoping they would help her sleep. They did not.

As the night wore on, I tried new tactics.

I stopped responding directly to what she said, instead telling her what I wanted her to know. This didn’t work; for the first time since we’ve been married (yes, really), Susan started shouting at me.

Eventually, I stopped responding at all, figuring that nothing I said made any difference, so maybe saying nothing would be an improvement.

Around 5:00am, Susan went to sleep. But by then I was — am — too frazzled to settle down.

Through the night, I kept thinking: cancer isn’t just bad-as-in-unfortunate. Cancer is evil. It took my wife’s breast, then her health, then her hip, then her energy, then her dexterity — all things she cared about.

But Susan stayed tough and positive through all of that.

And so now it’s taken her mind and her ability to enjoy being with her family.

Right now, to me, cancer seems both insulting and malicious.

I hate it.

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