Another girl, another blog


DABDA
August 11, 2008, 9:45 pm
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A lot of shit has happened since Saturday, and I don’t quite know where to begin.

Hubs’ doctor’s appointment didn’t go as well as either of us had hoped. His surgical scar is healing nicely and the doctor said that everything looks fine and is healing as expected. This is not the bad part (obviously). Apparently there was a small tumor in the hernia sac and the doctor sent it off to the pathologist to have tests run on it. It was cancerous and is basically the fist biopsy we’ve had done since the August 2006 recurrence. The doctor said they also suctioned out approximately two liters of fluid from his belly through the incision site. They had this fluid also tested by the pathologist which confirmed that some of the tumor cells had sloughed off and had accumulated in his belly. This can be something that is common in people with cancer, but as we all know, nothing is ever normal when it comes to Hubs with his illness.

I feel like a lot of things died within me this weekend, and no I don’t think that is over-dramatic or overstating. I think part of me finally came to terms with the reality of the situation and the comfortable state of denial I have been encased in for the past two years has been torn away from me without my permission.  Having to look him in the eyes on the way home as he asked me, “Do you think it’s ever been gone?” broke my heart. Watching my husband’s beautiful eyes fill up with tears as I had to answer, “No, I don’t think it ever did,” nearly crushed me. 

One of the first things they teach you in the social work program is about Kubler-Ross’ model of grief and loss. It basically states that people who are faced with their own terminal illness or the loss of a loved one go through five basic stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This is sometimes referred to in popular culture and therapeutic circles as DABDA. They’re not set in stone, every person does not go through each stage in that consecutive order, not every person goes through each stage and it is possible for a person to be in more than one stage at a time. People can go through these stages as they deal with a breakup (Jess, I’d say you’re in the anger phase…and rightfully so!), lose a limb, nearly any sort of trauma where they are grieving the loss of somebody or some intricate part of their being.

For the last two years I have vacillated between denial, anger, and depression. I’ve got my issues with God so bargaining was not something I really engaged in. Sure, there have been times where I’ve cried in my room alone at night, begging God to let my husband survive this, and generally those tearful prayers were greeted the next day with bad news from the oncologist. Acceptance of my husband’s impending death is not a stage I am prepared to come to. I mean, how does one prepare for that moment where the person they’ve spent their entire adult life loving is gone? 

This weekend, I feel like I came to that point where acceptance was not such a far off concept. With that acceptance came a number of realizations.

I will never grow old with my husband.

I will never celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary with him. I don’t know if I will celebrate my 10th with him. 

I will not have the chance to retire with him and travel the world. We won’t see Europe, or go to Thailand, we won’t have the chance to go atop the Eiffel Tower in Paris as opposed to the fake Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel when we got married. 

I will never have children with this man. We won’t get to argue about baby names, nursery colors, who has to wake up with a screaming baby at 2:00 am and he’ll never get to see a part of him live on.

This is not a pity party. Quite the contrary, this is a realization and point I’ve been struggling to come to in therapy (both in individual and group). I’ve always been so afraid of what admitting this would mean to me, to my marriage, to my soul. As I’ve come to grips with the reality, I know now what it means. Numbness. The feeling of wanting to break down and sob, but being afraid that once I start to cry, I won’t be able to stop. Starting the grieving process too soon means I’m robbed of time with him. Starting it too late means I might miss out on meaningful conversations and tender moments that might not be shared otherwise.

I’m angry.

I’m sad.

I just wish I could still say that I was in denial.

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1 Comment so far
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So I am sitting here at work crying. You are SO strong. I wish I had more words for you. I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. If you need to talk I am here or if you need me to make stupid jokes I am here for that too. I Love you.

Tracy

Comment by Tracy




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