There was a time in my life not so long ago ‘though it seems like decades, that I didn’t think about cancer or hospitals or caregivers and patients daily. In fact, I think I probably went several days or possibly weeks in a row without thinking about these subjects. Why wasn’t I more aware?? I actually feel guilty although I know I shouldn’t. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone who isn’t dwelling on these subjects. In fact, quite the opposite occurs. When I see pictures on Facebook or Instagram of those enjoying time with their family and friends no matter if it’s at the beach or in their own backyard, it makes me SO happy to see those sandy toes, grinning kids, and beautiful vistas!! I’m glad to see that fun still exists because frankly, there are days that I don’t see a lot pure fun, and being able to live vicariously through others is what gets me through! That’s NOT the same as stalking is it?!?🤔🤔😳
My husband has stayed out-patient now for 10 days. We have been to the ATC at MD Anderson for 6 out of the 10 days, so that’s 4 days of NOT going!!! 🎉🎉 One would think that I could focus more on things besides disease & such, but instead these topics have crept into my brain even more.
There are folks that have been on my mind a lot this week–some of whom I know well and some through someone I know well. In just ONE week, I’ve talked with or heard about way TOO many people tested, diagnosed, treated or losing the battle with cancer or other very scary diseases. Entire families being turned upside down. Lives that will never be the same. Children learning about awful realities. Mommas, daddies, spouses, and best friends unable to help. If you are thinking, “Well, she DOES spend a lot of time in a cancer hospital…,” I’m not including the hundreds of people here in Houston that I see every single time we come to this awful yet unbelievably wonderful place. That’s a whole other post. I’m talking about people from towns I’ve lived in…..people I know. There is a child I know who was diagnosed with cancer TODAY.
And yet, there are many who want to cut funding for research or treat health insurance as a political game with a winner and a loser. In my opinion, many in our government (and I’m being bipartisan here) aren’t thinking about the people whose lives are at stake. I come to “work” at least 3 times per week with my husband to the largest life sciences destination in the world (Texas Medical Center). This complex has the world’s largest children’s hospital and the world’s largest cancer hospital. It has 106,000 employees and 54 institutions. 160,000 people visit Texas Medical Center every day! (tmc.edu)
It may be the largest, but in NO small way is it the ONLY, and yet, many of those who are supposed to be doing THEIR jobs and watching out for the people of this country are calling each other names and pointing fingers at each other or the news media. Wives, husbands, and parents have turned their lives, careers, and families upside down to care for their loved ones. They deserve better.
Today is my husband’s birthday. We’ve been here in the 10th floor ATC (Ambulatory Treatment Center for stem cell transplant patients) since 8:00am; it’s 5:00, and we aren’t leaving yet. Slow day for getting blood and platelets because they had to be typed and matched. Plus it’s Friday, one of the busiest days here. I feel sorry for us until I walk out to the waiting area and go down to the cafeteria for an iced tea. There’s a tiny lady waiting in the ATC waiting area wrapped in about 3 blankets huddled up to a tired looking young man, an old man who looks hollow-eyed with a harried woman on her phone, a very out of breath older lady asking the receptionist how much longer. EVERY waiting area seat is filled…..
Then I overhear a conversation between a very young husband and wife in the cafeteria that breaks my heart once again. They are waiting for a sandwich at Chik-Fil-A. Her back is to me, but I can tell she is wiping away tears. He has his arm around her, and I see that he has the patient wristband, so I know they must have received some bad news. I get my tea and an apple juice for B. As I’m leaving, I find myself behind them again in the hall. She’s pulled herself together now and is explaining to him that she has everything arranged for his care “back home,” and she’s ordered some equipment he needs. She’s not sure what she’s going to do about her job yet but for him not to worry.
Just another day in this life that I didn’t even really know existed prior to October 2012. Not sure I would go back, but sometimes this burden of what I know now that I didn’t before is a little overwhelming. It gets to B especially when he hears of someone newly diagnosed. He knows that they will never be the same, and it tears him up especially when it is someone young. So, this week has been tough, but we keep going because that’s what I have to do for him and what he has to do for me! Today’s another day to be thankful DESPITE all the things we know! I can’t feel sorry for us; we are the lucky ones! Happy Birthday, B!