We have made it past a pretty important milestone chez Wells: T is done with his chemo treatments. It's such a simple statement, but it means so much more to us. It's the end of nausea, the end of overwhelming fatigue, the end of dreading what we know would happen every two weeks, and most importantly, the end of the damnable cancer. He'll have a CT scan at the end of April, and he'll also see the surgeon to determine when the surgery to reverse his ostomy will happen. By the time the kids start summer break, I hope this is all behind us.
The thing is, it'll never really be done. Of course, he'll have follow-up appointments and scans to determine that the cancer has not returned. But the last ten months and the next few to come will always be with us. We'll never go to an appointment without a modicum of fear or worry. It will forever be the year of cancer when we look back at this point in our lives.
When T was diagnosed, I remember wondering how this would change us as a couple and as a family. I was so afraid of what we would become. In a small sense, it was far more difficult than I ever anticipated. Seeing T in the hospital, knowing how terribly ill the chemo made him, and wanting to just take it all away was almost more than I could handle. In a larger sense, it went so much smoother than I ever thought possible because of all the help we received. I was lucky enough to have the kind of help that made it fairly easy to stick to a daily routine and a "normal" life for the kids. I can't think of many events, major or minor, that we missed out on because there were always people around to ensure that we were where we needed to be when we needed to be there. The way my family and our friends made themselves utterly and completely available to us was truly a thing of selfless beauty and love. Because of everyone who helped, nothing changed for the worse. We were still a family, and better yet, my kids had and continue to have amazing examples of what it truly means to be a friend.
As far as changing us as a couple, I think the cancer has made us appreciate each other more. I can only speak for myself, but at the end of the day, I'm happy to curl up and watch a show or read a book at home, anything just to be near T. I'm still totally annoyed when he doesn't change the toilet paper roll or puts his dirty dishes near the dishwasher instead of in it, but I'm more willing to overlook the little stuff.
That whole "in sickness and in health" line in a wedding ceremony tends to get lost sometimes, but it's one of the most important parts there is. T wasn't allowed to give up his fight, and I wasn't either. His fight was obviously more important, but I fought to keep everything else in our lives together. I think we'll both carry those war wounds around for the rest of our lives. It is said that time heals all wounds, but I don't think that's necessarily true. Time allows the wounds to scab over and begin to heal; however, time also creates scars, lengthens them, and raises them to the surface, making them impossible to forget. Maybe that's not the worst thing in the world though, remembering. Even though it's not a time I ever want to repeat, it's worth remembering that life gets tough, but we are tougher. Maybe we have changed; however, we're together, and nothing else really matters.