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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor

April

The Architect

Clay

It Makes Life More Beautiful

What kind of blogger tells you her husband has cancer and then disappears for over a month?  Yeah, that’s me.  It took me 30 minutes just to log into this blog because my brain is so fried, but not quite as fried as Clay is from radiation.  Oh, lord that was a horrible joke.  Who laughs about cancer?  Yeah, that would be us.  Don’t worry, we’ve cried a lot too.  If we aren’t laughing or crying about it then we’re just staring into space, those are really the only options at this point.

The mobile PET/CT scanner Clay spent 45 minutes with his arms above his head.  He tells a funny story of having two giant carps flapping from his shoulders.

The mobile PET/CT scanner Clay spent 45 minutes with his arms above his head. He tells a funny story of having two giant carps flapping from his shoulders.

I don’t know where the summer has gone.  I felt bad that I wasn’t able to take my kids to the lake or to a swimming pool or on any little vacation.  Instead, we went to the hospital everyday.  Some days we went to doctor’s appointments after we went to the hospital and some days we came home and went right to bed or flopped on the couch and coped with the after effects of chemotherapy, radiation and the constant concern of what ugly effect might crop up next for Clay.

The fanciest Chemotherapy chair that Clay never got to use.

The fanciest Chemotherapy chair that Clay never got to use.

Clay has finished treatment.  The recovery hasn’t quite started, but we haven’t seen or spoken to a doctor for four entire days and that seems like the best vacation ever.

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One thing that I’ve found strange during the past few months is that not much upsets me.  I don’t know if I will continue to have this strange numbness, but I imagine that my view on a lot of things will be quite different for a long time.  Stuff just doesn’t matter to me, and by stuff I mean just about everything.

I called this our synchronized waiting room routine.  We got really good at it.

I called this our synchronized waiting room routine. We got really good at it.

I think we were four weeks into chemotherapy when we got a phone call from Ellen as we drove to the hospital.  She had been in a wreck, it was bad, she wasn’t hurt, could we get there.  Turns out she was on our way, so we were able to get to her quickly.  A man driving a truck had run a red light and t-boned her.  Luckily, she was driving our truck and it took the impact well, both trucks collided with three other vehicles that were sitting across the intersection at the red light.  Our truck was a total loss. Clay left me with Ellen and he went on to the hospital to have his radiation treatment. The whole time all I could think of was CLAY, YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF THE SUN!!!  I never got upset about the wreck or losing a vehicle, it was just so minor.  Nobody was hurt beyond scrapes and sore muscles and that was the main concern. We still don’t have another truck, but we will.  Insurance has paid for all the damages, Ellen’s minor injuries, time off work, blah, blah, blah.  I do wish they would just deliver another vehicle to my door, that would be mighty convenient, but at least looking for a truck gives Clay a little something to do.  Although, twice now we have driven out of town to look at trucks only to come back home empty handed because he doesn’t have enough strength to be out for more than a few hours.  Even that doesn’t irritate me.  Seriously, it’s like I’ve been dipped in Novocaine.

Ole' Red is Dead.

Ole’ Red is Dead.

I’ve continued to train for the half-marathon.  I know running has helped me cope.  There have been times when I’m done running and if I’m by myself I will take a few minutes to cry because that’s when I don’t have anymore energy to keep my chin up.

Our family has been well-loved over the last couple of months.  People have dropped off meals, taken care of my kids, delivered gifts and sent cards.  My sweet mom has come over the past few weeks and cleaned my house, she is exhausted when she’s done.  It’s been so lovely to get to see her every week and scrub my house with her as she bosses me around like I’m still a teenager and the crazy thing is that I totally listen to her and then I don’t want her to leave.  She’s the only person that folds my laundry correctly and knows what needs to be done without me having to say anything.

One of our pastors dropped in during chemo and prayed with Clay.  The blanket was made by one of Ellen's friends because Clay would get so cold when the fluids entered his body.

One of our pastors dropped in during chemo and prayed with Clay. The blanket was made by one of Ellen’s friends because Clay would get so cold when the fluids entered his body.

I know I’m going to forget to thank people and that is just now starting to concern me.  Time has been such a strange thing.  Clay was only in treatments for seven weeks, but it felt like years.  I can only remember one date and that’s the date of his first doctor’s appointment.  I’ll never forget how our doctor was not in any way going to let us think that what Clay had was just some silly swollen gland.  I’ve never seen her so serious and to the point and from the second she examined him life turned into a sprint.  Clay went down the hall to get blood drawn and I was on the phone with the insurance company making sure they would cover PET and CT scans.  Before we left the office we had two more appointments with other doctors and our heads were spinning because we had no name to give his lump except…it’s a lump, please don’t let it be cancer.

I have to stop here.  I didn’t think this would be so hard to write, but I’m struggling to get through this.

I don’t want to down play anyone else out there that is battling a life threatening disease.  Right now Clay’s cancer is not terminal and chances are he will beat his cancer and never see it again, I wish all cancers were like that.  My heart goes out to all of you that have battled a disease or taken care of a loved one while they have suffered.  It does make us better, it makes life more beautiful.

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