Wednesday, January 19, 2011


“The growth is suspicious”

Since September these nebulous words have shaped the life of my family and taken us in a direction I would never have imagined. My beloved, the mother of my children, was confirmed to be stricken with this seemingly random and capricious disease. My whole world suddenly shrunk and zoomed into focus.

I have felt stuck on the sidelines, helpless at times, watching my wife fight this ailment and deal with the side effects of a multiplicity of poisonous drugs flowing through her system.

There is a fog that follows the chemo treatment for her , and I wait and hope for the mist to lift, to connect with her, to understand. Her pragmatism throughout all this amazes me. We talk matter of factly about things that sometimes have me screaming on the inside.

A lot of waiting around – waiting for appointments, answers, test results and treatment. My incessant need for instant gratification and clean resolutions has been thwarted and I’ve had no choice but to learn how to accept a high level of uncertainty.

I haven’t been able to write. I have been paralyzed and exhausted by night fall, my emotional reservoir empty after a day of work and attending to the children. This can’t persist though, as I am starting to see that even in the midst of all this uncertainty there is life going on around me that requires my engagement.

I’ve spent more time lately reading to my kids at night, a ritual that sees us all in sync and calm at the end of the day, feeding our imaginations with rich and fantastical narratives. This makes me think of course of the power of narrative – what words or stories are filling my mind in the face of all this uncertainty?

I have some better choices to make and I think I have recently committed the crime of not looking past my own shadow and seeing what could be on the horizon . It hit me the other day when Sara sent me an e-mail with ideas for summer vacations, a simple thing really, but it made me realize that my imagination has been limited by focusing so much on just “getting by”.

In the spirit of being defiantly hopeful I am trying to relearn how to look forward. Please join me.


Allison said...

Matthew, I was so sorry to read this post. I wish there was something more that I could say besides that and thinking of you all.

Cancer has touched many in my family, but still I can't imagine how hard this must be for you all. It certainly sounds like Sara is very strong willed, and I hope that treatment works to rid her of this disease.

I hope that planning for a summer holiday will help to restore your imagination, and give you something positive to focus on.

My thoughts are with you all. xo

Randal Graves said...

Nothing to add beyond the sentiments already displayed. Hang in there, man.

Liberality said...

So sorry to read about this. Hope her treatment works. The nightly reading is a wonderful way to cope. Hang in there as Randal says.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh Matthew, my heart goes out to you and to Sara, and of course to your young family who must be having difficulty understanding all of this. Sara sounds like she is an amazing well of pragmatic strength and I can't help but feel that this strength will serve her well in this battle.

I am thinking of all of you, rooting for Sara, and in awe of her positivity.

Be strong, my friend.

Westcoast Walker said...

Thanks for the kind and encouraging words folks. It's been a trying time to say the least, however, we are starting to feel pretty confident about beating this. The first few months of endless appointments and waiting for answers was brutal, though now that Sara is in the midst of treatment we are starting to see some good results.

We have great support, family and friends and I am starting to emerge from my shock about this and feel hopeful. Certainly zooms things into perspective to say the least.

I need to start writing again to feel more complete and I really appreciate some of you coming along for the ride. More to come....

Dale said...

I'm thinking happy thoughts for you.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear about your wife illness. I hope what I tell you will help in some way. Cancer patients have all very acid blood because of our very acid diet, which includes all cooked foods. An alcalin diet would be composed of raw fruit and vegetable, fruit juices, herbal teas, some of the spices, herbs, etc. The raw food should surpass 50 percent. Once someone gets sick maybe it would help to go on an alcaline diet for a while to restore the balance.