I went out to dinner tonight. With my husband.
That may sound pretty ho-hum, and when I say we just went out and ate meatloaf and grilled chicken, it gets even more boring. But the amazing thing about it is that in the last six weeks, the only places he’s been are to doctors’ offices and therapy.
I keep wondering when I can call him a cancer survivor. Honestly, with the prospect of a stem cell transplant barreling down on us like the proverbial freight train, we’re not there yet. But the more I think about it, I realize just how far we’ve come in the five months since he was diagnosed. He was late in getting diagnosed. We’ve never heard the official “stage” he was in, but it was advanced enough to toast his kidneys and bones pretty effectively. So we have two major milestones out of the way: with chemotherapy, his blood work has normalized and kidneys work again; and his hip, which had been eroded terribly, was replaced six weeks ago today.
So tonight we headed to the physical therapist to start weaning him off the walker that has been his source of balance and protection since his surgery. All’s well, said the therapist, and he’ll probably be off the walker in the next week or so. Great news! So great, in fact, that the husband’s spirit returned. He was feeling great, and was ready to get out of the house for something more than poking and prodding.
Most people see a walker as a sign of weakness and illness. Yes, he’s weak and needs help, but tonight I saw that walker as a sign of survival. He’s gotten so brave fighting this bastard cancer and all that comes with it that he no longer worries what people think of his thin chemo-hair and his walker. He wants to live again. He wants to get out of his chair and get back to work and play.
So yeah, we have a long road ahead still, but we’re making our way down it pretty well so far. There will be more bumps, but somehow I think we’ll get over them. Thank God. I’m ready to live again, too.