I married an angel.

My last experience with Non Hodgkins T-Cell Lymphoma, which started about 18 months ago, involved almost no symptoms of the disease itself, and very minimal side effects from the chemotherapy treatments.  The only real evidence that I had to deal with on an ongoing basis was fatigue.  My mobility was very normal and my pain or discomfort was not an issue.

This time, however, things are very different.  The primary disease location is a tumor on my spine, in my lower back, and the swelling from the tumor is exerting pressure on my spine and the nerves leading to my right leg.  The result is extreme pain in my lower back and right leg, which has significantly impacted the movement and use of my leg.  I quickly reached the point where my entire day was spent in bed, dreading the need to move at all (including trips to the bathroom), and relying on pain pills to achieve any level of comfort.

Fortunately, my daily radiation treatments quickly began to impact the tumor, reducing the swelling and in turn the pressure.  Over the past two weeks I have progressed from being bedridden, to a situation where I am now able to move around without undo pain or discomfort using a cane, get a decent night's sleep, and can see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The radiation treatments end next week and hopefully will have pretty much eliminated the tumor.  Our visit to Dr. Beaven at Duke will determine the next treatment phase.

During all of this, moving around silently in the background has been a force of nature that is a combination of mind reader, army medic, weight lifter, master chef and Florence Nightingale lookalike.  It is actually my wife Holly, assuming the many roles associated with being a care giver.  It is not a burden that she went looking for, but rather one that was thrust upon her.  She could quite easily find things to fill her day, other than getting me a glass of water,  helping me pull on my socks each morning, and driving me to the hospital every day.  All the while she is acting as my motivational cheerleader and fitness instructor.

I don't know what I would do without her by my side.  She happily accepts whatever task arises, no matter the hour day or night.  I am the one who gets all the cards in the mail.   At church this morning I was the one that everyone came to see and inquire as to my status.  Yet there she was, quietly assessing my stamina, and suggesting that maybe it would be wiser to return home rather than stay for Sunday school.

I am so very fortunate and so very blessed in so many ways.  And right at the top of the list is the fact that I am married to an absolute angel.

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