Lea Wait, here. Some of you may remember that about three years ago I posted about my husband, Bob Thomas, his health issues., and how they were changing our lives. I followed that up, always with Bob’s approval, with further posts a year later, and then, earlier this spring, when he entered hospice. As most of you know, Bob died peacefully at home in our bed on April 9.
Since then, my life has been busy and, in many ways, has felt surreal. I miss Bob, and think of him every hour of every day. I’m trying to get our house and my writing commitments in order. I’ve hosted two of my granddaughters, and eighteen-year-old Vanessa is with me for the summer, working at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens before she begins college in August.
I haven’t really had – or taken – the time to grieve. I have family commitments and manuscript deadlines, and I just launched a new mystery series.
But now, in the ironies of life, another change has come.
As a short bit of background — before Bob and I were married I’d taken care of my mother for many years, and Bob had cared for his mother, who died of pancreatic cancer. He also cared for his wife of only a few months, who died of pancreatic cancer only nine months after his mother. When Bob and I decided to marry we knew one of us would some day be taking care of the other. Although Bob’s health wasn’t the best, even those 15 years ago, he believed that someday he would be caring for me … that I, too, would get pancreatic cancer. Every time I had any physical issue he would ask the doctor to check that I didn’t have it. Finally, it became a kind of joke with us. My health was good — no history of serious diseases, heart, stroke, or cancer. No family history.
So ten days ago when I got very dizzy, and the dizziness didn’t go away within a few hours, and I ended up at an emergency room, I asked the doctors to check not only my head, but also my abdomen. I’d been having a few minor pains. Indigestion? Maybe my gall bladder?
Twenty-four hours later, after an increasingly detailed series of tests, I learned that, yes, almost unbelievably, I have pancreatic cancer. It’s stage four — it’s spread to my liver.
I’ve seen an oncologist. Today I’m having a biopsy and a mediport will be implanted so I can more easily get chemotherapy. The cancer is terminal, but chemo might give me more good months to live.
I’m continuing to work on my books and make appearances, and plan to continue doing those things as long as I can. I haven’t given up. But, once again, I’m dealing with illness that I can medicate to some degree, but over which I have no control. This time the illness is mine.
I ‘m not planning to post daily bulletins on Facebook, or make this blog the diary of a cancer patient, but so many of you came along with me and were touched by Bob’s journey that I felt I wanted to include you on mine as well.
For the moment I feel fine except for occasional twinges. That will change. But one thing we all know: death is a part of life.
My only hopes are that I have time to make my next transition as easy as possible for my family and friends, and that I have as peaceful an ending as Bob did.
Somewhere, perhaps, he is laughing at the ironies of life, and wishing me strength and hope.
In the meantime, I am writing on.