A few years ago, I began the Imma Dearest blog to address tough issues such as stepping on Legos and buying too much at Target. Then life put me through the spin cycle.
Inspired by Malkie Hirsch for sharing her innermost thoughts in the hopes of inspiring others, I want to bring to light the trials and tribulations of those with cancer.
My husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Is this a dirty word? I don’t know but I know keeping silent about it is literally killing people. I need my sons and any other men in my life to know to check themselves the way women are encouraged to check themselves on a regular basis for breast cancer.
In January our biggest thoughts were what to do for winter break. Crayola. JFK Hotel. Though the younger kids complained here and older kids complained there, it’s already been whitewashed by nostalgia as the photos come up on my Google Home on a regular basis.
Then my husband felt a little pain and noticed a little enlargement. He went to the urologist not expecting much. Instead, he was told to remove that body part along with the tumor. It was traumatic for him, but I had a more nagging feeling the worst was not behind us. Surgeries are dramatic, with the hospital gowns and being wheeled away and all that, but there is a finite timeframe.
At the followup with the urologist, my husband heard what he wanted to – he’s healing well from surgery – and that was all. Is this the way men listen? It would explain a lot. “Hi. Dinner is on the table and I need you to…. (fade to black). I kept listening and heard about the possibility of cancer spreading and the need to see an oncologist.
We wanted to go to Sloan Kettering but faced some obstacles. We reached out to Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society (RCCS) and they made the path easier.
Yoeli Markowitz is part medical expert, part therapist, part father figure. He analyzes data, has direct access to experts, reassures patients and breaks barriers. I don’t have space to write all that he does, but the world stands based on 36 Tzadikim and I think I’ve identified one.
We did see the expert at Sloan Kettering, thinking/hoping they would shoo us away, tell us everything is fine and we should go home. But he saw what others didn’t and felt my husband needs aggressive treatment.
We had to go back in network to another doctor who did begin chemo. It is otherworldly. I favor more natural treatments, and while we do vaccinate and give antibiotics when needed, I avoid most medicines. Headache? Drink water, take a steamy bath, and go to sleep. Sniffles? Drink water … OK, so my advice isn’t revolutionary, but it works, and we don’t deal with whatever effects over the counter medications can have.
While my husband is getting “pumped,” I have lots of time to write. When we come home, I need to make up for all the time away, throw out candy wrappers, plunge and clean toilets, empty and load dishes, empty and load laundry . . . but while I’m in this chair, waiting, supporting, I hope to keep writing. Well, actually I hope somehow we can stop chemo by a miracle. But as long as we continue, I hope to write.