He Really Loves Me!

I love my husband and he loves me. I have been married for going on 28 years now. I’ve been really happy for all of them, including the last five that have been fraught with pain and suffering. Having stage IV cancer has not been easy on me or the people around me. It most definitely has impacted the person closest to me, my husband. He’s been my rock through it all. There was only one time I can think of when I saw him anything other than solid and upbeat and that was diagnosis day. Even then, he didn’t wallow or retreat, he went into “task mode” focusing on me and my well being immediately. I never really gave much thought to how he felt, really felt, inside. The focus was squarely on me and I had stage IV anal cancer. I was reeling after major surgery followed by a major diagnosis and he was an anchor holding me firm. I clung to him relying on him for strength. I felt with certainty that I would die without him. Others, like my sister, came and helped to hold me secure throughout my ordeal, but Jerry was my constant. As I became well, and then ill again, then well once more he was always there, steadfast and strong, a rock in my storm.

On our most recent trip to MD Anderson I was asked to participate in the MD Anderson patient support initiative, which included my doing a photo shoot and telling my story through a video recording process. I was excited and eager to help others, so after my scans we met with the patient outreach staff. We started with the photo shoot which was fun! They led us all over the hospital taking pictures of me in different locations. We ended up over in the Rotary House Lobby where the interview would take place. They took us back to a small recording studio where I was wired for audio and got to select a background from a video directory on a laptop. I picked the water feature from the Mays Clinic for my backdrop. After some brief instructions where I was instructed to repeat the questions posed to me followed by an answer we started the interview. I have been interviewed before so I felt nonplussed when the camera man said we were “rolling”. I found myself getting emotional with a few of the questions and we had to break once for me to get a grip. I chastised myself internally and commanded myself to get a grip. My husband sat in the area to the side reserved for people observing the recordings encouraging me to stay positive and to relax and just share my heart. When the final question was answered I told my interviewer that she really should be talking to my husband on how he felt about my MD Anderson experience and his journey as the spouse and caregiver of an anal cancer patient. At first he resisted and then sheepishly agreed to answer a few questions. After they transferred my audio equipment to him and settled him comfortably on the stool with the water feature background behind him she began to ask him a few questions. The man before me that I had seen as my rock and anchor answered the few questions posed from such a raw and vulnerable place that it took me aback. He started out commending me on what a good job I’d done and that was his usual line, dependable rock of support that he is, but the layers quickly peeled away and before me sat a man filled with sorrow over his inability to “fix” this and how much that had hurt him. He spoke directly to the caregivers encouraging them to do their best every day and assuring them that that was enough. The emotion in his voice and demeanor was truly heart wrenching to watch. He concluded the whole thing by summing it all up with why we came to MDA for my life saving treatment. It was beautiful to watch and I wonder if he felt that way when he watched me tell my story and reveal a glimpse of my self. As a matter of fact, his interview was recently published to the MDA YouTube site and it made me cry to hear the helplessness he felt at my diagnosis in his own honest words. I blasted my social media sites with the link, proud of this man that I call mine!

Okay, so what does this have to do with anything? I was just in Florida at the ONS Congress (Oncology Nursing Society) Meeting. I was asked to sit on a panel discussing social media and the health care provider from the patient perspective. You know, share my story of cancer and my sharing of that story over the last five years on world wide web for all to see. I spent months collaborating with the other panelists on our slide presentations. Mine was geared toward the theme that if you want to know what your patients are thinking, “really thinking”, go to the internet and their truth was spoken there. I knew what I was going to say for months. I am a better speaker “unscripted” so I usually take a few notes and just roll with the power point pictures that I have selected to remind me of the points I want to make. Anyway, three days before the presentation I had an epiphany. I needed to make a change to my powerpoint presentation at the last minute. A presentation that had been approved and for all intensive purposes, locked and loaded into place. The morning of my presentation, I went to the speaker preparation lounge and made the change with a lot of help from the ONS technical folks. They were great! I made my way to Valencia “Salon A” with the other panelists to make our presentations. We had a good crowd and I was not even nervous a little bit. I was getting up to share my heart and help these wonderful caregivers understand a different way to connect with how their patients might be feeling. “The good patient” that I was often went home after treatment and melted, pouring my heart out in the pages of this very blog. The things I wanted them to know, but never said, was all out there for them to find on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and I wasn’t alone. There are thousands of us out here. I closed with this. That social media was a powerful tool. “Truth spoken here.” I then went on to say that there is something about SoMe that coaxes the truth from us and that I had thought I knew all the deepest crevices of my husband and his feelings too until just recently and then I played his interview. As I listened to my husband’s voice fill the auditorium answering those questions that bared his fear and his soul to the social media world my eyes filled with tears. You see, I love my husband and he loves me...he really loves me!


4 people like this post.
Annabelle threw a punch at your cancer.
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Comment would be extraneous. HUGS to that man!!!

Michele likes this comment
I need to show my husband your husband's interview! I'm sure my husband was feeling pretty helpless but had to put on that strong face for me and our kids. Those that help us through this are our angels. I thank God for keeping them strong. We are blessed to have them by our side. Thank you for sharing.
Michele likes this comment
He is awesome (& cute too!)
I think he is cute too! Still gives me butterflies when he kisses me :)
3 people like this comment
Now THAT is awesome
Michele likes this comment
Rarely does one find their 'soulmate' - it appears you are one of the lucky few, and are able to share that.

I think it would be a great idea if ALL cancer treatment facilities would interview their survivors after treatment- even a year or two later.
I know I wrote a long letter to my cancer clinic and they DID improve upon the facility (I'm sure it wasn't just my letter, but perhaps helped push things along); they even moved into a brand new building, allowing a guest with you BEYOND only the 1st treatment, to having newer up to date IV drip machines with NEW batteries so you could unplug it and walk around without the drip stopping and the nurse having to start you all over again.
A 'lessons learned' meeting is a great idea for facilities and not just a "you're done, you're in remission, now go away" philosophy.
3 people like this comment
You must be a pretty special wife too!!! I think you both must be wonderful! Prayers for you and thank you for sharing!
Michele likes this comment
A very good man. He tells his story well and his support says all that matters.
Michele likes this comment
How wonderful to have such a caring man. You, two are doing so much for this community. Thank you! Cherie
Michele likes this comment
Lovely & heart-warming!
Michele likes this comment
I watched this when you put it out on social media and when he teared up, so did I! He is a wonderful man!
Michele likes this comment
This is so awesome! Hugs for both of you!
I love this story. Human connection is the most important aspect of life...and you two have it. I love that you celebrate each other and each day. The incredible love and mutual respect that you share makes life worth living. And if this sucky disease strengthen your bond and allowed you both to make the most of each day together on this earth, then you both deserve our applause. I read your story with a very big smile on my face. I thank you for that.
Michele likes this comment
Absolutely beautiful!! Thanks for sharing with us Michele. My husband and I can really relate to this. XOXO
Michele likes this comment
I love you and your husband. You guys are the best of the best. WHERE DID YOU GUYS COME FROM???????? They just don't make em like this? You make my heart swell,Michele!
Michele likes this comment
Great guy you got there!
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Vital Info


October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3


As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp


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