There’s simply no reason or desire to sugar coat it.
My husband was recently diagnosed with Stage 3, Adenocarcinoma Esophageal Cancer. It’s a regional cancer that has spread to a few lymph nodes but not to any distant organs.
We were shocked. He’d been experiencing heart burn for the last month but it was getting worse, and it was accompanied by strange hiccupping. I’ve been a worrier my whole life but this wasn’t an outcome I worried about. This kind of cancer is so rare and the symptoms could have been a number of things — but it turns out it was the worst possible outcome.
All I can do is compare it to this.
Imagine you are in the middle of a crowded market place. Perhaps you’re holding a basket, and you’re smelling flowers, and you’re surrounded with loved ones. Everywhere you look you see abundance and vitality.
You’re looking forward to only good things. The warmth of the sun on your shoulders. An afternoon picking out delicious treats. A long, carefree evening surrounded by those you love and the things you most enjoy.
Shockingly, a bomb goes off right next to you. As concussive ringing in your ears distracts you, you look around you. You’re in a daze as you take inventory and try to center your feet, not knowing if there are more blasts and destruction to come. Your loved one is hit hardest, and life is suddenly a big triage scene.
And then there is life before cancer. And that after.
The news came to us on my 54th birthday and now, two weeks to the day later, many of my birthday cards remain unopened, as if I’m hoping for a birthday re-do. One that ends with red wine and snuggles and not pictures of unexpected tumors and dreaded phone calls.
I know I haven’t been checking in here much of late. Life had been getting increasingly complicated of late before this, and now I realize our biggest challenge yet still awaited us.
I have so much to tell you all, and yet so little. The odds are unclear but we’ve heard of many survivors who are 10 years cancer free. Team Kline is going to hit this as ferociously and furiously as we can.
And so when I check in here it may look more like foods like this
and views of our waiting rooms
and future chemo/radiation room reading
than it is the likes of this.
(David’s esophagus is currently partially blocked with tumors and so he’s limited to mostly soft foods with occasional firmer foods like sausages or prawns. I’d love pointers if you have them about chemo/radiation diets).
Can it really be that just last month everything was not perfect but blissfully normal?
Yes, but life is like that. Everything can change in a minute and all we can do is fight hard and love even harder.
I keep reminding myself there are 4 Klines and 1 Cancer — and a near boundless community of friends, families, and virtual friends hither and yon. And I feel the strength and love of so many of you who already know and scooped up me and mine and showered us with love. And flowers. And wishes and prayers and granola
and banana bread and flowers and recommendations and wine and bone broth and books and journals and so much more.
In the meantime, I’ll be passing on these kindnesses. Count on me to continue to feed those that can eat and need sustenance — emotional or physical.
And yesterday’s dog walk in a vacant lot has reminded me of an important lesson.
Wherever you go, look closely.
Even in the ugliest of spots,
there is beauty to be found.