Life before Cancer: My Beloved Part 2

This is a continuation of the story of my beloved and I. You can read the first installment here

My role as a wife has changed since my mBC diagnosis. The gal who packed her day with tasks has found the lack of energy a large impediment to accomplishing all she used to. My days used to start at 4am every morning. Making breakfast for my beloved, making sure he had his lunch packed, putting his keys, wallet and phone together so he wouldn’t have to scurry around the house trying to find them. And in traditional housewife fashion watch and wave from the kitchen window as his headlights wandered the darkness of the early morn. Back to bed but not for long. Purring Felines and wagging tails. Laundry, bill paying, organizing, trash duty, scheduling, bookkeeping, yardwork, until I was back in front of the stove with steaming pots bubbling away. I was a penny pincher, a money saver, and a coupon clipper, (but not the extreme kind, lol). Yes, I embodied a lost era, but I liked it, and I was good at it, and I was fulfilled. My weekends were filled with errands, church and volunteering in many areas. Even without children at home i didn’t lack for tasks to complete. I also helped my beloved with a side business we had for 12 years but that we basically shut down once I got my cancer diagnosis and subsequent metastatic recurrence and progression to Stage 4 as the labor involved became too uncomfortable for me, aching, irritating, and endangering various bone mets throughout my spine.

In my pre cancer days I taught myself graphic design and animation in my spare time when i wasn’t ‘dawning an apron’. I educated myself on many subjects through documentaries and research pouring over articles and scientific papers. Learning new things was and is a passion of mine. I was a wiz at keeping the house organized and could whip out a needed document in a snap. I was also creative at making my beloved’s birthday’s special. One year I put post it notes of all the qualities I loved about him all over the backdoor filling it entirely along with a special homemade dinner and dessert waiting just beyond it. Another year I made him a handmade birthday sign surrounded by little notes of blessings i wished for him in the coming year. Yet another year i played a love song and made lyric que cards to the song and sang it to him. Making my beloved smile is the next best thing to being held in his arms, where i feel the safest, and where i feel protected. I took pleasure and satisfaction in taking care of my family and i liked my independent streak that also took pleasure in my own accomplishments and ventures. My beloved would probably not describe me as purely a domestic submissive type but rather a woman with snap, a little bite to her without lacking the qualities of gentleness or sweetness. I can be a bit of a pain in the rear tho. A woman who will go toe to toe pretty aggressively on certain subjects when i disagree on one hand but on the other will cook a nice meal or pass a cold drink and provide a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on too. My beloved is truly my best friend and I know I am his.

I did get a brief introduction to breast cancer when my beloved’s mom was diagnosed in 2017 with Stage 0 breast cancer at 67. After a complete mastectomy on the left side (my breast cancer ended up being on the right side) and a follow up proactive mastectomy to the remaining breast this past year she has remained recurrence free since first diagnosed. She has confided in me that she thought our places should of been reversed, her get the Stage IV instead of me. But i told her I’m glad it turned out how it did, i wouldn’t of wanted her to go through the treatments i had to, they were rough for me as a young person, i wouldn’t of been able to handle watching her go through it. My beloved sure has had his plate full between me, his mother and his father (lewy body dementia) health wise. I’ve had mine full with concern for my mother in law and father in law but also my own mother’s advanced Ovarian cancer diagnosis with rare features and the unknowns how that is playing out and her disinterest in knowing if i’m okay or telling me that she’s okay because of our family fractures. That’s been a gutwrenching thing to wrestle with outside my diagnosis. My mothers aloofness to her own daughters terminal cancer diagnosis and a relationship as we both struggle with serious illness. I cry about this more than i can count.

Dealing with metastatic breast cancer presently I struggle to get the basics done. I use a walking stick around the house and need to be careful how i sit and lay down. Sitting or laying down wrong or for too long in one position will make walking very hard, requiring me to force a slow pace around the room when I get up until things align again and my bones are in agreement with me. In essence I feel very old while I am still young. Seeing tasks that need to be done piling up without the stamina to do much about it can be burdensome especially when cancer confines you the majority of the time between four walls and all you are reminded of is what you cant do but once could. When I am not completing everyday living tasks at a snails pace. I am thinking of the early days and life before cancer with my beloved. Our adventures. Our querks. Our love.

I think about how we were never able to keep a secret from each other nor surprise one another in 18 yrs. We were too excited to reveal the secret or surprise that we often cracked at the hint the other wanted to know what it was. We certainly weren’t good playing board games with each other either. In monopoly we kept helping each other when the other was close to bankruptcy – over and over again to the point a game lasted 4hrs.

We liked to dream together. One of our dreams was traveling together with our animals full time. Cutting away from the normal 9 to 5, debts and the noise and just enjoying each others company as we explored. We have 3 great loves together, birds, boats, and trying new and good food. We’ve never realized our dream of a boat as that’s an expensive hobby but we enjoyed looking at boats for sale on youtube and picking out our favorites. During our drives out especially on certain highways we’d count how many hawks we saw on the way home as they liked to perch out on a high branch just sticking out beyond the leaves or other branches so you could see their full ivory/tan bellies poking out with their eyes on the median searching for a meal. Our culinary adventures together are many and we still will announce to the other one a sighting that looks good to try. We both were pretty picky eaters when we married but that changed and i’d say we are far less luckily to turn our nose up at things. Food trucks also became a thing for us.

We watched technology change, when we married wifi wasn’t available yet, it was still dial up. A TV with a flat front screen yet a large backing to it was considered a flat screen tv back then. No social media, payphones were still a thing, remember 1-800-collect? Back then things used to be more carefree, we had more time to spend with family, with each other being able to do things, but as the years went on jobs became more and more demanding, it became more about keeping our meager slice of the pie. But we still stole moments for ourselves. Hiding moments of tenderness when we were alone or visiting family or friends. Winks across the table or smirks about inside jokes we had between the two of us provided entertainment that was just between us.

4 years before breast cancer diagnosis

I think about my beloveds love of my long hair. I had really beautiful hair before cancer. Now its short and looks like someone has taken a razor to thin down the ends of my hair thanks to medications seeking to limit the way mBC is effecting me. I wrote here about where my long hair went when cancer came. My beloved loved to twirl his fingers in my hair and now he can only run his hands through the small bit of growth I was able to accomplish before my current medication stunted its growth.

We daydreamed about our future even thought of trying again for a family or to become foster parents. We tried to take alot of joy with our animals being good parents to them in the meantime. Video games, a good meal, older movies, old game shows, a good laugh. That was us. That still is in a way, only with a twist, a very sad plot twist.

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