I just read Siddhartha Mukherjee's "Emperor of All Maladies", a biography of cancer from ancient times to the present. He calls his book a biography instead of a history since cancer is this immortal thing with a personality that lives within all of us, and when this entity gets pissed off--it just goes crazy and kills you from the inside out--thank you Hollywood for all of the images! This reading was quite an effort for a hypochondriac who could not even say the word "cancer" without a queasy sence of dread. Mukerjee was no help--he is a Pulitzer Prize winning stylist who is a real phrase getter and whose literary oddities and crudities magnify cancer in all of its creepiness. Who needs sex scenes for page turners when you get to peer through the lens of medical science straight into your own mortality--or the mortality of those you love the most? Anyway, I just returned the book to the in house library at Martin-O'Nielle Cancer Center where Janey, my sweet wife, is in her second round of chemotherepy.
I have cancelled workshops and classes so that I can stay home and fulfill my assignment as a 24/7 care giver. I finally wake up each day knowing exactly what I am supposed to do--care for somebody besides myself. I call it structured giving, love in a template, or automatic holiness--anyway it has simplified my life.
Janey's fight against cancer is all about me. I am freaked out, panicked, scared shitless, and a few other things. Janey, meanwhile, has not missed a beat. She loves her cancer center with its boutique shop, beauty salon, massage therepists, volunteers, chaplins, pharmicists, chemothepists, sugeons, and patients. From her custom chemo infusion lounge chair she looks out to the mountains surrounding beautiful St. Helena ("...aren't they pretty...") or blabs with new and old friends who are likewise conjoined in the battle of the ages.
Janey has a big life and a big fan base. I get to direct traffic as phone calls, meals, gifts, and condolences pour in. I have learned that many well wishers check in on Janey to see how they are doing. She was wiped out for a few days after her first infusion because I failed to administer the correct drug protocol--my bad--my really bad. But she is doing very well--faith is alive, miracles are happening, and love is prevailing. Talk to ya later, Don