Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beginnings - Telling the Man I Love

My husband (John) and I were married on October 5, 1996 when I was 17 years old. We've been through a lot together including near impossible budgets, raising a son when we were "doomed to fail", and most recently infertility. Now I sat in my car trying to think about the best way to tell my husband that I had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. I mean just the words "brain tumor" sends a chill down everyone's spine. It was even harder since we didn't really have a lot to go on. Would this take me in 6 months or 15 years?

After working it out in my mind for a good 10 minutes, I finally picked up my cell phone and dialed John's work. They tried paging him and he did not return the page. He knew I would be calling him so I was pretty sure he was outside. (He works in farming and it was the very beginning of harvest so I knew he was busy.) She asked me if I wanted to pass him a message and for the first time since hearing, I had to at least let on the seriousness of the situation when I told her it was an emergency. She sent me to his manager where we again played the "do you want me to pass him a message" game. However, this time I was talking to someone who knew us well. His manager was the best man in our wedding, he knows how close John and I are and he knew that I was going in for an MRI some time this week. I think my exact words to him were, "Andy, I need to tell John this in person. I have a brain tumor." Probably not the best way to tell him but now the seriousness of the situation was out.

While he was going after John, I realized that was the first time I had used those words. I had carefully managed not to say the words brain tumor during my GP visit. It was just something I was not yet ready to admit to myself. When John got to the phone, everything I had practiced went out the window. "John, it's worse than we expected, I have a brain tumor." I knew that the immediate silence on the other side of the phone meant that I had totally floored him. I am usually able to take things very well while in "the heat of the moment", it's later when things calm some that I have my problems. John, is different. He doesn't take to being blind-sided as well but he does manage it better than most.

When silence continued, I told him "I love you" and then told him everything I could remember about what the doctor said. I probably overwhelmed him with information but I needed to talk at this point. Anyway, we agreed that we'd spend the rest of the day at home together. I had some things I needed to do in town then I'd drive home and meet him there. I asked to talk to Andy again and I begged him to make sure John was ok to drive before letting him go home. It turned out not to be an issue because Andy drove him home for me. He probably still doesn't know how much that meant to me.

Oddly enough, the song that came on the radio when I turned the car on to leave the parking lot of the doctor's office was "I Go Back" by Kenny Chesney. The line that has passed through my mind many times in the past few weeks... "Now Only The Good Die Young stops me in my tracks". It really is amazing how a song can grip you by the heart and both terrify you and give you hope. As I would later tell my husband, "Only the Good Die Young so I'm safe for a long, long time."

After telling my husband, my morning was not yet complete. I would go on to talk to my chiropractor (it's a long story wait for the section), my bosses, a friend in HR, and my best friend before I got home that day around noon. I will talk about those discussions in later posts. For now, this is long enough.

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