Vulnerability Day 8 #30daysofvulnerability2017 #badwidow #cancercaregiver #day8
A week or so into chemo, Dave’s oncologist told us that he would lose his hair (not might, WOULD) so Dave went and got a buzz cut, much shorter than usual, to get ready. It’s impossible to control the side effects so anything under his control, like getting a haircut so less was there to fall out, was important.
The NEXT DAY, in the shower, most of his hair washed into the bottom of the tub, from his head to his toes. On the Citibike, his eyelashes flew into his eyes and scratched him. His facial hair and all the rest disappeared in the next two days. The cancer was undeniable and it was impossible to pretend it wasn’t there.
I thought being a helpless witness of my husband’s extreme pain was the worst. I discovered that seeing his heartbreak was much, much worse. With pain, I could DO something – call the doctor, argue for stronger pain meds.
How we see ourselves, how he saw himself as a visible cancer patient crushed both of us. Him, as he lived with this horrible, seemingly trivial side effect of treatment which he thought made him less of a man. Me, as I was helpless to help. That was the first time I heard from David, “But I’m the one with pancreatic cancer.”
What he had trouble understanding was that my heart broke with his. I stuffed my feelings down because he was right. And wrong. In the coming months, I learned how to vent all those awkward, unacceptable feelings so I wouldn’t explode.
How do you vent yours to get through heartbreaking times?