dispatch from the lesser half.

First, off let me say wow – and thanks.  At the time of my first foray into blogging, this site has 639 visits.  While I will admit about 75 are my visits, to know that so many people care for Meaghan and are rooting for her is a big boost.  So thank you for your calls, texts, emails, blog posts, prayers, thoughts – everything.  And keep them coming.

As you can tell from her blog posts thus far, my wife has been nothing short of a star during this whole process.  This probably shocks none of you.  I was obviously taken by her before, but her grace, humility, and strength during the past couple of weeks has been extraordinary. I am so fortunate to be married to Meaghan and am newly impressed each day by the manner in which she has taken this challenge head on and has vowed to overcome any struggles the next few years may bring. I love her more each day.

Meaghan has done a great job of describing her diagnosis thus far, so I will spare you all of the details and biology in this post, and instead focus on some of my observations and try to keep it under eleventy million words.  These past couple of weeks have certainly been a roller coaster ride.  Recently, we have been buoyed by the prognosis and it’s been a relief to know that Meaghan will be around for a long time (if she can stand me).  I will say it was extremely difficult to make some important life decisions in advance of that prognosis though.  If we weren’t adults before this month, we sure are now. For some one who prides himself on being pretty even keeled, it’s been a challenge to not get caught up in the rat race of appointments, tests, and consultations and focus on the big picture. And I have been coming to terms with the feeling that I am being followed around by cancer – it’s far too prevalent overall and I’ve had more than my fair share of exposure to it in my 32 years.

Life still goes on outside all of this though- bills get paid, work gets done, laundry piles up.  In between appointments the other day, Meaghan and I were talking about how in a way it’s such a crazy adventure to all of a sudden have so much attention heaped on her so quickly. Doctors, nurses, schedulers, counselors who were complete strangers two weeks ago now are omnipresent.  It’s so odd to have these strangers guiding us in less than one week through a diagnosis, surgery plan, treatment plan, and decision to have kids. And we are going to get to know them so well over the next 5 years or so. You learn to trust experts quickly and I have been surprised how I was able to buy into these life-altering plans because of the attention paid to us by the doctors and the clear way in which they presented the information. It’s a whole other side of medical care that doctor’s probably don’t get enough credit for.  So, good job docs – and keep taking care of my wife.

Meaghan is much better at these posts, so I’ll now revert to my role and recount some stories/anecdotes that I found to be humorous during these past few weeks.  I will do them Larry King style:

…it’s usually best to look a way while a strange doctor you just met begins to feel up your wife about 2 feet away from you….sometimes when a plastic surgeon is talking about breast implants, he hands you one as a sample.  And yes, you can balance it on your knee while taking notes about surgery procedures…the plastic surgeon will take photos of said wife as she poses topless in front of a office wall. and yes, he may turn to you as he snaps a photo of your wife and say “so, where you guys from?”.  Easy Hef….you always remember the first time you see your wife get a vaginal ultrasound….along the same vein, all you need is a seemingly two foot long wand thing, a massive condom, a medical degree, and a little gumption to look at someone’s eggs from the inside out…the only questions I have been asked during the fertility process are, “do you have any STD’s?” and “do you spend a lot of time in hot tubs?”.  Usually someone has to buy me dinner before asking me those two questions back to back….I found out that I can father children, so it was good to find out that I completed puberty – and yes, finding this news out CAN put a little spring in your step…if you drop a sperm sample in a cup on the ground on the way to the lab (don’t ask), it can impact the virility of the sample…a Rubik’s cube is damn impossible.  Or it’s especially ruthless that the one they leave at the doctor’s office is somehow trickier than the normal Rubik’s cube… semi-debilitating color blindness and a minor hereditary hand tremor should NOT stop anyone from giving injections to their wife…you think buying Christmas presents for your loved one is tough, trying finding a saddle for a squirrel (Ok, I didn’t make that one up, but it’s a good one)…I swear I am wrapping this up soon…

Some more serious observations that I have been thinking about:

-This whole thing will obviously change our marriage in a number of ways.  One thing that has stuck out for me already is the power in stifling that eye roll (a MPC classic move) or swallowing the sarcastic or cynical remark (also vintage MPC).  I certainly don’t find those to be appropriate for Meaghan considering her diagnosis, so it begs the bigger question of why they would ever be necessary.  Those looks or remarks have never really achieved anything in the grand scheme of things.  If I can stop them now, I’m going to work really hard to keep them stopped even when Meaghan is fully healthy.  I encourage all of you to do the same in your lives now. It’s really not worth a dumb argument.  And to think Dr. Phil gets paid millions of dollars to say this obvious stuff…

-Another thing that has been apparent is the benefit of that short email, text, or call from a friend or family member.  I can’t count how many times we have heard from people in just a small way, and then I spent the next few minutes wondering why we don’t have those same interactions more often.  Life gets going and we always say to ourselves, “I need to call that person” and then it takes forever to get around to it.  So what i’m saying is, don’t wait.  Just do it (don’t sue me Phil Knight). We all carry around our phones – so just send that text or email, or make the call.  It’s a win-win for you and the recipient.

Ok, I am rolling my eyes at myself (still Ok to do) for being so preachy.  Thank you for indulging us in these blog posts and keep the messages coming – it’s going to be a long road. Even think about a visit if you can swing it. In a big change, we’ll actually have to stay close to home and slow down our jet-set lifestyle a bit.   But it will be nice in a way.

Know that we are strong and invasive ductal carcinoma is going to get a world class ass beating from Meaghan starting very soon.


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