We are home. Just a few hours after I wrote my last post filled with optimism about our travels, Marv said it’s time to go home. The word journey came to mind: we had to journey home on this journey of living with cancer
As I made preparations, I decided I hate words we associate with cancer. Like journey. I don’t like that word. Or its synonyms. The idea of crossing from here to there. I know living with cancer is not a party, but to make it a journey strikes me as an arduous undertaking filled with negative connotations.
But that’s not been true for us so far. This stretch of our lives has had the feel of an adventure. At every turn, we are discovering new things about ourselves, our family and friends, and the world around us, especially all things related to illness. It’s a time of learning and feeling unlike most other. I say most because we’ve faced cancer before—in 1999, Marv had prostate cancer, removed successfully without need for radiation or chemo. In 2010, we faced another scare with Marv’s lungs that miraculously turned out to be unfounded, and, more recently, he had a successful Mohs procedure for a malignant leg nodule.
So, when Marv woke me up Tuesday morning telling me it was time to go home—at least for now, I was not surprised when everything fell into place. I got airline tickets for only $54 each (a first), our son and DIL Uber-ed us to the Phoenix airport, and our daughter Uber-ed us home from our Sioux Falls airport. Our son identified he and his sister as Juber and Kuber, adding their first initials.
While on our layover in Denver, we’d had dinner–Marv a beef sandwich with fries and I a mango chicken salad. Afterwards, I’d shimmied my spiral notebook out of my overly-packed backpack and took notes as my partner and tutor dictated stuff I must do to care for our twin home, a few bushes in the yard, and our two cars after he is gone. We are becoming more aware that we must make productive use of our time.
When our daughter settled us at home that night, I saw evidence of a recent cleaning spree. Sparkling clean refrigerator–items so orderly they appeared alphabetized, with a new light bulb to highlight the lineup; unfamiliar vacuum lines in the living room carpeting that I found out were made by our SIL; and more. I thought, I could get used to this.
And now our son and DIL, still in AZ, are arranging to ship our Subaru Forester home. After, of course, they’d made a trip to a car wash to clean out the debris of our being on the road the previous two weeks. And the box of aged snacks Marv keeps behind the driver’s seat. Seems they do not appreciate them like he does. Something about looking gross.
And, adding to the positive happenings, there are the many expressions of caring we’ve received. I feel like I’m meandering in slow motion in the middle of a parade of God’s grace, interspersed with sharing tears of thankfulness with Marv for the life we’ve had together.
So, I’m experiencing this time, not as a journey, but as an adventure, a word that has a positive connotation for me. Of course, we have medical appointments, and we know we have hard times ahead, but we have no timeline for the life Marv has left and will continue to make plans.
When I read this to Marv and asked him his thoughts about my ideas of “adventure,” he worked with words for a while: “It’s like,” he said, “riding a wave of blessings and being propelled toward shore.”