Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nobody here is pregnant.

I had an odd moment in the grocery today. I was purchasing some things Terry thought he might be able to eat when the check-out kid said, "Somebody at your house pregnant?"

The answer is no. Sadly, no. Just cancer.

Tuesday morning after Monday chemo Terry immediately began battling side effects - nausea, hiccoughs, loss of appetite and energy being the most pressing. These weren't surprises, just a smallish shock at how immediate and difficult they were to surmount when theyallcametogether. 

As the days have passed this week grace has been apparent, Terry has gotten better at anticipating and combating each side effect and most of them are lessening.  He is brave. He has made it each day to radiation and the 13 minutes of high-stress there, no matter how yucky he feels. He has also had the practical help of two friends. 

A little over two years ago Terry left a large optical company for whom he had worked for 23 years - he left in good standing, with a great record and many, many employees who were sad to see him leave. The company didn't bother to have any sort of 'thanks for your service' good-bye for him. It made me kind of sad and mad at the same time. Their loss, I figure. 

He left because a friend in the business, Dr. Catherine Kennedy, had opened her own practice called Arboretum Vision Care. She and another friend who was her office manager, Will Kunde, invited Terry to come work with them. They, and several other employees make a great team. I haven't really known the daily office life Terry lives but I got a good look this week. These two extraordinary people are making life with cancer treatment do-able. 

Dr. Kennedy is an outstanding doctor, she is peaceful, passionate and gifted. She often tells me something new she's learned and when she examines my eyes I know I am getting great care. We also talk about her young son and education and topics which interest us both. But the things a casual observer wouldn't see is what makes Dr. K. truly extraordinary. Kate, her daughter, comes to work too, on many days. Just so this special one can spend some moments of the busy days with her mommy. Kate has her own room in the office where she hangs out with her nurse. The sweetness of who Kate is makes a difference in the workplace. Needless to say, Dr. K. understands when someone doesn't feel well, she gets it that each life is important and precious. She treats her patients like that, she treats everyone like that - because that is who she is. As an employer and a friend Terry couldn't have a better advocate in these days when he is as dedicated as always, but not so much employee of the month material. 

Will, now Will is ... hunky. He's tall and good looking and he dresses cool. Some mornings all I have to say to Terry's clothing choice is, "Would Will wear that?" and he heads back to the closet. I love him for that. Will's children are his beautiful dogs - and I also love him for that. But what Will is really doing in these days is giving of himself sacrificially so that Terry can keep working at a somewhat normal schedule. Will is offering to change his own schedule at any moment, to be really flexible, to forego a regular day off, cancelling gym dates and visits to an elderly family member - for Terry. He's doing it with joy, because that is the kind of guy he is. His care for my husband makes me love him - more.

Everyone is so kind. Sending e-notes and FB messages of encouragement from all over the world. I read each one and copy them into a document for Terry.  They mean the world to us and they, like the gifts of time and love from Will and Dr. Kennedy, are helping to sustain us each day. 

Thank you. 

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