Limbo is that place, that state of mind that is neither here nor there. It just is. And you have to live in the moment, no matter how uncertain it is, to move on through it onto the next stage. There are no shortcuts.
We've been in a strange state of limbo since early September when my husband was hit in the neck by a baseball. (More on that story in an upcoming post.) We learned that he had a big tumor on the way back of his tongue -- stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma. Yup, cancer.
His particular tumor, while requiring a heavy treatment plan, actually has a great prognosis. With this type of cancer, they don't talk about remission, they use the word cure. That's big. That's hopeful.
So on one hand, you have a really crappy diagnosis - cancer. And a brutal, sustained treatment plan. (7 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week -- plus chemo each week. Then several weeks to start to heal and in a few months you get your taste buds back and hopefully aren't too destroyed by the side effects of the poison used to treat you.) Yet the ultimate outcome -- the prognosis, is fantastic. Meaning -- if you're going to get a serious cancer -- this is one that you have an excellent chance of surviving.
As we share the details of this adventure with friends and family -- we often talk about how people really pull together when things are terribly wrong. And it's true -- this is a crisis. When you're relatively young, busy and active, and you are stopped dead in your tracks because of a major health issue -- it is just wrong!
Funny thing though -- in this case, things are "terribly right." What I guess I mean is that yes, they are terrible, but in the scheme of things 3 months of hell for a cure is not a bad thing. On a day to day basis, we just hang in there and do what we have to do. And honestly, what would anyone do? You accept your fate and you deal with it head on so that you can move forward.
Suffice it to say that if you lose your ability to swallow and if water feels like jet fuel going down your throat, you're going to be miserable. As the cancerous tumor and surrounding tissues are damaged, they constantly slough off and the phlegm is thick and pasty and it is incredibly difficult to breathe when it builds up to the point where you have to violently expel it. He's not sleeping much, and honestly, neither am I. And as a wife, and advocate, as well as a mother and best friend -- my heart aches and I'm damned tired. But truth be told, you could tell me it would take 6 months, or a year, or longer, and knowing that this treatment is saving his life means that in the end, no matter how bleak things are in the short term, the long term is going to be all right.
And he has excellent care. And we have great doctors and nurses, friends and family, everyone available on call as needed. And good insurance. And each other. And a sense of humor. And great kids. And -- well -- see how this goes? It's hellish, but it's OK. It's not terribly wrong, it's just terribly right.