Blogathon 6 pm - Post #21

For ~d, who is a $25 sponsor and so got to give us a topic:

How it feels to be the one left behind when cancer strikes your family...

I really have to reach into the deep folds of the brain for this one. Keith’s brain tumor was diagnosed back in 2001. Okay, that was only 6 years ago. Not that long ago over the course of a long life. But look how much can happen over the course of a single year. Marriages can pull apart, children can graduate from high school, people can move to new homes, sell old homes, kids can start college and move to a brand new old apartment in a whole new state leaving mom an empty nester all by herself for the first time in her entire life! Kids can discover that a college isn’t right for them and decide to move back home. And separated marriages can begin to heal and open and flower. So much really in a year. So very much in six years.

I guess the other thing is, when cancer struck it struck us all. Every. Single. One. Keli was impacted and I was impacted and Keith was impacted. No, I did not have to have my skull opened and my brain cut into. I did not have to feel the fear as I was wheeled into surgery that I may not wake up, or that I may not know who I was when I did, or that I may not know the wife who stood beside me or the daughter who called me dad when I came out of the anesthesia, but there were many other ways that I was impacted. I had my own fears. I knew that when he came out of it there was a chance he would not walk. I knew that when he came out of it there was a chance he would not talk. I knew that there would be a chance he’d have a different personality or not know who we were.

And Keli? Keith's changes could be very subtle and she would see them more than anyone else because she had known him since she was a toddler and had known all the nuances and quirks. And what if she lost him? Her second father gone. That’s how it would feel to her. We won’t go into any details on that.

I guess terror. Fear was the thing. We did a lot of fear. We spent more time doing research on the internet than anything else. Helplessness. That was another biggee. Because there was a lot of time spent in that part of the world. And perhaps that’s why I now spend so much time and energy with Relay For Life. Because it’s something that I can do. I couldn’t do a lot more than research then. But now? I can help give money to a program that helps fund an online database where other people who are going through that sort of situation might be able to find information when they are pulling out their hair in a hunt for research. And the event itself is so filled with hope and survivors that just spending time there with them and watching Keith spend time with them fills us with hope every single year. And that’s important too.

So I come here to the blog and I write about it. And spread the word. And I hope that I get the message out to the people who might be able to use it. Because ACS and Relay are a pretty powerful force in the fight against cancer.

And they help people like our new friend from this year’s Relay, Connor, who I hope you will all go see, because he is the most beautiful little boy ever. Gotta wrap to post this in time. Thanks ~d for your sponsorship.


mystical m said...

I am proud to be the friend of you two people who have fought so hard for health and love and to keep hope alive for each other and for all victims of cancer -- sufferers and their families and their friends. Keep the faith! I love ya!

Keri said...

Love you too, Marge!