Scattered, Shattered

DSC_6730Cancer will steal your soul, if you’ll let it. It scatters your hopes, shatters your dreams, leaves you trembling in the dark, tossing fitfully, waking to a tear-soaked pillow. And that’s just the disease I’m talking about.

Sometimes the treatments are so harsh that you’d pretty much rather die than take them. That’s how Shel felt last week, trying a new and ultra-toxic drug. But this week we both feel even worse than that, because of a medical error. We’ve been waiting for five weeks, since his biopsy for genetic sequencing, to see whether he’s a candidate for a treatment targeted at a specific mutation that he may or may not have. But yesterday we learned that the surgeon, after performing the biopsy, never correctly completed the paperwork to have the lab analyses done, and so the five weeks have been utterly wasted. Five weeks during which Shel’s been sliding painfully downhill, really suffering.

It hasn’t all been bad, I guess. We had Christmas, and New Years during that time. We had family and friends. We sat by the fire, harvested our first oysters, drank a lot of Champagne. And we had hope. Hope that although Shel gets visibly worse with each passing day, the results of the biopsy would allow him another treatment option. When we found out yesterday that the hospital had made a huge error, we had one of our darkest days.

Now, amazingly, inevitably, we’re daring to hope again, because now that the error has been discovered they’re making a mad dash to get the results. We’re hoping that Shel will have the mutation, and that he’ll be able to tolerate the treatment if he does. We’re hoping that he’ll be able to hang in there a little longer, that his pain will diminish, that his appetite will come back, that he’ll be able to wash the dishes without getting out of breath, that he’ll feel joy in something, that he’ll be at peace with the way it’s turning out, that he’ll be able to choose his moment and his way to leave us, and that it won’t be too soon.

Please keep him in your hopes and thoughts.

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19 Comments on “Scattered, Shattered”

  1. Diane Says:

    I’ve been reading along, quietly sharing your life but wanted to speak up to tell you that I’m hoping for you, thinking of you and, as always, sending prayers for you. Diane

  2. jeanne Says:

    Am hoping right along with you, as fervently as you both are. Praying that you find comforting moments where you can. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Barbara Jacquin Says:

    Abra and Shel, as always I’ll be praying for both of you. Courage!

  4. Chrissy Says:

    Crying now! So sad. Beautifully written; painfully informed. Keep us in the loop. Thinking of you as Shel’s birthday approaches (which he shares with Austen, of course!).

  5. Debra Lane Says:

    thinking of you and holding you in my heart. Check out this website http://www.magicalbutter.com to infuse your medicine into butter or oil for baked goods. I think Shel will have better nausea relief than with the tinctures.

  6. Marigene Says:

    My heart goes out to you and Shel…praying for both.


  7. Thinking of you both. Tons and tons of blessings.

  8. Sue Geisler Says:

    words of hope and comfort don’t ease the physical situation – I can only hope that others caring will help a bit. I read as you write and send my best wishes. It’s been a long road since he left Stanford and you have both been brave. I only can hope that the trips and the new home have been a good thing..

  9. N Smith Says:

    “Cancer will steal your soul, if you’ll let it.” But neither of you lets it, and both of you have more soul – and more heart – than can be overtaken by tragedy. You show admirable courage and strength and heart, and there are a lot of us praying for both of you: that you can have a reprieve, that you can still have more joy and comfort, and that you can go on showing the rest of us just what it means to truly live. You certainly deserve some miracles. I hope and pray you get them.

  10. Lucy Says:

    I am so sorry to hear that this happened. Hoping, praying that things work out for the best for you. Love to Shel, and you. He’s been so strong it amazes me. A big hug.

  11. judy kroon Says:

    This has to be one of the most succinct and heartfelt writings on dealing with cancer. Your writing as always is fabulous, in this case tear producing.
    Sending hopes of comfort and peace to you both.

  12. Nina L Says:

    Praying that you get the extra time that we did, with this type of treatment. I wish you joy and peace.

  13. Janan Henry Says:

    Echoing the words of others, but know that I share your angst and I send to both of you much love and hope for a brighter future.

  14. Edye Says:

    I pray for you more time, may you feel the strength your friends and loved ones send to you and courage to continue with peace in your heart. We (your friends) are here to support you in any and every way we can. Blessings and hope to you and Shel….

  15. Tamara Says:

    Sorry for these tough times. You are so much in our thoughts.

  16. Jeremy Newel Says:

    Your beautiful and articulate writing brings me to tears. So very many of us send you and Shel our most positive thoughts and hopeful prayers.

  17. Joyce Cole Says:

    Steve was the first central abbot at the San Francisco Zen Center. He began writing a blog about his personal process of dealing with a terminal illness. I don’t know you, but perhaps this will be of some comfort or use.

    http://subtleeye.sfzc.org/

  18. Catanea Says:

    Of course! I am thinking of you both, positively, really constantly.
    Was it not better in France? However it all comes out, you’re also in France?
    If you need any petitions signed, or anything, ever again, we are with you.
    Keep enjoying every moment.


  19. “that he’ll feel joy in something, that he’ll be at peace with the way it’s turning out, that he’ll be able to choose his moment and his way to leave us, and that it won’t be too soon.” Yes. This is what I wish for you both. –Laurie


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