Thursday, February 19, 2009

On PICC Lines, Cancer, and Marriage

Michael got his PICC line in yesterday morning. (For a better understanding of what a PICC line is, go here.) It was a "procedure" that had to be done in the hospital. Basically, it's a tube inserted into an artery in his bicep and threaded through all the way to his heart. There is an outside port which will be connected to the pump he will wear that will infuse him with chemo meds around the clock for the next several weeks, beginning this morning in about an hour, actually.





I've been feeling very positive and optimistic about this whole thing for the last week or so, since we met with the oncologist. And I still feel positive and optimistic . . . I know Michael is going to pull through this. But when he came home yesterday with this line in his arm, he suddenly seemed so vulnerable, and that's painful for me. This is real. It's really happening. He really has cancer - it's not just some run-of-the-mill illness that he'll take antibiotics for and get better (in his very true words). This is life-threatening, and the road to the other side - to his wellness - is going to be a long and painful one.

His arm is sore, obviously. I feel helpless to make this better for him. He cringed in pain in bed last night as he tried to shift positions, and I sort of lost it then, just started crying. And it was so unexpected on my part, because I really haven't felt like crying over any of this for a while. But it just hit me right then how much this absolutely sucks, that this is happening to him, to us. And then I feel bad for crying, because then he's comforting me, and it should be the other way around. And I don't want him to feel like he can't lean on me because I'm too weak to handle it.

I am finding that cancer is a very intimate disease. Watching someone you love face their own mortality . . . and facing it with them . . . is incredibly intimate and humbling. I suppose it could tear a couple apart. Or, in our case, it can make you grab on tighter to the other person than you ever have before.

10 comments:

Megan said...

So not jealous of the hole in your handsome, teddy bear of a hubby's arm. I am however jealous that you have your WINDOWS open in your adorable kitchen! And I LMAO at the little fray in the arm pit of his shirt. You've gotta wear your comfy clothes to get crazy things like PICC lines!

doulamom said...

LOL. NICE HOLE!!

Liz said...

Hugs to you. And don't feel guilty for crying... as I'm sure he told you. You are in this together, it impacts you both. The way to get through it together is to turn towards each other with all of the shit that comes up. When he's scared, he can cry while you comfort him. When you're angry, he can bring you back down to calm. If he's feeling helpless, you can be the one to fill him with hope again.

Yes, he's now vulnerable in a different way. And it's ok for you both to be vulnerable with each other.

SunflowerMom said...

Just reading about what you are going thru makes me realize I need to get my shit together with my spouse and be thankful for every minute I have with him.

Anonymous said...

Michael, you are stronger than this dis-ease!, you are going to get through this. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Amanda said...

It sounds like you guys have an awesome support system. Michael is officially on the road to recovery!

sakun said...

ditto to the comment about being grateful for everyday w/our spouse & i'll add....kids...so wish you guys were not going thru this....stay strong but also know it is o.k. for you to cry...& michael to cry...i see that pictures of him & think that's Michael for ya...still smiling....thinking of u guys pretty much everyday Lisa. Hugs!!

Kelly P said...

Hi Lisa,
Michael has such a sweet expression on his face. thinking of you.
XOXO
Kelly P

Jen said...

You are in the toughest spot, Lisa. You are the person in the world that Michael is closest too, which means this affects you terribly hard, but also that he needs you the most. You're having to be a million things at once, to everybody (kids included), and you're feeling guilty that you can't be the rock every minute of the day. You're allowed to cry too. You are. You're going along in your day, and you think you're doing okay with all of this, because you have to, really. You're faking yourself out, and it caught up with you. You have every right to be upset. Sending hugs to you and big healing vibes to Michael...you can do this. It sucks, but you can do it.

Lindarue said...

(((((Lisa))))) Just some hugs - it's OK to cry. You and Michael will comfort in one another. And remember, when you cry, you're showing the depth of your love for him.