When you’re sick, they’re sick…

A few weeks ago, I sat with my husband on the patio.  He seemed extremely bummed and it was clearly visible on his face.  I sat there, looking all frumpy – no makeup, hair tied up in a bun, yoga pants, an old t-shirt, and my bedroom slippers – when I finally asked, “What’s going on, hon?”.  He turned to me and said, “Oh, I don’t know…it is just whatever today” and went back to looking through his phone.  Obviously, I didn’t like the answer I heard so I started stewing on it…

Even as I laid in bed that evening, I was still bothered by it.  He was lying next to me, quietly snoring, so I decided to start going through pictures in my phone.  That’s when I recognized a pattern emerging: when I was all dolled up with a huge smile on my face – he too, had a huge smile.  The fine lines in the corner of his eyes became more pronounced from his grin, and he looked genuinely happy.  Then I found pictures where I wasn’t smiling so much – looking a lot like I did when I asked him what was wrong – and I realized it’s me, I’m the whatever.

Gary has been extremely supportive since the time I got diagnosed with breast cancer.  If I was up in the middle of the night, sobbing from the bone aches and nausea, he was right there to carry me to a hot bath and fetch me some mashed potatoes.  He made sure I got out of the house for fresh air over several months, as I struggled to not fall into a deep depression.  When I lost my breasts, lymph nodes, hair, eyelashes, ovaries, and my mind, Gary was right there to tell me how beautiful and intelligent I was.  Gary was my rock; however, now my rock was ready to get back to us and living our life.

Admittedly, I have often felt like a burden to Gary, family, friends, and even co-workers.  It is hard to be the patient; however, I really think it is extremely difficult to be a caregiver.  Gary’s sense of helplessness – that he couldn’t fix me, or take all the pain away – resonated very deeply with me.  I had seen the same look on his face before on others: on my mother, father, sister, family, and close friends…all of those who came to sit with me/visit after chemo/radiation treatments…all of those that watched me go from being a vibrant, strong woman to somewhat of just an empty shell of what I use to be.  I don’t have children, but if I did, I’m sure I would see it on their faces, too.

Throughout my chemo/radiation/surgeries, and even today, I try my hardest to look as pretty and put together as possible.  It is not about vanity; it is about trying to not look like total shit on the outside when that’s what you feel like on the inside.  And to be perfectly honest, it sort of worked for me in changing my perceptions about myself and what I was going through.  No one knows how you feel – physically and mentally – but your caregivers are always going to strive to be empathetic.  If you look happy and well, those surrounding you will reciprocate, and look happy and well.

[This post is dedicated to Gary – my “bug”, my rock – I am truly blessed to have you in my life.]

15 Comments

  1. Edsazebra

    Great blog post.Very touching,it brought tears to my eyes.It is so true what you said they feel what we feel.You and I are both very lucky to have such supportive husbands.

    I am so happy we are both back blogging. ❤

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you can empathize with me… And I’m very happy we are back to blogging!

      Reply
  2. Buzzard

    You are so spot on with this I can remember coming over to visit with you and see the pain in your face and wishing that as a friend could do something to make it all go away

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      Awww…and I so appreciate you taking time to visit me!

      Reply
  3. Missy

    Love this ! And your beautiful no matter what Dana !

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      I appreciate the kind words…thank you!

      Reply
  4. newnormalgal (Post author)

    From a reader on FB (Shirl Baughman): Day in and out I see my patients maybe having their best day or their worst but there are certain visits that always pull at my heart. Those moments I look at a husband or boyfriend after explaining their wife/gf has cancer. I can see that lost and/or perhaps hopeless feeling in their eyes and some may begin to cry. As women we are more apt to share our feelings but it’s moments of witnessing a man in such a fragile and vulnerable state that really causes an ache in my chest. It may not be easy for some to understand but I set back and think this here is a team! She’s going to get through this. Deep love like this is so touching.

    Reply
  5. MOM

    This is truly beautiful…I love reading about your journey, your day and your life with the “bug”…he truly is an amazing person !! I’m so happy and grateful that you have someone in your life that truly cares All about you !! Love, Mom

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      Thank you! I love writing about the ?…

      Reply
  6. Sue Sims

    I am so glad you and Gary found each other. He is amazing, and so are you. Beautiful even without hair.

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      Thank you so much! He truly is a gem!

      Reply
  7. Antoinette Rozzo

    Dana, You are AMAZING! You are such an inspiration. I LOVE reading your blogs! Some make me cry and some I hear myself laughing out loud! You are a beautiful woman. The way you have kept yourself going through everything totally amazes me. I don’t think I could do it. I hope you don’t feel like I’m stalking you! Im just so intrigued with this journey you’ve been on and how you are working through it. And Gary, I’ve never met him, but he’ sounds like the greatest man ever. You two have such a special relationship. You should write a book. You’re really good at writing! I love you and I hope one day you feel pain free because you deserve it. Please keep blogging. I really find it inspirational and I love reading it. And if you ever want, you can call me or message me or anything. I’m just so happy for you and I pray for you that things keep turning up for you. You are a wonderful person!! ❤️

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      I appreciate the kind words! I don’t think you’re stalking me lol…I expect folks to read about my journey because it may help them or someone they know. That’s why I do it…to educate and help folks feel like they are not alone…xoxoxo

      Reply
  8. Antoinette Rozzo

    Well, it’s a great thing. I don’t have any problems or cancers or anything and I find inspiration and I learn so much from these blogs!

    Reply
    1. newnormalgal (Post author)

      I’m so glad! I really appreciate your feedback!

      Reply

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