Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Kudos to the purse holders

I didn't write this. I found it on a Facebook group called Sisterhood of Ovarian Cancer Survivors. My purse holder is an absolute Godsend.


You know they are there-we see them everywhere in our CANCER WORLD. They are the spouses and partners who sometimes smile back as we pass from waiting rooms to treatment areas. They are our silent soldier sentinels in this uninvited often terrifying life of ovarian cancer treatment.

Like ourselves, they are bewildered and often stunned at immersion into CANCER WORLD. They spend days and hours offering support, drinking lousy cafeteria coffee, watching their own lives also tick by. Some of them find purpose taking notes, making sure appointments are confirmed, doing additional research. They also help us shuffle along to the car, adjust our seats, make sure we are well supplied with alkaline water, etc.

My own purse holder has been snatched from the dreams of bucket list retirement adventures to having his whole world defined by the course of my disease. He too suffers in CANCER WORLD. The retirement adventures he dreamed of have been squelched or at least shelved.

Instead, while purse holding, he has muscled through the 3000 pages of THE LAST LION—fittingly about Churchill’s “never, never, never give up” spirit. He has engaged in numerous open discussions about the end of my life—at least I get to decide on where, right?

For both of us, the gut punches would take a thousand purses to fill. He is right there with me as we talk with our children, friends, relatives—and carries the stress in the noblest of ways.

Like many men, my purse holder is a deep and quiet ponderer as opposed to my constant chatter and processing. The disease’s silent shadow is always there as he stoically carries on.

Purse holders are everywhere. Just yesterday I watched one down on his knees next to his wife’s chemo infusion chair. When I commented “you sure know how to display love”, this large man thanked me as tears ran down his face.

Just think of all the things our purse holders do!? They take notes, change bandages, give injections, keep water bottles filled, try to cook, HOLD HANDS, HUG, and support us as both our hearts break. They also manage visitors, share updates and try to keep their own sanity grounded.

Getting to share joy, sunsets, jokes fill up our purse holders as much as ourselves. We try to focus on the AWESOME WORLD Mother Nature keeps providing: clouds, birds, water - all refill our often numb spirits. Seeking out large vistas also seems to help.

Above all, my purse holder has earned sainthood for his implacable tolerance of my moods. This disease sure can rip my “natural charm” to shreds. Often I fly from joy to deep angst within one minute. “Living for the moment” seems great, though I suspect only dogs truly practice this. Yet, my purse holder shoulders us through it.

Who knew we would be lucky enough to have purse holders willing to journey along with us? These guys deserve so much more than a cold beer and hug. My “kudos” to my own purse holder is for how gently he supports my baffling diseased life. You say?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Genetic testing

I got my genetic testing (including BRCA) done today. It'll be 2-4 weeks for the results.