Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bad Words


"Wash your mouth out with soap!"

When I was a little girl there were some bad words my mother never allowed: Shut up and butt. They still sound inappropriate to me. Now we have a-words, b-words, f-words, and d-words. Monday I wanted to stuff a bar of Dial into the doctor's mouth: he said the c-word.

Cancer.
It's a word I haven't allowed in our home, but I guess I'll have to get used to it. Dee got the word, and for the first few hours we took it in stride. Prostate cancer. "It's the kind of cancer you want," they say. "It's a cancer men die with, not of," we read. "Every man gets it if he's lucky enough to live that long." Luck—that's it. Dee has dealt with asthma, gout, diabetes, heart failure, and zillions of complications. What's a little cancer, we thought. CANCER.

CANCER!!! NO! We don't want CANCER!

Panic set in. I pictured myself a widow and Dee pictured emptying out his storage garage. Both pictures were horrifying. I remembered everyone I know who has died of cancer. People die of cancer, I thought to myself, while Dee was thinking the same thing. Without too much effort we conjured up the worst case scenarios. Not good. Steady, Dear . . . calm down . . . it will be OK. Deep breath—when we were in a state of serenity we called our seven kids.

That was the hardest part. They are so awesome, so supportive, so loving. Tears of gratitude slid down our cheeks after each call. Full of thanksgiving for such a great family, we pulled out our faith, recharged our hope and went to bed. It was a fitful night. Dee went down to the treadmill at 4:30 am to walk off his anxiety. Ten minutes later he woke me up, white as a sheet. "I can't catch my breath!" he wheezed. His skin was clammy with cold sweat and he was unsteady on his feet. The morning of his heart attack flashed before my eyes and we left immediately for the emergency room.

Doctors take heart patients seriously and Dee was hooked up with tubes, oxygen and electrodes before we could say "nitroglycerin." He spent the whole day having his heart examined. Another round of emotional phone calls to the kids, plus our sleepless night, produced pounding headaches. Finally the cardiologist arrived with the news: it was heart failure all right, but the kind brought on by panic and stress, not by plugged up stents. We could go home.

Dee told Dr. Muhlstein about the success of his company open house during their chat. The Doc said, "Look at all you still have to do! You'll have plenty of time." Our daughters brought dinner, and we were reminded again of who we want to live for and why. These friends and loved ones have already circled their wagons around us in a protective shield. We took our worry down a notch: Cancer. Cancer. We remembered everyone we know who lives with cancer. Many, many friends and family face it with dignity and grace. As Gordon B. Hinckley used to say, "Getting old is not for sissies." Maybe the c-word is courage.

Even so: I'm shouting this from the top of my blog:

"Cancer??
Shut up!!

We're gonna kick its butt!


(Somehow these bad words seem totally appropriate!)

Share your experience!

27 comments:

Diane said...

I feel as though I'm living in an area with an outbreak of cancer. Too many people I know are being hit.

I'll pray for you and your family.

Christie said...

Seriously. We are still reeling a bit here, but we have no doubt that you guys will kick that cancer to the curb. The kids have been praying for Opa and Hannah made him the funniest get-well card. I'll pop it in the mail tomorrow. Hang in there. He's going to be fine. We love you and wish we were closer.

P.S. What a weird comment from sewa mobil. Spam?

Grandma Cebe said...

Back in the olden days, men routinely died due to prostate cancer. Not so today. Thank goodness for medical advances and excellent facilities. If you need help in the butt kicking department, let me know. You and Dee are in my prayers.

Now I have to write a post about my mouth, Palmolive soap and my dad.

Raejean said...

I'm sorry you have to go through this, but you two are strong and can survive this challenge too. And, you have a lot of people praying for you!

Hil said...

There are plenty of bad words out there, but cancer has definitely got to be the very worst. I am so sorry to hear this news and will be keeping Dee and your family in my prayers!

Misty said...

Oh my word, Oma. I find it amazing that you can get such news, lose so much sleep, spend time in the hospital, and then write such an inspiring blog post. I just love and look up to you so much. I'm praying for you and your family too.

Martha said...

Cancer is the scariest word in the world to me. You handle it with so much grace. My prayers are with you and your husband.

Gordita said...

I am praying for you and Dee.

audrey said...

Oh! My heart and prayers are with you.

Arlene said...

Good morning and it IS a GOOD morning. First...me, a breast cancer survivor. 2003. So I am "out of the woods" so to speak. Second, you know that scripture about how the Lord will come as a thief in the night - well, for me that meant...He came at night when it was dark, and terrifying, and so scary..and he STOLE away the dark. He can do the same for you.........I promise. His grace is sufficient. Hugs.

Carla said...

Your blog always inspires. You and your family have a beautiful faith that unites, guides and strengthens you. Together as a family with your faith you will kick some serious cancer butt! Sending positive, healing thoughts your family's way.

Grandma Shelley said...

I hate the "C" word too. It robbed me of my grandmother as a young girl and of my older brother when he was just 52 years old.

I stand as a witness of the blessings that a strong family brings as they rally with love, support, and sincere prayers for one another in times of need. It is amazing how Christlike feelings of gratitude for what we do have helps to soften life's blows.

I will remember you and your family in my prayers.

My father was treated (radiation therapy) nearly two decades ago for prostate cancer. It did drain his strength for a time but now at 90 years old he is still cancer free and going strong!

Amy said...

I agree with Misty, Mom! Way to turn something horrifying into an uplifting post. You have always been able to see the blessings amidst the strife of life. We're praying for Opa. We love you both so much! Here's hoping for no more hospital visits until at least October :o)

VickiC said...

My very best wishes for Dee's recovery.

My f-i-l went through this about 15years ago. He's 85 now and still busier (by choice) than any man that age should be.

whit said...

I'm so sad to hear about this..I know how strong you guys both are! Hang in there, it's going to be fine. Thinking of you!!

mama jo said...

The wall of fire is how I envisioned it. I was going to get through that fire, and be like iron afterwards! Oh, and remember to laugh!

Nancy said...

Oh, I know how frightening it is to hear the dreaded C word, but I have faith in you two and know you will change that C from cancer to courage to conquered.

I will say prayers for you.

the wrath of khandrea said...

i'm pouting on your behalf. also, i'm more liberal with my potty words, so i'll throw a few around in cancer's name.

sending love and support...

Mrs. Organic said...

I hated hearing "it's the good kind of cancer" - cancer is cancer and it still stinks to have to deal with it no matter how equipped we are to fight it. I wish Dee the best.

Annie said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this and I've been thinking about you ever since I read it yesterday. Sending prayers, good vibes, & wishes for victory against this nasty c-word and more of these: courage, calm, class, cure. xo

allison said...

It is a horrible word. But, he is still here. That's what is most important. I love you, and you're in my heart.

Anonymous said...

I'm an old friend from high school who checks in on you occasionally, and I had to comment on this. I had a scare with cancer a year ago and unfortunately my wife was an ex-wife by then. It's terrible to deal with something like this on your own, so I envy your husband your support. I'm still in a wait and see if it's gone for good mode. Good luck.
B.

kenju said...

I already know too many people with the big C now - and I hate adding another to the list. But if you have to have it, prostate cancer is the least one to worry about, as it is easily treatable and usually slow, slow to grow. Good luck.

Nina said...

I'll keep you in my prayers. These are turbulent times for you!

Tiffany said...

I hate, hate, HATE cancer. But I love, love, LOVE you! You and your sweet husband will be in my thoughts and prayers.

~Kristina said...

Keeping you and yours in my prayers.

Hannah said...

We have had our fair share of cancer in my family. It is definitely a bad word. My dad has actually been struggling with it recently. It is so scary. Hang in there. Your family seems so strong and supportive. I hope they are rallying around you during this hard time. Thinking and praying for your family.