Note from Namnezia: The following is a guest post from my smart and lovely Supercool wife, who has been indispensable in navigating this bumpy road. Enjoy!
Having only been in the hospital for the birth of our children, I guess I didn’t know what to expect when we showed up in the hospital 3 weeks ago and were given what can only be described as a knock-out punch to the stomach. In the past three weeks, we have dealt with pneumonia, lymphoma and some serious hemolytic anemia that has us talking about types of red wine every time my husband visits the loo.
Being a scientist myself, maybe I expected nurses to hand us daily charts and graphs, detailing progress. I expected protocols and treatment plans that wouldn’t change hourly. During the day we spend so much time focusing on the science of what is happening – a crash course in cancer biology, hematology and immunology. At night when I lie down to sleep in a cot placed too far from my husband’s side to actually reach him, I listen to the monitors beep throughout the oncology ward and I wonder how did my love become part of this cruel experiment with an n=1?
Aside from his physical appearance my husband remains unchanged. Thankfully, his sense of humor is safe from the cancer that has invaded his body. Immediately following his first round of chemo, to which he responded with rigors so severe it was as if he was undergoing an exorcism, he opened one eye and with the little strength he had left, said to the oncologist, “That is some wild shit.”
His jokes have taken on a bit of morbidity but he throws them around with the same spirit as always. When the bad news started coming in, he didn’t want to hear it all at once and let the oncologists know by telling the following joke.
“So, a man is going on vacation and asks his neighbor to look after his cat for the week, and to call if anything was wrong. On the first day of vacation, the phone rings. The neighbor says, “I’m sorry, man, but your cat is dead.” The man is distraught, cannot enjoy his vacation and promptly returns home. He says to his neighbor, “Listen, you ruined my vacation. If you have bad news for me, you should break it to me gently. You could have called on the first day and said, “Hey, your cat is up on the roof.” On the second day, you call and say, “Hmmm….your cat is close to the edge.” On the third day you call and say “I’m really sorry, but your cat fell and might have broken a leg.” Fourth day, “Man, your cat isn’t doing too well, he might be a coma.” Fifth day, “Sorry, but your cat is on life support.” Sixth day, “Maybe you should come home.” Seventh day, “Sorry, but your cat is dead.” The neighbor apologizes. Next year comes around and the man goes on vacation again, instructing his neighbor to call if anything goes wrong. On the first day of vacation, the phone rings. It’s the neighbor and he says, “Man, your grandmother is up on the roof.” My husband is not on the roof, but these past few weeks have definitely been an uphill climb – with bumps in the road as big as mountains.
Now – to get to the title of this post. I’ve always been pretty ambivalent about the color yellow. Didn’t really love it – but really had nothing against it. Well, now that’s a different story. Yellow can instill panic in me - but can also instill a sense of calm. It is all about placement. Yellow – and all colors for that matter - should stay where they belong. Yellow should not suddenly show up uninvited in the skin, but should be a color that one sees when visiting the commode. Quite rightly, mustard nitrogen - one of the chemotherapy agents - should not be going into my husband’s body. I’ve been thinking a lot about yellow recently, and can definitely say that I am a bit mad about it. Twice right.