Rons Rants

A Blog Is A Self-Inflicted Invasion Of Privacy

Location: Newland, North Carolina, United States

I'm a fifty two year old happily married man who doesn't really like many people which is why I live on the top of a mountain.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Story Of My Wife...Part Three

I cannot believe how cold and windy it has been up here on the mountain!

We would pay big bucks to experience some damned global warming right now. Michelle has been busy trying to make a few dozen different species of flowers and plants grow but the weather is not cooperating. So far, the only thing growing like hell is our feeling of impatience. We’ve been doing a lot of ‘spring time’ sprucing up projects but we’re freezing to death while doing so.

It’s really strange.

Okay…back to the story of Michelle.

After she and I finally got together, we knew immediately that we were going to stay together. Having both gone through bad marriages and relationships, we knew that nothing was a ‘sure thing’ so, one afternoon after talking about our future together, we sat down at her kitchen table and began to talk.

This conversation was the cornerstone of our future together. I think everyone ought to be required by law to have this type of conversation before they get married!

We covered damn near every topic/potential problem known to man. We talked about finances, morality, God, family, friends, habits, likes, dislikes, pets, politics, religious practices, health, sex….you name it and we probably talked about it. We didn't want to have any surprises.

Several hours later we decided that we were going to be married.

After we had been together for several months but before we were married, Michelle began having really severe pains in her upper back. Being a devotee of chiropractics, she went to the top chiropractor in Boone, NC for quite a few weeks but the pain persisted.

One afternoon, I saw her standing on the front deck looking out at the mountains so I went to join her and enjoy the view. When I reached her, I could see that she was crying. To this day,I’ve only seen her cry a few times in our time together, and never because of pain. Hell, I had accidentally hit her in the head with the hard edge of a tennis racket once and damn near knocked her out so…I was really worried.

She was in incredible pain, had been for quite a awhile and was worn out from it.

She buried her head in my chest and cried.

"I hurt so bad....I don't know what's going on." She said.

I insisted that she go see a ‘real’ doctor instead of a ‘quack-a-practor’. I know that people swear by chiropractors but although I’ve been to three of them…I don’t believe in them at all.

To make a long story short, she DID go to her doctor who then referred her for a CT scan and an MRI. After seeing the results, she was sent to an oncologist (cancer doctor for those of you lucky enough not have ever had to visit one) and we received the news.

I will NEVER forget that meeting.

The doctor, Mike Kaplan, was a gregarious late forty-ish guy. We came to really love the guy and his family but, on that day, I hated the man.

After a thorough examination, Michelle got dressed and we sat there in the small room holding hands while giving each other encouraging looks. Dr. Kaplan studied the test results for awhile and finally began speaking.

“Michelle, as you know, you had a bout with breast cancer ten years ago and the radiation and lumpectomy seemed to have resolved that issue for a time but, I’m afraid that it’s back.” He said very sympathetically.

Our hands squeezed tightly as we glanced at each other.

At the time, I remember thinking “Well…she’ll just have another procedure and it’ll be over and done with.”

Michelle was the first one to speak.

She asked him to elaborate and he did.

To this day, I cannot remember a thing the man said.

I heard his voice, I saw his lips moving and I saw the compassion in his eyes. I can remember seeing the concern in his face.

I remember thinking that this total stranger was about to cry.

When he finished speaking, I looked at Michelle. She was as calm as a person listening to a sermon in church.

I heard her ask a question that had something to do with a word I’d never heard before but that she was quite obviously familiar with.


What the hell was that?

I asked him what the word meant and he explained it to me but, much to my surprise, again, I couldn’t hear a word the poor man was saying.

Something in my mind had shut down. I know it sounds silly but it really happened. I now realize that, for the first time in my incredibly blessed existence, I was experiencing abject fear.

I KNEW the news was bad but….I just did NOT want to hear it!

I was like a little kid with his fingers in his ears humming loudly so as not to hear the taunts of his brother.

My reaction still embarrasses me today.

After he had droned on for a few minutes it finally began to sink in.

“Wait a minute!” I shouted. “Wait a minute! What are you saying?”

After a few seconds of stunned silence, I looked at Michelle and she gave me a precious smile as she rubbed my arm. She instinctively knew that I was overwhelmed by the moment.

“Sweetheart….the cancer is back and its spread all over my body.” She said calmly as though she were telling me that the lawn mower wouldn’t start.

I’ve never felt so stunned in my life.

She reached over and pulled me to her.

“It’s gonna be alright big boy.” She said. “Don’t you worry…it’s going to be fine.”

We held each other for a few seconds and then Dr. Kaplan spoke up.

He began going into detail as to where the cancer had spread. Liver, spine, femur, tibia, neck, pelvis, hip…the list went on for several minutes as he described the severity of each lesion.

I swear…it was all just a big blur in my mind.

Michelle, being the incredibly strong person that she is, took in all the information and then, when he had finished speaking, she took a deep breath, gripped my hands in hers and asked the question….

“How long do you think I have?” She asked.

He looked at her and smiled a faint smile.

“Of course…no one can tell exactly but according to the advanced nature and scope of the lesions, I would think two and a half years.” He said sadly. “I’m truly sorry.”

With that, he stood up.

“I’ll leave you two alone for a moment then we’ll talk about how we’re going to fight this damned thing.” He said as he left the room, closing the door behind him.

I would like to report how bravely I handled the news. How I had maintained a ‘stiff upper lip’ and faced the situation like a modern day John Wayne but….I would be lying through my teeth.

I fell completely apart.

I cried so hard that my body felt as though I was having a seizure.

I remember saying over and over again.

“Oh dear GOD honey…I’m so sorry.”

This went on for a few seconds and then she pushed back from me a bit and smiled.

“Would you pray with me?” She asked quietly.

I nodded lamely and she grasped my hands in hers.

To this day, I’m amazed at what I heard her pray.

“Dear God…..thank you for all the blessings you have given us and thank you for giving this to me and not Ron.” She began. I started to say something but she cut me off. “Please ease his mind and let him know that whatever YOU decide to do with me is also what I want. Do with me as you please. Please help us deal with this and know that we put it all in YOUR hands. Do with me what you will Lord.”

After the short prayer, she looked at me a smiled.

“Big boy…..” She smiled so sweetly. “There ain’t NOTHING that GOD can’t fix! We’re going to be just fine.”

And so it began…..

To Be Continued

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