We learned little more than we had already known. I was glad I took the time to ask my boss to let me go at least to Doug’s first appointment. Only one patient that I saw seemed to be fighting cancer alone; no one should have to fly this awful flight solo. Since we are not legally married or related, I am not able to legally miss work to assist him with his care.
Everyone in that office looked so old and sick! We seemed so out of place: Doug’s ruddy, rosy complexion stood in stark contrast to the pale green of the patients around the office. Doug’s step was quick and sure while the others there were at best unsteady, at worst unable to walk at all, at least twenty years older and strangely preoccupied with the most mundane things. “Who was the guy who played Rhett Butler?”, I heard one man say to his stricken wife. I just kept saying to my self, “We don’t belong here.”
The doctor, as they all are, was very matter of fact and very disinclined to show open optimism or pessimism as, until Doug has had CT scan to determine the stage and spread of the cancer, we will not know a prognosis or exactly what his course of treatment will be. We know generally it will be chemotherapy and radiation but how much and how long is still a mystery. Nothing, as far as treatment goes, will happen until after Thanksgiving.
Doug is, I think, getting a little braver as we get deeper into the process; but he refuses to do any reading on his own on the topic of his cancer. Perhaps it is best to build your own fate, rather than read someone else’s opinion though it may be a very educated one; for, the more I read the more it appears that fighting cancer is very full of unknowns about outcome, merely a bunch of statistics, none of which I feel apply to Doug who is not typical. He is strong, strong-willed, healthy and very smart. He therefore has a very strong chance in any battle. He is very kind, patient, loving and forgiving and I am therefore baffled at why he has to face this seemingly pointless dance with death at such a young age.
We have to find a way to live inside a minute, or even a second as this linear time concept to which we hold so tightly is a shared dream; quantum physics proves all effect on what we see as matter is the result of us, the observer, being in a position to create reality. So as I lay here, unable to sleep, I hear Doug breathing…steadily…deeply; each one is a gift, a miracle and blessing. I try to match my breathing with his in an attempt to feel the rhythm expand a single second into a boundless universe outside of time; that is reality, the ticking clock is the illusion.