It’ s been a whopping 9 months since I last updated this blog and I’d say it’s high time that I provide an update. This update is more for me than it is for potential readers, though I hope that it also provides some insight into why I have been all but unable to write about anything other than the random attempts at somewhat boring articles in the Valley Voice. I need to purge. I’ve had some very dark times over the last year and writing is crucial. I need to get my game back on! (And my therapist recommended that I do this for my own good. Thanks, Sara.)
I just reread all the previous blog entries from the time I was diagnosed and the last one, dated 7/8/2014, was an inadequate glimpse into what was truly going on at the time. I touched on some of the little things that were eating at me but I left out the major cause of my depression… infidelity.
Reading the bits about how I had the most awesome wife breaks my heart. I was so blind to so much that was wrong with my marriage and only in hindsight can I even begin to understand what may have transpired to create the situation that I find myself in today. I was head over heels in love and had no idea that my wife was suffering regret.
I need to add this caveat before I continue… I have done much reading on cancer and divorce and been through many a counseling session regarding this topic, and divorce is not an uncommon outcome. That doesn’t really make me feel any better about my situation, but the fact is, cancer fucks up a lot of marriages.
Infidelity is a tricky term. There is sexual infidelity and emotional infidelity. They are different in form and function, but equally painful. The infidelity that I experienced was emotional, and I will never know if it was sexual as well and that’s quite alright by me. Some things are better left unknown.
My brain is going faster than my fingers and the thoughts in my brain are bouncing around with so many different ideas and directions that I feel the only way to unload all this info is to go back to what I feel is the beginning of the end. I have plenty of news regarding the alien infestation that still lingers in my guts, but that will have to wait for a few paragraphs.
I learned about my ex’s boyfriend on Mother’s Day, 2014. Yup, last May. There had been a noticeable shift in her desire to do anything around the house. No cleaning, no cooking, sparse communication. All the wonderful things she said about what truly matter in life regressed to anger and desire. The two words I heard most were “I want,” followed by any number of things that could range from “I want new dishes,” to “I want to move to Steamboat.” I was five weeks out of surgery and starting to feel somewhat human again, though my brain was still far from human. The mingling of alien DNA with my own had and still has quite an effect on my ability to think about anything other than The C Word (no, not cracker), but I was still coherent enough to notice that something was not quite right.
This part is difficult to write about because it opens up wounds that are still festering, but I’ll do my best to relate the sequence of events that led up to me doing the worst thing that I have ever done in a relationship… break into my wife’s phone and discover what I suspected but didn’t want to know. Dick maneuver? You bet, but it was the only way I could think of to learn what was really going on. She would not tell me, but I had to know.
The week that I was to begin treatment for the carcinoid syndrome and tumor control was the week that the ex had to go on a business trip. I had quite a bit of fear of what the drug may do to me physically and mentally, but I feel that I was still overtly understanding of her need to get out and live a little bit. She had become quite withdrawn and very evasive of communication with me, preferring to spend time on her phone, jumping up from her seat and running to reply to every blip, ring or buzz the phone issued. This was unlike her – enter clue number one.
She left on Sunday evening, I started treatment on Monday. The following five days netted a total of two texts to me a day… one in the morning and one in the evening. Short, polite, but understandable. She had checked out. I even defended her when her mom called to ask how I was doing and was so surprised that I hadn’t gotten a phone call from my wife yet.
She returned home early Friday and had a short nap before having to open the store at 7am. When she got home after work to a nice dinner I wanted to catch up on all that had happened over the week but instead she was very aloof and focused mainly on her phone. The only questions she asked were regarding when I was going to work on Saturday morning. Enter hindsight clue #2.
Saturday mornings were sacred. No alarm clocks, lots of pillow talk, catch up from the week, breakfast and fun. I was making my attempts at these but she was squirmy and reluctant, but somewhat giddy in a weird way. Hindsight clue 3. Then here alarm went off. When I asked her why her alarm was going off she said, “I’m going out with my friend.”
You can imagine what was going through my mind at this time, so I asked, “Who? And why didn’t you tell me about this sooner? I haven’t seen you in a week and I want to hang out!”
“My friend!” she said.
“What friend? And why didn’t you tell me about this sooner? Today is ‘no alarm Saturday!’”
“That guy who’s been telling me about all the bike trails.”
“Does this fucking guy have a name? And who the hell is this guy? And why haven’t I met him?”
Without relaying the rest of the conversation to protect the guilty, I left for work in a newly pissed off state of mind that left me festering all day until she came home from work at 10pm that night. I was very polite when she came home and waited for the pleasantries to subside before confronting her with my discomfort regarding this whole situation. When confronted with, “Babe, I’m uncomfortable with you seeing this guy. You were trying to get me out of the house so you didn’t have to tell me about your date, and looking back to our conversation Friday night, you were being deceptive in your questioning.”
“Don’t worry about it. He’s just a friend.”
I didn’t sleep too well that night, and Sunday morning I got out of bed, went to the bathroom and saw her phone charging in the kitchen. I looked at it. Started reading the texts. She rushes out of the bedroom as I’m reading the texts from her boyfriend and gets pretty pissed off. Understandable, but not nearly as pissed off as I was.
A quick check on our Verizon account revealed long conversations and over 500 texts to this cock-blocking fuck-wad over the week she was gone and I was shooting cancer drugs into my belly three times a day. There were well over a thousand texts between the two of them just that month. That blew me away.
I should probably add that we had/have many opposite-sex friends. I have many female friends who I hang out with fairly regularly, and she had male friends who she would hang out with entirely independently from me. No problems. They all knew we were happily married and the friendships were plutonic. Awesome friends are awesome friends regardless of what equipment they possess. This relationship was not one of those. I didn’t get to read too many of the texts, but what I did read was uncomfortably flirtatious and bordering on sexting.
I was broken.
We tried to work things out over the next three months and she had told me that they were having no communication and when she’d see him at the store she’d walk the other way. That didn’t last long.
She was meeting him at the park, going on bike rides with him, taking hikes with him and I don’t know what else, all I have is her word, which doesn’t carry much weight with me anymore. I still don’t know the true nature of their relationship and I still have never met the guy. (Lucky for him, right?)
She moved out in September for a “break.” I filed for divorce in December and it was finalized March 18th, 2015.
This is the Cliff Notes version of the story. There was much more involved in the decision to get divorced than just her relationship with the shithead. (Really, what kind of asshole hits on a woman whose husband is being treated for cancer? Douchery, I say. Pure, unadulterated douchery.)
One of the main reasons I had to let go is my complete lack of desire to procreate. We had been trying to conceive for years and had just started getting serious about adopting when I got my diagnosis. My confrontation with mortality left me completely lacking in desire to raise another human, whether mine or someone else’s. I got selfish, but not unloving. Knowing that my life may be cut short by this disease made me want to travel, see more of the world, do anything other than save money for someone else’s college tuition. If I were to have a child today, I’d be well into my 60s before the little urchin would be starting college, and I don’t want to work until I’m freaking 75. No way, man. Not only did I want to live, I had to let her live the way she wanted to live as well, and she needs a kid. Divorce was the only workable solution, as painful as it was.
The Last Year of Cancer:
According to the asshole surgeon (referred to as “my new buddy” in a previous blog entry) who worked on me last April, said I should, and I quote, “Lower my expectations on life.” And that, “This will probably kill you, it can’t be removed.” And he told me that on my birthday last year after taking out the staples in my belly. Talk about awesome bedside manner. This was after he told me I was fat and he jiggled my man-gut with his finger. Wow.
Instead of taking that piece of shit-stain advice, I decided I’d raise my expectations of life and see just how awesome I could get. This is not an easy thing to do when one is suffering from some pretty deep and dark depression brought on by cancer, a cheating wife and a dying dog. (Yes, Medea went and caught some cancer, too, but that’s a story for a whole ‘nother piece of writing.)
Over the last nine months since my last blog entry, I’ve seen a personal trainer twice a week, ridden my bike hundreds of miles, I have been to San Francisco, courtesy of my friend Scott Thompson, Seattle, courtesy of another friend, Derek Dezso, Las Angeles, and probably the most important trip of them all, to Nashville to see a carcinoid specialist and awesome surgeon, Dr. Eric Liu.
This trip to Nashville gave me the most valuable gift of all… hope. Dr. Liu was both positive and energetic. I had already lost 20 pounds by the time I saw him last May, and he was quite impressed with my recovery and my physical condition. He ordered a few important scans that I could have done in Colorado to see if my liver, lungs or heart had been effected yet and to see if I was eligible for surgery. And the single most memorable statement of all, he said, “No problem, I can take that out.” I had watched videos of Dr. Liu performing surgery on tumors nearly identical to mine and he has a very high rate of success treating people with my alien infestation. I came home with energy and elation.
The bad part of the last year was that Dr. Liu quit practicing at Vanderbilt shortly after my trip to Nashville. Hope was smashed again, though there was a promise that he’d be back in practice soon, but he didn’t know when or where. That brings us to the now.
I had my monthly oncology and treatment appointment on Friday, April 3, exactly one year to the day since my surgery and removal of the first nest of aliens. The scans that I had done in March showed that the aliens had not spread, grown or shrunk. Everything looked the same and the monthly treatments were keeping the nest from growing, which is mostly all they expect from this form of treatment.
Then came the good news: Dr. Liu will be practicing again by June (no guarantee, but more than likely). My oncologist has been in contact with Dr. Liu and is recommending that he see me as soon as possible. Next month (May) when I go in for my appointments, I should find out when I’ll get the necessary scans to prepare for the potential surgery. I’m trying my best not to get my hopes too high, but I definitely have a little pep in my step that has been missing for the last nine months.
And in other news, I’m not fat. Did that one catch you off guard? It did me. My PT guy, friend and confidant, Michael David, did a BMI test on me at my last training session and I measured in at a 14. The chart called that excellent shape for a 34 year-old. I turn 45 a week from now, so I’m pretty freaking happy about that. My goal now will be to bulk up as much as I can between now and surgery because I will be losing about three feet of intestine and colon in my next round of eviscerations. I lost over 20 pounds after the first surgery, and now I don’t have 20 to lose, so I need to eat and work out like nobodies bidness! The stronger I get, the quicker I’ll bounce back.
If you made it this far through this messed up story, thank you. I’ll be updating a bit more regularly now that I got all the shit I’ve been hiding off my chest. It’s hard for me to be honest when I’m lying to myself, and that is why I had to purge.
Oh, did I mention, FUCK CANCER!!!