The caller ID on the phone indicated that the call was from the doctor’s office. We had been anxiously awaiting the call.
The mammogram had revealed a spot that concerned the doctors and a biopsy had been performed. We were waiting for the results. I had assumed that if the news was good that we would be informed right away to put our minds at ease. We were told, however, that we had an appointment with a surgeon the next day.
We knew what that meant.
The surgeon was very professional and kind. He looked at my wife, Cynthia, and gave her the bad news … she had breast cancer. It was one of those surreal moments that you never forget and the words hung in the air for a few awkward seconds. The doctor then explained the surgical options and gave direct answers to our many questions. We met with a nurse who provided more information and scheduled future appointments.
We left the clinic with our heads spinning and a bag full of pamphlets. Life had thrown us a curve ball and we had to deal with it. So we did.
Chemotherapy. Then radiation. Then hormone therapy. Cancer treatment can be arduous, but I am happy to report that Cynthia is doing well and that her prognosis is good. I am blown away with how my wife has dealt with everything as she has demonstrated nothing but courage and grace. She has always been my partner and the love of my life, but now she is also my new hero.
As a child I had many heroes … mostly sports figures and musicians. As a young adult that changed and my heroes were individuals who made the world a better place. In my 30s and 40s my parents became my biggest heroes as I came to appreciate all they had done and sacrificed for me.
Now, I live with my biggest hero.
My wife has always been a very caring and giving person, and she has always focused most of her time and energy doing things for others. Fighting cancer has not changed her, and she still puts the needs of others ahead of her own needs, even when she is tired or when she does not feel well.
There is a saying that “adversity does not build character … it reveals it.” Having observed how my wife has dealt with her diagnosis and treatment, I am now a witness to that truth.
I started writing this column in January of 2007, but I stopped last year when my wife was diagnosed. I could not find either the time or the inspiration to write. Fighting cancer involves, however, trying to return to your normal activities so I am going to give the column another go.
My wife’s battle with cancer has certainly changed things for us. The focus on her recovery has brought us closer together and I have new inspiration and a higher standard. I strive every day to be deserving of my wife’s love and support and I try to emulate her courage, compassion and character. I know I will come up short, but I will do better because of the effort.
Cancer … you have certainly changed us, but cancer patients … like my wife … have a character and spirit that you cannot defeat. As for me, my wife’s battle with cancer has helped me put things into perspective and I pray has made me a better husband, a better father and a better judge.
Take that, cancer. You have given me a new hero.
As always, remember it is your court.