At the beginning of this year, Alan and I began on a challenging course — one that involved jumping over fallen trees in the middle of the road, outrunning mountain lions and navigating our way through a dark, overgrown, menacing forest, but one that ultimately led to his triumph over cancer. What we didn’t anticipate was that to make it through to the other side of the forest, we’d first have to gather all our wits and strength together and climb Mount Everest’s cousin called Recovering From Surgery. June had been nothing but an achingly slow ascent over this beastly elevation.
For the past month, it had been so confusing and heart wrenching to see Alan so completely different than his usual self, to see a broken body so unlike his normal one and his face almost unrecognizable save for the two huge blue pools of sad pain above his nose. But then there was the past few days when Alan had been doing remarkably well.
We pretended like we didn’t notice when people stared at him in public, like the bags and hoses and pumps spiraling out of the various parts of his body were just a fashion statement and the bags of fluids clipped to his sagging shirt no more interesting than a man’s backwards fanny pack. We walked around the lake, we paid an exorbitant amount to watch Up (worth every penny) and on Tuesday he even offered to make Sophie and me breakfast. Things were looking up to the point that I didn’t come home to greet him, ready to burst with news of my day, only to immediately feel helpless and full of despair. It was like the clouds had parted and a bright, singular ray of light had shone upon us, smiling at us and singing, “The end is near!”
But the ray lasted for only so long. This morning Alan was in a lot of pain again, as if a hand had reached out from the forest and snatched us back into its darkness, pulling us back to where we were 2 weeks ago. All of a sudden, the taste of better days — of walking, eating out, swimming, watching movies — has gone dull again. While I was at work hoping maybe it was just a morning bug, Alan was re-admitted to the hospital under the suspicion that he may have an internal infection of some sort. And with this new infection comes a new rip roaring pain, lighting a fire and excavating ruins in his belly.
Please, please, please. Can we please be in the clear soon?