Today a friend made public that her husband is very ill. Here's what she said,
"Just after Thanksgiving weekend, my husband, Bruce, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It has already metastasized to his bones, his adrenal gland and to an area surrounding his heart. It is incurable. It is inoperable. And the chemo doesn’t seem to be working."
I'm not speaking out of turn here, she put it on a public blog.
But my heart is breaking for her and for Bruce. He's a fighter, no question, and he's standing strong in the hurricane, and she's right there beside him.
She says, "I’m learning a new language of pain and loss."
And it is a whole new language, as anyone who's had to spend time around hospitals knows. I learned it with Lou, certainly. Talking to doctors, talking to nurses to find out what the doctors weren't saying, talking to specialists, talking to hospice folks. I learned a lot, but by the time I got onboard with Lou's care, much of the language had been distilled. We may have been using euphemisms part of the time, but we knew. No more treatments, no more diagnoses. We were there and the language was fixed.
Not so for Louise and Bruce. They're still learning. And each day has new lessons.
So what can you say in situations like this? I never know. And somehow words seem so inadequate, wishing that with harsh language or pleas you can stop the tide.
Which is not to say it can't happen. I do firmly believe in miracles. Always have. There's so much we don't understand about our bodies and the way things work, and I don't doubt that stranger things have happened than Bruce getting better. And I hope, oh how I hope, and I'll pray too.
But in the meantime, what do you say?
I've offered what I could, and while I know we could help more if we were down there, the fact of the matter is we're not. So really, all I've got is words and time, both of which I've offered up, and I do sincerely hope she'll take me up on it.
Still, my feelings won't be hurt if she doesn't. I understand. Sometime you've gotta keep things close and private too.
What do you do in situations like this?
Tears don't help, although I have and will shed them.
I just wish I knew.