When things go from bad to worse.
Do couples who make out their wills, perhaps sitting in front of a lawyer signing the notarized documents, really think they or their spouse is about to die? Perhaps. When we did it for the first few times, continuously updating a document that was part of the “just in case” file, neither Susan nor I imagined that moment. In fact, as we got a bit older, the process was rather enjoyable. “Look at our estate now, dear. Wow.” Odd, now that I think about it. Updating our will was a happy time.
Twenty years ago, though, everything changed. Last week I wrote about the moment when I walked in the door from a twelve-hour workday to be greeted with Susan’s news that her internist had felt “something” in her right breast and wanted her to have it checked out.
Today I’m moved to think about the moment in that journey when the news went from bad to worse. It was the morning we drove home from the first post-mastectomy doctor’s visit. He had just told us that the lab had discovered extensive cancer in Susan’s lymph nodes. We would later get even worse news about the chemistry of cancer. Getting that news was a shock because the preliminary test of the nodes during the surgery was that there was no cancer in the nodes.
We drove home that day in silence and sat down in our dining room to have “The Conversation.” You know “The Conversation.” What do we do now? What do you do in life when you think the days of your wife or husband or child are numbered?
In that moment – The Conversation took only 3 minutes – I proposed dropping everything, including our jobs, and head for a trip around the world and visits to all the places and do all the things we had yet to do. Susan’s response was immediate, different and changed me how I see the world. “Sam, I have only one thing I need to do right now, and that is to beat this thing. And Sam, if we are not happy with the life we are living, then let’s change it because of that, not because I might die.”
There is, of course, more to this story, our story. Everyone has such a story, and if not now, eventually. Everyone’s story is different, and all people are different. Breast Cancer Awareness month, though, is a time to remember these moments, hear these stories, and encourage every woman and man to take every action they can to stay well. Susan did “beat this thing.” She did it with the strength of will, great doctors and medicine, and awareness.
You can catch the play this coming Monday night. A virtual, recorded video of the show – like a movie – followed by a live dialogue with Susan and myself. Plus, I will be reading an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released book of this journey The Actual Dance. Love’s Ultimate Journey Through Breast Cancer.”
Please join our book mailing list, and be among the first to get the details of the publication, availability, and author talks. Stay tuned for more announcements and ways to engage with me and others who have traveled this road. Sign up here: