Dr. H: “… My gut tells me this is just another speedbump…”
Joe: “…or a huge pothole…..”
Off the phone to me:
Joe: “Well, of course, she said that. What is she going to say? ‘My gut tells me this is — bad. R e a l l y bad.’??!”
Dr. H’s instinct that day was correct, I’m relieved to report.
But, honestly, it didn’t mitigate the damage already inflicted by the stress of knowing he *may* have cancer — and if he did, what was the prognosis? When she called that day, it was only to confirm the biopsy results showed cancer. But she was counting on her gut that the cancer had not spread.
After that call, the thought: “How much can a person endure?” was an unspoken, but heavy presence in our household. After all, this is the fifth time in Joe’s life that he’s been told he has cancer. (One was a false alarm.) Doctors have said to him more than once: “Settle your affairs; you’ve had a good life.” The first time was more than 50 years ago.
Here’s what’s happened over the last two weeks: