Handsome Husband is, I would suppose, the epicenter. Or he and I both. Our kids, his mom, my dad, his siblings, mine-they are certainly in the first volley of the earth quivering and shaking. The waves reach outwards to our friends across the country. Friends who, let’s be honest, are much more than friends-they are extended family. So all of them are in the initial seismic wave.
The epicenter would also be, I think, the screen on which the doctor reads the CAT scan of Handsome Husband’s chest and lungs. The energy in the room changed instantly, Handsome Husband said, when the results showed. Someone asked him if he was a heavy smoker. No. Don’t smoke, he said, and haven’t for well over 30 years.
Liquefaction is the process in which the earth turns to liquid mud. Perhaps that explains the fear that ran through my entire body upon hearing the news that Handsome Husband has lung cancer.
The aftershocks? They always happen, right? I suspect that those will be happening frequently over the next few days and weeks as we go through biopsies, staging, and working out a plan-of-action with his oncologist.
I’ve heard people describe the silence that happens after an earthquake. All that noise and racket and destruction of all they once knew, and then….silence. I think the earth is still at such a time because its’ been shocked. Much like the stillness, the numbness, that is me right now. Shock. I don’t know why I’m shocked. We did this road before. Maybe that’s why I’m shocked. We’ve already done this. Are you fucking kidding me?
Glass shatters during an earthquake, as the upheaval strikes. My heart, my everything, is shattering now. I love this man of mine more than life itself. Sorry if that sounds clichéd. We have a very strong marriage. We’re still in love with one another, after 23 years. We’ve loved our traveling life as Happily Homeless. But we knew the time had come to take a break from it, so that his health could heal. He’s been seeking treatment for his cough, for the pain that we thought was a pinched nerve. Anyone who knows Handsome Husband knows too that he has a forbearance for pain that is unimaginable to most of us. So we’ve been dealing with the pain, thinking he was getting treated and there would be an end in sight. When he asked me this morning to take him to the ER, I knew it had to be overthehillanddowntheotherside pain.
He has a very large mass in his left lung, the size of a man’s fist. A smaller one in his right lung. The left lung tumor has eaten away at some of his ribs.
My heart shatters for him, having endured the pain that he has. He’s in the hospital now, here in southern California, at least for a few days. I have no idea what our future holds logistically. Will our insurance insist that we return to New Jersey for treatment? And, if so, how on God’s green earth are we supposed to get him there? And where would we live while he’s getting treatment? Lots of unanswered questions. We’re here tonight, in the hospital, and time will help us figure it all out. He’s out of pain for the moment. That’s all that I care about.
There was an earthquake in California today, felt only by those of us who love this man who is a loving, devoted, husband, dad, papa, brother, son, friend, mentor, prime example of someone you want to know, and want your sons to grow up to be, and the kind of man you want your daughters to marry.