Friday, October 10, 2008

A Bumpy Ride

That's my Vinnie on his little green scooter. He loved that little bike and that crazy red helmet! He was one of a kind, that man. He road the grandchildren around on it and drove it to work. He was so proud to be saving so much gas money on his new wheels!

Vinnie has his first surgery in early November. I went to the hospital with him early in the morning. Besides having our babies and being at the hospital for our oldest daughter's babies, neither of us had ever been to a hospital since we knew each other. The kids were all planning to come later in the day but none of us were concerned. Vinnie seemed unclear about whether the tumor that was discovered in the bladder was cancerous. The doctor told him that it was a simple procedure and that it would be treated and he would be fine. So we sat in the waiting room reading magazines waiting to be called into pre-op. Vinnie read a joke to me that he found in a magazine. I didn't think it was that funny, cute, but not that funny. He said he would tell the kids; they'd think it was funny. Then he got called in to pre-op, all the kids arrived by the time he was taken up to the operating room, a procedure that was out-patient surgery. We gave him kisses and waited in the waiting room.

It was suppose to be no more than an hour procedure. I began to wonder if something was wrong when it took almost two hours long. Finally I saw his urologist. He looked concerned and started telling me that it was very invasive and he wasn't sure he "got all of it". He said he'd have to wait to hear what the pathologist report would conclude. He just didn't seem sure he had helped Vinnie. Not having been convinced that Vinnie had cancer, I looked at the doctor at one point and asked, "Does my husband have cancer?" That poor doctor was so sorry to have to tell me, "yes. I thought you knew."

Ironically, when Vinnie and I were about to be married, he told me to prepare myself to be a young widow. He could not tell me why. He just had a sensing that he would die young. I never forgot that. Once, when his GP was concerned about his liver (he had hepatitis B) I thought maybe he'd die like his father did, from that. His dad's liver failed to function, he went into a coma and died almost a month later. His dad died at age 62. But then Vinnie pulled through a period of low liver function. I had hope that maybe he wasn't really going to die young, that we'd grow old together and travel alone in our RV visiting America. It was our dream.

Here I was, now being told that my husband had cancer - for sure - and that the doctor wasn't sure they "got it all". Was this it? Would cancer be the cause of his suspected early death? The doctors continued to give me hope that he was still young, strong, and would easily make it through this. I was given hope that he's make it even though they told me the next day that they didn't get all the cancer and the bladder would have to be removed. My heart sank for a moment but I wanted the fear in my heart to be wrong. I wanted to know that he was going to be okay. I wanted to know that we were not going to go down a long, hard road of taking care of a very sick man. I wanted to believe that he would be okay and we'd get an RV and travel one day. I wanted to believe that after all the hard years of marriage, we were going to get our sweet time ahead of us. I wanted to believe it. The doctors seemed to believe it, but I knew deep down in my heart that it was a real possibility that he wasn't going to make it. I kept hoping anyway. I wanted to hear that crazy green bike come chug on down the driveway once more. He never road that bike again after his surgery. Never again. But we did travel a bumpy road - for many, many months, we were to travel on a very bumpy ride.

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