Looking back, it seems now that I always knew that I would someday become a widow. At least since the mid-1990’s when my husband Jim, a Vietnam veteran, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Agent Orange was the cause.
We had 3 children; 2 sons, 24 and 21, and a daughter, 12. The 24-year-old son was about to be married. Sitting in the oncologist’s office with a calendar, we tried to figure out the best time to schedule the life-saving bone marrow transplant (from stem cells) so that it wouldn’t interfere with the wedding. The doctor reacted negatively, to say the least. How could we put a “social engagement” ahead of Jim’s life?? I guess at that point we really weren’t taking it seriously enough. In any case, the wedding went on and so did the BMT. After 4 weeks or so Jim came home, looking like death, to be nursed by me and kept in isolation. There is a good article by the American Cancer Society about transplants here:
We live in the Boston area and Jim’s treatment was done at Mass General. We had day 100 circled on the calendar. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think the new cells were then supposed to be safely attached and starting to do their job of making new blood cells. This is also the day when Jim noticed that one of his tumors had reappeared. Also, the day I realized I would eventually become a widow.
P.S. I have been a widow for 4 years but a blogger for only 4 months. If you like this post, please contact me. Or leave a comment!