As I started writing this I found myself using medical terms and numbers and data. Then it dawned on me that that’s not what I needed when I found out my husband had testicular cancer. I got that from the doctors and pharmacists and nurses.
What I needed was for someone to acknowledge that this SUCKS!
It’s scary, shocking and sucky! Did I mention it sucks?
The waiting and the unknowns are the worst part!
Will this affect fertility?
What’s chemo like?
Does he need chemo?
What’s the difference between seminoma and non?
How do we qualify for medical taxis?
Why do you have to use condoms after chemo?
Where do you find sperm banks?
How long do we have to wait for results?
How big is a millimeter?
Why are the stages different for testicular cancer?
This Reddit article says this, is that right?
Do we need a second opinion?
What does rplnd stand for?
On and on and on.
Then you wait some more… and have more questions.
Doctors kept saying “This is a survivable cancer! If you’re going to get cancer this is the one to get.” I appreciate a little dark humor and I knew this was true. But when you hear cancer you think death. That’s just where your mind goes. Here I was 26 looking at my 27 year old husband and I started planning his funeral.
That’s dark I know but that was where my head went.
Then the survivor’s guilt started to sink in. I started to feel guilty that he was going to live. So many people get cancer and die. This wasn’t going to happen to Wil and I felt as if my worry was invalid. It’s not! But it’s hard to shake “someone’s got it worse” mentality.
I started focusing on tasks. Things I could do to get us through it. This looked like picking up prescriptions, making Wil butter noodles, figuring out which popsicles were fat free (after the rplnd you cannot have fat), texting our loved ones updates, writing thank you cards, shaving his head when his hair started falling out and packing his chemo bag.
I started focusing on me! I kept up with running so that I could get out of the house, I called friends for non cancer chats, I splurged on some amazing tea from David’s tea, I kept up with my health coaching business.
I started focusing on being grateful for the good days! Days that he ate, days that he slept through the night, days that he laughed.
I started focusing on the amount of love and support we were getting.
But then this made me feel as if I was doing cancer wrong. I genuinely hated being a caretaker. I didn’t want to beg him to eat or set alarms for prescriptions or take notes at the hospital! But I did, because I had to. We would laugh and joke sometimes. It’s kind of a funny situation if you let yourself think about it, especially sleep deprived. I was pretty okay most days and it made me feel bad. I wasn’t allowed into the chemo ward because of covid and I felt guilty for working. I know there’s no wrong way to handle cancer but it sure feels like there’s no right way either.
I wish I had some grand piece of advice that makes it suck less, but I don’t. All I know is taking it one day at a time is all you can do. And you will do it, because you have to.
People will say things like, “wow you’re amazing! I couldn’t do that!”
Yes you could! Luckily you just don’t have to!
Your thoughts and feelings are valid.
You’re not doing this wrong.
You have to take time for yourself!
Please know that you cannot be a caretaker without taking care of yourself.
If you need to talk, please reach out!
My teste besties and this tc community have been vital.