For 23 years, I have been successfully winning a struggle against numerous life threatening cancers. But, this is not that story.
I will now become the caregiver. In a few days, my husband, Arnie will undergo a serious surgery of a total hip replacement where his hip has become necrotic.
Arnie has been my dedicated caregiver in every imaginable and unimaginable way for every day of my cancer battle. We have fought my three cancers together. Taking every step of the journey together. Traveling always together side by side. Sharing the fears, pain and stress of a life threatening disease.
Arnie, The Caregiver, has been dedicated, devoted with his support never waning. “We” wage a continuous war against my two active cancers every day. I share my body with a rare form of leukemia, and it’s nasty “cousin,” an equally rare form of lymphoma. Most forms of leukemia normally don’t develop into another blood cancer. But, these two are not normal! Or, even very friendly to tell you the truth!
As I become, The Caregiver, my strength and stamina will be challenged in a different way. This is a new experience for me, both physically and emotionally. I deeply feel the pain of my loved one being ill. I better understand the pain he has felt for me all these years.
Arnie now becomes The Patient and he will begin a long journey. Arnie faces invasive surgery, the healing of his body, his recovery and his rehabilitation. I know he will be positive as he constantly moves forward on this unknown road to returning to his full strength.
I will take this journey with him as we share this new experience. It is odd to have our roles reversed.
Arnie is a brainy-ac. He has never been a super athlete, super golfer, super skier, super marathon runner, or even a weekend super-sportsman.
To me, he is my Superman.
Arnie. It’s a simple and rather plain name. Not a lot of glitter or glamor attached to it. But, to me, it is the most beautiful name in the world. He is truly a remarkable and unique individual. His optimism is immeasurable. He is filled with a radiating light of life. He hums in the shower every day. He is introspective.
My husband now needs the strength and support of my care giving. I gratefully will return all the tenderness and love he has given to me. It is my time to share with him the important gift he has given me all these years during my time of need.
This is about love, commitment, support and the undying belief partners have in one another. It is also about a new kind of struggle. A new challenge occurring unexpectedly in a marriage. Even a strong marriage will feel the strains.
Most people think the support of a spouse would be a simple and almost non-subject. Even, perhaps, a “no-brainer.” Unfortunately, many couples don’t understand the “for better or for worse, in sickness or in health” part of their vows. These are NOT just words. Throughout the years together a couple may face the challenge of an illness.
A major illness or chronic sickness is like a wake-up call with a pail of ice cold water in the face. Illness can be the immeasurably harsh and painful reality we face every day as we star in our very own Reality Show.
Sickness, disease, or chronic illnesses; simply put, is difficult, stressful, and a traumatic part of life. It is literally where “the rubber meets the road” for many marriages. It is too hard. It isn’t romantic. It isn’t pretty. It is all consuming.
Being a caregiver is the art of strength, commitment, and a shared great love.
Through every step of my treatment, struggle, recovery, pain, and our fears, Arnie has remained constant. His even temperament and kindness has been a valuable gift and asset. He is without question or doubt completely tireless, unconditional in his love and support, and a giver of care.
It is my heartfelt honor to return all that he has given me.