Rebekah is a wife,mother,sister, daughter, and friend. She has four boys who keep her very busy. To read more about her journey, please visit The Virtual Wife.
My house is a complete disaster. There are dishes to be done, laundry to put away and a million things to do before the first day of school which happens to be tomorrow. And here I sit, feeling guilty about taking time to explore my feelings. Guilt is a feeling I am quite familiar with lately. Maybe that is normal when your husband has a brain tumor, not sure since this is all new to me.
Lately I have been guilty more than anything else. I feel guilty for all the fights we had over the last year for things, it turns out, my husband couldn’t control. I feel guilty for still getting angry at him even though I know he probably still can’t control it, not to mention all the stress that he is under. I feel guilty that our children have to deal with something so big when they should just be enjoying their childhoods. I feel guilty for letting my house go to shit. I feel guilty for not being more vigilant about my husband’s diet (and let’s face it – mine and the kids). I feel guilty for getting angry at how this has all changed my life. I feel guilty. And that’s okay, because as a woman and a mom, I am very familiar with this feeling. It’s all the other crap feelings that I can’t quite get my arms around.
My husband had been having headaches. We didn’t think anything of it. Sometimes he felt dizzy or unbalanced. We self-diagnosed that he had a sinus infection. Our doctor agreed and put him on antibiotics. Some days he would come home from work and go to bed. I got angry. I didn’t get to go to bed when I had a headache. Buck up buddy! (I, of course, did not say this and instead suffered in silence and let it stew.) The Thursday we found out started like any other day. We had a long to-do list that included packing for my husband’s high school reunion that weekend, football practice and a follow-up doctor’s appointment because the meds she put him on weren’t working (cause dah, he did not have a sinus infection). The doctor’s appointment led to an MRI scheduled for 9:30 pm that night. We were still planning on going to the reunion, so sure the MRI would show nothing. And then the phone rang at 11:15 pm, 5 minutes after we got home. And life as we knew it would never be the same.
In less than a week, we would be in and out of the hospital twice (two different hospitals) including a four hour brain surgery. (Yup, they drilled two holes in my husband’s skull and then used a jigsaw.) We would learn things about the brain and tumors we never hoped to know. I would have to buzz my husband’s hair since the haircut the surgeons left him with was a bad reverse Mohawk. I found a whole new use for reminders on my phone, to tell us when he needed his medicine. Our Facebook pages lit up with wishes from people we hadn’t talked to in 10 years and even from people we didn’t know. Family came to visit and help with the kids. Friends stopped by to say hello and bring food (wishing that part didn’t end ). It was a crazy, whirlwind of activity which left little time to think about the hard truth of the situation. And then all the motion stopped and what was left was real life. Because no matter how much you wish it would, life does not stop for your husband’s brain tumor. Life goes on.
The hardest part of all this has been trying to continue on with our lives. We have four boys ages 4 to 14 and they are very active. We have football and sleepovers and back to school shopping. And of course, they actually want to eat from time to time which involves grocery shopping and cooking. The kids have been trying to be good, but they are kids and there are still fights. There is laundry and cleaning and doctor’s appointments. And all of this must go on while my husband still has a tumor on the other side of his brain which can’t be operated on. I am overwhelmed to say the least and when it gets too much to handle, I feel guilty about that too because my poor husband is the one actually going through all of this. He is my best friend and I share everything it him, but I do not want to add to his burden by telling him how hard this is on me. He is starting to get out and about more because I think sitting in the recliner all day is driving him nuts. And so he is going to play golf. And I feel guilty because I am angry that he gets to play golf while I work, clean the house (sometimes), cart the kids everywhere and remember all the doctor’s appointments. Have fun honey, ahhhhhhhhh!
What I have come to understand is that the trauma of the diagnosis and even the surgery was hard, but finding the strength to go on with life is even harder. I know that people go through their own personal battles every day and I applaud them for all their hard work. If anyone has any secrets to not losing their shit along the way, I am all ears.
May the force be with you, I am certainly hoping it is on our side.