If you’re new, let me catch you up. My blog is intended to be funny 90% of the time. This is one of the other 10%. My wife was recently diagnosed with cancer in two places. She had breast cancer 12 years ago and survived quite nicely up until a month ago. Every now and then I write about it, hoping to vent a little, maybe educate a little, and maybe even find a joke in there now and then. I don’t share these posts anywhere else on social media and my wife doesn’t know about them, so if you know her, don’t tell her.
Twelve years ago, when my wife had chemotherapy, she lost all her hair. Some women choose to buy wigs and others wear scarves. My wife chose hats. Not baseball or ski hats. She had about a dozen different, cute, stylish hats. She was as chic as a cancer patient could be and she looked damn cute in them.
After the cancer treatment was over, and her hair had grown back, she put the hats in a box. The box got stored in the top of a closet. About a year and a half later, when all was well in our lives, we moved to a new house. When we were packing up our old house I suggested tossing out the box of hats. I optimistically said we’d never need them again. She said no. She said to keep them just in case; so the hats moved with us to our new house in January of 2006 and were put on a shelf in the basement where they remained until …
Last August, after ten years in our house, we decided that it was time to clean out the basement and get rid of all the old things we had stored. Things we thought we might find use for one day but never did. I came across the box of hats. I again suggested to my wife that we get rid of the hats. She said no. She said she might need them again.
About four weeks ago we got the call. It was cancer. Again. I immediately thought of the hats and my heart broke right in half. I didn’t think, “How did she know she’d need them again?” I didn’t think she was psychic. My heart broke because I realized that she had never felt free or safe from cancer’s return. Like a weight or feeling of dread, the thought, the fear of cancer had lurked in the back of her heart every day for twelve years. I don’t think it’s a burden that I could so gracefully bear. Like the box of hats that sat dormant on a shelf in the basement, the cancer, perhaps even only one cell, had waited just as long. That’s OK, we may not like it, but we’re ready and we’ve got hats.