Hats Off To You

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.

The Hats

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.

52 responses to “Hats Off To You

  1. Oh, Phil! I’m so sorry for you and your wife. What a terrible thing this disease is. I’m hopeful that soon enough you’ll be storing those hats right back in their box and putting them back in the basement for good! Sending hugs for both of you.

  2. It’s hard to hit the like button for such a post Phil but it sounds like your wife has a strong soldier to fight beside her.

  3. Been thinking about you a lot my lovely… Xx

  4. Hugs to you and your wife from many kilometers away.

  5. Sending hugs to you and your family from this side of the Pond.

  6. I’m sorry to read about this, but understand why your wife held onto the hats. She’s practical– and no doubt that very quality will be why she beats the disease a second time.

  7. The most heart-breaking phrase was “the fear of cancer had lurked in the back of her heart every day for twelve years”.
    I’m continuing to send positive thoughts and virtual hugs to you and your family.

  8. Oh, Phil. So, so many hugs and positive thoughts to you and your family. I so hope that she and her sassy hats give cancer a big kick in the rear end. And if there’s anything (anything at all!) that a nerd in NC can do to help you or yours, please let me know! (Seriously!) <3

  9. I keep typing and erasing, typing and erasing… not exactly finding the right words this morning. That’s a bad thing for a writer, huh? I’ll just add my warmest wishes and positive thoughts to all of you. And a great big hug!

  10. She is a strong woman. You need to be strong too. We’ll be here for when you aren’t.

  11. You wife is a tenacious person and I think the hats are a lovely representation of this, Phil. Please write about this anytime; it is good to share your thoughts and feelings and know that the blogosphere is supporting you and your dear wife! Cher xo

  12. That’s just it, I guess, you never expect it to happen to you so when it does you never take for granted what could happen, even if you live life to the fullest every day after. It’s like someone who was abused will always have an escape plan, even in if they are now in a healthy happy relationship; someone who grew up hungry will always have an “emergency” pantry even if their stomachs are full now, etc.

    I am sorry to hear there is a recurrence. ((hugs)) to you both

  13. And she will look chic in them still, Phil 🙂
    She’s a practical woman. Once you’ve been diagnosed, you know it’s likely to resurface. It might be decades later, but the feeling of vulnerability stays with you.
    I will continue to pray for you and your wife as you fight through this battle again.

  14. You told your awful story in a beautiful way, with grace and strength and love. I am so glad for your wife that she has you, Phil, to be with her in this.

    You know I will say some prayers. Now you do your part:

    – 24-hr Chick-Flick TV in the Taylor household

    – Males-only toilet and bathroom-floor cleanup duty (“Hawww! She said ‘bathroom’ and ‘duty’ in the same sentence!”)–

    He who drops it, mops it!

  15. So sorry to hear this. I know what it is like waiting for that other shoe to fall. That’s where I am now. I send prayers for strength and many blessings.

  16. I think if it were her I would just be afraid I was tempting fate by throwing them out. And now I rhyme:

    Cancer sucks and that is that
    But at least you have the hats
    To help both of you get through it
    You go Phil’s wife, you can do it!

  17. Hooray for hats and healing!

  18. My husband has been cancer free for 26 years. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t cringe when he hears someone else has been stricken. I realized after all this time how worried he still is. Our mates amaze us when it comes to adversity. She’ll be fine. She’s a strong woman ❤️

  19. I’ve lost my sisters to cancer. Some of the best laughs we had were when they were sick. They were terrified but always kept positive and tried to laugh as much as possible. I miss them so much. I have my youngest sisters wig in a bag in my wardrobe. She hated it but I can’t throw it out. Love and best wishes to you and your wife. xxxx

  20. Hitting the like button means that I feel for you and your family, not that I like what is happening. Positive thoughts.

  21. Your heart broke in half for the right reason. I never say cured. “remission” is what I call it. My prayers to both of you.

  22. Thinking of you both every day. x

  23. I’m not going to try to offer affirmations. Just know that you and your wife are in my thoughts, and that my hat is off to both of you.

  24. And she’ll rock those hats I’m sure. Sending you positive vibes and positive thoughts my friend 🙂

  25. Oh, Phil, I am right there with your wife. I was let off of chemo in September, and now my hair is growing back. I have quite the set of hats (baseball, berets, scarves, and cozies) and I thought perhaps now I should think of getting rid of them. In the back of my head, I too, have been saying I will just pack them up and store them, just in case. I have my first 3 month follow-up appointment on the 1st of February, and I am getting really anxious. It is very true, from the moment you are told you have cancer, the thought of cancer being in your body is with you for the rest of your life. It has been a challenge for me to not think fatalistically many times since the diagnosis. My thoughts are with you and your wife.

  26. Thank you for sharing x love and blessings to you both x

  27. Hugs and positive vibes your way. Lots and lots of it.

  28. Sending you hugs and best wishes

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