Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The moment my life changed

It was 6:30am and we were at St. Vincent's Hospital awaiting surgery.  This was Marci's 3rd thoracotomy in 18 months.  You see, her lung tumors were growing ... more rapidly than they had in the 28 years prior.  She had met with the surgeon a couple days prior ... I had offered to go with her, but she simply said, you need to go to work ... Don't worry, I've got this."  And so I went to work.  I relived that decision almost every day ... for a very long time.  What didn't she tell me?  What did she hear about the true risk of the surgery she was agreeing to?  Did she go in expecting to once again endure the inevitable pain of recovery?  Did she think she would have hope ... Maybe be part of the emerging clinical trial of viral therapy to treat lung tumors?  Or did the Dr. tell her that this was her last and final hope to live even 6 months more ... To hold her 2 young boys, to feel her husband laying beside her for a little while longer?  Maybe justa little  more time to prepare ... To make plans and make peace?  
In her gown, in her last bed, this mass produced and easily cleaned hospital bed ... she said goodbye.  I said, see you in a bit ... Like this was her going in to the dentist to have a tooth worked on ... A routine that we'd been through ... Familiar, not pleasant, but known.
We sat in the lobby ... Marci's mom, sister, brothers ... Waiting. Chatting a bit and reading the current issue of US magazine... Watching whatever was on at 8 am ... Good morning America or some such thing... Waiting. We knew she would be thin, weak, in pain... She was always in pain... Healing is painful but we would help ... We'd be there to help her. 
When they moved us to a private waiting area ... We knew the routine was broken ... By the time the anesthesiologist came in ... Eyes down... Defeated ... We were broken... Everything was broken... Ground zero.  And at that moment ... My life, everyone's life ... Changed.