Support for an Ignored Breed

You hear many stories of loved ones going through all types of cancer, that we’ve almost gotten numb to it.  In all this, we forget that there are those out there that are hurting as much as those loved ones.  I commend the Livestrong Facebook page for making a mention of that today.  It’s also the caregivers of cancer patients who get lost on the forgotten list.  Honoring them is just as important as celebrating cancer survivors (or grieving those that have lost the good fight).

Yes.  I know this from experience!!! . . .






It all started with knowing Emptyeye’s grandfather for only that short time.  I know that his family still misses him to this day.  Then just under a year or so after losing his grandfather to lung cancer, Empty himself was diagnosed with a type of Lymphoma that was pushing on his heart.

The only reason we knew something was wrong, was that he had a cold that wouldn’t go away.  Not able to deal with it anymore, Empty went to the Dr’s.  He had had several x-rays taken, and the Dr. told him to go to the ER, as he had an enlarged heart (kinda like he had had several heart attacks).  Even before they really knew what was going on, we were all getting pretty scared.  I was so scared, that I left work that night to go home and asked my parents to drive me to see him.  I was such a nervous wreck that I don’t think I could have driven all the way out to Waterbury (the nearest hospital to both Empty and Myself, at the time) without causing an accident or getting into one myself.

It took a few days before the Dr’s really knew what was going on with him.  The whole time, I remember Empty bitching about having to spend his 21st birthday in the hospital. I admit, I got angry at him for doing so at the time.  Since, I’ve just assumed that he was protesting on something that was light-hearted compared to the cancer in order to bring in some distraction to both of his parents and myself.

I was just scared that I could lose him, that I might have gotten a bit freaked out.  (If you know me personally, you are now questioning the “might have gotten a bit freaked out” part)  I quit a job at Wal-mart that was good for me in order to stay by his side just in case the worst-case scenario happened and I lost him to the cancer.  The people at Wal-mart thought I was crazy, solely because they didn’t understand Empty and my promise to each other for our future.  Even at that point, the two of us were practically inseperatable.  I admit, I proposed to him after the arguement I had with one of the managers (who said that they would have understood my want to be there with Empty if we were married, and would have excused my leaving that first night) in some crazy moment when we were alone after his parents had left for the night. [since then, as you know, he’s asked me and it’s all official-like]  Being the 20-year old that I was, everything that was said to me at that point made me VERY paranoid.

The whole time Empty was going through his chemo, I mostly was remembering all of the people I knew that had had some form of cancer and passed, and started getting irrational to the form of being paranoid.  The 20-year-old me had only been exposed to TV, movies, and the passing of Empty’s grandfather, so I was afraid that if I did anything (and I mean ANYTHING at all) to upset the balance, then I would loose him too.  So I started to try to create a protective barrier of cleanliness around the two of us, and wouldn’t go see him until everything I was wearing was clean to the point of obsession.  In fact, I STILL carry waterless hand soap around with me, just because of that paranoia that I need to keep my hands clean so I don’t lose this man that I had given my heart to early on in our relationship.  There are moments (like last night before I went to bed), where I still break down thinking about that potential.

The last part of this story has to do with the fact that my grandmother is now fighting Ovarian cancer for the second time.  We had thought that she had it beaten, but apparently not.   Again, paranoia returns every time I think that I want to go visit her.  I make sure that I’m clean before I even step into her house or reach to touch her when we’re at public events (like my sister’s Confirmation this past Friday, congratulations must go out her, BTW).  I even find myself having the same reaction to my grandfather, because he’s HER caregiver, like I was one of Empty’s.  We’ve never really been on the best terms, her and I, but I don’t want to be the reason she gets sick.  Who would EVER want this for anyone, no matter who they are?

I feel like I should be using my experience with being Emptyeye’s Caregiver to help support my grandfather.  I hadn’t remembered that Caregivers sometimes get ignored when it comes to  the patient, until I read the fan page on Facebook from Livestrong.  That’s SAD, and made me remember enough to come and want to blog about it, so here I am.

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I try to joke around and make it seem like everything’s fine when it comes to this, but I’m worried that any kids that Empty and I have are just royally cancer-fucked.  I’m so scared of this happening to the next generation, that I freak out at that time of the month, even if I’m only an hour late.  Imagine me if it were to be more?  Getting stressed where my knots have knots.  Wow.  What a thought. . . The uncertainty of not knowing is bad, but what if the knowing is much worse in my eyes?

Yeah, so . . .

So I ask myself all the time now, is that cough a cold, or something more?

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On a happier note;

Happy 9th Anniversary Emptyeye hunny!!!  I’m REALLY glad that we got this far.  🙂  see?

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2 Comments

  1. The first person I lost to cancer was my best friend Cathy.
    I was actually responsible for her diagnosis – I told the school nurse I thought she was anorexic. She was diagnosed with liver cancer in the fall of our junior year of high school and died before starting our senior year. I had to inform our teachers of her death as they read her name on the roll call for each class.

    Watching someone battle this disease is difficult and watching them lose is even worse.

    • Yeah, exactly. I guess we all have our issues with this disease.
      As to Cathy, I’m sorry to hear about that. See, it’s people that are good friends to one another that makes our world a better place. I’m not too sure if this happened to anyone in high school today, if anyone would know the difference anymore. So GREAT for you.

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