When I wrote Anything is Possible it was with two goals in mind. One was to infuriate my husband into action. Score: 0.5. I erroneously made the assumption people would pick up the phone or email him and ask Why did she write that? What’s going on? Or better, Why is your head up your ass?
The second goal was meant to rope in some serious prayers for Hook. Score: 1.0
Turns out anything really is possible and sometimes in a way even I could not have predicted. The heavens opened up and sun shone through with a big Hallelujah. Actually, it rained in Austin which was a glorious sight all on its own in our sun-beatened city, but the more improbable happened nonetheless: The oncologist and I stumbled into agreement on three things during last week’s appointment:
- No more chemo for now.
- The focus is on nutrition and getting weight back on Hook.
- We’re not at death’s door yet.
Did Hook’s god of reason, the oncologist, temporarily lose his mind? Who knows and I don’t care.
The oncologist struggled not to roll his eyes at my insistence that the supplements Allan took pre-surgery were of any value then or are of any value today. Now that I think about it, Hook probably did roll his eyes. The stubbornness of these two men makes me want to inject chemo into myself and I would if it weren’t for the obvious:
- Pre-surgery: Hook gulped down supplements daily. Had zero side effects from chemo and radiation for an entire six months. Gained 10 pounds during chemo. Note from Editor: Hook gained a total of 20 lbs — 10 extra plus the original 10 he’d lost which was our first indicator that something was amiss.
- Post-surgery: Hook was off all supplements. Has struggled to maintain enough weight that would allow him to withstand more than two injections of chemo. Has consistently lost 1-2 pounds a week, the worse of the weight loss occurring directly after each chemo injection.
It would be easy to assume the downward spiral of Hook’s system was due to the reconstruction of his insides except things function fine albeit differently.
Do I think supplements can cure cancer? No, I’m not insane just desperate. And I don’t think the whey protein that I bought at the health store is going to remove the microscopic cancer cells that keep showing up in his blood count either. But none of us have to be scientists or medical doctors to know that nutrition makes a difference when you’re raping the body of nutrients and stripping the lining of important organs and cavities. Have we all forgotten, I’m strong to the finish ’cause I eats me spinach”?
A second opinion on this from another oncologist or even a nutritionist wouldn’t hurt. But when I said anything is possible, it apparently didn’t include Hook agreeing to a second opinion of any kind.
Lots of Opinions but no Second Opinion
Someone, somewhere in the world just screamed out loud, He’s never gotten a second opinion???? No and if I were a recovering heroin addict, I’d definitely be shooting up as I type. Instead I’m quoting Popeye. Why do you think I wrote what I wrote in the last blog?
Hook “trusts” his oncologist while I ask myself daily why would anyone ever trust any doctor for anything. They’re only human. They’re only supposed to be advisers of health with final decisions decided by the individual and their family. Example: When a doctor continues to advise to use Miralax and Milk-of-Magnesia to alleviate certain issues, it is okay for a spouse to silently curse this advice and wonder when Disney started handing out M.D.s and instead incorporate more natural fiber into the diet by way of grains and nuts and berries. Bingo! Problem solved. And I didn’t even have to take out a student loan.
Second Line of Defense
If a healthy body and a healthy mind are the first line of defense, prayer is the second. God is not going to pull the wagon all by Himself and why should He. Sometimes I envision the lips of our Lord poking out from a blue sky with a militant whisper, “You’re either with me or you’re against me.” And of course it’s Popeye’s voice which sounds a lot like an upset Dick Cheney which is weird, right? With Hook, I must lead with the tangible of nutrition, something that can be measured in grams and ounces before I introduce anything else.
Those not accustomed to prayer think prayer is for God. It’s not. Prayer is for the individual asking, sometimes on behalf of someone else, sometimes only for you. I feel confident enough to promise atheists and agnostics that you won’t lose your anti-religion membership card by saying a simple prayer. Pray to the flowers, the bugs, your motorcycle! Pray to nothing but pray for Hook. At worst, you’ll feel stupid or think, This is stupid, but you won’t actually become stupid. You have nothing to lose while Hook has everything to lose.
Is My Begging Working?
The power of the heart and the mind is not something that can be measured. It cannot even be seen. In one of Hook’s and my science & data debates, I asked him to “prove” that he loved me, “Show me the data!” I said. (Okay, I screamed it, but remember I’m desperate.) I wanted to see research, something that scientists across the world would nod in unison what Hook knew to be of infinite truth in his heart. “That’s different.” he said. But it’s not and he knows it’s not, but my ornery husband is resisting the spinach.
One friend, a sorority sister, sent a private note sharing the story of how her husband was at death’s door 16 years ago. He was given an 8% chance of survival. At one point, their insurance carrier refused to cover further treatment because his chances were so slim. The friend told me about an evening in the middle of the worst when her husband caught her in their walk-in closet crying over the magnitude of what they were facing. They had two small children, 2 and 4 years old, now 19 and soon to be 21. She didn’t want anyone to see her weeping. After reading her story and for the rest of that day, I felt less alone.
I have a lot of alone time because I work from home, still I never know when tears will flow. Actually, they never flow. They gush out like pressurized water from an unused faucet mostly when I’m taking a shower, something to do with the warm water loosening muscles and with it any resolve I’ve falsely built up with the lone thought, I’m not getting through to him.
Linda Lou put things into perspective in our now weekly call. “He’s a scientist, Rosebud. He’s got to absorb each new piece of data the only way he knows how. You have to give him space to think and decide, and if he decides he’s too tired to keep fighting, then you have to keep quiet and support him. Can you do that?”
“Okay, I won’t say anything anymore to the oncologist.”
“Noooooo,” Linda Lou said through the phone. “You stay on top of the oncologist! Follow your instincts like you’ve been doing because you see what he can’t. But for Hook, Rosebud, you have to support him without saying anything.”
I love Linda Lou. I trust Linda Lou. I agreed with Linda Lou. Then I set up a second opinion appointment with MD Anderson quietly just in case. Now each morning, I place the whey protein and supplement bottles in Hook’s line of vision, but I say nothing.
One friend’s three-year old daughter added “Dr. Hook” to her prayer list last winter. The friend said, “Sometimes ‘Dr. Hook’ comes after her stuffed animals, but he’s still on the list.” I’m both comforted and inspired at the thought of this little blonde girl, Lily, her tiny hands folded in earnest request praying, “And please bless Dr. Hook,” for a man she’s never met.
Just this morning Hook blended a whey shake with fresh strawberries and supplements and declared it was good. He’s not giving up and I’m not giving up no matter what.