The Bads May Be Worse, But The Goods Are AWESOME!

I know I sort of wrote the other day about my worries that finding things to write about would be difficult.  I mean, I am sure I could easily go on about the mundane details of everyday life, but I do still want to continue to address, at least occasionally, the myriad ways that cancer has completely changed my life.  Ways that I notice every day.  Ways that will probably never go away.

Some of these are good, and others are bad.  And this post is about one of each.

I'll start with the bad, so as to END the post on a positive note...

So far, the worst thing about having cancer, despite beating it and recovering pretty entirely, is that just "being sick" will probably never JUST be "being sick" again.  Every health anomaly creates more nervousness and questioning than ever before.  Case in point: the past several days.  I had the worst diarrhea of my life.  Worse than during radiation.  Worse than anything I ever remember.  And while my rational side tells me repeatedly that it was probably just some crappy (pun not intended) little bug I picked up... some sort of mid-summer illness... the fact that, while there was no diarrhea TODAY, I still feel not so hot is starting to creep into my brain and make me nervous.  I will likely call the doctor tomorrow morning.  Something I never used to really do.  But at this point, having REALLY been sick, I am afraid.  Afraid to take chances.  Afraid that it might mean more than just a little food poisoning or flu bug.  And people?  That sucks.  It makes me aware that I will probably NEVER be able to feel a little "off" again in my life without worrying that it might be more than just a little... I mean, I guess it's good that cancer taught me to really start listening to my body.  But my body seems to have an awful lot to say, and sometimes I'm a little too busy to deal with all of it's ramblings.  (Or RUMBLINGS, as the case has been this week.)  Most of all, it makes me angry to realize that the cancer I so happily beat will still always have this negative and fearful hold over me.  That part really sucks.

But what can I do?  This is my life now.  And my response can only be to deal with the bad and focus on the good.  And there has definitely been a lot of good.  Especially the other part of this post.  The good part I said I was going to end on...

I was talking to a friend the other day, and she asked how much this experience had changed my relationship with my husband, Ryan.  I told her some of the ways our marriage had gotten stronger, more functional, more amazing.  And she said something to the effect of, "Remember how you posted about running out of things to talk about on your blog?  This would be a great post.  You haven't really written much about that."  I am sure that I had, at some point, blathered about how much I adore Ryan and how much he has amazed me through all of this, but she may be right - I may not have specifically shared the ways in which our relationship has truly changed for the better since this all happened.  So here's a little of that.  With a little background...

My husband is a pretty quiet guy.  He had never been super outwardly affectionate with me.  He's a little on the weird side, even, and he knows it.  It has been the cause of more than a few bouts of tears.  More than a few cases of self doubt on my part... "Am I ugly?" "Is he just with me because I wouldn't go away?" At the heart of it, I always knew that he cared about me.  But sometimes I just hated that he rarely EXPRESSED it.  For a long time, the only times he EVER said "I love you" to me were in front of the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport as I dropped him off to head out on tour.  I found I would look forward to him leaving because I would get to hear those words, maybe.  Some times he wouldn't say it and I would be devastated because I'd been counting on it, hoping for it, and I'd be so let down it would feel like he broke up with me and then got on the plane.

The first time I REALLY "got" that I was maybe just being a little silly... a bit of a girl... was in a parking lot in St. Louis.  For years, Ryan's touring always seemed to coincide with being in St. Louis on or around my birthday.  Which is where my bestest friend, Daniela, lives.  I would plan trips out to see her and to meet up with Ryan and the guys there almost every year.  And one summer day, we pulled onto the lot, and Ryan ambled out of the bus and over to us, and gave me sort of an awkward sideways hug.  I was, of course, hoping for the running across the dusty parking lot and leaping into a theatrical embrace with passionate kisses and whatnot.  But I knew that was never going to happen.  And I settled for my weird hug and we enjoyed the rest of the night.  As Daniela and I drove back to her place, she said that maybe it was just because she knows me/us so well, but she could see through Ryan's bizarre and understated display at our parking lot reunion, how truly deeply he loved me.  It sort of took me by surprise.  But I also started to "get it" on that day, and I would think back to it over the years that followed whenever I was feeling sad about his lack of romantic expression.

Over the past several months, though, I have not felt the need to think back to that day at all.  My so often silent husband now tells me he loves me with regularity.  Shit... sometimes he even does it without me doing it first!  He touches me more.  Holds me longer.  And, while it occasionally even borders on annoying, he pushes me to take better care of myself - for US.  Because he wants us to be together as long as possible.  Because he loves me.  I've watched him get boiling mad, breathlessly tearful, totally terrified, and smiley with elation - all because of his love for ME.  And the funny thing is that now that I really understand the way he loves me, I see how it was always there.  I just didn't get it.  It didn't look like what I was used to.  (And why should it have?  What I was used to, in previous relationships, clearly didn't work...)

The point I guess I am trying to make, in my rambling-ass way, is that through all of this cancer garbage... my relationship has grown so much.  Not just with the little verbalizations that I so desperately hoped for in the past, but in so many deeper more important ways.  The two of us, both very independent people, have truly become a team.  An "us" in a way that we never quite managed to before.  We still both do our own thing a lot of the time, but we are more conscious of one another.  And I love that.  I love that we really talk about things now.  We've always been pretty good at the communication thing, but it seems even more solid as of late.  It's just... better.  Everything.  And I could not be happier.

True love is a remarkable thing.  And I don't know if I'd have realized that I ABSOLUTELY have it without what I went through.

I love that guy.

Love love love, Phoebe

Comments

Daniela said…
Clearly, I'm brilliant. Or something.

In all seriousness, your man will be sorely missed this birthday -- but I am beyond excited to celebrate with you again.
jim nelson said…
There has never been a doubt in my mind. He's crazy in love with you. And always remembervthat "tat" dad loves you, too!

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