In 2012, my wife, Bonnie, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had a total thyroidectomy. After radiation, she was deemed to be “cancer free.”
Forward fast to the summer of 2017. Bonnie’s blood work revealed elevated liver enzymes along with other related elevated readings. After a myriad of tests, MRIs, and scans, she was found to have stage 4 liver or pancreatic cancer. The doctors haven’t been able to determine exactly which kind she has, even after extensive testing.
Bonnie underwent radiation therapy for small lesions near her ribs, and then went on a chemotherapy regimen, which she is still on. Doctors tell us that she will be on chemo for the rest of her life however long that is. It is a complete and totally devastating blow to us.
The moments and times I’ve had to imagine my life without Bonnie in it have been painful. I have panic attacks, anxiety, and sometimes I can’t breathe when I picture her not here.
But for Bonnie, the struggle is knowing that she has stage 4 cancer with an unknown time frame for life. For her, it is a weekly routine of blood work and chemotherapy. It is a weekly dose of being nauseous, feeling tired, beat up, and unwell for several days after. Then, just when she starts to feel a little better, she has to do it all over again.
Cancer affects so many people in this country and around this world and yet it always seemed like something that would never happen to me. Cancer turns lives upside down and is a challenge, to be sure. We are trying to take life one day at a time, enjoy our time along the way, and be grateful for what we have.
I could go on and on about Bonnie, how I met her, how we make the perfect couple, but there’s only so much space here. She is my soulmate, no doubt.