Smile In The Face of Adversity (part III)

Left standing in the middle of a busy airport waiting for someone to find us amongst the hundreds of other travellers I finally met my stranger; they drove my family and I to a hotel where they had wonderful caring ladies waiting to look after my girls, while I was taken off to the hospital. 
I never made it in time for pre-op but I was there to hold his hand as he woke from his ordeal.  Together again….. Just in that instant I knew we would be ok, together we could fight any battle and win I just knew it.  My hubby’s recovery was brilliant, he was required to stay in Calgary for a couple of days for observation, so I ended up celebrating my birthday in a hotel suite downtown with my gorgeous girls and a dazed husband who was uncertain of the battle that lay ahead. 
Back home in Toronto now, in even more unfamiliar surroundings I attempt to get my girls settled and allocate as much time to my patient all the ways watching my not quite one year old negotiate the 27 stairs in our new home.  Help! Where is my mum? Nope that’s not going to work, you are the mum and you can stay strong for this family.  Remember it’s not you that has been cut open and had a reasonable sized grapefruit removed from your body.  It’s not you who is uncertain how you are going to support your family living in a strange country with no health care yet available. I desperately needed to refocus and concentrate on the task at hand, so stocking this home with love, stability and food for the children was my main priority . I was hoping that my attitude would create a normal balanced environment for everyone, so when we looked back on this time in our lives we could draw strength from this experience on how to remain calm in the eye of a storm.
Now it’s my husband’s turn to celebrate his birthday; he is a little sore from attempting to go back to work and make an appearance in the office – frightened that work would write him off and feeling the need to occupy his mind while he was waiting days and days to get the results of his operation.  Happy 39th Birthday….. the results are in and you have got cancer.  Screaming from the upstairs room, I didn’t even hear the phone ring as I was assisting the tradesman in our house fixing something in the kitchen.  At this point I say Thank God for cable TV because my girls were unaware of the news their daddy had just been given and what that meant for him.
We sat on the bed together, we did not say a word, we did not even cry, we just held each others hand tightly so we could draw strength from what was left in our exhausted spirits.  Not having a support network in arms length we both needed to reach out for additional strength, so what better way than to send everyone you know an email and face this monster head on.  It was almost instantly he started to receive messages of well wishes, messages of others’ personal journeys with cancer.  Prayers and prayers and more prayers arrived to fill our spirit.  All of a sudden I could see a spark ignite in my husband’s eyes and in his all too familiar ‘matter of fact’ manner, he says to me,”I didn’t come all this way to have cancer tell me no, be buggered if this moment in time will define me.”  Right then my chest filled with air and for the first time in eight days I felt the breath move through my body again. So with his unwavering attitude, and our happy little campers downstairs watching the telly, all I could think of was to smile and give thanks that we had made it this far in the face of adversity. Bring it on; we are ready to fight the battle!
And fight we did, December 2011, marks two years cancer free for my husband.  We still live in Canada and still make time to smile everyday!

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