When Cancer is the Zombie that Just Won’t Die……Or- when the dog pushes me over the edge and I’m holding on by my acrylic tips.

blog headerI need a katana. Obviously. It works for The Walking Dead- so why wouldn’t it work for us? It’s about the only thing we haven’t tried. (Surgery= not the same. Much too nice and gentle. At least, when compared to a katana.) Why a Katana? Cause this cancer won’t die. It’s no longer Ninja cancer- it’s zombie cancer. I decided that yesterday. When My husband’s PSA jumped from 2.3 to 11.7 in a month. (For the record? A jump in cancer numbers like that -gets you a “go to the head of the line pass” for scans and appointments. Yup. even at the cancer center.) Yesterday it was CT scan day. Today it’s bone scans. My man is positively glowing- in a nuclear kind of way.

Over the past three years we’ve:

  • Biopsied it with leather punch- like tools.
  • Surgically excised it.
  • Implanted gold bling around it- and then nuked it for the obligatory (And biblical- I ma add)  40 days.
  • Attempted to chemically starve it of it’s preferred food: testosterone. Manopause= crappy. Just saying.

Still- the cancer keeps creeping around my husband’s body like a micro-scopic zombie. It has evaded and survived everything we’ve thrown at it. (By “we,” I of course mean our awesome medical team at U of M. At this point- Kyle and I both feel entitled to honorary degrees. Probably not Doctorate’s – yet. But at least Bachelors of Cancer Sucks. Just saying- we’ve spent a couple of tuition’s worth of dollars there and probably  almost as much time at the cancer center and subsequent appointments as we did during our undergrad stint at Eastern Michigan. Granted- our EMU time involved a lot of breakfasts out. But then- so do cancer center appointments.)

Since January we’ve been in what oncologists call “A watchful waiting” period. Which basically means- we watch and wait while the cancer grows. (Yes- in cancer-land this is a treatment plan. No- I didn’t buy it either. Keep reading.) Well- Okay- they’ve been doing hormone suppression- but this cancer laughs at hormone suppression. It’s a jerk.

FYI? This is not Giant oak tree cancer that is slowly growing over decades. (The norm for Prostate cancer.)  This is the ugliest chia pet -ever- cancer- it grows fast. I guess we’re in the process of finding out whether it’s actually more Kudzu than chia.

Kudzu or chia- it’s invasive, aggressive and more annoying than the ch ch ch chia pet commercial.  I hate it.

Yesterday was a Bad Day. Yesterday was an “ugly cry in the car on the way home- because I don’t want him to die and I can’t do anything to fix this- and I’ve never felt so helpless in my life-” kind of day. Which sound so selfish I could puke. This isn’t about me. It’s about my husband. He’s the one who could die.

I’ll be ugly-honest- if he dies- I feel like I’m the one who gets the short end of the cancer stick. I’ll be the one figuring out how to be a widow. (NOT in my plan.) I’ll be the one trying to help get my kids through this. I’ll be the one HERE- while he’s off praising Jesus in heaven- fully healed and comforted. Probably with a beach front mansion. In the presence of God. While we grieve. While our lives are turned upside down and shaken- not stirred. Not that I’m preemptively bitter- I’m just saying- heaven sounds pretty good compared to this mess. (I keep telling you I’m a selfish jerk. You shouldn’t be surprised. by this post.)

My husband disagrees with all my selfish nonsense- but that’s because he’s empathetic- and worries about how we’ll feel and grieve and what we’ll go through- if he dies. Apparently he’s less selfish than me. Who knew?

Yesterday was  a punch in the gut. We usually take bets on what the number will be on the way to these appointments. My guess was  conservatively negative-3.2  Up a bit- but just enough to tell us it’s time to try something else- his was a much more positive and hopeful: 0.0. We both want God to heal him- but he’s more expecting of it than I am. (Probably because he’s a spirit super hero and I’m more of a spiritual Debbie Downer. Or- what I like to call: a realist.) I keep saying: “God can heal- I’m begging him to-but he hasn’t so far. And he isn’t exactly making it look like that’s the plan. I’m hoping and praying for the best- but prepare for the worst.”

Hence the ugly cry after it came back at 11.7.


He’s not dead yet. Not even close. Actually if you met him you’d never guess he cancer. The oncologist has a secret weapon stockpile -that the scan results are the key to unlocking and arming us. She says it’s not over. We have options. We just need to find the stupid creeper and use the right weapon. It’s just time to try the next thing.

I hope she has a katana in there.

Confession: Yesterday I purposefully didn’t wear my Cancer shoes to our appointment. I was hoping for a summer off. I was hoping for good news. I was even hoping for more “wait and see.”  *gasp* I know. Me? Hoping to wait more? Well- it sounded better than a bad report.

Cancer isn’t a pair of shoes you can slip on and off. Not even when they pinch and cause blisters or get your foot stuck in the escalator of life. (Which may have happened to me at the Denver airport a few weeks ago.) Cancer shoes are wicked nasty uncomfortable things. The best you can do is sit down once in a while and take a break. Sometimes the closest thing you get to a break is sitting in the waiting room with your kindle and knitting while your husband is shot full of Lord knows what chemicals- and his innards are looked at like a virtual 9th grade dissection project. You don’t get to choose to kick off your cancer shoes. They’re an ugly version of Dorothy’s ruby slippers. They don’t come off for just anyone.

A couple of weeks ago cancer even made a surprise appearance. IN OUR DOG. She’s had what we (and the vet) thought was a fatty tumor on her belly. “No rush- we’ll just put her out and take care of it when we clean her teeth- if you want.”  Except- her pre-op blood work came back weird. Then the biopsy said: CANCER. For real.

Honestly? I had a Jesus loving fit. “This is just stupid. isn’t it bad enough my husband has cancer? I refuse to tell my kid the dog has cancer. I just can’t do it.If it gets bad enough I’ll leather loose in the yard and hope she gets hit by a car while happily chasing a rabbit. That would be easier to tell him than- Sami is dying from cancer.”  Because saying that- would immediately lead to the question: “Will dad die, too?”  The only answer for which I have is: “I don’t know. But we’ll get through this. together. we aren’t alone. ” Which sounds good on paper- and I know is the right thing to say- because it’s true. But is just so painful to look into his eyes and not be able to say:  “It’ll all be okay.” Because: WE JUST. DON’T KNOW.

So- today- I’m hanging onto hope by the tips of my fake nails. Truthfully- the dog put me over the edge- and yesterday pushed me down the side.

We’re not giving up. We’re trusting God. We’re yanking on Jesus’ robe and begging for healing. We are pestering heaven- and doing everything possible- on earth.

Even here.

But- I still want a katana.

“Dear Lord- you know all that is in my heart- the fear- the hope the trust the doubt, the anger the everything. Please Lord- walk beside us through these next steps. Even on the days when I try to refuse to wear my cancer shoes. Even on the days when my feet and heart hurt so much I can’t stop the tears. And please lord- whether it’s a katana or a light saber or a surgeons’ blade or a cocktail of cancer killing drugs- help the oncologist chose the right weapon- to kill this ugly zombie. amen.”





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1 thought on “When Cancer is the Zombie that Just Won’t Die……Or- when the dog pushes me over the edge and I’m holding on by my acrylic tips.

  1. Tracey, this is so gut-wrenchingly honest! I have so many responses swimming around, yet all seem trite or clichéd. Compassion. Resonance. Hope. Redeemer. Prayers. Needed. All of it.

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