BEING The Edge

I arrived home from the office as if it was any other night. The only difference is that today is my birthday. We made no unusual plans. Instead we'll have some of our family join us for a small celebration on Cindy's birthday this Sunday. Tonight would just be a chance for Cindy and I to enjoy a meal and conversation with each other. Simple and wonderful at the same time.

There was a point in the evening when Cindy asked me to come and sit in front of her computer. She had a card there for me and something to view on the screen. The music started and, while she wasn't doing the singing, I knew the words were what she wanted me to receive. 

We both cried a little, hugged a lot, and were reminded that the love we felt for each other was the only gift that really mattered. 

There are times when seeing the edge isn't enough. There may be a time when you are needed to "be the edge" for someone special in your life. For Cindy, that time began on February 7th - the day we were first told that she might have breast cancer.

This is what I wrote that night and chose not to post until today.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012  12:35 p.M.

The day began just as so many others begin. Alarm rings at 6:05. Shower, shave, dress and coffee by 6:45. Out the door and on my way to work by 7:00. The routine is pretty much the same. Occasionally it's my job to let the dog out. Sometimes I'll eat a banana or mix a bowl of granola with yogurt, but by and large, the days begin without much fanfare or differentiation. Today was no exception.
Cancer Ribbon on Blk
What was different about today was that Cindy and I had an appointment with my cousin and attorney, Beth McDaniel, at her law office in Renton. Today, after months of procrastination by me and prodding by Cindy, we would take the steps to get our wills prepared. 

With Beth guiding us with well placed questions, we considered the decisions that are part of a person's final days of life. How would we want to direct our family to care for us if we were fully incapacitated? Would we want to receive extraordinary care if we were terminal and not responding? There were medical, financial, and administrative questions for us to consider and answer. And I thought the hard part would be deciding how to divide our assets among the seven children and worthwhile causes that survive us. 

Cindy would leave Beth's office in order to get to her doctors appointment on time, Beth and I finished the conversation and in less than twenty minutes I was on my way back to my office for a series of scheduled meetings. It would be two hours before I had a chance to look at the text message that had arrived on my phone. It was from Cindy and was time stamped Feb 7, 2012 12:35 PM. Once I saw it, It commanded my immediate attention.

"Not quite the results I was hoping 4. We might have to cool it on the "I'm going first" jokes for awhile. Don't call me yet, I'm still processing the information. Biopsy on Thursday. I really do love you honey."

Cindy's doctor's appointment was one like she had never had before. It was scheduled because the results of her annual mammogram were such that the doctor at Overlake Hospital wanted her to come in to discuss them with her. Her text left me needing more information but I knew that my wife needed her own space. I swallowed hard and pressed the letters that would be my response to her message.

"On no." I wrote, feeling completely void of the right words. "I'll come home as early as I can. Love you so much."

The text messages moved back and forth through cyber-space. Both of us trying to somehow comfort the other.

Cindy responded, "I'm doing okay honey. Don't call me okay. I don't wanna keep talking about it. And I don't wanna b all "red eyed" when Abby gets home from the funeral. We can talk when you get home."

Our daughter, Abby, had made an overnight trip home from college to attend the funeral of the officer who patrolled and befriended the students of Eastlake High School. When Abby heard the news of his passing, she felt the need to be in attendance to pay her respects. 

"Whatever you say sweetheart," was my reply. "See you tonight."
"Thank you honey," Cindy wrote.

While the next thirty minutes passed my mind was in a haze. My ability to focus was gone and I didn't have all the information that Cindy did. I just knew that she had received news that she didn't want to hear and didn't want to talk about it. I needed to respect that, regardless of how it might feel. And it was time for me to be in a meeting again. Before too long another text from Cindy arrived.

"Honey. I changed my mind. You can call when you get a chance."
"Okay," I responded. "In a mtg but will call within the hour."
"K" - she stroked into her phone
"XOXO" - I replied.

I called. We talked. And I headed for home. She said she was alright and I told her that we would be alright together then. My concern is, of course, heightened and yet there is little that can be done by either of us. There will be a biopsy on Thursday. The doctor says that there is a 30% chance of the tumor being malignant cancer. I interpret that a little differently. There's a 70% chance of the tumor being benign. That will be my focus. That's what my prayers will be about. How is it possible that in the morning we'd be addressing our will and in the evening talking about the possiblity of breast cancer?

I love you Cindy!

Your comments, suggestions, and stories of your personal edge are always welcome in my guest book.