for better or for worse

My wife has cancer.  It’s been over a month since Mrs. Big Guy was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was on that day that I began to write this post.  I wrote the first four words and stopped.  I couldn’t go on for many reasons.  For one reason, I didn’t want to invade my wife’s privacy.  For another, writing down those four words stopped me in my tracks.  It made it more real than just hearing the words.  It was like my thoughts were paralyzed.  All I could think was Cancer.  Cancer?  What does that mean?  Cancer?  What are we going to do?  Cancer?  Will she suffer?  Cancer?  What am I going to do?  Cancer?  How will we tell our sons.  Cancer?…Cancer?….Cancer?….Cancer?

It all started a couple of months ago.  We had just returned from a 9-day road trip.  We needed to get away from it all.  Mrs. Big Guy had just got laid off, and my new business venture was not doing all that well.  Instead of dwelling on our situation, we decided to hop in the car and travel around a bit.  We had a blast…it was just what we needed.  I’m not sure when, but at some point, Mrs Big Guy admitted that she had neglected to get here annual mammogram for two years in a row.  Not the best move considering she lost her mom and her first aunt to cancer.  So she found a doctor and set an appointment.  The results came back with some concerns, so the doctor recommended a needle biopsy.  One thing led to another, and another, when finally we received a call from the surgeon with the news.  She was encouraging and said it was caught early and that the survival rate was high, but that went in one ear and out the other.   It was a Friday afternoon when we found out and we couldn’t meet with the surgeon until Monday.  That weekend we talked, and hugged, and drank a lot, and talked and hugged some more.  But alone, we went through our own personal hell.

Both Mrs. Big Guy and I have a big sense of humor.  We’re both a little sick when you come right down to it.  So, it was inevitable that we would find a way to laugh our way through this at some point.  On Monday we met with the surgeon and she said that Mrs. Big Guy had “nice” cancer.    She had stage zero cancer in one breast and stage one in the other.  Stage zero is not really cancer we found out.  It’s a bunch of cells trying to become cancer but can’t cut the mustard.  They are just a bunch of losers trying to be tough guys.  Stage one cancer is a bunch of cancer cells that haven’t found a way to move around and cause trouble.  They have no legs.  They’re not a bunch of lumps, they’re a bunch of chumps (now that’s better…. enough of this negativism).

Over the next few weeks we met with many doctors with our sense of humor well intact.  We met with the radiologist who said he would have to tattoo some marks on her breasts to help guide the radiation machine.  Hmm, could we sneak in a “I love Big Guy” tattoo?  The reconstructive surgeon went through the options for rebuilding “my buddies”.  One option was to take some of Mrs. Big Guys tummy and use it for the bodywork.  He explained it as kind of like a two-fer, a tummy tuck and a boob job all-in-one.  The problem with that was that Mrs. Big Guy doesn’t have enough tummy to rebuild those beauties back to their original magnificent state.  I offered to be a donor, but I guess the insurance companies frown upon that.  Where’s Obamacare when you need it.   Another option is implants.  The idiot passed around samples of a silicone and saline implants for comparison.  Mrs. Big Guy and I couldn’t look each other in the eye during that drill.  The last option was to whack them off and do nothing.  I have nothing funny to say about that.

Seriously, this isn’t funny, but that is how we choose to address it.  We believe that laughter cures all evil.  We know we are going to get through this.  We have to.  In our wedding wows we promised to love each other for better or for worse.  It’s odd but I have found that better times had a tendency to drive us apart a bit, but the worse times have brought us closer together.  I love Mrs. Big Guy with all my heart and I am privileged to be able to support her through this challenge.  She certainly supported me through mine.  For better or for worse…..what a great deal.

PS  October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Please use this opportunity to remind your loved ones to get their annual mammogram.  Early detection is the best way to beat this beast.


10 Comments on “for better or for worse”

  1. All the luck to you and your wife! Good that it was caught at an early stage! You guys will pull through this emotionally, love is key.

  2. Laughter is the best medicine!! Having a positive outlook will help too!! Sending you & your wife love & light… and healing thoughts, vibes & prayers… as I feel you both need it!!

  3. Brian says:

    Hey Big Guy Buddy, just wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prays are with you and especially Mrs Big Guy and if there is anything I can do to help please let me know. My Dad had 6 different cancers so I’ve been through that battle too many times to count. Please pass on my best wishes to our little patient and tell her I am pulling for her.

  4. Dr. McGann says:

    Thank you for sharing! Having a sense of humor during the reality of treatment makes all the difference! Know that your Doctors appreciate your good spirits. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Mrs. Big Guy.

  5. Sarah says:

    Hey BIG! OMG, I’m in shock and sending out the most positive vibes possible. I am also feeling a tad guilty for cracking up laughing. Am I awful? Seriously though, your sense of humour is EXACTLY what Mrs Big needs. We girls all know the humour associated with mammograms but are often ground to a speechless halt when one of our friends is diagnosed with the big C. My Mum has had it twice and last year one of my best friends got it and had both breasts removed. She came to my place for dinner at Chrissy and said “Sarah, I know you want to draw something on my head don’t you?” “Oh can I can I can I?” I squealed. Out came the sharpies and before you knew it I had her head looking like a beautiful christmas pudding with the most delightful array of holly and berries you could imagine. It was a hoot. So, with that in mind, keep laughing buddy, it is, as they say, the best medicine (next to juice of course)….xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  6. bronxboy55 says:

    Wonderful post, Big Guy. The love you feel for your wife comes through in every line. I know these last few years have been a struggle, but you’re both lucky in the most important ways — you have each other.

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