We’re all touched by cancer; we can all help in the fight

Published 11:52 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

As the Relay for Life of Washington Parish draws near, everyone who has ever had a personal experience with cancer must feel moved for the cause — the American Cancer Society’s battle against the disease through research and programming.

Sadly, about everyone in this country is touched by cancer, though some are a bit removed from its direct impact.

Others know, first hand, the feelings of fear at the diagnosis, and the nausea and extraordinary exhaustion that accompanies treatment. Still others feel the pain vicariously, but deeply, when a close loved one is the victim.

I have been steeped in the latter for the past couple of years.

My husband, as is his way, has worked hard to keep from burdening me — even when he endured many hours of agony directly after major abdominal surgery at an out-of-parish hospital because he was not hooked up, as he should have been, to the medication designed to ease the pain; even when, after six months of continual discomfort after another surgery, he discovered that no one had thought of telling him they’d inserted a stent, which was supposed to have been removed days later; and certainly not throughout the long rounds of radiation and chemotherapy.

When I asked him how he was doing, he invariably said, “I’m good.”

But I noticed the gradual wearing down, the vomiting, the growing utter exhaustion.

His pharmacist said he was proud of him because many people in his situation give up rather than endure the hardships.

That’s not my boy. He’s a fighter, and he loves his family too much to take a chance of leaving us before he must.

We waited a long time to find out if the treatment worked. I’d thought they would keep you posted as you went, but no, you have to wait for months after everything is finished.

We were hopeful. I didn’t know how much more he could bear, but I did know he’d think of me first.

This week we got good news! Now life can resume as normal, and that is sweetened by the recent growing lack of normalcy.

I must admit (don’t tell him) but I couldn’t help but feel his pain. We are one, heart and soul, you know.

As I tried to take care of him without seeming to be too concerned, I couldn’t help but realize there are others doing the same or facing harder situations. It is a sisterhood/brotherhood that no one wants to join.

But we can all help.

The American Cancer Society is working to keep people from living through such scenarios. It has introduced life-saving practices and equipment. The Relay for Life supports the cause.

To lend a hand, go to the Relay for Life of Washington Parish Friday at Cassidy Park in Bogalusa starting at noon.

Have fun. And hold your loved ones close to your heart.

Marcelle Hanemann is a reporter for The Daily News.