There’s just one more awesome week of cancerpalooza. It’s Monday the 13th of September. Surgery is next Wednesday and Trish will finally have the cancer out of her body,( although with lots of reconstruction challenges.)
A lot of the week is spent planning and preparing for Trish’s 2-3 nights in the hospital, and the ensuing week of care.
And then we go to the final concert of Cancerpalooza – Slash! And he is amazing.
Cancer upsets the kids again
We just tried to be normal for them. That seemed like the best strategy for their age.
If you’ve been reading the blog, you know we’ve tried anything but being normal the second time around. I have tried to make the summer special for our girls. I want them to see me taking great care of Trisha, and as much as possible, keep them informed them about the nature of cancer and it’s treatment.
OMG did they not know?
But something is wrong. Emma, our less expressive one, is looking melancholy, or maybe wistful. I can’t tell which. ‘What’s up, Emma?” I ask, kissing her on the forehead. I plan on heading down for dinner as soon as I tuck them in. Lily gets a kiss too, and I move to turn off the light. “I dunno, I’m just sad.” she says.
“Yeah” she mumbled sheepishly. And in a flood of guilt, I realized we had never talked with them about what’s going to happen during surgery next week. In our own deliberations and selfish anger about two lousy reconstruction options, we didn’t keep the kids informed.
They listen to me describe the whole thing intently for about 20 minutes. They know nothing about surgery whatsoever. Of greatest relief, they find out that Trisha wouldn’t be awake during the process. Lily fears that Trish would have to watch her own surgery. They crack up at the thought that she will get temporary blow-up boobs, like balloons,.
I’m glad I took that extra minute to make sure they were okay.
The healing power of Guns and Roses and Stephen King
Trish broke her back in 1988, when she was 23. She, in the backseat of a small car, crashed head-on at high speed with a truck. No one died, but there were some very srious injuries including her own torn intestines from the lap belt. Trish was released from the hospital after a week or so, and went home.
A week later, suffering badly from back pain, she went to a doctor who discovered she had been prematurely released from the hospital and had been walking on a broken back.
In the 80’s, hospital stays were long. Trish recounts passing a lot of her time in a hospital bed watching 80’s daytime TV and staring at a poster of Guns and Roses. She imagined that they were taking care of her, giving her the energy to recover.
Slash forward 25 years
Guns and Roses don’t play anymore of course, but I quickly bought tickets last June for Slash, the Gunners amazing guitarist,as soon as I heard he was touring. No matter what, I was going to get her to that show so she could fight for her life, again.
At the time I got tickets, Slash had only announced two shows: Norfolk Virginia and San Francisco at the Warfield. I first tried to make the San Francisco date work. Wouldn’t it be fabulous for her to see him back in San Fran, only blocks from where she recovered from that accident? Those shows were during a chemo week and wouldn’t work.
The drive down to Norfolk
On the drive down, we play the new Slash album. Each song reminds me of different parts of the summer of chemo. In early June, when Trish still felt well, we would blast Starlight at home while the kdis were still at school. It’s a vague song about loss and hope. Gotten reminds me of that lousy week where we fought with each other bitterly, torturing the caregiver/patient relationship. Crucify the dead is performed by Ozzy, who we met recently. And We’re all gonna die has been sort of the theme song for us.
Continued, so read on!