My New Outlook

I tell myself that I need to live every day as if it were my last. I should live for today, enjoy my time on this planet, and not waste a moment.

Well, that’s the plan anyway.

I have CLL and you’d think that would be enough to make me more aware of my mortality and appreciate every moment I’m given. But I’ve been complacent.

You see, I'm in the wait and watch stage and, other than getting tired sometimes, I have nearly no symptoms. I go day to day as if I have all the time in the world.

CLL might not have changed my outlook but something else did

That lackadaisical attitude recently changed though. Not because of my cancer but because my wife is going to have a liver biopsy. They think she may have liver disease. Suddenly her life is threatened. Now, I’m not saying she has it. The biopsy hasn’t been done yet, but her blood test numbers aren’t looking good.

So, of course, we’ve gone down the rabbit hole considering the worst. It may be nothing, but for now, I am seeing my wife and my marriage in a whole different light. The woman I married 45 years ago, the one I met in kindergarten, the person who’s been a part of my life since I was 5 years old, might leave me.

Appreciating each moment with my wife

It cuts at my gut. I can’t protect her. All we can do is wait and hope. Suddenly making the most of every day has a whole different meaning. It’s more specific. It’s not just living for today and appreciating the time I’m given. It’s way more than that. It’s living each day with her; appreciating each moment with her.

Yes, I have a potentially terminal disease, but losing her, even just the threat of losing her, is too much to bear.

By the time this post is published, we’ll have had our answer about her condition. Perhaps the test will be negative, maybe it is nothing. Or, maybe she will only need to take some pills and she’ll be fine. I hope so.

But even if she is disease-free, I will never again take her for granted. “Living for today” has very little meaning to me, but living each day with her does.

Recognizing what caregivers go through

Cancer has become a part of me. I suppose I’ve been a little cavalier about the whole thing. But now I appreciate what my wife has been going through; how she has secretly suffered for me. Now I understand what my cancer is putting her through. Now I know what it feels like to face the possibility of losing the one I love.

I thought I knew what love was when I married her. I didn’t, not really. We were both young and healthy then. Now, our lives are challenged in ways we couldn’t have foreseen. Now, more than ever before, we are grabbing every moment together and holding on tight. It turns out that life isn’t about appreciating each day. Love is.

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