The Esophageal Cancer Journey -View From the Heart of a Spouse.

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To you who are in the fight, to your spouse, your families, and your significant others, I think of you. When the walk seems insurmountable,  I think of you for I also walked in those shoes. 

April 2001.

He stares at me through drugged eyes, yet he looks right through me as if I were invisible. He seems to have disappeared deep inside himself.

I sit beside his bed and read. He rarely speaks only to ask me to fix his pillows. He is irritable with me. I ask myself why.

I’m exhausted and can’t understand it. When Werner tells me the pain is excruciating, I take back my I am exhausted.

The morphine drip flows into his arm. In his hand, he holds the extra morphine painkilling button. He presses it often. He tells me when I touch him, it creates more pain. I ache for him.

If esophageal cancer possessed the capability to write the laws of physical chaos on a body ravaged by months of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and radical esophagectomy surgery, my husband’s once healthy athletic body is the classic model.

What he tells me says it all.“I am an organized train wreck!

I can’t ignore my rollercoaster of emotions as I watch my husband suffer beyond my comprehension. I am the by-stander. I cannot relieve his pain. I can be by his side, quiet, he knows I am here when he needs something, anything. 

I take time to walk when his nurses come in. Often my path takes me to the hospital chapel. There my tears can fall. I take my emotions to God and raise up my husand in prayer. 

One thing I know. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, not this cancer, not even death. Before God I can express my fears and my feelings for Werner’s present suffering without critism. Though my touch brings Werner more pain, I pray for God’s touch to bring him relief.  My time sitting in the chapel to talk with God grounds me.