“I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.”- Bill Withers
Angie was telling me about the places she wants to see and the things she wants to do when she is cancer-free. A trip to Maine to “eat the freshest lobster” and a visit to Quebec are the two big roadside attractions she seemed to be most excited about. It’s not the first time she’s talked about both of these destinations, she is always telling me how much I would love to visit the coast of Maine, and I’ve heard her talk about her summers in Quebec when she was growing up. I married an amateur travel agent, Angie loves to plan trips.
As she describes the trip in detail, I can’t help but look at her hands. A Taxol rash formed on both her hands. She compares the coming-and-going pain in her hands to the “stings of fire ants.” Finally, she has been able to relate her pain to me in a way I understand. I’ve been attacked by fire ants, so I can understand exactly what she is going through in this instance, something I haven’t been able to do this entire time. Her nails have begun to deteriorate, as well. With that comes more pain and discomfort.
With all that in mind, it amazes me that Angie mustered up the strength and energy to spend all last week with her aunt and godson, as well as Rich and cousin Samaira. Aunt Marie joined Angie during her chemo treatment that week. I honestly believe that is the real reason they all drove down here. That doesn’t mean that was ALL they did while they were down here. When the Springfield family comes to town, Angie makes sure a good time is had by all. After a week worth of late night card games, swinging clubs at TopGolf, and walks in the park, I wasn’t surprised when Angie hit a wall last weekend. A mini-hibernation to recharge her ailing body. It was worth it for her, I’m sure. I know I’ll miss having them around.
Taxol treatment 11 of 12 was scheduled for this morning. During the ride to the medical center, Sylvan Esso was coming in through the speakers with the “PARAD(w/m)E” song. I thought about the music video for that song, where people are dancing through a deserted town and then ransack an abandoned gas station. It reminded me of Angie’s family last week. No, I’m not comparing the in-laws to criminals. But, the way those people in the music video appear carefree as they dance through a post-apocalyptic world is a mirror image of how Angie and her family spend their time together despite Angie’s current illness. No matter how bad things may seem, it’s good to take time to enjoy the things we love.
When the oncologist took a look at Angie’s hands this morning, he made the decision to stop chemotherapy immediately. He said the final two treatments would’ve caused permanent nerve damage and skin discoloration. Angie said that wouldn’t have worked for her because she wants a “nice, even brown all over.” So, just like that, Angie has concluded her chemo!! She looked shocked, and the nurses looked disappointed, they absolutely love having Angie around. I cried. I cried like a big, happy baby. I know this isn’t the end of cancer, but this is a huge stage in our lives that is behind us. I am grateful for that, and incredibly proud of my wife for getting through it. The nurses said it was very rare they see someone make it through 10 doses of Taxol, another testament to Angelica’s strength.
On our way out of the cancer center, Angie asked out loud, “Should I ask the doctor if I can go back to shooting news?” She looked at her hands and decided that she wasn’t ready, yet. Well, her body isn’t ready. I know she misses carrying that camera and telling stories. She doesn’t feel fulfilled at work when she isn’t out in the field, but she is extremely grateful to be able to work. She enjoys shooting news, and the people she works with. They’ve all been very supportive the past 5 months. Just two weekends ago, a band formed by her coworkers turned their tip jar into a collection for Angie’s medical expenses, a gesture we will never forget.
At this point, Angie still has many trips to Midtown ahead of her. The one trip we’re focusing on right now is her surgery date, TBD. We think it’ll happen in about 4 weeks. In the meantime, Angie wants to get away for a weekend camping trip. It’ll be good for us to reset our souls after the past few months. Angelica and I both agree the Gulf would be nice this time of year. Angie has already looked at a few state parks that let folks camp close to the beach (of course), plus it’s only a 7 hour drive to the shore from Nashville. It’s good to see the travel agent is back to work.