Saturday, March 3, 2007

What About George?

The second most common question, after "How did you find out you have cancer?" is "How's George doing?"

For those who don't know my kind, patient husband, let me share a few things. We have very different approaches to life. I'm a roll-up-the-sleeves-jump-right-in kind of gal. (This has landed me in the emergency room more than once.) He's a thoughtful, let-me-observe-this-situation-until-the-next-millenium kind of guy. It's impossible for us to ski together because I immediately swish down the mountain while he spends at least 10 minutes contemplating every move in advance. When we rent a new car,
he spends 15 minutes exploring the car's mechanisms while I take slow, cleansing breaths (designed to keep me from strangling him).

Our approaches during a crisis follow the same course. I immediately plunge in, research, talk, join support groups and listserves. He sits back and observes me plunging, researching and talking. Then he eagerly awaits my summary.

To my credit, I'm good at this stuff. I've been a journalist and a corporate communications writer. Clients ask me to slog through 500 pages of tedium and then summarize in two easy-to-understand paragraphs that make the reader take immediate action.

Since my diagnosis, I've spent dozens of hours reading, researching, assimillating and formulating questions. He has read only one article about mantle cell lymphoma because I INSISTED that he read it before our first consultation. Otherwise, he's happy to wait for the summaries.

I have another brilliant writer friend who is also married to an analytical attorney. Their marriage works much the same way. She researches, fact finds, assimilates and summarizes. He waits for the blurb.

As a matter of fact, I prefaced the articles I forwarded to George with blurbs like, "If you read just one article about mantle cell lymphoma this year, let this be it." And "Two lymph nodes up."

To summarize (because if George reads this blog post, he'll want to head straight for the summmary): George is doing OK emotionally. He's encouraged by my positive attitude. I can't get him to do any research and reading about my disease and treatment, but that's OK. He's great at coming through in a pinch. Just last night he made a late-night run to the 24-hour pharmacy to pick up anti-nausea medication. And for that, he gets, "Two lymph nodes up. WAY up."

PS My friend Amy wrote to tell me that her husband also "waits for the synopsis." Gal Pals, share your stories here!

1 comment:

Lilli said...

There's a reason God created Eve, and this is just one of them.