Tim is a quiet person. In his current situation, I take my cues from him. He does the telling in our local circle, Our kids know, of course. Our close friends. But over all, not many. Except that I've broadcast it worldwide, but my blog is not read locally, so it is not as intrusive as you might think.
Anyways, one of his friends assured him that this was all a big nothing-burger. He had the surgery, and it is nothing. He doesn't have any problems, so Tim has nothing to worry about.
Tim got off the phone with him and came in and sat down on the couch. "________ says this is no big deal."
I looked at him from my couch. "You know, someday, I'm going to kick his ass. He did NOT have the same thing. He did NOT have cancer. He had a TURP and it is NOT the same thing."
Tim threw up his hands in exasperation. "Fine! Fine!"
I have a secret fear. Tim was once scheduled for surgery on his spine. A vertebrate was pressing on a nerve. The morning of the surgery, I got up at o'dark thirty and hopped in the shower. We had a long drive ahead of us. Tim came in and said, "I'm not having the surgery."
And he didn't. Just like that. He's a stubborn man. He's dealt with that nerve pain ever since, his thoughts on it being that he had seen too many people have back surgery, and that surgery started a chain of events that were the start of a real decline in their health and mobility. He didn't want to be unable to work.
We have this surgery scheduled for October 27th. I am worried because I harbor this fear that Tim will simply wake up and decide not to have surgery.
So I don't want to hear it minimized. Neither do I want to catastrophize it. It is what it is. He has cancer, and the goal is to stop the spread.
This friend of Tim's happened to call while Tim was out. Tim had left his phone on the table. And his friend began to speak in a voice dripping with concern. "How IS Tim?"
"He's doing fine. It is a waiting time, and that is never fun, but we are keeping busy."
And he began to tell me that this was nothing to worry about. I did not reply because I was becoming irritated with him. He must have sensed it, because he said, "Listen, if you don't want to talk about it..." and I said, "Tim is a quiet man, and he is shy. I don't know what he's told people and I feel like that is his decision how information he wants to share. But I can tell you this. You did NOT have the same thing. This is serious. This is cancer. This is a high grade, aggressive cancer."
There. I said it.
And he began to nosey around a bit. I began to get quite vague.
He said, "Don't be offended, but I wanted to tell you that I pray for Tim. I pray Catholic prayers, and that offends some people."
"Why would it be offensive?" I said, a bit more peevishly than I meant to be. "My God, we're not evangelicals."
He wound up with "If there is anything you need..." and I said, "Really, there is not, not now anyway. Things might change after the surgery, but we really are just perfectly fine.
He said, "I would be glad to drive you to Erie. I'll sit with you..." At that moment, Tim pulled in the driveway. I have never been so grateful to see him. "Tim's home," I said and I carried that phone right out to the car.
Later that night, I said to Tim, "Whatever you do, do not agree to let him drive us to Erie. I swear to sweet Jesus I would kill him."
I remember when I was diagnosed with cancer. This same friend came to the house. Tim had left for work. My daughter and I listened to him for over an hour. He told tales of people he knew who had died gruesome cancer deaths. He finished each story with, "But you don't have to worry about that. Yours is a different kind of cancer." Then he would launch into another story. When he left, I said to my daughter, "You know, I get the feeling that he wanted to make me cry so that he could be a comfort..." She replied, "All I know is that I will never get that hour of my life back."
People have been kind. People have been very encouraging to Tim and I am so grateful for that. I really am.
But this is not kindness.
It is not concern.
I'm not even sure what you would call it.