Well, it’s Wednesday so it’s time to add to our collaborative community story.
We’re following a flashback of our main character, Samantha. The story thus far is on the blog under “Story.”
Here’s where we left off.
To think, we might not have had that conversation if Chad hadn’t suggested a trip to Grace Community Church …
We headed home to visit the parents for Easter 1989. When we arrived, Chad was complaining about a headache. I gave him a couple of aspirins and all seemed well. By midweek, however, he was complaining of a headache again. Again, aspirin did its magic,
But headaches were unusual for Captain Watt. He was in good shape and regularly passed his physicals with flying colors. To have two bouts with headaches in a week — actually three, he had another one while we were driving back home — were a source of concern for me, although they weren’t constant and easily managed with aspirin.
When he continued to complain over the next few weeks, I suggested he get his eyes checked. He agreed and, sure enough, he was now a candidate for glasses. When he went to get the specs fitted, however, the doctor brushed the side of his head just above the ear. Chad said the casual contact resulted in an immediate, deep, migraine type headache. The eye doctor discovered a swelling just under the hair line and told Chad — and me when I came to pick him up — it should be checked.
So, we headed to the doctor’s. The news was not good. After tests, Chad was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforma tumor, one of the fastest spreading cancer of the brain and the most deadly. It had already started to metastasize and Chad started feeling worse and worse. Ultimately he had a seizure that sent him to the hospital over Memorial Day weekend. Dr. Walker scheduled surgery to take a section for a pathological diagnosis and to remove some of the mass pressing against his brain. He said we would follow with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. But the prognosis, he warned, was not good. Chad’s age and physical shape were a plus, but typical survival was only about a year.
The parents flew in. JR and Kate-D were lost … and there wasn’t much I could do to help them. I was lost, too, stunned and shocked by the sudden turn of events.
We had a chance to talk and pray before Chad went into surgery. We walked down Memory Lane and he told me he never regretted a moment of our time together. “I knew,” he said, “you were my soulmate the first time I talked you in that club in New York. I told you, you were the most beautiful girl I had seen.” I reminded him he also added “tonight.”
He also said he was sorry. “For what?” I asked.
“For this. For making you go through this. For everything I ever did to hurt you. I never meant to,” he said, with me hushing him and holding him as tight as I could amid the wires and tubing.
“You … never … hurt … me. You … always … loved … me … unconditionally,” I sobbed. “Get … through … the … surgery … tomorrow. One … day … at … a … time.”
Dr. Walker was less optimistic after the surgery. He said the finger-like tentacles couldn’t be removed and were growing into the temporal lobe, cerebellum and dangerously close to the brain stem. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I think we should consider palliative care.”
Chad wasn’t Chad after the surgery. He had a hard time focusing or recognizing people or places. But he always held on to my hand, squeezing it between pangs of pain. He died June 12 at 12:35 p.m. — a day after our 12th anniversary — with me holding him tight and telling him “I love you.”
Dr. Walker gave us six months. I got 16 days …
There you go, readers. What’s next?
All you have to do is put down your thoughts and get them to me. You can post your ideas as comments on the blog – but remember everyone will see them, so the “surprise” factor might get lost – or you can e-mail me directly at email@example.com. Each Wednesday I will continue the story on the blog, along with that week’s attribution and periodically update Reveille/Between the Lakes readers. The complete story thus far is available on the blog under “Story.”
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: A man soon learns how little he knows when a child begins to ask questions.