22 Jun When Things Fall Apart

I haven’t felt like writing a blog entry for a few months because, well, it’s not a lot of fun these days. But friends have asked for an update so here it is. Jill’s oncologist told her a month ago that the current treatment is very likely her last. It’s doing something but not a lot. Better than nothing, in other words. To be honest, Jill’s quality of life has deteriorated considerably but she’d rather be sick than dead. So she throws up once, sometimes twice, a day; is unsteady on her feet; has edema in her left arm and right leg; has poor vision; has shingles; and so on. Lots of pain in her abdomen. And in her bones.

But we’re not there yet. Remarkably, Jill retains her sass and sense of humor. If you talked to her, you’d swear she’s nowhere near dying. Yet, almost every day I hear a reminder that starts with “when I’m gone . . . .” That’s nothing new. But it feels realer now. It’s torturous, this slow dismantling of a lovely human being. I’m waiting for the jump-scare.

Photo: Dale Wright

Jill’s worried about getting enough nutrition because she can’t keep much down. At her request, I continue to make her favorites, regardless. One evening, while she was bent over the toilet, I called to her, joking: “I guess you don’t want the pizza I made?” She called back: “Wrong, mister: I want my pizza, even if I puke it up!” The girl’s got grit.

She’s sleeping a lot. That goes with the territory. If she sleeps till noon, I’ll check on her . . . because you never know. But, as I said, we’re not there yet. That seems to be the echo in our house: not yet, not yet.

Cats on her lap, Jill continues to read a lot and listen to podcasts. She’s never been better informed. She shows me old houses for sale she finds online—and we brainstorm about what it would take to fix them up. It’s kind of a game. Jill wants me to finish the library on our first floor, the last of our in-house projects. My books, about fifty boxes of them, have sat on the side porch for eight years: a reminder of how time wings away. The used bike I bought six months ago is still in pieces on that same porch. I tell myself I’ll get to it soon. Right now I’m doing the rounds every day, watering plants, tending gardens, planting trees, and pulling weeds. So many weeds. That’s summer’s work.

Jill’s Go-Fund-Me page

Help if you can!

Photo: Dale Wright