Fourteen days ago my dearest was suffering from what appeared to be a sore throat and loss of voice, Laryngitis, I thought. Off to the doctor with her then. Our normal doctor was on holiday, so we had to use the first reserve. He didn’t help much and advised my dear lady to visit an ear, nose and throat specialist. Luckily, we have one at hand.
The message we got there was not good. After having a camera shoved up her nose and down her throat into her voice box, the good doctor said, “I don’t dare say what that is.” She then grabbed the phone and demanded that my wife should be examined at the county hospital immediately. My wife has a fluid collection, an oedema on one side of her larynx and a lump, a growth, on the other.
By now, alarm bells were ringing in my head. My father died of cancer in the throat and stomach. In fact, he was eaten up by the filthy disease within 3 months of diagnosis.
The chief surgeon at the hospital last thursday was equally vague. Hinting that this was indeed cancer, he offered some encouragement stating that if this was cancer, then we had caught it so early that radiation treatment would clear it up with a 95% certainty. He scheduled an exploratory operation for the next day. That was tuesday.
On wednesday we were again at the hospital. Early. My wife was given some foul stuff to drink and then slid into the CT scanner. The pictures were OK, we were told. No more than that. OK. The pictures were OK. Nobody would tell us what they could see in the pictures, but the bloody pictures were OK. Later that morning, my wife was duly anesthetised and underwent the exploratory op.
I collected her at five in the evening after having been home to take the dogs out and clear up at home. My poor wife was still groggy, unable to speak, hungry, thirsty and not very happy. We were still none the wiser for all this. We now had to wait. A whole week. Biopsies are not to be rushed. We were given very little information. I had not been told anything, as the discharging surgeon had spoken with my wife before I arrived. My wife just wanted to get home.
The sense of being absolutely powerless in these situations was slowly getting me down. There is nothing one can do. No influence, no quick fix, no action one can take. We were doomed to wait again. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.
Yesterday, friday, my wife was back at the hospital. The idea is, that the surgeon needs to take a look at the wound caused by the operation and control the sore for infection and so on. This he did. And then he dropped the bomb.
It isn’t cancer. The “lump” was the remains of a second oedema that had broken and collapsed. We don’t know how they formed. The surgeon had removed both offending objects on tuesday. Which was news to us. Good news, absolutely, but a little late by my reckoning. Now we merely have to wait for the natural healing process to complete itself. She’s going to be alright.
I feel both relieved and elated. This has been the worst and longest fourteen days of my life. I’ve been through the divorces, the loss of my son, disappointment of all kinds and lost comrades in arms. Nothing compares to this. I never want this kind of pain in my life again.
We were lucky this time. I realise how much I love and need my dear wife. To lose her would be to lose myself somewhere along the way.
I’m not religious, so I won’t be thanking god or anyone else. If there was a god, and he gave a hoot about us, then these things wouldn’t happen in the first place. How could an all powerful benevolent being allow this sort of thing when a simple click of his fingers would free us all of disease and other suffering?
But I have to say, for anyone out there who is suffering through anything like this, you have my deepest sympathy and my best wishes. I realise that is of little help, but I have nothing more to offer.
Believe me, I know how it feels.