By Louise Ure
Several days ago, two of our ‘Rati readers, PK and Berenmind, commented that, when we’re faced with a paucity of topics for blog posts, they’d be just as happy reading about the daily life of the ‘Rati authors. What we’re doing. What we’re thinking. How we’re faring.
That was a joy to know. That somewhere out in that shimmery internet there are friends who I’ve only met here at Murderati. People who come to visit even though we don’t always write about murder or mysteries or the marketing thereof. People who might just want to know how we are.
It’s time I come clean and tell you how I’ve been.
Just after Thanksgiving weekend, my husband, Bruce, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It has already metastasized to his bones, his adrenal gland and to an area surrounding his heart. It is incurable. It is inoperable. And the chemo doesn’t seem to be working.
He had a small cough and went in to see our doctor the Monday after the holiday weekend. She said his lungs sounded fine, but recommended a chest x-ray just to be sure. Our lives changed as of that day.
These last ten weeks have been a horror of hospital stays, white blood cell counts, plummeting weight loss, radiation, PICC lines, chemotherapy and nausea. I’m learning a new language of pain and loss. And it was hard to hide that in my blog posts and comments.
I promise not to make Murderati a bi-monthly update on this personal hell, but it’s nice to know that friends can be open with each other if need be.
My real life neighbors, friends and family have been extraordinarily kind. They bring soups and sweets and lists of clinical trials that we may not have considered yet. Other friends have been supportive by email and by phone.
Even the insurance company has exceeded my expectations with their courtesy and competence.
Bruce’s attitude is great. He is a man of dogged determinism and his optimism is unflagging.
We say “I love you” more often these days.
I’m not writing at all. Not even a diary. I know some people say it was helpful to them to do so, but for the moment it seems too much like rubbing sandpaper across a suppurating wound. My only jottings are to note the date for a visiting nurse or to monitor a change in oxygen levels.
I’ll try to keep up my end here at Murderati, but please understand if some weeks my posts are short, or sad, or maybe filled with dark humor. Whatever it takes to get through the day.
Much love to you all,
Thoughts and prayers with you, your husband, and your family, Louise.
Oh, Louise, that’s desperately sad news. My thoughts are with you and Bruce.
Recently, an opening line jumped into my head, as they sometimes do. I have no idea where it’s leading, or what it’s for, but it seemed horribly appropriate when I read your post:
‘Afterwards, what he would remember was the things he did before he knew. The inconsequential everyday mundanities; superficial, pointless little sub-routines that take up our waking hours when we don’t appreciate that life is precious, and special, and short.’
Damn it, damn it, damn it.
That is SO fucking unfair.
But I guess you already know that.
Hugs and love and all good wishes for both of you.
For reasons we cannot fathom, sometimes the universe sends us situations that serve to have us intensely focus on what is truly important: each other, family/friends, and love. Keep yourself healthy and listen to your needs so that you can continue to be the loving support for your husband as you both go through this. My love and prayers are yours.
Louse, words fail to express my sympathies. We have all been touched by this horrible disease in one way or another. I do think, I hope, that it helps in some small one to share your feelings and what your going through with your friends here.
You are a brave and tough and lovely woman, my sweet Louise. And yes, that "new language of pain and loss." The illness of someone you love is somehow captured in the new technical vocabulary you’re forced to learn, as well–always an NRA-Rooseveltian soup of acronyms and procedure names and hoped-for test outcomes, packed with descriptors in which only one’s fellow combatants in that same gladiatorial arena are fluent. For me with Lila, PDD-NOS, amygdala, myelinization, hippocampus, OT, sleep-deprived EEG, IEP, thimerosal, propriaception, SIBs… a lexicon of pain and loss that would take hours and days to explain.
I want for you both the soft glow of angels to brighten the darkest moments. Good sleep. A gentle balm for your dogged hearts. A fast-forward button, for when things utterly suck.
Louise, I’m so sorry that you and Bruce are going through this. Don’t hesitate to turn to friends for love and support, and that includes all of us here. I’ll be thinking of both of you.
I’m so sorry Louise. You’re both in my prayers.
Bruce is your priority. Love him hard and fierce.
Big hug of support from a complete stranger.
I’m so sorry to hear this Louise and know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and Bruce.
Thank you all for such sweet, kind words. We have a radiation appointment first thing this morning, and wouldn’t you know, it’s in the hospital basement where there’s no service for cell phones. I’ll check back in later in the morning, stronger today for your thoughts.
Oh, man, that sucks. Sending oodles of good thoughts your way.
My prayers will be with you.
Hugs and prayers, Louise. Focus on your husband right now, that’s the important thing.
Peace to you both.
Oh my god, I am so sorry. I’m going through a rough time and haven’t been writing either, but this really puts that in perspective. I’m so glad you have supportive people in your life.
God bless you and your loved ones in this trying time, Louise. You guys will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
WOW! How strong you are to share this with us! Thank you. My prayers are with both of you. Take care of yourselves and God love you.
I was in that same situation for a year; it wasn’t my husband, it was my father, a very healthy 66 year old man -healthy except for an esophagus cancer, of course. You’re in my thoughts. It’s hard. I can’t think of anything to say.
It’s not fair, and it’s not easy, and my prayers will be added to everyone else here.
Oh honey, I’m so sorry. Your family is in our prayers.
My condolences, Louise. I’ll be saying a little prayer for you and Bruce every day until you tell me to stop.
Louise….I care so much for you and Bruce. I’m with you all the way. I’m here I’m here I’m here. I’m always thinking about you two. I wish I was close enough to bring the chicken soup.
Louise, love to you both. I wish there was something "Dr. Child" could do for you now.
Chicken soup. Prayers. Long-distance love. Thank you all. Off to the hospital now, where even the parking garage guys know my name.
I am a writer with no words.
Shaking my fist at the monster that is cancer, Louise. Just know that you are loved and that I understand the pain you are experiencing.
A reader sends hugs and good wishes. Been through much of this with family before. It is tough, there aren’t any magic words to make that reality different.
Big hug again.
Lousie…I’m so sorry this is happening. Like all the others, my thoughts are with you and Bruce. I wish there was more I could do. I truly do.
Thinking good thoughts for you and Bruce. I’m glad you both are there for each other. May peace, love and special moments fill your days.
Another blog fan
Oh, Louise. You both are in my thoughts and prayers.
I’m stunned…and so, so sorry Louise. My love to Bruce and you.
Like everyone my thoughts are with you…xo
Louise, I will keep you and Bruce in my thoughts and prayers. I faced breast cancer this past year and am coming to the end of my treatment with a good
prognosis, so I’ve been one of the lucky ones. Still, I think I know a
good bit of what you’re going through. All I can say is: stay strong.
I’m so sorry to hear about this. My thoughts are very much with you and Bruce. Although I rarely comment here, I read all of your posts, and you have many, many good wishes coming your way.
Louise, you are grace and beauty and a gift to us all. I’m so glad Bruce has you right now, and that he knows how much you love him. It’s not fair, it’s not right, and it’s just completely fucked up that in this world, the good guys have to suffer. I wish I was one of those able to bring over the soup, or just give you a hug. Much love,
I am so sorry to hear this, Louise. Both my wife (who reads regularly) and I send our regards. We’ve been part of this kind of fight in the past and it’s never easy.
Please let us know if there’s anything you need. Email or call anytime.
Back from the hospital now and the sun is coming out from behind the fog here in San Francisco. I think it’s all these good thoughts coming our way.
Oh, God, Louise. I’m so sorry, and so grateful you told us so we can ALL be wrapping you both in love and light. All the angels of the universe be with you. We are here, anytime, too, and loving the hell out of you. Always.
Dear dear Louise,
I am sure PK is feeling as sad about her ‘opening credit’ in this blog as I am. "When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers."
I am feeling so blue now, but I am flattered and honored that you chose to share your ‘horrid’ with all of us. I am blue but strangely uplifted. Does that make sense? Maybe I can be as brave as Louise. Maybe my problems aren’t so bad, look at Louise’s. Maybe life DOES go on after tragic news. Look at Louise. I can get through anything……like Louise. In your generosity and wisdom, you knew…… that your post would help us with our problems as much or more as it has helped you to unload.
I was haunted by something you said in one of your older posts and I looked back in the archives. It was in early December. You were talking about the possibility of making a clean untraceable escape.
" it got me thinking: could I disappear? If I needed my own version of Witness Protection or just wanted to drop out and get away from sixty years* of being Louise Ure, could I do it?
What about you, ‘Rati? What one “trick” would you be sure to use? What would catch you up in the end? And have you ever wanted to just disappear?"
Maybe you were thinking of the arduous journey in front of you when you posted that. Maybe you were wanting to just disappear. But you knew you couldn’t. There are no tricks, are there? Love and loyalty and goodness will forever keep you exposed and here. Accessible to all the pain and fatigue and depression. The incredulity of it all. No hiding from this. I think that is the most frightening aspect of the diagnosis of cancer. The wanting to disappear and knowing that you will not. That you will GO through this. No choice. No dichotomy. No staying or going. Just staying. That is the fear.
You are an incredible person, Louise. But you are only that. A person. Remember to take care of yourself and THINK of yourself during this time. This time is chaotic and you are helpless and feeling that loss of control, which is ‘horrid’ for a strong, compassionate person (you). You must hug close L.U. She needs you now, too.
To quote more Oscar Wilde….in one of his rare non-snarky remarks……."Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you."
Love and concern,
thinking of you and your husband on this lovely day in the Bay Area. I am so very sorry to hear of what you’re both going through. Learning a language of pain and loss, indeed. Please know that you are in my thoughts, and I wish you all the strength and love and humor to make it through this as best you both can.
Lots of love,
So sorry to hear this, Louise. My thoughts are with you and your husband.
I’m so glad you decided to share, Louise, so we can all throw our thoughts, prayers and love your way. I wish to hell Bruce didn’t have to go through this, and that you didn’t have to either. Know that all the love in our hearts are with you both always. xoxo
It was so good to meet the two of you in Los Angeles last year, Louise. Bruce and I spent a good long time talking about the cars and his work.
As JT said, I wish neither of you had to go through this. Good that you spoke up. Isolation makes it all harder.
Best wishes, best thoughts and all the blessings in the world to you two.
I am so sorry about your bad news. Make sure the two of you laugh every day, no matter how bad the day has been. Look for the beauty around you. Enjoy all that you can.
So many wonderful words, from friends both old and new.
Let me add some sage advice from my cousin Mary, a pediatric oncology nurse: " Leave all stumbling body parts to those whose lives revolve around them. Focus only on all that still remains whole and sound. Touch him. Everything you feel is still fine and there. Care for that. He is better than ever right now."
My new mantra.
Be strong, remember to take care of yourself, accept everything your friends and loved ones are willing to give. You are wise to talk about your journey.
Louise, so undeserving of this burden, both of you…I went through this with my mom and it’s really hard. I’m close by if I can be of any help to either of you. Lots of love being sent your way. And, yes, that’s what we’re here for, just to be here for you. You are not alone, you are surrounded by all of us.
Sorry to hear, my thoughts are with you. Still take care of yourself too.
My thoughts have gathered on the wings of others that are flying your way from east to west.
You know I’m always just a call away, LU.
Just another total stranger writing to send you love and strength. So sorry to hear of your ordeal.
Dear Louise, I’m so sorry to hear this. Sending much light and very best wishes your way.
I read your mantra four times and it became more meaningful every time. Mary is wise, and she obviously knows what you’re facing. You and Bruce have so many fans…don’t ever forget it.
Oh Louise. I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face — words are inadequate. I’m so sorry for your pain, yours and your husband’s. That is a beautiful mantra with a powerful message, I hope it helps in some way. You both will be in my thoughts.
Thank you for telling us. Sending virtual hugs and much love.
Don’t forget to enjoy the smiles and laughter! Thinking of you during this difficult time.
Thank you all.
I get stronger every day … buoyed by your strong wings.
Lu, you already know how I feel. Just remember, you are loved.
I hope today was just a little better for you both, dear Louise. I’ll be saying prayers tonight for you guys.
just know, you so did the RIGHT THING by writing and sharing this….even caregivers need care, the support system needs support….my love, prayers, and thoughts go out to you and your family at this time.
My real life job is in nursing in long term care…..no matter how much we see, each family and their loved ones make a diference to each one of us and we do remember them, even when we are no longer in contact..they touch us in ways you can never imagiane.
being professional doesn’t ever mean losing your compassion….some people are *doers*, that’s the best way they can show support and comfort, please allow that…they may have your back, just when you need it the most. You take care, you matter to us…even if it is long distance. kit
Louise, There are times when every writer sends his or her words out onto that shimmery internet and we wonder — is anyone out there in cyberspace? Am I putting a note in a bottle and casting it adrift? What if a blog fell in the forest and there were no one there? Would it make a sound? For what it might be worth, we are here. More of us than you may have expected. I add my own voice to the outpouring of love that has come from this community and hope it helps bring you and Bruce some comfort.
Louise – I’m one of your lurkers. I rarely post but I had to come out from my cave. I am SO sorry to hear about Bruce. Consider yourself hugged. ((((Louise))))
Louise, I’m a day late, which seems to be my norm here lately – I’m so sorry and send a big hug and the best supportive energy I can muster your way.
Louise, thank you for writing your eloquent description of what you and Bruce are facing. I’m so sorry you are having to go through this. I hope it is comforting to have your community weave itself around you to hold you both close. I add my thoughts and best wishes into the pattern.
Thank you again. I hold you all close in my heart.
A day late, but no less heartfelt:
My prayers and love are with you and Bruce. I think of you both everyday when I light my candle . . .
Louise, I only just read your post. I am so, so sorry to hear your news. I am glad you know there are many, many people who you’ll probably will never meet face to face, who are sending their positive wishes and prayers to you and your husband and family. And I’m definitely one of them. Everyone understands you are doing things tough, so don’t ever feel you need to put on a brave face – you have enough to work through.
I’m so sorry.
Several years ago my Mom was diagnosed with an awful illness. She passed away over a year ago. During the time she was ill I couldn’t write a word. Nothing. I would try and there was nothing there. I’m writing again now. I don’t know if that bit of sharing helps, but I hope it does.
Meanwhile, I will do the only thing I can do for you and your husband – I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless.
Louise, we’ve never met, but my household has two cancer survivors, so I know some of what you’re going through. Your cousin Mary gave you a great gift.
My thoughts are with you.
And you have all given me a great gift today.
Louise, I just heard the news from Cornelia and read your blog posting. I’m so sorry to hear that you and Bruce are going through such hell. I wish you strength and moments of lightness wherever you can find them. Sending you much love. You are in my thoughts.
I had to go back,simply for myself, to refresh my memory. It was was one of those things that kept bothering me until I did so…I have no idea why it seemed so important to do, but it was.
it is or will be a year since you lost your mom…so when I read the news about Bruce ..it was like a double whammy in my head and heart, on your behalf.
we all have our ways for dealing with the curves life throws at us..
I have a habit of looking back to see where I’ve been…and it has the power to amaze me. things I never, ever thought I’ld get through…stuff i wanted punch God out for(that’s my first reaction) stuff that was so much bigger than I was…I felt so small. I had no idea how it was all gonna turn out..none.
this became my mantra, at the time….I would listen to this over and over till I actually believed it…hell, I wore the damn recording out…I don’t know if it will help you but if you look back to where you’ve been and how you got here …it might just apply.
re-reading that it sounds so trite and a *quick fix*. I didn’t mean for it to sound like that, 18 years ago I had a diagnosis that forever changed our lives. Our family was split up at the time, so I could deal with the medical part of it, it changed all of us.
Louise, I am so sorry to hear this. I am holding you both, and your families, in my heart and prayers. If there’s anything I can do, I’m an email or a phone call away.
Louise, I’m sending a daily hug along with a daily prayer. Please know I’m thinking of you, sweetie. With loads of love,
Kit is right; it was a double whammy this year with losing my mother as well. And did I mention that the dog has cancer and is getting chemo? All things come in threes.