Coming Clean

 

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.

Horrid.

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.

No more.

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,

 

Louise

 

75 thoughts on “Coming Clean

  1. Zoë Sharp

    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.’

    Love always

    Z

    Reply
  2. PK the Bookeemonster

    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.

    Reply
  3. Vicky McAulay

    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.

    Reply
  4. Cornelia Read

    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.

    Reply
  5. Alafair Burke

    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.

    Reply
  6. Louise Ure

    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.

    Reply
  7. Melanie

    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.

    Reply
  8. Mari

    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.

    Reply
  9. Ruth

    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.

    Stay tough.

    Reply
  10. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    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.

    Reply
  11. Janine

    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.

    Reply
  12. MJ

    Oh, crud.

    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.

    Reply
  13. rashda

    Dear Louise,
    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

    Reply
  14. Yvette

    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.

    Reply
  15. Michelle Moran

    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.

    Reply
  16. toni mcgee causey

    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,

    t

    Reply
  17. Robert Gregory Browne

    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.

    Rob

    Reply
  18. Alexandra Sokoloff

    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.

    Reply
  19. Berenmind

    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,
    Susan Beren

    Reply
  20. Juliet Blackwell/Hailey Lind

    Dear Louise,
    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,
    Julie

    Reply
  21. JT Ellison

    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

    Reply
  22. Tom

    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.

    Reply
  23. Jeanne in MN

    Louise,

    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.

    Reply
  24. Louise Ure

    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.

    Reply
  25. Allison Davis

    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.

    Reply
  26. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    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.

    Reply
  27. BCB

    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.

    Reply
  28. Allison Hoyt (Cornelia Read's cousin)

    Don’t forget to enjoy the smiles and laughter! Thinking of you during this difficult time.

    Reply
  29. kit

    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

    Reply
  30. Marshall Karp

    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.

    Reply
  31. ArkansasCyndi

    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))))

    Reply
  32. billie

    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.

    Reply
  33. Terry Shames

    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.

    Reply
  34. alli

    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.

    Reply
  35. J.F. Constantine

    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.

    J.F.

    Reply
  36. Donna Kuyper

    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.

    Donna

    Reply
  37. Madeleine Butler

    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.

    Reply
  38. kit

    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.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZWcaxYNKIM

    Reply
  39. kit

    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.

    Reply
  40. J. Carson Black

    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.

    Reply
  41. Louise Ure

    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.

    Reply

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