Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy Anniversary To Us!

Tomorrow marks the fourth wedding anniversary for me and Di, and we're off for a few days in Corpus Christi to celebrate and relax. We got married on February 13-----a Friday, no less----at the Little Church of the West in Las Vegas. Students of fine cinema will remember that as the locale where Elvis married Ann-Margaret at the conclusion of Viva Las Vegas.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of my illness has been the impact it has had on Di. We've spent almost half of our married life with me as a cancer patient, and the toll on her has been tremendous. When we moved to Texas in the fall of 2004, we had dreams about our horse ranch, the places we were going to see, the things we were going to do, etc. It was such a blast in 2005 to have little impromptu races on our horses around the riding trails out here; in early 2006, we enrolled in a refresher conversational Spanish class at a local community college in preparation for some travels we were going to do in Central America. And in April, 2006 the bottom abruptly fell out of my world.

Like many cancer patients, I am often filled with guilt over having the disease. I feel like I'm doing something wrong by being sick, like I'm letting Di and others down because I'm sometimes in a state where I can barely function. I find myself wishing I had never met her so she wouldn't have to go through all of this. Even though I now know such feelings are normal when you have cancer, I still sometimes feel them with great intensity. Thankfully, Di has taken things with remarkable grace and courage and not a trace of complaint or regret. There have been times when I've felt like saying to hell with everything and discontinuing all treatments (especially the chemo), but I then realize Di is hoping desperately that I'll get better and live, and I know I have to do everything I can to fight on, not for me but for her. When someone loves you that much, you must show you love them in return by trying your damnedest to hold out against the disease.

I have been extraordinarily lucky in my life, and having Di in my life is the biggest lucky break I've had in a long while. The photo below is one I took of her one morning at our house in Las Vegas shortly after our wedding; it captures her in her natural state and is one of my favorite photos of her. At any rate, I'm going to try my best to be around for our fifth anniversary; in the meantime, we're off to the beach!