When My Wait and Watch Routine for Follicular Lymphoma Ended

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I reflected upon my last great trip with my husband and the moment my wait and watch approach ended for my follicular lymphoma.

Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones)

Above the chapel door, a sign reads

“we bones, are here, waiting for yours.”

—Atlas Obscura

During your last autumn, we toured

Portugal at a slower pace, providing

time to enjoy the country and each other.

Long, lingering lunches,

views of broad vistas beyond

I sat next to you, rather than across,

taking time to bask in your glow,

as though we had forever,

you never acknowledging your dimming.

We explored historic hill towns, each with

sharp streets, each clutching its history

and its surviving inhabitants.

You marveled at an elderly woman, darkly

dressed, climbing laboriously up a steep hill

toward a black Mercedes waiting at the top.

This was a different kind of trip. Nothing fancy.

Good food, quiet hotels and streets, outdoor

art, tender walks.

You were our driver, I our guide.

Pre-recorded GPS, thick English accent

making us hoot at British road jargon.

We lodged outside the walls of Evora,

known for its Chapel of Bones.

You were mesmerized by their mass.

I hesitated before entering,

resisting your enthusiasm

and the chill of death within.

Our last stop was Sintra. Pine-

covered hills, a Moorish castle

on top, I wanted to linger there.

Shortly after Portugal, you began to fade

more quickly, taking our future with you,

leaving me to tend to my heart’s crevasse.

My husband had a 4-year journey with pancreatic cancer, and lots of severe chemo regimens, after which he would recoup and be ready to travel. This was our last amazing trip, truly a gift.

Beautiful autumn landscape with. Colorful foliage in the park. Falling leaves natural background | Image credit: © - Lilya © - stock.adobe.com. 

Wobbly

i

6:30 am

best yet autumn day in my yard

bright reds, fireweed oranges

tarnished yellow grasses

overdone browns, colors form

a filigree quilt on the lawn.

Each day is different

especially this one

the day I stop play

embrace a new way

treatment needed.

Each day is different

especially this day

the news still sinking in

not yet embraced

each hour I become

more of this new cancer-patient

person

unprepared

terrified.

ii

I think about my late husband

his will, years of suffering, his tenacity

I can’t go through that

can’t put on his hat

walk his walk

don’t yet know mine

always a foot-in-front-of-the-other gal

now my feet are wobbly.

iii

Almost three weeks into

my new self I’m

more informed

not necessarily ready.

Tomorrow I begin chemo.

After four years of the wait-and-watch routine for Follicular Lymphoma I had to begin treatment. I had hoped wait-and-watch would last forever. I was pretty terrified after what I witnessed my husband go through.

This post was written and submitted by Lynn Belzer. The article reflects the views of Belzer and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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