What does food mean to you? What does food do for you? Why do you crave certain foods? Taste, nourishment, organic, fatty, salty, or sweet? Imagine food does not have an importance to you. Imagine eating just to get something in your body to maintain your weight. Imagine you do not crave your favorite foods anymore. This is now John’s daily battle with food. These feelings coming from the man who would tell me what he wanted the menu to be for the week. This coming from the man who would get two full helpings of my cooking every night. This coming from the man who was a healthy 212 pounds when everything started. Now, he sits before me at 195 and has to convince himself to have some sort of appetite to get nutrition in his stomach. We have been utilizing his feeding tube quite a bit and making sure he can still try swallowing too. What has been the struggle day to day is the full feeling he constantly has due to his lymph nodes in his stomach being swollen. In John’s words, “It feels like I just got done eating at a massive buffet…all the time.” To John, food and nutrition is complex and together we try to get as much in him as possible. He has shown such strength and perseverance. It is unreal how this part of his life is so different, yet his drive is the same. He looks at me all the time and says, “Baby, I ate a lot today.” Chemo, radiation, nausea and his fight against cancer are not the only struggles he faces day to day…it is eating.
This past Friday marked the halfway point in John’s radiation treatment schedule. This is an incredible feat since we thought the beginning would never get here and now we are already halfway. With the next two and half weeks looming, we look at what lies ahead…3 more rounds of chemo and 12 more rounds of radiation. Both of us agreed that if we let it, the car could probably drive itself to the hospital we frequent day to day. I know what kinds of cookies they are serving in the cafeteria each week because the radiation nurse reminds me daily. We could walk in the building with our eyes closed and tell you how many chairs are in the waiting room and how John will knock off the pillow on the radiation machine when done with treatment for that day. Monotonous…yes. Worth every second of repetition…absolutely. Wishing I could take every ounce of pain he has to endure day to day…even more so. There is so much that goes along with our routine and he has the most patience of all. There is stability in his eyes even though I can tell he is tired of the pain…but not of the journey.
I am so proud of him.
We have such strong arms around us right now. Those who come to visit like Susie, Meg and Chad were here to love him and show their support. Those who have been putting together events in other states like John’s friends from childhood and college. Those who I work with and who have given so much of themselves during this time. Those who write beautiful words and participate in marathons who know only me yet feel the love for John just as much. Family and friends alike have shown their support and it gives us such strength to keep going on this habitual path with our heads held high. We will not be defeated and he will stand tall through all of this….holding my hand….on the foundation of your love.