Saturday, November 12, 2005

An Ordinary Saturday Morning

It is a beautiful day here, like most Colorado days, and we have just returned from the cancer center where Dan was let out of jail early. We went to breakfast. This is the first time we have gone out in months and it almost felt normal. Then the drive home and I see all sorts of couples taking their walks, sitting with their lattes, or window shopping in Cherry Creek and the realization hitsthat we are not "normal" and I try desperately to hold back the tide.

I always ask Dan if he has told people on the blog how he really is, not the numbers, or the Doc's comments but the real thing. He always say yes and when I read his posting I realize we are often in different spaces. I feel like the voiceover on Desperate Housewives, telling what is going on beneath the surface, the real truth if your will, or the story according to the spouse, caregiver, best friend. Perhaps the real truth is that there are two stories.

I have taken to calling the hospital/cancer center the airport. It just comes out and as I correct myself I have tried to figure out why I continuously say this. Today I was struck by the thought that it is, in fact, like being at the airport. The ennui, the inability to find a comfortable place to sit, the long hours, the terrible food, and the waiting for something to happen,( or the explanation of why we are still grounded). Unfortunately Paris or some equally lovely place is not at the end of this ride.

And so the news this week of the still high myeloma number sent me into a bit of a tailspin. There is so much hope and then the reality hits and you are reeling and using every bit of strength you have to push through it and move on. Dan says little but comments like they can probably get me a few more years make me realize his strength of purpose is often tried and tired; certainly more so than mine. I am merely the watcher, the gatekeeper, the poorly prepared nurse

So back to the beautiful day. There is always hope and ofen a laugh, and more often cherished words from my dear Dan. They keep me going but make no mistake, this is the most difficult thing I've ever done. I sincerely thank all of you for you love and constancy. Happy Saturday, Love, Susan

And from Dan: As for me, I still have tremendous hope and strength of spirit and will continue to refuse to give in to the negative. Yes, this is difficult, the most difficult challenge I have faced in my life. But hope is always there. Just yesterday we were told that my doctor and this cancer center have one of the greatest reputations for survivors of myeloma. There are many many options and treatments still available. You, my friends, have shown me that the world is full of blessings and the glass is always half full. All you have to do is look at it that way. Fortunately for me, I have always seen life that way so this is not too difficult for me. Love, Dan


Dorothy said...

Good Morning! I will not write alot but only to say please remember that while you are going through this unbelievable period and you both have to endure the actual difficulties, you are not alone. There are so many of us out here saying prayers, lighting candles, sending positive thoughts, offering up our difficult situations so that you can know that we care so much for all of the Pattersons. Love to you all! The Seals

Arlene said...

Hi, I was on line earlier and read Dan's blog from yesterday and thought I'd respond later. I'm glad I waited.


I can't imagine what you are going through each day. I know that you are strong when you can be and cry when you need to. Being so far away, I feel totally inadequate just writing or calling, but you know how much I love you all. Actually, you know how much WE ALL love you.

I sit sometimes and think about when you lived in NY. I remember the first time I came to stay with you and asked who the dude was in the picture on the fridge. "Mountain man, ready to
take on Everest".

It was Dan. You told me about him and all I remember saying was that he sounds like a keeper!!!!!

That was so long ago. Since then, so much has happened to us all, both great and bad with lots in between. Dan's illness, however, comes under the category of BAD x infinity!

You have different roles and needs in this. You are the caregiver, "nurse" not poorly prepared, but doing whatever it takes, supporter, and best friend - BEST FRIEND, BEST BEST FRIEND. Who better to be his support, than his best friend in the whole world - his wife. If you could take this away by any means, we all know that you would.

But, Dan is your caregiver and strength, by his attitude and strength of purpose that refuses to give up; your best friend who keeps a positive thought each day; your cheerleader, who proclaims to everyone how loving, caring and protective your are of him throughout this ordeal.

You now have the very best of each other every day.

And, you have the best of everyone who are praying, loving, calling, stopping by, cooking, crying and laughing with you all.

Dan will fight as hard as he can to the victory over myeloma. That is obvious. It is also obvious that you and the girls will and do the same.

We all pray each day. Remember the prayers are for you, Catherine and Julia, as well as for Dan. You are all fighting the fight!

You are our family and we love you! Your glass is full today of love and prayers. Half full just ain't good enough!


Brother Ted said...

I am alway struck by how much I take for granted in my life. I am so touched by your note Susan and the strength that both you and Dan exhibit on a daily basis. Most days I can read the entries and approach them with a clinical eye and then rush off to research the meaning behind the counts or changes in treatment. Today however I have a tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Somedays love and the surety that Dan will come through all of this just doesn't seem to be enough. I hate to feel helpless. Then there are the words that Dan wrote yesterday "There is no normal course of recovery, only individual courses." In my heart I know that this is all about recovery, Dan's recovery and recover he will! I love you all. Remember I am a phone call and 10 minutes away.

Catherine said...

Mom and Daddio,
I know very intimately the emotional, physical and spiritual state of both of you. And I agree with what mom has written. However, I strongly disagree with one part... There is a Paris at the end of this airport trip. An amazing experience awaits us: Sitting at a small Paris cafe, enjoying a glass of French red (Finally Dad!), eating hors d'ourves, and gazing out at the Eiffel Tower sparkling with lights as ths sun goes down... And although this may not be literal, the feeling of peace, accomplishment, bliss, and excitement about where we are and where we have been is certainly coming. (And perhaps it will be a literal trip!). But until that time comes we must all KNOW that we will be there. Not just hope we will, we WILL get there. So there is a Paris, mom. And its waiting patiently and excitedly for you to return. Until then, hope, peace, love and strength...and always PARIS.

Richie and Stacey said...

Susan and Dan,

I was just sitting here online and realized that it has been a couple of days since I have had the chance to check the blog. Susan, as I was reading your comments I could relate on a different level. (I am glad that my mother has already written today. Maybe she will miss this, but knowing her ... she won't.) It is in regards to people knowing the real story. On another level, last year I too remember seeing people walk down the streets but with their children in tow ... all smiles, enjoying the summer months, the holidays etc. I found it much easier to keep a smile on my face and not say how I was really feeling. I took time, but I too tend to think of the cup as being half full, but it is very easy to swing in the opposite direction to where you always think that it is half empty. Well, as I was getting to the end of Dan's comments, a little someone lying on the floor next to me started to coo and grunt. (Grunting is his favorite activity.) He is my reminder that there is a reason why I choose to live my life as though the glass is half full. My glass is full now and we had wonderful people including the 2 of you who were saying prayers and keeping us in your thoughts. I can say that Richie has been the person writing though I do read the blog. I can honestly say that I have never had the right words, and I know that there really are no right words. After your comments today it was my turn to remind you that it is our turn to keep you in our thoughts and prayers and that is exactly what we are doing.

The “Wise Verplanckian” above who responded earlier today always told me that God only gives us things that we can handle and that all of these "things" that we have to deal with in life builds character ... I think we all have enough character ... wouldn't you say? However, her comments are true. I have become a much stronger person than I ever thought I could be. Don’t get me wrong … I would have been happy just the way I was.  I am sure that you both feel the same.

My father, who if I called him a “Verplanckian” might slap me in the head, so I will just call him “wise,” gave me a sign when everything was … lets call it “backwards” … that says, "We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails." So, we adjusted our sails and found that there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of this little man that is lying her (now sleeping) on the floor next to me. We never know why … and I am sure that you wished that someone knew the answer to that question … I was convinced someone would tell me why … but we just move along trusting in our faith that things will be ok.

We are all here rooting for you both and we have Catherine and Julia in our thoughts and prayers as well.

So until we meet again to dance on the countertops and throw the ole pig skin around … continue to Livestrong!!


sigunjoe said...

Chers amis,

I am sitting at my computer, with tears streaming down my cheeks. Oh Suz. You know where my arms are. And Dan, you are so brave. And I am so far away and wish I could be with you. After reading your two blogs, I looked at the comments which brought more tears to my eyes. But I did smile when reading Cate's. Yes, she is right, Paris is at the end of the tunnel. And next time we will be here the four of us together (well, maybe not next time, because I expect Suz at the beginning of the year!) and we will sit at that Cafe, watching the glittering Tour Eiffel, and we'll think of Cate! Je vous embrasse tous, sigunjoe.

The Dakota Kid said...

Tis approximately 4:30 AM, Sunday morning ... A few minutes ago, I awoke realizing I had been once more praying for your health ol' friend and decided t'was time to say Hi.

My thoughts were a meandering of how everyone we meet in life somehow touches our very essence, it can be as simple as a glance or the hug from a best friend after sharing the worst of news. Simply know, that you are a part of my life and that there are prayers and love often being sent your way.

For some strange reason, I keep trying to recall the first time you touched my life ... It probably was in a freshman classroom or in a hallway on our way to class but ... for some reason, I seem to remember the weight room, by the girls locker room ... It was after a football practice, and you were soaked in sweat, but still full of energy. You were laughing at me as I tried to lift 30% of my weight above my head. I was humiliated at how simple you were able to take the weights and hold them over your head with one hand. OK, so 30 lbs may not have been much to you ... but dang it, it was 30% of my weight and I was trying ... :)

Most recollections seem to see your smiling face, with a glint in you eye as if you've been up to a bit of mischief ... which, undoubtedly, was the face of truth.

Perhaps we may not have interacted often over the past, but you definitely have been a daily constant in my life. I believe it was the summer between our sophomore and junior year of college that we took the picture of us and so many of our fellow Trinity Titan letterman dressed for the West ... so, if only by coincidence or fate, you have since always hung on my wall in a place of prominence and serve as a constant reminder of good friends and good times. Our lives have touched ...

Some of my fondest memories are sharing a laugh with a fellow Trinity classmate ... often it's after hearing a story in which you were a main act. It would truly be an honor to spend time with you in the future, perhaps you could share in one of our late summer, early fall fishing trips ... Know Dan, that you have been and are always welcome to share my campfire, anytime.

You were our leader in high-school, and today, as you bravely share the status of your health, you still are our leader.

With sincere wishes,
May God Bless you Dan

spike said...

Susan, I can't imagine how difficult it was to put your thoughts into words yesterday. I can only say what all other friends and family are saying. You are not alone. We are with you in thoughts and prayers. Love, Mike&Lynne

sigunjoe said...

Chers amis,

Just got back from church which gave me much solace. the sermon was a commentary on Psalm 90: "Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom". One of the things Jonathan (the priest) said we all should do is say to the people we love that we do indeed love them. And that is what you two have been doing lately, and all your friends have been doing it as well. And that is how it should be. I am thinking of you constantly. Bises, sigunjoe.

Brett said...

Just last night I was relfecting on your 23rd anniversary, and I realized how great it will be to recognize your 25th. It will be an honor to mark that date because the 2 of you are so remarkable. Your love for one another, the respect that you give to each other, and your warmpth and sincerity set you 2 aside from most other couples. You are role models for us all everyday of our lives. Until the right man comes along and I can have the kind of relationship with him that I see in you I can rest a little easier knowing that your love helps to make this world a better place.

A nasty cold has kept me out of contact with you both for the past 2 weeks. While I know that that was the right thing to do, it was difficult nonetheless. I get such a charge of energy from you both whenever I see you. The cold is now gone, so like it or not, I'll be on your doorstep sooner than you think!

I hope all goes well at the airport on Sunday. Don't try to smuggle any contraband in or out of that place. John Ashcroft just might find you.

Dan's Mom said...

I do not have the talent for writing that Susan or Dan have but I can say it in plain words. I think of you constantly. I pray for you all the time. I also pray for your doctors that they will find the way to get you into remission. And I love you so much. Dan's Mom

nina said...

susan and dan, i love you both and know that you each have incredible passion and love for each other and life. when you find your internal reserves low, hopefully the energy and love from your friends will give you a boost. i am still in hong kong and went to many temples in thailand where i lit incense for you dan. i have found that when i am really low, i sit or lie on my back and meditate, focussing on my energy chakra and open myself up to give to and receive from the energy stream. sometimes i can actually feel the flow. i'll be homeon wednesday and will try and call you then. love, nina