Yesterday marked 8 months since Ben died. Eight. Months. After he was diagnosed with that-which-shall-not-be-named-because-I-hate-it-so, he survived 9 months and 5 days. Eight months after he was diagnosed, it was December. Eight months plus one day after he was diagnosed was December 9th, to be exact. So today I figure that in a weird way it is the equivalent of December 9th of last year. Can you understand my crazy?
This is how I think now. At any given time, on any given day, if you could see inside my brain you would see me thinking either “on-this-day-last-year-we-were…” OR “8 months and 1 day after Ben was diagnosed we were…(insert activity here.)” So if you get my thinking, this day is kinda sorta December 9th, 2015, which is the day that Ben went in the hospital for his chordotomy.
Last November I wrote about Ben finally agreeing to see the Neurosurgeon about having a chordotomy, and I put this explanation in the blog post of what a chordotomy was.
“Cordotomy (or chordotomy) is a surgical procedure that disables selected pain-conducting tracts in the spinal cord, in order to achieve loss of pain and temperature perception. This procedure is commonly performed on patients experiencing severe pain due to cancer or other diseases.”
Well, the truth is I edited that definition slightly, because Ben was still reading the blog and I knew that he would read my post. So I lied and left out one shitty word. This is the truthful definition of a chordotomy:
“Cordotomy (or chordotomy) is a surgical procedure that disables selected pain-conducting tracts in the spinal cord, in order to achieve loss of pain and temperature perception. This procedure is commonly performed on patients experiencing severe pain due to cancer or other incurable diseases.”
Incurable. See how I left that key word out? Yes, its true. While technically there could be a few other reasons why someone may receive a chordotomy, the truth is that the only people who actually receive a chordotomy are those that are going to die and the doctors are trying to save them from spending their last weeks in agonizing pain. When I wrote about the upcoming chordotomy in this post (click here), what I left out was that Ben was going to die. And soon. And the neurosurgeon was trying to find a way to get him out of pain as soon as possible, because Ben The Titan had put off the procedure for far too long.
So on this-kinda-sorta-day last year, Ben had a chordotomy. And it worked. But the problem is that The Titan waited so long that the damn cancer (small ‘c’) made a lot of progress while he was in the hospital. By the time it was over Ben could no longer walk. We pretended that it was the chordotomy that had weakened his legs, but not for one second did I ever believe it. Maybe it was because his body was in a further weakened state while in the hospital that allowed that disease to move so quickly, but there was never a doubt in my mind or the doctor’s minds what was happening. You could practically see that fucking disease eating him up minute by minute. The cancer had now essentially robbed him of his ability to walk, or at least the ability to walk as he had been before entering the hospital. I was MAD. I was so fucking angry … at Ben. Yes, I was furious with him for having waited so long for that pain relieving procedure that he never even got to really enjoy the sweet relief of having no pain. He didn’t have it in time to be able to enjoy some pain free time while still being able to walk in the days leading up to what the kids and I all knew was to be our last Christmas together.
If I’m going to be honest now (I should be, since I lied so much in this blog before Ben died) I would have to admit that I was so angry I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to shake him hard and yell “WHY???? WHY????? WHY DID YOU WAIT SO LONG??” But I knew why. He waited because he loved us, and he wanted to live. He knew a chordotomy meant the end was coming. So instead of screaming I left the room and cried for the unfairness of it all. My poor, poor Ben who had just wanted to battle and fight so hard for the kids and I, instead had suffered such extreme agony and for what? Abso-fucking-lutely nothing. Nada. Zip.
Two of Ben’s friends from Ontario stopped by the hospital while he was there. They were also very close friends with Chris Thomas, whom you may recall died two days after Ben. When they were leaving the hospital I walked them outside, and I told them that Ben was going to die. Soon. It was a sad, sad moment.
So that’s what I’m thinking about on this day that is kinda-sorta-December-9th-2015.
My God, how I wish he had lived.