We are very, very fortunate to be where we are right now. Almost eighteen months ago, Mark was diagnosed with advanced stage, metastatic, inoperable prostate cancer. The prognosis did not look good. I have written about this before. At the time of his diagnosis, we couldn’t imagine how long Mark might have. He immediately retired from his career in emergency medicine, and in July, he retired from his hospice work, the latter because he simply could not go on facing people who were dying of terminal illnesses.
I had to make a decision when Mark was diagnosed. We didn’t know how much time we would have together. He wanted to be able to enjoy retirement, which would be compressed. I wanted to create memories and enjoy as much time as possible with my husband. In order to travel and do other things, I would need to retire – for an indefinite period of time – from the practice of law. Fortunately, we were in a financial position to do that.
We have been blessed – by karma, by God, by the powers that be, by whatever one chooses to believe in. Mark has responded well – so far – to hormone therapy. He underwent a series of procedures in March, and now he has to take $1000 worth of pills every day. (As an aside, we are grateful to whatever gods there may be for the Affordable Care Act, which allowed Mark to obtain insurance coverage (and me as well). I have absolutely no patience for people who decry “Obamacare.” For us, it is very, very personal.) Since arriving in France, he likes to take his medication at the summits of our rides. It’s like it is his personal victory statement.
Fortunately, those pills seem to be doing their job of containing Mark’s cancer – for now. They, together with his pre-cancer level of fitness, have allowed him to ride strong. Without them, we likely couldn’t be here, in France, getting ready to start our bike tour tomorrow.
We still don’t know how long Mark has before … well, before we won’t be able to make trips like this. We enjoy every single day we have together, and the look on Mark’s face this afternoon as he greeted friends we met two years ago on our last tour … that look fills my heart with joy and gratitude. Because I know he is happy. And he deserves to be. And I am so glad we are here together.