On April 12, 2017 while attending a conference in Philadelphia I received a text from my ex-husband. I knew he was also down in Philadelphia, his trip was to visit a surgeon at Penn hospital to remove a growing bump on his neck.
“I have anaplastic thyroid cancer.”
I originally thought, “oh jeeze, like me need this. But whatever, we will get through it.” Having never heard of this type of Thyroid Cancer I immediately looked it up.” Tears filled my eyes, my hands started to shake, and stresses ripped through my body settling with that tingling feeling in my calves as I read…
I immediately asked him what stage he had…afterall, isn’t that one of the first thing they tell you? I thought of our three teenage daughters…but as I dug a little deeper into the internet from my phone, I learned that this cancer is always stage 4.
As I look back on these last six weeks (it seems like I have been in a time warp, I have realized that at that moment John shared his news with me the plane our little family usually travels on started experiencing extreme turbulence. And just like a flight attendant, my job would be to stay calm and just keep handing out the peanuts.
But let me tell you, that has not been easy. He left his original surgery with a tracheotomy and was not able to speak for weeks. Upon learning the results of surgery (which did not produce the miracle we hoped for), and many times since I have been the one to share news with our three daughters, and none of it has been particular good. I was the one who told them the actual diagnosis, “dad is back in the hospital.”
I’m just now realizing the importance of writing about this. My dear sister Susan reminded me of my gift and the cathartic impact. Not to mention that I have a resounding message, that every divorced parent needs to hear…which will be shared with every post…
For the sake of your children make friends with your ex. As divorced parents it is the greatest gift you can give to your children.