On April 12, 2017 my life changed forever. Those of you who have walked this path with me over the last several months have listened, cried, worried, hoped and prayed alongside our family. The writing I feel compelled to share now is a recount of my experience…the details of what we went through.
At the wake and the funeral so many people asked…what happened? They hadn’t even heard he was sick and yet he was gone. John R. Wengler, my ex-husband passed away on July 2, 2017. Not even three months after his initial diagnosis.
So back to 4/12 – I was sitting in a conference at the Pyramid Club in Philly. I knew that John was scheduled to be at UPenn medical that day. He had found a lump on his neck and was meeting with a surgeon to have it removed. Tests had shown it wasn’t cancer but the doctors were sure it still was. Before I left that morning I commented to my husband that it wasn’t good that he still had the appointment. Afterall, they always call with good news, you go in for the bad stuff.
At about 10:30 I heard from John with a text… “I have Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer.” My heart sank for my dear friend as I envisioned the surgery and radiation would wreck his summer – and John R. Wengler LOVED summer. My next thoughts were kind of strange and ranged from “for the love of gosh John, cancer…like we need to now juggle this right now? Our girls were settled after the move, life was good, I needed time to spend on my business” I quickly realized I had never heard of Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer…so I looked it up….
What the hell? I have a few friends who have had thyroid cancer…a little surgery, a little radiation and they are good to go. But as I read in those first few minutes that he had a 10% chance of living a year, that treatment would be brutal, and most patients live just a few months…well I started to cry.
John was my friend, my co-parent. What was he going to go through? And what about our girls? He was young…so young to get this…maybe his age would save him. A myriad of questions filled my head as I continued to search on the small screen of the phone. I texted my husband to let him know…and just continued to cry.