There Is a Time to Cry

Thursday, we finished 90 minutes worth of interviews with the Stanford Transplant Oncologist and his nurse coordinator. It was a grueling process full of statistics, biology lessons and timetables that seemed hard to track. Fortunately there was a patient handbook given to each transplant candidate. I’ve read it thoroughly four times since that appointment just to remember what was covered.Megnme

Now, here, back at the Stanford Cancer Center, it was time to interview with a social worker who would presumably sign off on the mental verity of the interviewee;  A 62 year old pastor with high blood pressure and a history of depression. I also have cancer in more than 70% of my body’s bone marrow. The social worker was all of 27 with skinny jeans and capezios.  She could be one of my son’s most recent love interests gathering from what I’ve seen of his choices.  I felt a bit flustered by someone so young making such tantamount decisions on my mental stability. My unhinging were the capezios, I’ll admit.

She asked if I understood the condition I was in, in other words, did I understand the decision required about a bone marrow transplant. In my best academic, condescending tone I summarized the details of Myeloma and the state of the standards of care that are currently guiding the treatment. Nailed it.

She pushed in more intimately. “I see you have had a history of depression.  Can you tell me about that.”  I avoided the details of living through a marital infidelity and the unrelenting agony of divorce and chose to summarize the biology.  “My main symptom of depression has always been an fitful sleep pattern which leaves me awake at 230 AM and unable to sleep until morning.  The daily fatigue is difficult.  I use anti-depressants to help even out that sleep pattern.” Ok, dealt with the hard question.  I’m still in the running.

She wrote a few notes and then moved in with a professional skill I now appreciate. “So tell me how you feel about fighting this cancer.”

I paused and said the first thing that came to mind, “Well, it’s really been a test of my faith.”

What had my faith included?  Frankly, the joy that had been found in marrying Meg a year previous.  For ten years I had served the congregation in Oakmont as a single pastor.  I had been appreciative of their open minded willingness to allow me to serve as a divorced father of three.  It was a big leap of faith for them to trust my stability and I have always been grateful.

But I felt I had paid my dues.  Single and out of ministry for five years. Single and in pastoral work for almost ten. Finally a new light had spilled into my life in the form of this beautiful, radiant woman of God, Meg Gaucher.

Unfortunately, the were some early problems that beset our marriage.  My bad back was so painful, I couldn’t in my best state, help her drive her belongings from Pennsylvania out to Santa Rosa. My congregation and friends held back their confusion but you could tell they were asking, “what kind of man does that to his new wife?”  Her arrival didn’t make things easier.  My back pain increased as we moved furniture, made love or walked long hikes.  Not a great way to start.

So the social worker’s question had touched a nerve. I had been married for a year and my wife had been my nurse for eight of those months.  It has rocked my faith.

That’s when the tears began.  They really haven’t stopped in the past two days.  Even though Meg insists it’s her deepest pleasure and yet clearly not what she wanted, she’s good to go with whatever I need.  So now that kind of love makes me cry all the more.

13 thoughts on “There Is a Time to Cry

  1. You have found out what is true love in a marriage. What it really means when you repeat that part of the marriage vows, in sickness and in health. You should consider yourself a very fortunate person. Somehow in this long journey of life, you have found the person that was meant for you. Meg is ready to go on the rest of this journey. with you You are so lucky as was I. The tears are washing away the terrible depression and watering the seeds of this marriage. She loves you, Dan. Enjoy it.

  2. Dan – I appreciate the frank comments in your blog that allow so many of us to follow your progress. I also agree with Barbara’s comments. Meg is an exceptional woman. Hang in there. It should get much better.The power of prayer can make a big differfence.

  3. I am so glad Dan that you and Meg have each other. There are times for each of us to share our strength and times when we wiki be weak. The most difficult part of having cancer for me is that my husband is not by my side. My children and friends are wonderful and always there for me and I am very grateful for that. But at 2 am in the morning when I wake up and the negative thoughts begin their chanting, I miss having my husbands warmth and understanding. I wish you both peace and strength. Chris.

  4. DAN AND MEG. God, in heaven I have only you. On earth you are all I want. My body and mind may fail but YOU are my strength and my choice forever. Psalm 73:25,26. Prayers, Norma.

  5. Have you ask the doctors about cannabis? Not just smoking weed but oil. This is a health issue. Do some research on cannabis you may be surprised.

  6. And now we’re all crying: with joy at the blessing of Meg in your life, with empathy at all you’re going through, and yes, a bit of angry tears that it’s happening this way at all. You are eloquent as you keep us posted, Dan, and that is a gift from you to us. Thank you.

  7. the honestly is so present in this writing and the love is so deep – I am without words. I only have prayers

  8. Dan, you don’t know me I am a good friend of Meg’s from Capitola. I am inspired to write after reading your beautiful words . My sister Maddy was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 1 year ago this April. Maddy had just turned 60 and retired from a 25 year career as a legal secretary at a law firm in N.Y.C. Maddy chose to “attack” the cancer following the Doctor’s protocol, Chemo and SCR Treatment. After hearing the the treatment details, I knew I had to be there for my sister and help in any way possible. I had the privilege of being Maddy’s caretaker after both of her treatments . As difficult as it is for me to say the words Maddy repeatedly states, “I am grateful to the cancer for the way it brought us closer”. Last Thursday after Maddy’s monthly visit with her doctor she heard the best news she had heard in over a year. Her Doc told her to “go and enjoy the summer, see you in 3 months. Maddy is in remission, her numbers are excellent.

    The profound difference Love creates is many times unexplainable.

    Sending Love and Prayers

  9. Dan

    We met when I was in high school at Bella vista at campus life youth for Christ you and Carl were so good at giving me guidance as a young and dumb kid you touched my life and probably didn’t know it thank you for your love and acceptance of me And my short comings so so happy for your love and relationship with meg . Wish you all the best and your faith will pull you thru ….. Have extra marrow if you need some it would be a honor !!!!

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