Losing Kath

Love lost, read and found

What doesn’t kill you makes you …

Keeping it in the family was always something that worked well for us but that philosophy in life can only get you so far. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ they say. Two years ago towards the end of July we were all still looking forward to every new day and each occasion that would bring us together. Here pictured on the 23rd July 2012 we had all got together to wave the Olympic torch as it went by at the bottom of our road and then still in the festive spirit we all donned silly hats and just hung out for a while enjoying the breeze offered by the shade on a hot July day.

The Olympics were coming and what was not to look forward to?
But inside the unity of the family are very separate souls and some are often more burdened than others at any given moment in time, but as we had always done before, when it came to our troubled minds, in times of family get togethers, we left our individual troubles behind.
But I was troubled in a way not like often before and I could see that on the face of my wife, was trouble of mind and trouble of soul which she did well to hide from everyone else. But what was harder to hide was the trouble of health that was starting to show and evident in her face as well as her many aches.

By now it had only been 4 months since she was diagnosed with bowel cancer and had been told she was too late to be saved, and with this drastic news we really should have stopped and took stock. But there is no real way to do so when you are still very much in the mindset of knee jerk reactions, and it is fair to say, that we were still reeling from everything that was happening.

There is an argument to be made against the saying ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, especially when it comes in the form of a hopeful treatment to make you live longer.
I would pose a question though seek not to offend anyone at all, but when you’re told that your illness is terminal there is a real decision to be made. In Cancer’s case; if you are dying for sure, is Chemo worth the risk to live longer?

Of course at the time, I wanted Katherine to live every moment God would give us and just a little bit more and naturally Kath herself did not want to leave her girls and me behind a moment sooner than she could help it, and so of course our knee jerk reaction was to fight. We hoped that the Chemo would slow down the cancer’s progress and give us just a little more time, and the time that we had been given, was only two years.
But in Katherine’s case, ‘what didn’t kill her made her weaker!’ The Chemotherapy laid her to waste and she was not strong enough and in her further weakened state, the cancer tore through her like water through litmus paper and we only got 3 months more.

Now I know that each person is different and each circumstance differs for sure, but having been told she was dying and faced only two years more living to do, if we had been told that the Chemo would have meant us only having 7 months from the start, I know neither one of us would have cared too much to try out that fight. More probable would have been the choice to resign ourselves to the news and make sure we lived those two years to the full.

The Olympics came and they went, and soon after the flame in my marriage torch went out with it too and from that moment on, there was no longer any way more of keeping it in the family.
When you are told you are terminal and have been told that you have two years left to live, although it sounds very bleak I would ask you to consider you also have two years to slowly die. In this time you won’t be well right to the end, so remember to allow the time to be ill, and then that does not leave you a lot of time left to enjoy. Make a decision wisely when you choose aggressive therapy in the hope to live longer, because what doesn’t kill you doesn’t always makes you stronger, and when there is no longer any way to leave your troubled mind behind, there is no longer anyway unity can find all the pieces of a troubled heart and still keep it in the family.

One comment on “What doesn’t kill you makes you …

  1. marcy westerling
    August 18, 2014

    This is important to share. Thank you. Tough choices in how to live and die.
    Marcy Westerling

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