It’s been nine weeks since the last dose of chemotherapy and I’ve shed more tears in this span than the full duration of our ordeal. It’s what I’m calling the security of treatment.

When you find yourself in the midst of a battle, you have certain defenses that kick into gear. The mind wants to ensure survival, so it moves to the lower levels of Maslow’s triangle and sets up camp. It’s why guys can endure such horrific conditions in the military, only to return home and not be able to carry on normal life. Dealing with extremes becomes easier than the mundane.

Never would I say I want to go back to relive the last six months. I am saying that there is a new transition for which I was not prepared and I am trying to adjust and get my head on straight again.

Taking control of a situation is a natural human reaction. If the house is a mess, one can wrestle it back into order. If you have a headache or stiff neck, there is aspirin for that. There is a realm we all can control, but our control has its limits, and this truth must be accepted if we are to live a healthy, sustained life.

At the discovery of the disease, Karen told me she was glad it happened to her instead of me, because if it was the other way around, she would be a nervous wreck. She felt in this way she at least has some kind of control of her responses and reactions. Being the bystander, I know exactly what she meant. I feel powerless to only watch.

This is why the season of treatment had a form of security attached to it. We had rules of engagement set before us; six sessions, one every three weeks, medication prescribed, signs to watch for, actions to take, with one goal attached—beat the disease.

Been there, done that, checked those boxes. What’s next?

What’s next is moving back out into the open spaces of living life with this new component of uncertainty attached to it. It’s always been there, and it always will be there. There is no removal of it. You have as much of it in your world as I do, cancer or no.

The Security of Treatment