When Everything Went Wrong

100millionlogoI wish this were fiction, or that I were reading this story, rather than remembering it.

About a year and half ago, my boss pulled me into his office. “We have to put you to part time,” he said. “Budget issues. But, we’re able to keep your benefits.”

Thank God, because what felt like a minute later (OK, 2 months later), I found out I was pregnant.

My husband had recently graduated from one of the most prestigious law schools in the country. A place that could make you swell with pride, but still couldn’t get you a job in this economy, apparently.

After my first trimester, he got an unpaid internship near his family. No longer able to afford our rent, we moved in with his parents, super optimistic that soon he’d get a job offer, and we’d have our own place before the baby came.

When I moved up there, he was acting weird. He’s usually the happiest, most fun person in the world, but he’d transformed into a really cranky hermit. Kind of like when my cat was sick and hid behind the furniture.

“You’d think you had cancer the way you’re acting,” I said. “Jeez, it’s just money and job. At least we’re not like other people with those kinds of problems.”

Why did I say that? Did I sense something? It makes me cringe now.

Days later, I watched him walk across a department store. He was hunched over like an old man. His skin looked gray. He had been complaining for months about extreme fatigue.

He has cancer, I thought, then chastised myself for being pregnant and paranoid. Why was I forever catastrophizing?

That night I prayed, “God, thank you that he does not have cancer, but if I’m right, we need to know before it’s too late!”

A week later, he called during lunch. “I have good news and bad news. The good news, I finally have a job interview. The bad news, I have some pain in my left side. I’m going to the ER after work.”

Take an antacid, I told him, and then sat and worried. This was the man who once walked a mile with a broken leg, uncomplaining. If he said he hurt, something was wrong.

I didn’t go with him to the ER. I didn’t want to expose the baby to any unnecessary germs.

He texted me “They think it’s a kidney stone.”

I googled kidney stones and started to cry.

Next text: “They think it’s an abscess.”

That worried me. Abscess was getting closer to tumor in my mind.

“Do you think its cancer?” I asked my mother-in-law.

She had that look, like, are you a crazy pregnant lady? “Of course not, do you know how rare that is?” she said.

No more texts. No more news. His parents went to the ER to pick him up.

When they walked in the house, they all looked shell-shocked. No one could look at me.

“It’s cancer.” Someone mumbled.

None of us could say a word. My husband and I held each other, and tried to sleep.

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