In February of 2014 the first Ales for ALK was held, an event our dearest friends and co-workers put together to support Jeff and to provide us both with some relief from an unimaginable situation. I was in my third trimester and was desperately seeking answers and hanging on to every encouraging word from loved ones and even strangers, words of reassuring that Jeff would beat lung cancer. Or that at the very least he would be around long enough to see the birth of our baby.
Fast forward to this weekend, the third Ales for ALK was held. If you had asked me in February of 2014 if my husband would be killing it at the water pong table (Yes, we had to use water, the event was held at a public venue. And yes, when I played my hand at said water pong I drank the water because I’ve only played pong one other time and my partner told me to.) at the 3rd annual Ales for ALK, I would have said yes, but internally I would have fallen apart. If you asked me if my baby boy and his older brothers would be enjoying their dad as a ‘normal’ dad for the next 2+ years I would have cried, never fully believing that was a tangible possibility.
Since Jeff’s diagnosis (May 6th was 2.5 years!) I have applied as much control in areas of my life and my family’s life as possible. Can’t cure your husband’s cancer? Then obsessively research everything about it, for hours every week. Keep a spreadsheet of clinical trials. Check social media constantly for new cancer research articles and medical journals. Surely the cure will pop in a news feed any minute now. Curious how a softball size tumor showed up on a CT scan of your spouses lung ? Test your house for radon immediately. Consult a dowser because maybe the ground water from the lake is the culprit. Don’t microwave anything in plastic. Buy organic as much as you possibly can. Reduce dairy intake (the yogurt he’s taken in his lunches surely caused inflammation which is probably why he has cancer right?), no more cold cuts, definitely no soy, start juicing. Make sure you drink the juice immediately because the nutrients are like a new car and as soon as you drive off the lot the value degrades. Holy shit, man. This is the kind of stuff I’ve been focused on (this list of preoccupations is just the tip of the iceberg…only dark leafy greens for this cancer-fighting family by the way), thinking I was somehow regaining some control in our lives.
The only thing I’ve successfully influenced is a steady state of stress over something I cannot control. It was being at Ales for ALK this weekend that made me realize that while we’ve made some positive lifestyle changes thanks to cancer, this thing is bigger than me and my juicer. It’s bigger than everyone who was wearing purple for Jeff this weekend too. But I’ll tell you what, we felt so much love in that beautiful sea of purple shirts. And wheher that cure shows up in my Twitter feed tomorrow or we see everyone at next year’s Ales for ALK, we’re excited about what’s possible because we know a future is possible.