Marriage and cancer

Perfect together? I think not. Well, I am going to blog about this and try not to get too personal. 
Tim and I started dating when he was 21 and I was 20. Babies. We’ve been together 29 years now, married over 19. The good thing about dating a long time is, you know what you’ve got. There are no, or few, surprises. Sometimes, I think people get married too quickly. They wind up divorced and saying, “I didn’t even know this person.” They find out all these things after the wedding and decide they can’t deal with it. That didn’t happen to us. That’s not to say we don’t have our problem spots, we do, it’s just that they were out in the open before we said those vows. Somewhere in those first 9+ years, we both thought “eh, I guess I can live with this.” Now, if you’ve followed my blog, you may have heard me say that NOBODY LISTENS TO ME. It is a common theme throughout my life. Now, indeed, it’s everyone’s choice whether they want to listen to me or not. My problem is, that when certain people don’t listen to me, even after I warn them of the consequences their decisions/actions will have, I get to suffer the consequences right along with them when they don’t listen and do whatever it is I warned them not to do. This, over time, can drive anyone crazy. It is a hard position to be in. Nobody is always right, and I’m no exception, but I am right a lot of the time, and have even caught my husband warning my daughter, “you better start listening to her, she’s rarely wrong.” Too bad she doesn’t, and he should take his own advice, because I’ve got two of them here, folks. They both have to learn everything the hard way and I get to suffer right along with them, and be the one to pick up the pieces, though, whenever possible, I refuse to bail them out, unless, of course, it’s really serious or just makes my own suffering worse if I don’t jump in to help. They need to be held accountable. Unfortunately, this problem may even be why MM entered our lives. Now, mind you, I have NEVER blamed this on my husband,(if ever there was a time you DO NOT SAY I TOLD YA SO) and he does not read my blog, (he doesn’t Facebook or e-mail or any of that) but, 28 years ago, when he started working for my childhood friend’s dad, who owned a wood flooring business, I started warning him about protecting himself from the chemicals. Shortly after he started working there, the boss said to him, “here, read the labels on these cans(the stains and polyurethanes). I supply you with masks, gloves, and a respirator, what you do is your decision.” Well, as Tim was taught by his father, only sissies worry about that stuff. When Tim told me about this conversation, I read the warnings on the cans, and that’s when I began begging him to protect himself. I told him that this was occupational exposure and he could very well wind up with cancer or other serious health problems. He shrugged it off, said who knew how long he’d even work there, complained the respirator was hot and uncomfortable to wear, and that was that. In the 80’s, bleaching and pickling floors was all the rage. Within a year, Tim was suffering from sinus problems and severe allergies, which he never had, even when he was a landscaper. An older guy who worked there died of cancer. I do not know what kind and wish I did know now. Tim could brush that off as the fact that he also smoked like a stack and had been in the business when even stronger chemicals were used. I continued to beg him to protect himself. He ignored me. Tim refuses to believe his chemical exposure has anything to do with his MM. He’s aware that it is a possibility. An aside here: wood dust is also implicated in MM and he has spent years inhaling that too. I do not force the issue. What difference does it make? He obviously doesn’t want to think he did this to himself and why would he. He just says that this was what was in store for him and would have happened anyway. I recently “met” a woman on one of the MM facebook sites who has 2 men in her family that have MM and both worked in the family business doing wood floor re-finishing. I didn’t even tell Tim and never will. But, it is VERY hard for me, that his habit of not listening to me resulted in something THIS DAMN BAD. Ya see, his MM not only ruined his life, he took out me and our kid too. Obviously, it is he who is paying the highest price, but, it’s so hard not to be just a little angry, after years of this pattern playing out over and over, and, mind you, he STILL doesn’t listen to me. OY! this was not the direction I planned to go with this blog post, but, to get back around to where I was going, cancer is hard on a marriage. Recently, Tim and I had a pretty bad argument, well, it was really a discussion, but he did something that really hurt me. No matter how many times I say, “don’t do that, it hurts my feelings” he doesn’t listen. I find it very damaging to our relationship and he just thinks, “eh, what’s the big deal? I’m just kidding around.” The last 7 years have found me in funks that have really taken me out at the knees. Oh, I put on the game face for the sake of others, but, there’s no doubt I deal with a constant level of depression as well as angst about the future. It’s REALLY hard when your own husband is not understanding and makes you feel even worse. I’ve talked to him SO many times over the years about these certain things he does. I could scream, it’s just so irritating that I’m still dealing with it. When we had this talk, I could tell he felt really bad. He apologized and admitted he really screwed up. Then, about a week later, he did something else to me that I’ve told him a million times to STOP doing. I give up, I really do. For the most part, I consider our marriage a good one. We are friends, still enjoy each other’s company. I have a lot of marriages I can compare it to and I would not switch with any of them. But, I sure wish I could make him understand that people have breaking points, where there is no going back. It’s hard to argue and be mad at him. There is SO much guilt involved afterward. He has cancer for Heaven’s sake. But, cancer or not, this is still a marriage, and one that is being put to a test that many are not put to. We have many other things that stress our lives too. His family situation has been a BIG stressor. The list goes on. I just wish that my own home was a place I could get away from that kind of thing. I wish that he would see that these are the memories we’re forming. I was taken for granted before Tim had cancer. Now, I have devoted my life to him even more, and am taken for granted to a degree most people never experience. I’m not looking for a pat on the back for all I do, I just want some respect, decency, consideration. I’m not asking him to DO anything special, just NOT DO these things that really wound me and damage our relationship. I dunno, I can’t wrap my brain around it when you tell someone something so many times and it does nothing. What part don’t they understand? I’m sorry doesn’t cut it when you do something over and over again. Marriage ain’t easy, for any couple. It’s work. But, when cancer enters the picture, really, all bets are off. It’s a pressure-cooker. For me, I think, “our time is SO precious together, I want to   make the most of it.” A few years ago, I saw a therapist for a short time, as I’ve mentioned here before. I went for grief counseling really, and got some advice about Tim’s family. She said something that haunts me to this day. She warned me to be careful about fighting and arguing. She said that the guilt you may face some day over it won’t be worth it. Well, I’m sure she has seen many people struggling severely with guilt if she’s done her share of grief counseling. And I certainly am afraid of living a life destroyed by guilt some day. But, cancer or no cancer, this is still a marriage, and it’s still hard, and he still pisses me off.

Sheesh, that old phrase “nobody said it was gonna be easy” is true. But for crying out loud, why does it have to be THIS HARD?!!!

I feel like I have to add this little quote from Moonstruck, since I could not find a movie clip of the scene. Truth is, I still love that boy to the moon and back.

Rose: Do you love him, Loretta?
Loretta: Ma, I love him awful.
Rose: Oh, God, that’s too bad.