Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What is the Blessing and What is the Hope? Coco's Journey; Chapter 28

By Larry Puls  @larrypulsauthor

Ovarian Cancer; Hope; Blessing
Stepping out of her car, Coco felt the cold wind cascading down the meadow and chilling her face. A somewhat serene backdrop, but lifeless. Spring had yet to break through the gray landscape. There in the distance, was the small country church where her friend had been raised--and where she would take her final resting place in the centuries-old cemetery. Row upon row of faded stones, gray and black, inscribed with birthdates, death dates, and various words that hinted at stories of once vibrant lives.

A smattering of people dressed in dark clothing had gathered to celebrate her friend Marcia. Their hushed voices were barely audible. The incessant wispy breeze whistled through the stagnant bare branches. Would spring ever come?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Saying the Final Goodbye; Coco's Journey; Chapter 27

By Larry Puls @larrypulsauthor

Alone, Ovarian Cancer, Death
Jack saw his children out and tried to sleep, though that needed task was simply not possible. In the dark room listening to the clock, he watched her and willed her to sleep. Please give me another day. Each long breath she took and each slight turn she managed, he drew closer to her side.

At three in the morning, everything changed. 

Marcia’s breathing began to slow. Each breath appeared more labored. Repositioning himself on the side of her bed, he studied what was happening. By four in the morning, the color of his wife’s face transformed from a slight dash of pink to consuming gray. Death was no longer at the door. It was barging in, slithering into the room. Her soul was being called home. He wanted to protect her, but what could he offer? Fighting God was not an option. His children needed to be called, but it was too late for that now. Climbing into Marcia’s bed and sharing the waning moments of her life was all he could think to do. Delicately he placed his arm around her side and caressed her for what would be the final time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Final Counsel to a Husband; Coco’s Journey; Chapter 26

By Larry Puls @larrypulsauthor

Saying Goodbye; Ovarian Cancer; Coco's Journey
Jack was fighting sleep when his son walked through the door at three that afternoon. After exchanging hellos, he savored the sweet family conversation and the tenderness of his children’s voices. But at times, the exchanges were interrupted when Marcia fought to absorb her intense cramping with what little dignity she had left.

When evening came, his wife appeared to be wearing down quickly. He encouraged her to get some sleep. But when he did, she looked up and strangely fixed her eyes on his. An odd expression covered her sunken and pale face and made him wonder what she was thinking.

“Is everything ok?” he said.

Without an utterance, she lightly patted the bed for him to come and sit beside her. Climbing from his chair, he rose, approached her and carefully lowered the guardrail. There next to his wife on the crumpled sheets was a small sliver of space where he thought he could perch. He pushed the IV lines out of the way and slid her catheter down towards the foot of the bed. 

Once seated, she grabbed his hand in a small way and began to talk quietly. “I’m glad you kids are here. I have a few things I want to say to your father and I want you to listen… Honey, you have given me the greatest gift and man could give a wife. You have made me feel cherished beyond measure.”

She stopped momentarily, short of breath.

“But I pity you Jack Covington,” feebly smiling. “I have done everything for you in life. I have balanced our checkbook. I have run the house and cooked every single meal for you—until recently I guess,” adjusting her shoulders. “You will have to figure out how to manage the house completely on your own. The grocery store will become your new hardware store. Imagine that. Who knows, you may start collecting cooking recipes. But I am sure you will be able to figure out a life alone no doubt,” ending the sentence almost inaudibly. 

She then motioned for him to come closer before gently taking hold of his face. “I know you better than you know yourself. We’ve been a good team. We made it all work—better than most couples. And there are reasons for that, I think. You have a giving heart… So listen to what I am about to say. Someday you will need another woman. I know you and I want that for you--just like you would that for me if the roles were reversed,” still looking winded. “And if you are lucky, she won’t order you around or complain when you leave your shoes in the wrong spot…”

His voiced was silenced.


“Yes,” wiping the moisture from his right eye.

“I love you and I want you to be happy. Remember that please,” staring up at him. 

He was not predicting that comment, nor was he aware how those spoken words would pierce his heart. The rising tears surfaced over his eyes, revealing droplets that spoke about the previously unspoken.

A life without his wife. 

For just a moment, he wondered curiously if he would survive alone to face the world.Don’t go there! Don’t even think about it. With those thoughts now swirling about, he was determined to cut her off. That was a discussion he wasn’t going to have here and now, so he held his finger up to her lips. But gingerly, she wrapped her withered hand around it and moved it away. Her eyes held his. I will never think about anyone else! He wanted only her, forever and for always… Beautiful Marcia was dying and he knew he could not stop it.

Being at her bedside was complicated, but cathartic. Jack understood the need to let it go. It was time to let go. Skirting around the reality of what the cancer was doing was no longer possible. He recognized he must face it head on and work towards final closure.

She drifted off to sleep, and for that he was thankful. That night his children went back to Ellen’s place, assuming tomorrow would be just like today.

But it would not.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Pain Experienced by Those Left Behind; Coco's Journey; Chapter 25

By Larry Puls @larrypulsauthor

The evening Coco left Marcia's room. Excerpts from my upcoming book.

Ovarian Cancer; Husband Grieving 
Jack Covington glanced up as the pounding rain hammered the hospital window, like tears falling from heaven. Suddenly, a flash of lightening, then a crash of deafening thunder. The building nearly shook.

His wife neither moved nor stirred.

It was then he understood just how weak she had become All the tubes hanging off her emaciated body, piercing her arms and chest made him grasp the inevitable. Her battle with ovarian cancer would soon be over—she had only days or hours to live.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

When is the Husband’s Pain Too Unbearable? Coco' Journey; Chapter 24

By Larry Puls @larrypulsauthor

Ovarian Cancer; Suffering; Encouragement
Coco stepped onto the oncology unit where Marcia had been admitted last night with nausea--and emesis. She questioned how bad it was… Her intuition whispered answers… Approaching the room, she saw Marcia’s husband standing silently outside her door. His head was down.

“Jack, good to see you," she said softly. "How are you?”

He looked up, and initially didn’t answer. A bewildered look filled his eyes. He twisted his head to the side. Then shrugged his shoulders and said, “Thank you for coming up.” He never answered her question. Perhaps he couldn't.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What if an Illness Stole Something Precious From You? Coco's Journey; Chapter 23

by Larry Puls @larrypulsauthor

Ovarian Cancer, Coco's Journey, Suffering
Coco rang the doorbell. Questions flashed through her mind. Three weeks had passed since she happened upon Marcia at Kiawah—and now she was just outside her house. Hearing the door unlock, she could only imagine what her friend’s weakness and frailty might look like today--compared to three weeks ago. 

The door eased open and there was that sweet smile--yet unexpectedly weak. Her friend was on her feet but gripping the door handle firmly--almost searching for balance. The temples of her head were more sunken than before. This troubling visual portrait had more detail than a thousand words ever could. In the three seconds that elapsed from seeing Marcia to now, Coco reached conclusions—and those made sadness sweep through her. So this is what the end of life looks like from cancer. She felt the moisture building in her eyes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What Shape Are Your “Genes “ In? Coco's Journey, Chapter 22

by Larry Puls @larrypulsauthor

BRCA mutation, Ovarian Cancer, Coco's Journey
Walking into the exam room, she sensed her pressure rising. What would he say today? But as she thought about it, he always had something encouraging to say. And she felt good. That had to be a positive sign. She took a deep breath and let her anxiety calm down.

“Good morning Coco. I hope you're enjoying your new life.”

"New life?"

"Yes. Off chemotherapy."

“Oh that. I am, as a matter of fact. It's pretty special. And I'm hoping you will keep me there."

"That's my hope too."