Passage From the Book

Capture Your Imagination


 

You may experience moments when you discover what you are meant to do in life. This was one of mine.

 

The following passages are taken from Capture Your Imagination

...

Cheryl reserved a place in the queue for chemotherapy while I went for coffee and food. When I returned, we sat across the hall from each other.  Looking at my watch, we were already nearly four hours behind. But we had a ticket for treatment so we were happy to wait.

We were both quiet for a while, engrossed in our own thoughts. I was discretely preoccupied in people-watching. There is a unique environment in the cancer treatment center. I felt uneasy in this setting. It's hard to imagine that anyone could ever adjust to it. Looking at the other young adults in the waiting area, I couldn't help but wonder if they were there as caregivers, or waiting for treatment. Either way, we were among the youngest people in the group.

Cheryl held onto my arm and rested her head on my shoulder. I heard her whisper “finally” just loud enough to hear over the bustling noise around us. A few minutes later I started conversation by sharing my opinion of the sentiment of the appointment. We were both relieved to hear the doctor say "we are still aiming for a cure," before leaving the room. However, the tone of our discussion immediately changed when I mentioned that her doctor seemed to share my anger over the misdiagnoses and delays. Cheryl pleaded with me in frustration to join her in looking forward. While she was undergoing treatment she wanted us to direct most of our attention to our children, and she encouraged me to focus on the happiness they bring us.  She told me that she wanted to concentrate on being the best mother and wife she possibly can. That was far more important to her than worrying about things that we couldn't change.  She used her hands to help convey her passion for moving forward in a positive direction, and they were just as passionate as her voice. One of the last things she said during our exchange was that she wanted to focus on ways to generate greater awareness for lymphoma, and to ensure that nobody else ever suffered the same grueling experience we did.

We weren't talking loudly, but there was something about Cheryl’s passion that spoke volumes to the people around us. As I looked up, I realized that the waiting area, which was once busy with noise and activity when we first sat together, had slowly become silent over the course of our conversation. I recall the curious expressions on the faces of the eavesdroppers in neighbouring chairs as our discussion came to a pause. All of the attention in the waiting area was focused on us.  I wondered how much sense they could have made out of the details of our discussion. At the very least, it would have been difficult for anyone within earshot of our exchange not to have shared Cheryl's passion for moving our family forward, and for bettering the world from our predicament.

To hide from the awkwardness of the moment, Cheryl, my loving and most beautiful wife, picked up and began reading the only magazine that was on the table, leaving what was left of the attention in the room solely on me. I felt as if everyone was curious to hear my response, and I regret that my reaction did nothing but contribute to the silence in our corner of the atrium.  I was much too absorbed in my thoughts to say anything as I panned their faces again, thinking to myself that every one of them probably had their own heart wrenching story of a cancer diagnosis, and they too were struggling to cope with the new reality of their world.

It took a few minutes before noise returned to the waiting area as the folks around us re-engaged in their own conversations. I sat quietly, pondering Cheryl's plea. Aside from the time that she'd insisted that we were meant to be together, I had not seen Cheryl convey such passion and enthusiasm. And it wasn't until I wrote these words that I realized how unbalanced our relationship was.  Cheryl had spent for most of her life with me listening to my passion.  I felt guilty that I had not been generous enough to return the favour as often as I should have; to listen and be as supportive to her as she has always been for me.

It was that exact moment when I realized that Cheryl's passion was now mine.  I had just been initiated into one of the largest, most unified, supportive, and close-knit fraternities in the world. I now belonged to a group of people determined to share a message with others and governments around the world.  And in this fight we were in desperate need of their support for a cure. I was deep in thought when the sound of vibrations coming from the blinking gadget on Cheryl's lap redirected my attention. It was finally our turn.

About half an hour later, we were sitting hand-in-hand in the chemotherapy suite as Cheryl was being prepped to receive her first treatment for a late-stage aggressive lymphoma.

The chemo suite had a different atmosphere than the waiting area, one that was much more difficult to describe. Cheryl was sitting in an expensive looking reclining chair and a machine was placed next to her, ready to pump chemo into her arm. It was November 26th, 2010, eight months after Cheryl first met with her family doctor because she was concerned about the swollen lymph nodes in her neck. The sense of relief I felt as I watched the medicine being injected into her vein was immeasurable.