DAVE: Okay Today

How is Sandy doing? When someone asks that question, I’m not really sure how to answer. How do you condense her diagnosis of cancer and months of subsequent treatments into a simple reply? I can’t really say she’s fine. Do I give them the latest? How up-to-date is this person? How much do they really want to know? Do they have an hour? Do I tell them she has a deadly disease that one out of three people will likely get in their lifetime? There’s a conversation ender.

Dave and Sandy MillerIt’s not their fault it’s awkward. They care about her, but they don’t know what to do. I can tell them that some days she’s strong and some days she’s weak. I can tell them that we are tired of the doctor appointments, therapies, treatments and the endless hours of research. I can tell them it has brought us closer. I can tell them that we’re tired of going to bed thinking about cancer and then waking up thinking about cancer.

If they want to know more, I could tell them we miss going out to dinner. We miss the freedom we had. We miss the blissful ignorance of our life before diagnosis. We miss the perceived distance of our inevitable worldly end.

Then some ask, “How are you doing, Dave?” I can tell them I’m generally sad. And that for short periods of time I can actually not think about cancer. I can tell them I’m tired of spontaneously tearing up at Whole Foods, or at the office or while I’m driving. Or right now. I could tell them I just want my wife back. And my life back.

But I pretty much say “I’m doing okay today.”

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