Happiest day of my life.
That was my first post on social media once Kateri went into Palliative Care on Wednesday, April 11th, 2018. It’s a picture of us within the first 10 minutes of being husband and wife. Kateri and I were walking into the trees on an old road that led to another field. Not really a road, more of just a path created and maintained by tractors. We wanted to be by ourselves for the first little bit of marriage, to be with each other without distractions, to take a breath… just us. September 28, 2011. After 10 years together, it was the first time she had a husband… and I had a wife.
Our doctor’s appointment on Monday, April 9th was the one where it became known that we had run out of options for treatment. Although it was some brutal news… I thought there was gonna be SOME time. There was still a little bit of hope filling the cracks of the harsh reality of cancer. Hope for her to see the ocean one last time, to get lost in the rhythm of the waves… we had planned to go the week before. Hope to go see The Black Panther. Hope to get a little appetite back and eat Leo’s raviolis. There was still hope for this and hope for that. Really, all I was hoping for was time… time I thought we had. I knew it would be short… but it was still there… time.
It was also the appointment I found out that her feet had been numb for a couple of days. Looking back, I think she tried to protect a lot of us from what she was going through… from the severity… from the pain and the worry. Anyone who knew her knows just how strong of a person she is and cancer didn’t change that. She told me she had started scooting down the stairs on her butt because her legs were too weak, but that was days after she had started doing it. She was overcoming challenges, she was still taking care of herself… and I can’t imagine what was going through her brain as she inched her way downstairs one step at a time.
Up until that doctor’s appointment Kateri didn’t take anything for the pain besides weed (a lot of it yes, but just weed). That was the first time she had asked for something… a prescription for a child’s dose of fentanyl… which we found out the insurance company put a pre-authorization thing on it (why does she need this drug now? type stuff) so we couldn’t get it that night… douchebags. It wasn’t until the next day, Tuesday, after dicking around with the pharmacy, doctor’s office, and insurance companies that I just bought the drugs without insurance. Now, I’m a cook and Kateri is/was a flower farmer (we ain’t rich), but when your wife has shit growing in her brain and body, when you witness her legs, her body deteriorating, when you hear her cry, cough, and moan because of the pain caused by Metastatic Malignant Melanoma in the brain and body… with rare mutations… you don’t give a fuck about money, about insurance companies, about whatever. All you can focus on is what you need to do, what you need to get to try and provide some sort of relief… to try and take away any of the pain you can for the person you love more than yourself, more than anything else. Unfortunately, the fentanyl didn’t do anything and a trip to the ER that Tuesday evening was the beginning of the hard reality that we were closer to the end of something that never should have started… but it did.