Thursday, March 21, 2013

Beginning treatment, fleeing my alcoholic husband, and moving (simultaneously)

When I was diagnosed, my parents were with me. Dr Raja was kind, positive and upbeat. After weeks of terror and fear, getting the diagnosis was actually a relief. I also left that appointment with, like, 20 prescriptions of medication. I was told that I was starting a work-up for a stem cell transplant. Before this diagnosis, I basically wasn't taking an aspirin. Going from that mindset to dumping all kinds of toxins into my body was scary.

One of the medications I started taking was a combo of dexamethasone and Revlimid. My bone marrow showed over 90% of myeloma cells, which put me at a Stage III. The dex-Rev combo would help start killing myeloma cells immediately. Over the next several weeks, I began to feel the effects of dex and it was awful. My voice changed to this rough tone. I became weak and dizzy with a racing heart. I felt so weird, like I was floating. I didn't think right. I was tired but wired at the same time. Morning were awful. I would walk a few steps and need to sit down to stop my racing heart. I felt horrible all the time.

The night of my diagnosis, I sat down with the girls individually and explained that I had a tough blood disorder, that it wouldn't kill me, but I had some big treatments ahead and I needed the help of Grandpa and Grandma because Daddy couldn't be counted on. I also told them we were moving to Utah. Siena was fine with it, like it was the most natural thing in the world. Morgan not so much. She cried. She was incredulous. She understood. It broke my heart that we were in a situation where, when I got sick, I couldn't depend on my husband. Oh, no, the thought of going through tough treatments and fighting for my life with Rob was revolting. Even in "good" times, Rob couldn't be counted on. In anything that smelled of challenging, Rob became an even more hateful and evil and agressive drunk. I learned that firsthand earlier in the year. I got pregnant and miscarried twice in 2011 and both times and through two D&Cs, Rob was awful-- drunk, mean and most unhelpful. This would be far worse.

Here is one particularly telling email that I got from Rob:

From: Rob
To: Lizzy Smilez
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2012 6:07 PM
Subject: Re: Re:

Had my liver tested to be able to use antibuse, it's in great shape. how cool is that!
Nice, huh? Here I was, newly diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and one of the biggest dangers of the disease was total liver and/or kidney failure, and this email was just disgusting and disturbing. Here's another exchange...
From: Rob
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 02:42 PM
Subject: Re: Sundance Meadows Customer Receipt/Purchase Confirmation

And if you think kalie is being supportive by perhaps telling you I'm at the brew co all the time, she's not. To have you out of her life, she thinks she also gains quite a bit. So, for your info., I can't drink alcahol, I'm on antibuse. I had to get non alcohol shaving cream, anti persprent and rethink everything I do as it's a huge deal. I did this for me as I need time to think clearly now without the fog. And yes, I am soul searching, if I wasn't, I'd have gone legal by now.  If you think there is a way we can ever be together, to work together without any negative family influence I can do that too.
From: Rob
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 02:10 PM
To: 'lizzysmilez
Subject: Re: Sundance Meadows Customer Receipt/Purchase Confirmation

And still, I'm at the door knocking as I feel god brought us together for more than a learning experience. Let me know if you will except my help, if not, I will be on my way Liz. And I am a real good guy, just beant to do a lot in life because of my own doing with not speaking out. And drank to get through it all. But we bith know that there has to be a new direction for us both and we can do it together as a team
From: lizzysmilez
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 01:58 PM
To: Rob
Subject: Re: Sundance Meadows Customer Receipt/Purchase Confirmation
I need a village, you're right. In San Diego, I have nothing and no one, least of all you. Your behavior frightens me and our relationship is horrible and volatile. The only time we function somewhat normally is on a vacation. Normal riggors of family life leave you angry, agitated, and desparate and I hate it. In san diego, I don't have your support and with the exception of kalie (big surprise) your family is absent.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®
And so it was that on a Saturday morning, looped up on all kinds of scary medications, I threw clothes in trash bags, loaded up the girls and cat, and started driving to Utah. Fleeing was a more accurate word for it. And along the way, text after text after text came in from Rob. Incredulous that I was leaving. Begging me to come back. Threatening to cancel my health insurance. Telling me I was a thief and liar. It was shocking and horrible. I couldn't drive away fast enough.
The only thing "good" I can say about those horrible and bizarre texts and emails was that it distracted me from the really important things that were going on-- namely my fight for life. I didn't even cry once about leaving Rob. I was numb and shocked and horrified.
Think about it...
But think about it... Here I was, hearing the dreaded and devastating news that I had CANCER, leaving my abusive alcoholic husband, and moving to another state, all at the same time. Oh, and taking two young children with me who were grappling with the fact that their parents were splitting, that they were having to move to a new school and make new friends, that they would never live with their dad again... All of these things ALONE are HUGE but try doing it ALL TOGETHER AT ONCE is really unimaginable! Traumatic and scary and devastating doesn't even begin to describe it.
I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Looking back, I don't know how we did it.