Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thoughts From The Chemo Room

Another chemo day....

As you may have already noticed by now, these long days at City of Hope weigh heavy on us and leave a bitter aftertaste on our day. But today was a bit different, still difficult and draining but, somehow changed.
As Gag slowly fell asleep in the infusion room, I didn't feel much like reading, or chatting with the nurses, perhaps because we were in a private room today with a nice bed for him to stretch out on and a comfy chair for me. The shades were pulled shut, the door was closed, so as he slept, I found myself in a quite moment and my thoughts took me back.... I started thinking about all that has happened in the past couple of years, how much he's had to endure, how our life has taken a different path....

Perhaps I should share, (after all, that's why I started this blog, to pour my thoughts into a bottle and let it float in this "blogosphere").....
It all started towards the end of '07, when business at our shop started on its slow descend and we were loosing clients to a new competitor with lower prices. This put a lot of stress on him, we were faced with a few difficult decisions... we had to let go of a couple of our employees, (who were more like family than employees), we had to downsize the shop and it took it's toll on him. But, we faced these things together and got back on our feet.

We started thinking about maybe doing something different with our lives ... and on Feb. 18th I started culinary school ( a long time passion of mine). We were so excited about the changes ahead and went out to celebrate with a nice family dinner but, our joy was short lived, Gagik had a heart attack out of nowhere later that evening and we ended up spending the next month in the hospital. That was a difficult time for us all, but now looking back... I feel like all that was a preparation for what was to come. The triple-by-pass surgery went well, and naturally I quite school to care for him.

By the late summer we had once again overcome that hurdle together, he was feeling great and I had gone back to school. Things were pretty good, business was still suffering, but we had other plans for after my graduation, we would sit and dream about our little bistro or cafe, with his business experience and my culinary background we were sure to succeed, and the future was looking very bright. But alas, this joy was not meant to last either. As I finished school and was actively looking for an empty storefront to call my own, we were struck with yet another storm, only this one didn't just knock us down, but it ripped us off our feet completely. In December, 2 weeks before Christmas he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and given 6 months to live. How do you face this???.... And the struggle to get back up again is still ongoing.....

Today on his face, I saw a calmness... he seemed to be at peace with this war inside. Yes, he always faces things this way, with no complaints... but he seemed somehow different today....
As if... Even though what lies ahead is very grim... the trail of brightness and joy that he has left behind, in his life's journey seems to have been all worth while.
And that calmness infected me as well...


  1. Whoa, you guys are going through a really tough time. I wish you all the strength in the world, and the best of wishes!

  2. wow. i can't imagine what you're going through, but i love that you're sharing it the way you are. you guys are scary strong.

  3. We never know how we will react to something until we find ourselves in a situation that calls for a reaction. I'm sure that you and your husband have learned a lot about each other during this journey together. Strength you didn't know you both had. Courage to face the unknown. Grace and dignity during one of life's most difficult journeys. When I ask myself what life is about I realize that it is not the journeys that define us. It is how we act, who we are, during the journey. Cancer will never define your husband because cancer is too small a part of life. Too limited. What defines him is his ability to feel peace in the midst of chaos...to be gracious and grateful in the midst of a storm...to be loving in the face of difficult challenges. He is all these things and more. He is more than cancer. Thank you for writing a journal entry that is so obviously about a love story so deep, so profound, that nothing--not even cancer--can diminish it.

  4. thank you all for your kind words

  5. Mari, I'm playing catch-up. Thank you for sharing all of this about your life and the challenges your family has faced. I used to think of life as a series of "good years" or "bad years," but now I realize that it's all just life.

    Wishing you and Gag continued strength and calm.