I tease my husband that we are Team Wills – us against the children. We are in fact outnumbered here. Being the stay-at-home mom, I did everything kid related, and I was the parent that they ran to when they needed something. When I was diagnosed, he became the caretaker for me and the run-to-parent for them. As I recovered, I slowly took my place again on Team Wills. But somewhere over the last two years, my health has had to become the priority because of bowel obstructions. Between hospital stays and doctor’s appointments, I became the second-string parent. I just couldn’t keep up with schedules, practices, homework, housework and work-work.
A final surgery in December moved this team player from second string to the bench. The fatigue that comes with recovery is overwhelming. You want to participate in life, but your body just cannot. This Christmas I sat on the couch crying quietly to my husband because I wanted to be as excited as the kids. I wanted to be holding the camera with giggles waiting to explode as they opened their gifts, but I could barely hold my coffee cup without tiring.
While I am now post recovery, back to work and definitely have more energy, I am notorious for overdoing everything. I don’t think of myself as weak, but my body is nowhere near as strong as it was before my surgery and there are days that I am ready for bed before our 9-year-old. A few days ago, I was halfway up the stairs when I seriously questioned my legs ability to finish the climb and make it to bed. As I walked passed our son’s bedroom, I heard the familiar…Mom? The familiar call of…I have a question and an answer will require brain power and a possible trip back downstairs. I instantly called the powerhouse from Team Wills upstairs. I maybe on the recovery side of surgery, but some evenings the stamina is just gone.
I think my husband has earned an award for how seriously he has taken our wedding vowels. Sure you say – in sickness and in health – but who really thinks that –in sickness and in health – is going to kick in before your 10th wedding anniversary and continue for the rest of your life.
Now, I just tell people…I’m the driver and he is the team. I support team Wills all I can and he does a great job.
This story is not unique to me. Chris and I have met several couples through colorectal cancer groups and there are many other spouses that have had to take on the caretaker role early on in their marriages. I may be a little biased, but he truly raises the bar for supportive spouses.