“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain!” – unknown
Dave and I married in 1981 after he graduated from Cornell in Ithaca, NY. I loved it there and was sad to leave, but he said it was cold and wanted to get out of NY. We headed to Maryland, a suburb outside of Washington, DC and spent 27 years there. We raised our two children, a son and daughter, and led the typical busy suburban lives of work and activities with the children.
They have successfully migrated through college and into thriving careers. We are very proud of them.
In 2002, Dave lost his job as a Sr VP of Business Development for a large satellite company. The entire industry disappeared seemingly overnight. He hustled to reinvent himself in the wireless industry doing work for EarthLink, AOL, Motorola and others. Through that he landed his current job that required we relocate 3,000 miles to the West in beautiful northern California. In the middle of that relocation (me selling our home back East and him looking for a home out West) he went into the hospital and we learned he had Multiple Myeloma.
Our grand adventure, while still an adventure, and rather epic, was thrust into a completely unexpected direction.
I blogged for 18 months on Dave’s Caring Bridge site to keep family, friends, and co-workers informed of how we were doing, this site is my story. My story as a wife, mother, partner, friend, companion and full time caregiver.
You will notice if you read through my posts that I’m a positive, upbeat person in general and it is truly how I view things in life. Its not always easy, admittedly, but it is how I prefer to live. Dave has not always been so upbeat and positive and it has been an interesting dance that we did – to temper my normal “can do”, enthusiastic zest for overcoming challenges, while at the same time, bringing him up out of his despair and get his fighting gloves on and laced up. Riding the Wave will not be dealing with the disease particulars (IGGs, Light Chains, etc.) so much, but more how I felt and what I had my attention on as his caregiver and wife.
Me… I am a military brat and have incredible and wonderful people in my life. I was a professional Calligrapher for 20 years and worked for Bakers’ Studio in Takoma Park, MD as a contract artist. I learned so much from Ron & Sally, as an artist and a person and we are still very close. They are also both our children’s Godparents.
I’m also a great administrator and so have worked in that area on and off my whole life. I was working at the University of Maryland’s, Center for Environmental Energy Engineering as their “office gal” when we decided to make the move for Dave’s job. I loved it there.
I have done all the usual community support activities and been on a few Boards and made a difference (I hope) in my small corner of the world. I learned a lot, made friends and enjoyed watching all the youngsters grow up into wonderful young adults. I used to love hearing someone shout “Mrs. P!!!!”, only to turn around and see a face I recognized on a body 4″ taller than I last remember!
When I look back on the last few years and sometimes even my whole life, I can hardly believe all that we have been through and how well we have gone through it. As with most lives, we have had really great things too!
I hope you enjoy my story and I hope that you feel free to contact me. If it inspires you, enlightens you, validates you, or gives you hope, then I will be truly happy for you and feel that my time spent sharing it was worth every moment of thought and effort.
I wish all positive outcomes, with minimal difficulties, in your journey with cancer or caregiving. Don’t worry about things that have not yet occurred, but might. Just deal with what presents itself as best you can. Know that you are loved and let those who care about you, love you, and even strangers, lend a hand.
Now go dance!
Audio of “Our Story“