Author’s Note. I am a cancer survivor, so I am using a mix of my experience and some fiction.
Eleanor Torres was happy. Life was good. In a couple weeks, she and her husband Nick would be celebrating their first anniversary, and work was busy, but she loved saving the world and catching criminals. Stealing Kisses from her husband at work and eating lunch on the floor behind their desks.
When Ellie Torres got the phone call, something was wrong, she laughed it off. Demanded that the doctor tell what is wrong. She survived the panic until she was in the doctor’s office looking at an x-ray, and the doctor described the mass in her chest. Something was there that wasn’t supposed to be there. Ellie glanced at her husband Nick and watched as he sat opposite the doctor feeling just as panicked as she was, but nobody could tell. Ellie’s doctor put told her they would call another doctor to manage the treatment side of everything.
Ellie walked out of the doctor’s office, unsure of what just happened. A week ago, she was thought she had a cough, now there was a mass in her chest. Nick grabbed her hand and lead her out of the office, and as she walked out of the office. Nurses glanced at her, and Ellie knew what the expression was. These nurses didn’t know if they would see her again but also didn’t know how to say it.
Once out in the sunshine, Ellie felt like the day was too saturated with light and happiness. The weight of the words hit her. She had Cancer. Hodgkins Lymphoma. Ellie looked at Nick, and he was silent until they got to the car.
Sitting in the car, Ellie finally looked at Nick and then asked, “What now?”.
Nick swallowed and starred ahead. Avoiding eye contact with her.
Ellie felt nothing but numb. Cancer. Nobody ever plans on Cancer. “Nick what now?”
Nick finally looked at his wife, and Ellie could see he was scared, probably thinking about Sofia, which didn’t calm the storm of panic that Ellie felt.
“I don’t know Babe” Nick confessed his voice heavy with emotion. Ellie reached over to grab his hand, and they drove home.
Life progressed with different tests, work, and various procedures. Nick and Ellie kept it pretty quiet. Their wedding anniversary was celebrated in a lackluster way. Just going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. When Ellie went into her first appointment to find out how long her chemo would be. Nick was pulling away, being her support, holding her hand, but Ellie could feel his distance. Ellie tried to stay positive so the storm wouldn’t swallow her up.
The doctor said six months of chemo and a few months of radiation. It would be scheduled for the following week. It would be 12 cycles, and it would be every other week. Via infusion.
As they drove back to work to put in Ellie’s leave of absence.
“Nick?” Ellie asked, breaking through the uncomfortable silence.
Nick looked over at Ellie. “What are we going to do?” Ellie asked, desperately.
Nick looked away from his wife and responded: “I don’t know, Babe.”
Ellie cried the tears she been holding in since her diagnosis. It came in a storm of massive tears and desperation, life being unfair, and hopelessness. Nick felt his tears fall down his face and joined her sorrow.
After while Nick asked, “Ellie are you scared?”
Ellie still twisting his wedding band around his finger, “Scared me? Are you scared?”
Nick turned in his seat and stared into her eyes and very seriously responded, “Yeah babe. I’m terrified.”
Ellie nodded and kissed his hand and said, “me too. Promise me two things. One don't leave me while I’m doing treatments. I don’t think I could handle that. Two, if something happens, please move on.”
Nick looked at her and felt tears fill his eyes. He swallowed his emotions and said fiercely, “Eleanor Raye Torres. I will promise you the moon if it makes you better. I promise. But you listen to me. Nothing is going to happen. We are going to fight this together. I need you to promise me that you will fight, even when you are tired and afraid, and your hair falls out. You will fight.” Nick said as he kissed her forehead.
Ellie responded, “I will fight for every single day I have with you.” She then kissed him in a salty, sad kiss.
Ellie knew that they could weather this storm. It would be hard and might take everything thing they were as a couple, but they would be a team. Ellie also remembered that after every storm, there is the sunshine. Someday they would see the sun again.