I watch as Karen looks at this picture of us. It's recent, fairly recent I think. I try to place it. Was it taken before the original cancer diagnosis or was it after the treatments but before the return and the Stage 4 diagnosis?
I don't ask her what she's seeing because I think I know. Cancer isn't a beauty treatment.
It robs us of so much of that healthy appearance we prefer to present to the world.
I've come to realize that all the beautiful warrior pictures of women battling breast cancer are a certain type of fiction. Yes, we like to have a positive mental attitude because that's half the battle. But as we sit in the waiting rooms and look at the cancer magazines I don't see stage 4 as often.
There's the hair loss, again. The height loss, dry skin, weeping eyes, lack of.....well I could go on and but lamenting lost things won't help.
I hope she knows I see her just like this picture.
Perhaps it's a trick I've taught myself as part of my coping or an illusion or not what she sees but she'll never stop being beautiful.
William and Karen - Karen and I have been married for 41 years. Karen's breast cancer has reached stage 4. This is what happens next.