Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In Memory... Bob Wilson

I feel the need to talk a little about a friend of ours who lost his battle with cancer 2 days ago. Jeff and I met Bob in the "Chemo Room" at Scripps La Jolla. At first glance, the Chemo Room is a scary looking place... a very large room with about 6 hospital bed stations along one wall, maybe 10 recliner chair stations along 2 more walls and a large nurses station in the center of the room. More often than not, just about every station would be full with patients receiving chemo... some sleeping, some watching TV, some visiting with friends... The reality of knowing that every patient in that room was fighting for thier lives was always difficult to face, but the more time we spent in there, the more people we met and stories we heard, the more that the scary, sterile Chemo Room turned into a cocoon... a warm, safe place where people went to grow, heal, and emerge with a new lease on life!

We met Bob on Jeff's first day of chemo. Bob also had colon cancer, was about Jeff's age, was going to get the exact same chemo cocktail as Jeff and was only 2 days ahead of Jeff with chemo. Our regular schedule was to go to the hospital every other Wednesday for 6 months... "Chemo Day" was a long day in the hospital with lab work (they had to make sure he was healthy enough to receive chemo), several hours of recieiving the chemo itself, and then hooking up the chemo pump (that would pump more chemo into Jeff for 2 more days). Jeff would go back to the hospital Friday afternoons for his "Pump Off" appointment. Bob's Chemo Day was Monday and his Pump Off day was Wednesday. So every Wednesday afternoon, we would be in the Chemo Room for our long hospital day and Bob would come in for his Pump Off day... and we spent a lot of time getting to know Bob.

When getting ready to start chemo, our doctors gave us a ton of information about the side effects and what to expect from chemo. But, unless you have received chemo or LIVED with someone going through chemo, you can't begin to understand what chemo does to you. That being said, Jeff and I did our best to find the humor in each challenge, and Bob did the same thing. Sitting back and watching the two of them talk about this symptom or this tingle was a crack up! And since Bob was a whole 2 days ahead of Jeff, Bob was like the older brother giving advice about the "new" symptoms.

As the rounds went on and the chemo got worse and worse for the boys, you could see them both light up when Bob walked in. They had so much to talk to each other about "the toothpaste that helped make the metalic taste go away" and finding a new appreciation for "Post It Notes" to help them remember all the things they were forgetting. And the "Chemonesia or Chemo Brain" that they both had led to lots of laughs. I would be sitting there listening to them have a conversation and one of them would forget what they were going to say and then the other would forget what they were talking about and they would both be sitting there staring at each other with smiles on their faces...

We met lots of wonderful people in the Chemo Room, but Bob was very special to us! He was upbeat and confident while being human and honest at the same time. He told us all about his family, his incredible trips to Europe and his passions (besides his family) ... scuba diving, boating, photography, technology. He brought pictures to share with us, his cameras to teach us, and even emailed to keep in touch with us.

At the end of the 6 months of chemo, Jeff was found to be cancer free and was done with chemo. Bob wasn't and had to start another 6 months, but was still very upbeat. After more chemo, things were looking better, but he continued to have ups and downs for the next 2 years. There were several times that Jeff was able to schedule follow up appointments on the same day as Bob's so they could catch up.

It might sound weird, since our entire relationship with Bob was confined to that Chemo Room, but it was almost like we were all on the same team, getting through chemo and cancer together... through the physical and emotional struggles... supporting each other... being on the winning team...

... until yesterday when we got a phone call... we have lost a member of our team... a member of our inner circle...

I can't imagine how beautiful the fish are in Heaven... and how warm the Heavenly waters must be while you are diving, Bob! May God keep you close and watch over your lovely wife and family. We will miss you!

9 comments:

Ann Corbiere-Scott said...

tracey-
i am so very sorry for your loss.
i hate cancer-it has taken so many from my life-and that stinks!
i hope that you and yours find peace.
love,
ann

Beckie said...

Thinking of you girlie xx

KimmyS said...

I am so so sad to hear about your loss.
(((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))

Eileen said...

You have a way with words, Tracey. I could feel the love for Bob as I read this, and of course, the incredible sadness. I'm so sorry. Hugs to you and Jeff.

Pamela Ann said...

I live for the day they find a cure.You know I lost my dad 2 years ago to cancer. It is one of the worse feelings in the world to see anyone go through. Sorry for the loss of you dear friend Bob.He had to be great guy( And still is in heart,memories and heaven).God bless him and his family. Hugs to you and yours. Your words would make Bob smile. They did me :o)

Pamela Ann said...

I live for the day they find a cure.You know I lost my dad 2 years ago to cancer. It is one of the worse feelings in the world to see anyone go through. Sorry for the loss of you dear friend Bob.He had to be great guy( And still is in heart,memories and heaven).God bless him and his family. Hugs to you and yours. Your words would make Bob smile. They did me :o)

Laura Miller said...

I'm so sorry Tracey for your loss and can't even imagine what Bob's family and yours must be going through....God Bless. I love what you wrote in the last paragraph...made me tear up....God Bless you and your family.

Croppycatter said...

Tracey...so sorry for your loss!! Saying prayers for you guys and his family!!

Lindsey said...

I just feel impelled to say prayers both for Bob and for your family and Jeff. I am sorry for your loss, but thankful for your tribute.