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Dying of Ovarian Cancer

发表于 1-25-2021 16:36:09 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Matthew Teague, The Friend: Love Is Not a Big Enough Word. His wife was just thirty-four. They had two little girls. The cancer was everywhere, and the parts of dying that nobody talks about were about to start. His best friend came to help out for a couple weeks. And he never left.
Esquire, May 10, 2015.
https://www.esquire.com/lifestyl ... -wife-cancer-essay/


(a) "Most of September 17, 2012, has evaporated from my mind. I still have a few memories. I have the way the surgeon's voice shook. I remember my wife calling my name while she was still under sedation [as opposed to general anesthesia; this, together with a surgeon's ethics that he does not go in, unless he knows what he has, suggests not a surgeon but a gynecologist doing laparoscopy to see if ovarian cancer spreads to linings of the abdomen, which looks like that of mouth cavity]. And I have an image of the hospital floor, up close. I remember white tile * * *

"Nicole was thirty-four, and the doctor had been direct: 'It's everywhere,' he said. 'Like somebody dipped a paintbrush in cancer and flicked it around her abdomen.' [Upon reading this, I guessed correctly it was ovarian cancer: colon cancer might grow through colon wall and seed abdomen also] * * *

* * *

"Almost all of that year is lost to me. Nicole had ovarian cancer, which had metastasized to her stomach [here means abdomen. Ovarian cancer, like other cancer seldom metastasizes to the organ stomach, except its lining on its outside surface0 * * *

* * *

[She underwent surgery and chemotherapy.] Nicole started finding hair on her pillow [and decided to have her cut off.] * * * She was Creek Indian, and I had never seen her cheekbones so proud, her eyes so defiant.

(b) "We had met Dane fifteen years earlier, when we all lived in New Orleans and they [Nicole and Dane Faucheux (the latter is male)] were in college together. Men trailed Nicole everywhere * * *

* * *

Dane had come to visit after Thanksgiving ]2012] and never ended up returning home. He burned through his weeks of vacation time, visiting the hospital during the day and sleeping at our house each night.

The night after Christmas, our pug, Gracie, threw up something black and putrid on the floor at his feet. He put her in a basket with a blanket in his car and searched for an open animal clinic. When he found one, he explained our situation to the veterinarian, and after some testing she blurted, 'I'm so sorry, but this dog has cancer and I think she's going to die. Actually, I know she is going to die.' And then she [vet] burst into tears.

* * *

" 'I think maybe I should just move in with you guys [from New Orleans, Louisiana],' he [Dane] said. 'Just to help out for a couple of months.'

"That meant leaving his job, his city, his friends, his apartment, his life.

" 'Okay,' I said.

(c) "The most obvious manifestation of her illness, aside from weight loss, were the wounds. After each surgery, her skin was slower to heal [because cancer cells were there], and finally a surgeon asked me if I knew about wound-packing.

" 'No,' I said.

" 'You need to learn,' he said.

Each night, Nicole would lie naked on the bed and, using tweezers, I would extract a piece of ribbon from the wounds in her abdomen, sometimes several feet long, which would uncoil in the air above her like a pus-covered tapeworm [and thus may be getting more and more smelly as disease progressed]. Then I would repack new pieces of ribbon into the holes, folding them in, spiraling them inside her, while she wept and begged me to just skip it, please, this one time [it might or might not painful; in a healthy person, it will; but as cancer cells grows, there might not be nerve cells growing in together].

"Please, Matt. Please.

"Since we had met, when she was still a teenager, I had loved her with my whole self. * * *

"Sometimes at night, Nicole would wake howling and sweating, with a twist in her bowels. * * *

"Eventually I started to notice something strange: little bits of half-digested food emerging from Nicole's wounds. I called her oncologist, who used a word I had never heard before: fistulas [fleshy tubes between anywhere in the digestive system to the wounds; in theory, half-digested food might have gone into abdominal cavity, but if it did, she would have died of peritonitis 腹膜炎]. * * *

* * *

"For months, we tried to catch it [half-digested food] with everything from colostomy bags to special gauzes to cloth diapers, but the stomach acid would burn through any adhesive and eventually started eating her flesh. There was no stopping it. There were only more narcotics for the pain.

(i) This is a 6,000-word essay. Quotation above focus on the medical aspect of his wife's disease and death.
(ii) The top photo showed his wife (left) and the friend Dane Faucheux (right).

(i) Creek. Encyclopedia.org, undated
https://www.encyclopedia.com/his ... enous-peoples/creek
("The Creek are a multiethnic American Indian nation living primarily in central Oklahoma [presently, having been forced to move from America' southeast in 1830s], with a small remnant population in Alabama. The name "Creek" derives from the eighteenth century British usage 'Ocheesee Creek Indians'" referring to those Creeks then resident on the Ocheesee (now Ocmulgee) River. They call themselves 'Muskogee' or 'Muskoke,' which is of foreign origin and unknown meaning")
(ii) Ocmulgee River
(255 miles long, in Georgia)

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 楼主| 发表于 1-25-2021 16:37:09 | 显示全部楼层
Of course I was unaware of this essay until I read

Nicole Sperling, When Film Critics Pan Your Life. A journalist brings his sory of his dying wife to the screen. New York Times, Jan 21, 2020 *Thursday; at Arts section).
(Teague dedicated some 6,000 words to the arduous two years he spent caring for his wife, Nicole, who learned she had terminal cancer at age 34 [any metastasis means stage IV, the terminal stage].  The essay told the story of her deterioration an d death through the prism of their friendship with Dane Faucheux, a rudderless soul who came to visit the Teague family for Thanksgiving and ended up staying for two years to care for the couple and their two young daughters [unpaid]. & & & Teague, now 44 [so he was 29 in 2015] * * * Gabriela Cowperthwaite directed the scenes shot in the hospital where Nicole was treated and in a home just three doors down from the Teague residence. (The family still lives in the same house [at Fairhope, Alabama]. Teague has remarried and now also has a 3-month-old son named Wilder.) * * * Delayed because of te pandemic, the film, now titled, 'Our Friend, wo; now debut Friday )Jan 22, 2021] in the theaters  and on demand ie, streaming")

My comment:
(a) There is no need to read it, which said some film critics did not like it (film).
(b) Fairhope, Alabama
(across Mobile Bay from Mobile, Ala)
(c) The English surname Cowperthwaite is from a place of the same name "in North Yorkshire, which is named with Middle English coupere maker of wooden buckets and tubs + thweit clearing (from Old Norse þveit)." Dictionary of American Family Names.

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