Before and After: Cancer’s Toll

This is where I check all vanity at the door.

My new driver’s license came in the mail this week.

The picture wasn’t good. To repeat: It wasn’t good.

I know, I know, I know… everybody says that about their photo ID.

But mine is bad. To repeat: It’s bad.

It’s really, really bad.

Cancer takes a toll, even if you’re the one driving shotgun.

When you’re in it — living with near constant stress, sleep deprivation, anxiety and fear— it’s your new normal. You adapt. You move forward. You get through the days.

I know that I’ve paid a physical price for Mike’s cancer.

But aging is supposed to be a gradual process, isn’t it?

In my case, cancer put the pedal to my mettle.

And here’s the proof….

The first photo was taken three months before Mike was diagnosed with Stage 4 synovial sarcoma.

The second was taken four years later and nine months after he died.

Things can only go up from here right?



6 thoughts on “Before and After: Cancer’s Toll

  1. yes things will only get better from here because you will now be taking care of you instead of caring for Michael. You will take better care of yourself because you have a son to raise, so yes thing will get better

  2. Thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts. Very touching. I see the same changes in my Grade School photos before and after my Dad died. Before: an exuberant and fun-loving kid; After: a sadness and awareness beyond my young years. Beauty & Humour are out there all around us. Seek them out and cherish them when in their presence.
    To Smile & Laugh, in no way diminishes the Love and Loss you feel, rather it celebrates the Life within you.
    As for Age…that’s the small cost of Living 😉

  3. Dear, dear Robin, February 19th is a day I wake and try to remember to go gentle on myself and others. If Andrew had lived, today would have marked our 27th anniversary. I know well the toll cancer and grief take on a body, mind and spirit. Today, if possible, walk gently. The face you see in the mirror displays not only the ravages of your loss but also depths of your love.

  4. I am amazed and inspired by both your and Mike’s courage through all of this. And now it must be even harder as you forge your way forward without him. But your strength and courage will carry you forward and I’m sure things will get better for you as time goes on. As my husband regularly tells me when my health falls off the rails “This too shall pass.” Take care of yourself and Will. And cut yourself some slack.

  5. I completely feel your pain. I dread looking in the mirror – especially first thing in the morning. Not a pretty sight. In the 10 months between Ben’s diagnosis and death I aged a decade.

  6. It’s good to see you posting again, Robin.
    I can relate some of the seemingly sudden changes in my own face to unbearable (though we bear them) realities, quite easily.
    I don’t know your age, but found that at 40 the changes began and accelerated quickly, so part of it could be that.
    Thanks for the updates about what you’ve been doing.

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