Nurture heart, nurture patients, nurture science

A bit of ivy

We lost one houseplant when Jane was in the hospital. It was an ivy plant Jane had trained to a topiary mold in the shape of a heart. She started it our first year of marriage. Its death marked her death and the shattering of my own heart.

Our job is to nurture…

I had another bit of ivy in another pot. It was a single strand, perhaps two inches tall. I scooped it from that pot and placed it at the base of the heart form. It grew with painful slowness, becoming for me a symbol of the state of my own heart.

A bit of heart

When it filled half the form, I wrote a piece about it. That was almost two years ago. This summer, it finished its first circuit. It’s really taken off since then. Today, it sits on its perch, fully formed and healthy.

It grew with painful slowness…

I wish I could say I were as fully healed. I wish I could say the end of NET cancer stands clear on the horizon. I wish I could say we had the funds we need to make that moment happen. I can’t say those things.

A bit of healing

I feel both better and worse. I am no longer numb. I can feel again. Unfortunately, much of what I feel is the real grief the numbness kept from overwhelming me. I sense now the deep and truly serious damage my soul absorbed when Jane died. For five years, I felt virtually nothing. Now, at last, the pain is real. But with the pain also comes a strange new sense that I may survive what has happened. I sometimes feel joy again, albeit never for long. My laughter feels real again. And so do the tears.

I wish I could say I were as fully healed.

I look at that plant every day. Its growth moved so slowly for so long that some days I wondered why I bothered. Nothing seemed to change, with it or with me. And then it reached critical mass and began to grow and fill at a rapid pace.

Critical mass

It is not what it was before Jane went into the hospital. My own heart has not fully healed either. Neither will ever be what they once were. But they will grow so long as I can nurture them.

… I may survive what has happened.

NET cancer research has not come as far as I would like these last six years. Nor has the funding for that research. But we know much more than we did–have better funding than we did. I don’t know–any more than I knew for the topiary–what the tipping point will be. I know only that it is there–know only that once we cross it NET cancer may unravel very quickly.

Nurturing the future

Our job is to nurture the science, nurture the patients, nurture the caregivers, nurture the researchers, until we have the knowledge we need to put NET cancer on the same shelf with small pox and polio.

…we know much more than we did…

The day will come. May it come soon.

The topiary heart I began after Jane's death has filled its form and continues to fill in. The nurture of it has helped me nurture--and monitor--the state of my own heart.

The topiary heart I began after Jane’s death has filled its form and continues to fill in. The nurture of it has helped me nurture–and monitor–the state of my own heart.

Posted by walking with jane on December 30, 2016

One response to “Nurture heart, nurture patients, nurture science”

  1. Sue says:

    Happy new year Harry. I’ve been on the same journey and have been reading your posts since the start. Time moves on and slowly a sense of life/belonging returns…Sue from Sydney