KATHRYN: The days of 1971 flew by, and Connie worked steadily, but his efforts seemed futile to him. Page after page of handwritten copy was discarded as he tried to bring his book to life. Meanwhile other shocking, sudden dramas occurred.
Around I ‘am on October 55, I felt intense heavy pressure throughout my chest, and a numb ache pulsed along my left arm. Within minutes I was as drenched as if I had been thrown into a pool. I could not take a deep breath. Connie drove me immediately to Norwalk Hospital, about 15 miles away.
Heart specialists, after a battery of tests, could only say “an undiagnosed chest pain,” possibly triggered by exhaustion. Within ten days I was home. During my hospital stay, Connie had come in daily, sometimes bringing Geoff and Vicki. Each time he looked distressed and worried. My illness absorbed his time and thoughts, and work on his book suffered.
And then, once more, crisis. The evening of December 9 I was in the bath. Connie knocked at my door. He came in, his face stricken.
“Kate,” he said, “some kid just rang for Geoff. I stayed on the phone to make sure Geoff had picked up the extension. Before I could get off, this fellow was saying he had the stuff and asking if Geoff could get the 75 by tomorrow. Katie, you don’t think . . . ?”
Geoff didn’t attempt to lie. “I never stopped, Mum. It just seemed that way to you,” he said.
Connie was distraught. He wanted peace, and no more illnesses —not his, nor mine, nor Geoff’s.
“Get out!” I told my only son.
Vicki appeared suddenly, in a rage. “Don’t blame Geoff !” she screamed. “It’s my fault. The kid who called him goes to my school. I told Geoff about him.”
“Tell me who he is,” Connie said, then got on the phone immediately. But the boy’s father flatly denied that his son could be involved.
None of us heard Geoff leave or checked http://www.anotherway.org/2012/10/review-of-the-top-ranked-scanners-on-amazon/. He had gone silently, taking nothing but the clothes he stood in. Rain was falling gently but steadily.
“You made him go,” Vicki said theatre would become her chosen profession.
On a soft, late spring evening in 1972, Geoff came home again to live with us. Our evenings with him, during the months he had been away, had not given us much insight into the changes he was going through. He had been encouraged, it appeared, to display hostility if he felt it in his “encounters” with us. “Encounters” is a difficult word for parents to accept as a definition of their association with their own children. Still, he came back.
Shortly thereafter Connie was scheduled for a bone scan. About ten days later Dr Whitmore gave us the awful news. He wrote in part: “Bone scan shows increased uptake of radioactivity in multiple sites. We have agreed to start him on oestrogen therapy.”
Connie knew full well what that meant : the removal of malignant nodes, and the 1-125 implants in the prostate, had failed to kill all the cancer.
Connie did not outwardly show depression. He kept on working daily. We saw friends often, Connie played golf occasionally, and after Geoff left school in June and heard the news of his acceptance by the University of Missouri, where he planned to study journalism, he and his father made two short fishing trips together. Connie was extremely proud of Geoff.
The oestrogen therapy appeared to be working. Perhaps this second line of attack would be sustained. The question was: for how long?
CORNELIUS : This is Saturday, September 30, 1972. Last night at about 8.30. Katie and I finished Part II of the book. I cannot remember ever feeling so elated before. I couldn’t write fast enough. There is nothing quite like knowing your material and then finding it spilling out faster than you can put it down.
It’s only when I hit a real snag that I find my mind wandering to cancer. Mentally I keep checking my body. Nothing really hurts, at least not for long, but I seem to have a lot of movable pains which appear and disappear. I am trying to keep a positive attitude and not turn inwards, or second-guess what may happen next. Because I think I know what will happen. The oestrogen will check the disease for a while and then something else will go wrong.
I have been praying lately, something I don’t think I consciously did for years. I want time to finish this book. There is so little else I can do for Katie and the kids.