Sylvia Dianne Boller
April 25, 1958 - October 31, 2006
If you read the foregoing section on Black Dog, you are aware that my wife, lover, mother of my children, and my best friend for thirty years, had breast cancer.
Immediately following diagnosis, a surgeon lopped off her breast, and she was then bombbarded for several months with chemotherapy. It wasn't pleasant. Her hair fell out. She lost weight. She went from being strong and vibrant, to weak and sickly. But several months into chemo, she was pronounced by her physicians to be "cancer free".
They were wrong, the cancer had other ideas. It migrated into her brain where it set up shop as a rather large tumor. Radiation and more chemotherapy followed, and what little health she had regained, was again lost. Several more months of treatment, and she was once again pronounced "cancer free" by her physicians. Wrong again.
The third time, it had gotten into her liver. More chemo ensued, but her condition worsened. Her physician ordered some additional agressive therapy, and was still talking in terms of "we're gonna beat this tumor" a week or so before she died. He put her in the hospital "overnight" to treat her for severe dehydration. That was on a Wednesday. Friday afternoon, she no longer knew who, or where she was. Saturday, she was moved to Hospice. The following Tuesday, she died peacefully and pain free, with her eldest daughter and me at her side.
I wrote the"Black Dog" eulogy in the days immediately following his passing, and it served as some what of a therapy for me. It has been nearly six months ... six months of muddling through the day to day grind in a kind of fog ... since my wife passed away. Six months before I could even consider putting it down in print.
There are no words to describe the loss. Nor the horror of the disease, and treatment. I watched a strong, beautiful, vibrant young woman turn into a 85 pound walking skeleton in a very short period of time ... the best efforts of the medical community notwithstanding.
Cancer sucks. No matter the advances, at present, most cancers are a death sentence. The medical community can buy you time, but the bottom line is the cancer is going to take you.
If there is a message in my wife's death, I guess it would be to take care of yourselves. Had she not waited, her cancer would have been caught sooner, and she might still be alive. Had we not listened to the (false) hope of the medical professionals, we might have opted to enjoy ... REALLY enjoy ... her last few years, rather than to fight a valliant, but losing, battle.
If you, or a loved one, is diagnosed ... weigh your options carefully. I thought the medical profession would prevail, and that I would have my wife around in my old age. I was very, very mistaken. If I had it to do over, I'd have spent every minute and every dime, making the time my wife had left, as enjoyable as possible. It may have meant that instead of 5 years, she only lasted 2 ... but those 2 would have been memorable, as opposed to the living hell that fighting the losing battle became.
I wasn't always good to my wife, but I did love her dearly. I was fortunate that near the end and while she was still coherent, I had the opportunity to tell her just how much I loved her. I will miss her every day of my life for whatever time I have left on the planet.
Rest in Peace Dianne ... through your children, the world is a better place for your being here.