There is just something about waking up and smelling the rich aroma of a steaming cup of coffee. It’s what I think about when my alarm goes off and before my feet even hit the floor. It’s my motivation to stop hitting the snooze button and commit to hitting the off button. And while I stand in the back yard holding that warm steaming cup in my hand trying to open my eyes while the dogs have their morning tender foot time out, the warming effect of the precious java flowing down my throat begins to illuminate me with caffeinated energy that my body and brain longs for. OK, yes, I may have a problem. I once read a quote that said, “A morning without coffee is. . . Oh, who am I kidding, I have no idea what that is like.” That sums up my normal morning. Once that caffeine starts hitting my bloodstream, I become super woman and the ability to annoy my teenage children–as they try to rouse from their slumber and I’m my perky, caffeinated self–begins. If they ever wake before this morning ritual, they pay dearly, so they have learned to leave mom alone until she has had her morning coffee. I am the epitome of every morning coffee GIF and quote. No kidding.
I heard that when coming to Tijuana for medical treatments there was no coffee allowed in the hospital. In fact, they had a lovely hot tea bar, instead, that was available 24 hours a day, but no coffee. What!?! What can hot tea do to lift my spirits in the morning or any time of day for that matter? Are you serious? Hot tea? What would I do to pry my weary eyes open without my morning coffee. A lovely lady who had been to the clinic just months before let me in on a sweet little secret that there was an organic coffee shop just down the road from the hospital. This, she said, had been her oasis during the time there with her sister. I decided that I could slip down to the coffee shop each day and I would survive. However, the reality that “We aren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto”, hit very quickly.” There was hardly any time to break away.
Our morning routine was scheduled for us. Yet, I found out that coffee every morning with my husband was going to be available to me! Yes! This isn’t going to be so bad, after all. But there is a catch. The motto here is, “The best part of waking up is coffee in your butt.” (Not really, but I saw that somewhere and that is the best description I can give for our mornings while fighting cancer). Yes, you heard me correctly. Every morning at 8 a.m. sharp it was time for a coffee enema. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, there was someone scheduled before us at 7 a.m. By the time we made our way into the coffee enema room, the stench was permeating the room. This made it that much harder to stop pushing that snooze button.
The first few mornings the nurse did the enema for my husband. While that wasn’t pleasant for him, I sat on the comfy couch outside the room and waited (dreaming of when I would escape to the coffee shop). On day four, everything changed. It was time for me to start helping him with his coffee enema. The nurse walked me through the whole ordeal and I was ready. Now, my morning ritual was to glove up and get ready to guide an 18” tube up my husband’s rectum to stream at least 16 oz. of green, organic coffee into his bottom half. He would then need to hold that inside him for at least 15 minutes and then, “Katy bar the door”, what goes in, must come out. After the 15-minute waiting time, I would sit and pray for him while he released the coffee and whatever else decided to come out. Why would I pray? Because this was not pleasant for him and I had a hard time watching him struggle. After ridding himself of toxins and flushing them down the toilet, it was time to blow air up his butt. I’m not kidding. After the coffee enema, came filling a large tube with ozonated oxygen and blowing it up his butt. Well, you can imagine what followed. No explanation needed.
About day 10 he was having a very hard time during the “release” portion of the ritual and was in so much pain. I remember sitting there praying for him because I knew this was so unpleasant for him. I also know that with these treatments, people are very likely to pass the tumors as they start to die and release from the organs in the body. I though, “Surely, prayer is appropriate for a time like this”. To my surprise, he began to laugh. I thought, at first, that he was crying and looked up to realize that he was actually laughing. What was so funny? Was some supernatural Holy Spirit laughter hitting him or was the ozonated oxygen up the gluteus maximus starting to get to his brain. I asked him what was so funny, and he said, “You are just praying so hard for me to poop.” With that, we both started laughing. Oh, what a release laughter is. I said to him, “You know that I love you when I have traded my morning coffee for coffee enema’s.”
Life doesn’t stay the same. Your “normal” will change from time to time and you just need to embrace it. You have choices. Did I think that when we married twenty years ago we would be sitting in a coffee enema room in Tijuana, Mexico every morning at 8 a.m. for 21 straight days, only to take this morning ritual home with us to continue indefinitely? Of course not. I could look at this situation and think, “What has become of my life.” “I’d rather be spending my mornings drinking coffee with this man while looking into our back yard at the beautiful birds and planning our day. The Bible tells us to treat others the way that we want to be treated and put others before ourselves. This is especially true with our spouses. All joking aside, folks, this is the man that I married, for better or for worse. This is the man that I fell in love with–the man who gave me my beautiful children and who had faithfully been there for me through several struggles of my own. As I watch this precious man battle this horrific evil and the pain that is associated with it like such a champion, it is my honor to do whatever I can do to help hold his hand through it. I know that if the tables were turned, he would be right there doing all that for me.
I don’t understand the “why” of my husband’s battle with cancer. I don’t know if I ever will. What I do understand is this, we all have choices. We have the choice to keep asking why and letting ourselves go to those dark places of depression, or we can grasp hold of the moments and make the most of them. We have the choice to walk away from the situation or stand our ground for the person that we married. David cannot just “walk away” from this sickness. Every grimace from pain, every ounce of fatigue and every sore that appears on his body is a reminder that he is fighting a great evil. The “for worse” part of this journey is that sticking together during the worst of times makes us so much stronger. Thinking of living life without him breaks my heart and is a place I won’t let my mind go. It drives me to continue to lift him up, hold his hand, put everything else in life on hold to be there for him. I know that because of that choice, the “for better” is clear in the hardest times. The key blessing is that you are sharing life together. You are not alone. You have that special person that God put in your life loving you unconditionally. You know that nothing surprises God. He knows the beginning from the end. Just as I will not walk out on God because I don’t understand why He is allowing this to happen, I will not walk out on the love of my life because it gets a little uncomfortable and “not what we had planned.”
At that moment of laughter in such an odd situation, David and I began to joke about our morning coffee routine. It became something that we laughed about with others. They didn’t realize that you could actually laugh about it. Laughter is medicine. Joy is powerful. I love this man I married so much and giving up my idea of morning coffee to serve this soldier in this battle over the enemy cancer is my absolute honor! To spend special time with him praying for him and speaking life over him, is my joy. And, believing that one day we will be past this journey and sitting at the table in the morning drinking fresh brewed coffee (or maybe even hot tea) as we hold hands and talk about our day, thankful that we have each other and that we are closer because of the struggle, drives me forward to continue to make the right choices and cherish my precious spouse.