When my husband was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2014 we sat in the emergency room waiting for the results of the CT scan, praying it was just pneumonia. HGTV's Fixer Upper played in the background. Mel would eventually make around 8 more emergency room visits during the next two years and each time HGTV played in the background.
When my husband was getting chemotherapy he would spend two weeks out of every month in the hospital. The type of cancer he had required high doses of chemotherapy. He was often hooked up to chemo for hours at a time. Many nights I would spend the night with him and he would graciously let me watch HGTV in the hospital. He would tell me it didn't matter what we watched, he was just glad I was with him. So as he was hooked up to chemotherapy or wearing a mask because his white blood count was so low, we would spend time together watching HGTV.
(hospital stay # 3)
But then April of 2016 came. We found ourselves in the ER once again and the test results showed that the cancer returned. And the hospital stays began again. And so we picked up watching HGTV. Mel listened to me without complaining as I talked throughout each show. I always said I wished we lived in Waco so the Gaines could remodel a house for us. And when we were watching House Hunters I would tell him about all the things I would like in our new house when the cancer treatments were done and we could move. As we watched Flip or Flop together he would always hear me complain about how expensive California was. He would just smile.
( Hospital stay number 4. This is how we spent Easter Sunday)
In July we thought Mel was going to get a bone marrow transplant and hopefully be cured from cancer but during his last cycle of chemo in August he became paralyzed as a result of all the toxins that were placed in his body. That hospital stay was supposed to be five days and yet lasted six weeks. And during the days I spent with him and the nights I stayed over we watched HGTV together. During the nights I wasn't able to spend the night, Mel told me he would have the nurses put HGTV on for him because it reminded him of me.
Mel was sent home in October on hospice because they thought the paralysis was going to spread to his brain. It didn't. But a bed wound that developed during his six week hospital stay grew and in November we were back in the hospital and back watching HGTV. There were probably a lot of other things Mel wanted to watch but because he loved me so much he let me watch what I loved. And so we watched Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, House Hunters and Property Brothers.
In January we were back in the hospital. This time his blood counts were low. It was suspected that the cancer had returned to his bone marrow because he needed many transfusions. He spent a week and a half in the hospital and we returned home, only to return back two weeks later. Once again HGTV played in the background during the day and the evening. This time blood work confirmed that cancer had returned. An MRI showed an infection in the bone from the wound that developed in the hospital. Doctors started him on an antibiotic to treat the wound and that antibiotic created a bacterial infection within Mel. And within just a few days of starting that antibiotic my amazing husband passed away.
And for the last month I have been unable to watch HGTV. My day is so busy I don't have time to really watch television but in the moments when my kids are playing, I stare at a blank television screen. It hurts too much to watch the shows I used to love because they bring back so many memories of the hundreds of days and nights Mel spent in the hospital. As difficult as the hospital stays were I cherished that time so much because Mel and I were able to spend so much quality time together. Typically spouses find it hard to make time to go on dates because life is just crazy. And while I would have preferred dates in places other than a hospital room, I am thankful because for two years when my husband was getting cancer treatment, God gave us so much alone time to spend together.
We did more than watch HGTV all day long. We talked. We laughed. We prayed and read the Bible. We shared our dreams. We cherished every moment we had together. But it hurts so much to put that channel on now. Because memories of the last two years come flooding into my mind. Memories of the time I had with my husband. My best friend. The one I thought I was going to get old with. And now he is gone. I am left with just pictures. With just videos. And with just memories.
I just want to be sitting on the couch with him, holding his hand and watching HGTV.
Here is the link to the FB page where I detailed my husband's battle with cancer https://www.facebook.com/prayersformelchor/
My IG is @kimjoylira