Thursday, December 29, 2016

Help for The Houcks

Last spring and summer and fall and winter my wife was diagnosed with and underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer. This spring she had surgeries to reconstruct her breasts and remove the chemo port. Now, in winter, a year and a half out from the diagnosis, she suffers from lymphedema all down her right arm and struggles with mild to less than mild depression from all that has gone on. She will need another operation to fix a breast held up by scar tissue and the cancer goes on in the forms of fatigue, menopause, and the specter of its possible return.
For all this, we dodged many bullets. I am the primary bread winner, so our finances were never much in jeopardy. The cancer was caught in time and did not spread too far. Our friends and family provided us with meals and drove our kids to school and practice and back home. Our girls are old enough to understand, help, and take care of themselves.Our marriage is stable and strong enough to endure then and now. Our dog brings my wife endless joy and the cats have been intent on comforting her as she rests in bed or on the couch. We are fortunate and grateful.
Still, her recovery will continue for some time. The diagnosis was in May of 2015 and by May of 2017 she will still be recovering, still be scarred, still be not quite whole and hardy.
Terry and Aimee Houck
I mention this to honor her strength and to remind everyone that cancer goes on. It’s a long journey. I also mention it because our neighbors have a more difficult situation. Terry Houck’s cancer is more virulent and the treatment has been more difficult than my wife’s. On top of that, Terry’s job provided the bulk of their income.
A quick aside: a country that allows and encourages companies to abandon sick employees pledges allegiance to dirty money stolen from the pocket of those in need. I’m embarrassed to be a citizen of that country. Now back to our story.
In order to make ends meet, the family has created a GoFundMe site attempting to raise $50,000. In ten months they’ve yet to raise half. I give $50 a month and my wife makes food for the family. It is only a drop in their bucket. We can do more. One way to do more is to ask you to give. Imagine cancer coming to your family. Then give.
After the election we are entering a cold, dangerous time. I can’t do much about national policy, but we can care for and serve one another. Terry Houck and his family are deserving of our compassion and support. Each small act of kindness is a light in the darkness.

My wife’s recovery continues. She is strong and loved. Our finances are sound and we are in a position to help others. Help the Houck’s by donating a bit of what you have. It will heal you too.