‘YOURS, MINE, AND OURS ONE COUPLE’S LIFE WITH CANCER’ by Jimmy Newell

My wife Eileen and I have been married for over thirty-eight years. We have three children. We raised our family on the east end of Long Island in the area known as the Hamptons.

For much of that time I have commuted on the Long Island Rail Road five hours each day. I get to read a lot. For her part, Eileen has worked even longer days as a nurse at various area hospitals. Like most families we have had our good times and have faced life’s challenges. In the year 2000 I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, CLL.

To this day I am not sure I have ever accepted this diagnosis though I certainly have had every reason not to be in denial. Part of my inability to grasp the import of my diagnosis was that I really didn’t feel sick. Therefore, I played it down and even joked about it. I was concerned about the reaction Eileen and my children would have as well as the rest of my family and I thought if they saw me acting as I always had then they would be reassured.

To be honest, I don’t know what I was thinking that first day when I got off the phone with the doctor. I immediately called Eileen and dropped the bombshell on her and played down its serious nature. She knew better even if I did not. Ten years later she told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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