Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Cancer Crisis: the Aftermath

Don't let cancer steal second base.

As I write this it’s been less than a week since Virginia’s funeral.  I’ve spent the week at work, mainly because I needed to get back and spending the time at home in an empty house does no one any good.  In that time frame I have worked on putting Virginia’s affairs in order; paying bills, getting the death certificate, and dealing with the estate.

I have been accused of being responsible for her death, that my lack of attention and “caustic enviroment” caused her to pass so quickly.  I have been accused of whining over her death “Too #%@&-ing much”.  I’ve also been accused of using her death for personal financial gain.

To the first, I respond that the move to Holland was not a popular one with my immediate family.  Virginia and I agreed at the time that it seemed like the right thing to do but were troubled over why we had to do it.  Virginia, the family and I shared frustration over the circumstances of our situation, however never once did she accuse me of “Lording it over” the family.  In her last week of life, Virginia came to the conclusion that one of God’s reasons for having us in Holland close to my family was for the support that I’d need after she passed.

To the second, when you’ve lost your spouse of 22 years then you can tell me if I’ve been whining too much.

To the third, I never asked for the Vulcan Stev solidarity fund.  That was started by the RPG community completely of their own volition.  The news paper added the line to her obituary about memorials can be directed to the family, that was not my doing.  Am I thankful for the funds that have poured in? Yes! Are times going to be tough for me and the boys?  Yes, we lost half of the family income.  But I have asked for only one specific thing for financial help and that was after the specific request of the individual over what immediate financial help was needed.  Aside from that I have NOT asked for money.

Money can not and will not replace what I’ve lost.  Most of my tears have been in private.  If there’s one recurring phrase I’ve been hearing from everyone else it is how much my wife and I truly loved each other…

The picture posted with this blog comes from one of my Facebook friends.  Virginia lost a breast to the cancer.  Did I stop loving her? no.  I married Virginia not her boobs.  Virginia lost her hair due to the radiation treatments.  Did I stop loving her when her crowning glory vanished? no.  I shaved my own head in solidarity.  I loved and still love the person, not the shell that housed her.

When we received the diagnosis that Virginia had in fact developed breast cancer we were shocked but yet relieved.  Breast cancer was “curable”.  We were going to beat this.  Looking back at the year and a half since that diagnosis it is more obvious to me now that the cancer was taking its toll on her body.  She was tiring out more frequently.  Things that had once been easy were no longer.

The thing is now that I know more about breast cancer, I realize now that my wife was at a higher risk.  Back in the 80s Virginia’s doctor put her on birth control to help regulate a hormonal imbalance.  She took those tablets right up until the time we started actively trying for a family.  From what I’m reading the cancer that killed Virginia had been estrogen fed.  Did those birth control pills contribute to Virginia’s cancer?

Virginia had always wanted to breast-feed her children.  We determined early on when Janae was a baby that her left breast had some sort of defect the precluded milk production.  Was this defect a cause of the cancer?  We don’t know.  It is my hope that whatever scientists and doctors are working on developing a cure for cancer will take these facts into consideration.  Do not let my wife’s death be in vain.

It is my firm hope and daily prayer, that I am the last husband to lose his wife.  My children the last to lose their mother.  Mom and Dad Young the last parents to lose a daughter.

Once the bills have been payed and the children provided for, we will be taking a portion of Virginia’s life insurance and starting a fund for cancer awareness.

Don’t let cancer steal second base….  or anything else for that matter.

May 25, 2010 - Posted by | Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Memories of Virginia, Mrs. Vulcan Stev's Fight, Vulcan Stev Family Journey | , , , ,


  1. Steve,

    I just want to say thank you for your openness and honesty in talking about Virginia, her life, illness and death. And thank you for having the strength to rise above the meanness and unkind words of others.

    Too often our society hides illness, hides grief and hides love. Your openness is an example to us all.


    Comment by Chris Tregenza | May 25, 2010

  2. Tell ’em Stev!

    Comment by Hank Harwell | May 25, 2010

  3. I continue to be amazed at the audacity of some people. Blaming you, being upset the people help you financially, giving you crap for mourning in your own way… let me at ’em, I’d like to give them a piece of my mind.

    At the moment I’m in the process of donating my old car to the Breast Cancer Society, in memory of Virginia.

    Comment by Berin Kinsman | May 25, 2010

  4. Gah, I can’t believe that people can be that stupid and insensitive. I know some people, who know some people…we can ‘deal’ with the sillies 😉

    Comment by cassey | May 25, 2010

  5. It horrified me how people can be so cold and unfeeling. Your words were right on the mark, Steve and don’t let anyone tell you different.

    @Berin: what a great thing to do! 🙂

    Comment by Matt | May 25, 2010

  6. Sorry to hear you’re getting even more grief when that’s the last thing you need or deserve. Continuing to think about you guys and sending prayers your way.

    Comment by Stuart | May 25, 2010

  7. @Chris – Thank you. It helps knowing that folks are finding my thoughts and memories of wife a source of inspiration.

    @Hank – 8)

    @Berin – Cool idea.

    @Berin, Cassey, Matt, & Stuart – What saddens me the most about those comments and accusations is that not all of them have been electronic. But then that’s small town politics for you.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | May 25, 2010

  8. When bad things happen, people don’t like to accept that bad things can happen that are entirely outside of any human’s control so they look for something or someone to blame. What did you do? What didn’t you do? What did you miss? What else could you have done? Hindsight is always 20/20 and you shouldn’t kick yourself or let other people kick you for not knowing then what you know now.

    Comment by John | May 25, 2010

  9. Steve,

    I loved Gin as a friend and continue to look at her fight as an inspiration to continue the daily struggles that I have. To those who want to blame you for the things that you had absolutely no control over, I know for certain that there is a day in the future that they will get their “comeuppance”. Given some of the things that I have heard from our “venting sessions” I can only pray that this issue resolves sooner rather than later. Either way, I also know that GOD decides the number of our days, not us mere mortals! I will continue to lift you and the boys up in prayer, and will continue to lend an ear for as long as you need it. T-minus two more days and counting down…unless you need an ear prior to the trip to Conrad and back…;p

    Comment by April | May 26, 2010

  10. Whoever dared to make any accusations of monetary gain over the VulcanStev Solidarity Fund clearly did not go to the page and read the note I wrote explaining why I started it. Idiots.

    Screw the world, Steve. Or more accurately, screw the asshat world. I don’t need to tell you that it’s fine to mourn, miss and grieve cause you already know that. It will hurt for a while, maybe a long time, but with help and support you will pull through. I know because I’m slowly pulling through myself as well.

    Here’s me fist-bumping you in solidarity, dude.

    Comment by Daniel M. Perez | May 26, 2010

  11. @John & April – I’m not conciously letting folks get me down for their biased assertations. However it’s just one more thing I’m dealing with (on top of the every day mundane stuff)

    @Daniel – You have NO idea how much that outpouring of goodwill that fund represents means to me and the boys. The money is nice (but realistically a drop in the bucket compared to what we lost), however that won’t last and neither do I expect folks to keep giving.

    If you need an ear to dump on bro, I’m here.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | May 26, 2010

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