Thursday, February 09, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #267

Journal of a Living Lady #267

Nancy White Kelly

By the time you read this I should be setting off Geiger counters in Oak Ridge. That is because I am having my routine cancer check-up. An MRI, CAT scan and bone scan are all scheduled for one single day. It was my choice. This way Buddy and I don’t have to make that long trip over the mountains but once.

I have been battling cancer for a long, long time. The first episode of breast cancer occurred in 1986. I found the lump on the eve of my fortieth birthday. After surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, I made 12 twelve years before it recurred in my lungs, lymph system, and bone. I have undergone radiation, hormonal treatment, and chemo repeatedly. It has been an up hill, down hill journey. My body shed all hair twice, but the worst part of the hair affair was when stray eyebrows started growing on my chin and upper lip.

There have been tears, not from sadness, but from unexpected funny moments. My mother was my family’s Lucille Ball. Buddy is our Barney Fife.

Not long ago, in a Wednesday night church prayer meeting, Buddy tearfully asked our church family to pray because I was going to have a TIA the next day. (A TIA is a mini-stroke.) What he meant was that I was going to have an MRI, a sophisticated type of diagnostic x-ray. Restrained laughter filtered through the congregation.  Then knee-slapping hilarity trounced the sanctity of the prayer service for several minutes.

That’s my Buddy. Everybody loves him. He is who he is. While his brain may have difficulty handling acronyms, his over-sized funny bone adequately compensates for any minor deficiencies. I don’t know if God gave me Buddy because of his sense of humor, but that humor has certainly made my journey with cancer easier.

Not so very long ago I was in hospice with little hope of recovery. Then, by fervent request, God gave me a reprieve. Ultimate healing is coming, but currently the cancer is stable and I keep on keeping on.

The roll call of those diagnosed with cancer in our circle of friends continues to grow. Maybe the high statistics are due to the fact that we live in a community with many older retirees. Perhaps medicine has advanced so much that cancer is diagnosed earlier.

I recently read that post-autopsy studies show that many people who were thought to have died from other causes actually had cancer. In the majority of those cases, cancer is now considered the primary cause of death.

If you have just recently been diagnosed with cancer or know someone dear who has, remember that there is life after cancer. A rose can be beautiful in spite of its thorns. I just bought two new rose bushes that Buddy gets to plant soon. With proper care and pruning, beauty will triumph.

While there have been many wonderful experiences that have come to me because of the cancer, I would not have chosen to have cancer. Nobody in their right mind would. It is not fun. It is a walk of faith, of choosing to believe that God makes no mistakes.

Is your faith fluttering? Do yourself a favor. In the morning, look out and then up. Your faith just became sight. The sun always shines even after the darkest night.