Since I’ve come home from Texas I’ve tried to think about how I was going to write this post. Every year I come home with lessons learned about myself.
As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, it can be tempting to succumb to the notion that you no longer have anything to offer to anyone anymore. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself, yet I’m constantly reminded there are so many worse off than I am, and ultimately how lucky I am.
My adult children in Texas have friends that have embraced me and welcomed me as part of their family and make me feel so loved. One in particular lives with my son, another roommate, and her mother who is living with stage 4 colon cancer. This is a women caring for her mother and doing it with grace and dignity beyond her 24 years, and her mother is a remarkable woman I’m lucky to have met.
My oldest daughter in Texas calls me anytime she’s troubled and tells me that she always benefits from my experiences. I’ve found my value and worth in helping and advising the many people in my life who call me mom. There are far more than I’ve given birth to, but I consider my children none the less. A single mother stressed to her breaking point, I was able to tell her that I’ve been there and I know how hard it is.
There are days when I’ve felt that I’m just taking up space and not contributing as a human being to the greater good. I’m at peace realizing that’s not the case. It bears repeating, I still have value and worth, I can still love, and give love and make my little corner of the world a better place just by being here.
I spent more time on the title then I did thinking about how I would write this, because truly this is the hardest thing that I’ve written.
I went to the hospital in August certain this was just another flare-up of my pancreatitis. They accessed my port line, ordered meds and sent me off to cat scan after telling me that I could have ice chips after the scan. It’s hours later and no one is talking to me, except to tell me I’m still npo waiting for the surgeon to see me. I can’t wait any longer and ask to see the house supervisor. She tells me there is something wrong and that’s why I have to wait to see the surgeon. When I asked her what was wrong she showed me the preliminary cat scan report. It showed a 2 and a half centimeter tumor on the head of my pancreas, by this time the doctor arrived and said it looked like pancreatic cancer. I asked what else it could be, and he said pancreatic cancer. When I asked the Dr of Radiology what it could be, he said pancreatic cancer. I’m starting to sense a theme here. The hospital doc offered to keep me in over the weekend but I chose to go home.
I followed up with my doctor on Monday films in hand and asked him what it could be. He told me pancreatic cancer and sent me to a follow-up a hundred miles away but they’re not going to be able to see me for 2 weeks, Scary. Left the doctor’s office with fistfuls of prescriptions and pills with the hope that one of these things would help me cope with what I considered my death sentence.
In some ways those 2 weeks were a gift. The people most important in my life and people who became important in my life were there for me, to nurture me, heal me, and pray for me. It was then that I understood the power women wield when caring for their sick and praying for their dying, It’s beautiful and I’m privileged to participate in it, My husband told me I hold his heart in my hands and he lives and breathes at my wish. It was the scariest time too, I had friends over and we just held each other and cried. But there was healing in that too, Sometimes we put make up on and styled our hair for no other reason than we wanted to look pretty. There was healing in that too. I started making plans for my own funeral I knew what I wanted to wear and who my pallbearers were, I found healing in that too.
Then Rudy took me to the Big City hospital where I was to stay for a few days, They showed me the first cat scan where the tumor was and you could clearly see it. They roto-rooted me from one end to the other if you know what I mean. Instead of doing everything 2 days apart they could have done everything on one day and just met in the middle. I really don’t think my humor was appreciated there.
They sent me back home and the cat scan was repeated on the same machine that found the tumor. Lo, and Behold, the tumor is gone, there is nothing there. I have no explanation for it but that God thought to grant me a miracle. I’m humbled by it, I don’t deserve it. but here it is. Through God’s Grace I get to live a little longer