Next Friday will be an anniversary of sorts. Three years ago, on October 28, I got that phone call from my doctor that turned our lives upside down for almost a year. I think it took awhile for it all to sink in. I had had trouble swallowing but then so had my dad and my sister…a simple stretch of the esophagus and they were off and running again. Why would mine be any different?
Sometimes I laugh when I look back. Never once, not once, did it occur to me that it might be something serious….Me who has been known to wonder if a headache is signaling a brain tumor or a weird pap smear means cervical cancer or a sharp pain means breast cancer…I had not one thought that I might have esophageal cancer. Not one.
So that was three years ago…and three years year later I’m just fine. God bless those doctors at M D Anderson. They saved my life. This morning at the end of yoga, as I sat quietly looking out at the Gulf, I thought about how lucky I was.
Do you know I only cried twice? This is the woman who cries at Hallmark commercials. Only twice for cancer. The first time was the day we were leaving home to go to Texas. We had packed the car and were looking around to make sure we had locked up and shut off lights etc and all of a sudden I got so scared.
What if I never come home again? I said to Jerry, tears rolling down my cheeks. What if this is it?
We’ll be back, he said. And we were. And we are.
The second time I cried (we both cried) was the day Dr. Mehran, my surgeon, took out my feeding tube and told us to go home and live a good life. We just looked each other and cried. It was over. And we were going home.
That was three years ago. And during these three years I have seen other people get that same kind of unwelcome news. Some are gone…dear Kate, whom I’ll never stop missing, and Kathy’s husband, Tom, who was on the mend from kidney cancer until he took a turn for the worst. And others I didn’t know but knew of them from friends. And some are doing amazingly well, like Mary Anne. who has managed to keep her lung cancer under control for two years now. And then there’s my favorite story…Kate’s sister, Fran, who, according to the doctors, was supposed to be long gone last spring and is still doing fine and planning to spend a month or so in Venice this winter. Doctors don’t know everything, do they?
I’m just glad…glad to be still around, glad to be still able to meet friends for breakfast, go to yoga, walk the beach, see grandchildren, laugh at funny stories, cry at sad movies, exercise in the pool while I read my Kindle (safe in a ziplock bag) It’s a gift and I’m well aware of that. It helps me to stop sweating the small stuff (and it’s ALL small stuff, right?)
And Jerry continues to get better. We are very lucky people and we know it.
Love to all…
(If you’re on Facebook, you’ve seen both pictures…if not, enjoy!)