My major goal in life has always been to find humor in every situation. Lately, I have been challenged to meet that goal, but I’m getting there. I’m going to share something with you, because if I don’t, I will always feel like I’m leaving something important out of my stories. I have written about almost every major and minor event that has occurred in my life since I was two, but I never imagined I would be writing about losing body parts. The good news is, I haven’t had to give up anything I can’t live without. I learned how to do that from my brother, Billy.
Billy lost a kidney and a percentage of one lung. The kidney died and filled with fluid that would have meant disaster if it had leaked into his body. The doctor found it by accident. Fortunately, you can live with just one kidney. He lost part of his lung when he had a malignant tumor removed a couple of years ago. I can’t help him with the lung and if he needs a kidney from his sister, he had better hurry, because, my body parts are going fast.
Just a minute! I’m sitting in the car waiting for Kip to save a turtle. We’re parked on the side of the road with the flashers on, but I should probably pay attention. Kip has saved hundreds of turtles. If he sees one crossing the road, he stops and carries them to the other side. You’ve got to love a man who puts himself and his wife in danger to save a poor, helpless turtle. At least I’m not sitting in the turn lane like last time.
So I only lost nine inches of my colon. I didn’t need chemo or radiation. Even though I developed an incision hernia, I felt blessed and went on my merry, Mary way. I told Kip that I wasn’t going to go through colon surgery and then die of breast cancer, so I scheduled a mammogram. You can imagine my surprise when two weeks later, we found ourselves hearing the news that I have a malignant tumor on the right side and suspicious activity on the left side. I haven’t actually met the surgeon yet, but she has reviewed all of my tests and is aware of the colon surgery, so she does not have a problem with my decision to extricate (not her word), a couple of body parts I don’t need…my final answer. I won’t know about chemo or radiation until the pathology report from the surgery comes back. It’s okay, anyway. I stopped taking biotin, which was keeping my hair from thinning because my doctor told me it was bad for the kidney that Billy might need. My hair is falling out, again.
I have talked with several women who have shared their stories with me. Just today, a new friend told me about a woman she knows who is in her seventies, and also had colon cancer and then breast cancer. That was two years ago. She is substitute teaching now. Another lady I met ten years ago, when she was at the end of her treatment for breast cancer, shared her experience with me. She talked about the emotional and physical things she experienced… I’m ready!
So here is the deal…
I am telling my family that I am not one of those people whose courage people admire. I know I’m going to live, okay…but I might be a big baby because, I hate what I will have to go through to get rid of the cancer in my body. I told my son that if a person dies before they are seventy, it’s considered dying young. He said, “Mom, I haven’t heard that before.” I will not be dying young, anyway, but it was something I felt he should know.
I told all of my kids that they could smother me with a pillow when I reached 85. I was only 50 at the time, so I have since amended that to 95. I also said that if they have to run to catch me, then don’t do it.
I laughed when I read a Facebook friend’s comment. She told her husband she didn’t have to cook supper because she has cancer. He’s had something equally traumatic and he had his trauma first, so she had to cook, anyway. She said that’s how they make decisions at their house, now.
We’re all faced with the inevitable. We all come from a long line of people who are no longer with us. I’m going to share a song with you. Don’t worry, I’m not singing it. Before I do that, I want to say that Kip and I know you are praying for me, I mean us. Kip is the kind of guy who will take whatever I dish out and still love me. I am very, very blessed with the most wonderful family and unbelievable friends.
The best thing I have going for me, is that I’m a believer. Thank you for all of your prayers. I can feel them coming my way.
I am not trying to minimize the suffering and loss that cancer has caused so many, but this is the way I have to be, because it’s the way I am.
So here’s the song I got a kick out of years ago. It kind of puts the cycle of life into perspective. Libby Roderick also has a song called, “How could anyone say you’re anything less than beautiful.” I read that it’s about someone who has lost body parts…