Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Reporting In: Getting My Life Back




Yesterday, 9/11/17, was a bittersweet day for me.  I couldn't forget it marked the 16th anniversary of the day the Twin Towers went down in NYC, but the day was something of a celebration for me:  It marked the last of  30 radiation treatments, ending, finally, a long journey that began last November, when a biopsy of a breast lump confirmed what we all suspected: cancer.

I've purposely not written much about this part of my life. While it took almost all of my energies, the ugliest parts don't need to be revisited. But if I could, I would heap mountains of rewards on every single professional person who helped me through it.

Between Tidelands Cancer Center in Murrells Inlet, SC, where I had my mastectomy and aftercare, and Karmanos Cancer Center in Petoskey, MI, where I did the chemo and radiation, my care was simply amazing. 

Because cancer is such an awful diagnosis, I suspect a good part of their training is in kindness and empathy. If it is, they all passed with flying colors.  They touch, they hug, they look you in the eye.  They sit and listen. They come up with little take-home gifts you can't help but love. (One was an ingenious hand-made temporary prosthesis called a "knitted knocker", complete with a nipple.)

They worry about how you're doing when you're not with them and sometimes call, just to make sure everything's okay. They worry about finances, drive times, and lodging, and do what they can to help.

They were, in short,  my indispensable life-lines. I told them all that I would miss them terribly but I hoped I never had to see them again.

(This is not to diminish the incredible love and support from my family and friends. They were wonderful throughout--and still are.)

In five days I'll be celebrating my 80th birthday. Even after all of this I don't feel 80 years old and I can't see spending the rest of my life dwelling on either my age or my cancer. As I rebuild my energy and regain my health I have time now to think about how this will change things. So far I haven't come up with anything. No epiphanies, no revelations.  I want to get back to how it was before this. That's all.

I hope I'll be writing more, and if I've learned anything it's that I really must stop double-spacing between sentences. It makes me sad that I have to do it, and I'll probably mess up now and then, either accidentally or on purpose, but it seems to drive even really nice people crazy and I hate that I might be responsible for that.

I'm still going after Trump and Hillary-haters and those guys in Michigan who are ruining my state.  Some things never change.

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