Archive for Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let’s Talk: We will make it through

December 4, 2008

“I am tired tonight, and something, the wind maybe, or the rain, or the cry of a bird in the copse outside, has brought back the past, and its pain,” Ellen Wheeler Wilcox.

I have been weary of late, and though I am resolved to see this cancer treatment through to the end, I have had moments of doubt; brief and quickly vanquished. I am not alone in those moments of questioning. Hundreds, even thousands are going through similar treatment and wonder, mostly to themselves, if they can make it through to the end.

And we will make it through. You may wonder how we do it. I have to say, it’s the help of friends, familiar strangers, a care team, and family who buoy us up when we are sinking below a tidal wave of nausea, fatigue or doubt. There have been encounters with total strangers — one who having helped rearranged a car trunk full of necessities — who’ve become familiar strangers and said things about cancer that I can’t say here but let you know how they fee no ambiguity about it.

There is my brother who meets me at the Center every time I attend a session. Last trip he brought me a prayer shawl knitted by members of his church and three caps from his recent trip to New York. He sits on the floor beside my chair and reminds me we are joined by some invisible, unbroken thread that binds us for all eternity.

I have a friend who is a silver smith and owns a specialty shop where she sells fine jewelry and antiques and embellishes the spirit on the side. On the day I had my head shaved, a more emotional experience by far than any other to date, she wrapped my head in a soft scarf, and told me I was lovely. I have several little glass medallions given to me before each treatment: “Laugh,” “Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” My favorite: “Take care of you”. It is she who is lovely.

Another friend travels from Gardner with ginger ale and soda crackers and offers to hold my head or clean my house or just sit quietly while I sleep. Yet another travels from Olathe, with homemade mushroom soup, which we eat and afterward play a game of scrabble. She beats the socks off of me, saying, “Just because you’re sick Missy, doesn’t mean I am going to let you win.” Oh that noble sense of competition that Judges hold so dear.

I awaken with a new resolve to march to a new cadence; the drum beat herald of friend, family and family stranger.

“And I feel as I sit here thinking, that the hand of a dead old June has reached out hold of my heart’s loose strings, and is drawing them up in tune,” Ellen Wheeler Wilcox.

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