Everybody’s touched at some point in their lives by cancer.
It hits at moments unexpected. A phone call comes in. The announcement is made. A dear friend or a relative gets “it.”
Maybe it is as with you, but it is currently surrounding me. In more ways than you know, in more ways than I share. With Michael. With my friend Kara, from high school. With others I don’t talk about because I just don’t because I respect privacy.
My friend Kara. Man. She got it. She got it bad. Double mastectomy at about the age of 34, about six years ago, ovaries removed, then it spread to her brain; she’s had, seriously, about 28 surgeries, the last a tumor removed about a month ago, from her brain. She has spent months at a time in the hospital, dealing with kidney failure, infections, you name it, and I've NEVER seen her feeling sorry for herself. How does she do it?
She’s thriving, doing great. I love her to death. She didn’t want it. Didn’t ask for it. But when it came knocking on her door, she couldn’t turn it away like it was the Jehovah’s Witness crew. She couldn’t hide up in her room, close the blinds, crawl under her covers until they went knocking on the neighbor’s door.
Instead, she straightened up, put on her game face, opened the door, let the bastard in, and fought the fucker. She’s still fighting. She fights like the girl I knew in high school, all tough and independent and ready to take on a challenge. She talks about it. She doesn’t shy away from it. She faces every day. She laughs. She lives. She breathes. She looks to the future. She plans for the future. She’s my idol.
She called ME the other day to find out how Michael was doing. Her husband read her the note I sent about Michael, because Kara’s eyesight isn’t so great from the last surgery, either that or she’s just “playing” lazy (haha Kara!). And her husband said, “See, what are YOU bitching for!” She sees the goodness that God has given her in her life. She is concerned for others.
Kara is kid-like in spirit. Kids adore her. My kids LOVE her! She is kind and funny, playful and awesome to be around. She’s had a rough go of it, yet she still fights through it, still believes in the positive of what’s happening in her life.
When others question how well she’s doing, or if she’s doing well, I rebuttle, “She’s doing it. She’s positive. She’s not giving up, is she? Let’s be positive for her.” Because what the hell is the alternative? And if you don’t ‘act’ well, then do you start to not ‘feel’ well?
Kara is the type of cancer patient I would hope to be if it would happen to me. A go-get-‘em gal. A “it-happened-to-me-but-it’s-not-stopping-me” kinda gal.
And then Michael. Little Michael down the street. Michael, who came to the door a week ago Thursday to play with Ajers, and when Ajers opened the door he said, “Michael, what are you doing here, you puked at school!”
“Yeah, but I feel better now! Can you come play?”
So they went to Michael’s to play. Two days later, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Five days later, it was removed. Today, he still lies in ICU, recovering. Ajers talked to Michael yesterday on the phone, and I got to talk to his mom, and talk about how a little phone call can lift OUR spirits!
I cried at church today.
It’s been emotional. The kind of tears that just come on for no other reason than you wonder why this kind of shit happens to the people it’s happening to, and what’s the big picture of it all.
And the big picture. That the day I found out about Michael’s brain tumor was the day I met Mimi, (through Dawn and Michelle) who has seen more tragedy than a mother should ever have to bear in 10 lifetimes. It seems that everything goes full circle and people come into people’s lives for a reason. I meet Mimi a week ago today in Chicago, knowing that just three months ago she lost her son to brain cancer, and how is it that she can go on with her life, go on a trip to meet other women and carry on with her life and be with us and laugh and feel joy and happiness after such a tragedy?
I also pause for a minute to wonder who the hell is writing this post and what has happened to Manic Mommy!? Ha, where has she gone! Who is this serious sad pensive woman?
OK, so let’s not be serious and sad and pensive anymore, because yes, cancer is a part of each and every one of our lives, and if you’ve been blessed with good cancer stories, which I do believe good comes from it, because it helps us to appreciate the here and the now, and the people we hold dear to our hearts, then be thankful, and if you’ve been lost and saddened by the disease, then I will pray for you, and while you might be a Manic Mom reader and think that I’m not a spiritual person, I really am, and I will pray for you and I hope you find peace and health and happiness.
So obviously, I'm praying fiercely for Kara, and for Michael, but I also am sending extra prayers and strength and love to others that I know who are facing challenges, including my dear friend Kelly’s husband Mike, my dear friend Stacy's sister Heather, my dear personal friend L., and for Kendra, Coleman and Haley (Haley, you sooo remind me of my friend Kara and her spunk!), who I met through the blessings of Michelle, Dawn, and Mimi. May He be with you as you all face the next hurdle in your journeys to healing. God bless and keep you.
And later this week, let’s just keep with the cancer theme as I’ll have TWO book giveaways which will be FUN, I promise:
Welcome to Shirley by Kelly McMasters and The Department of Lost and Found by Allison Winn Scotch. I'll have the authors stop by and offer something uplifting. I promise.
Peace UP. Cuz there's no other option really, is there?