Friday, August 19, 2011

without words

Good, bad, wrong or right...words have always been a huge part of my life.  Talking, writing, singing, words have helped me through every joy and sorrow.

Why is it when I hear the word cancer, all words seem to escape me.  The first time that word came into my life was also when my Great Aunt Leona came into my life.  She was fighting a tumor that had taken her lung and was wrapped around her heart.  She was amazing, courageous, wise, and wonderful.  But I only saw a part of it.

Both of my father's parents battled cancer.  Papa was diagnosed and died within a month or so.  Mama was diagnosed and it seemed to giver her a courage and purpose like we had never seen in her 70 odd years.  She was ready to fight, and she did for three whole years.  I still only saw part of it.

My Uncle George fought a long hard horrible battle with brain cancer.  He showed strength and faith that still leaves me in awe.  My friends mother fought humorously against stage 4 breast cancer.  They taught me things that I will treasure not only about how to live but how to die.

We have had two friends our age diagnosed last year with cancer.  They have young children.  Their cancer's are very different and so are their struggles.  Two children we know have been diagnosed with Leukemia.  It's overwhelming and still I only know part of it.

A friend who had breast cancer several years ago found out that it is back in her lymph nods.  She is hopeful, courageous and still wicked funny.  She is also scared, vulnerable, and anxious.  And I have no words.  What do I say? I feel helpless and dumb and wordless.  This is the part isn't it? The part that is missing when you are not the spouse or caregiver.

Courage is a muscle you must exercise.  I think there could not be anything more courageous then facing death everyday.  Waking up knowing that there is a war raging inside of you, ready to take you down.  But is that want someone living with this diagnosis wants to hear - I'm awe struck by your courage, keep fighting. I'll keep praying. 

My friends mother went into her mastectomy with a t-shirt that said STOP THE WAR IN MY RACK.
Our friend with Colo-Rectal Cancer said if women can have Save the TaTa's he wanted brown t-shirts that read SAVE THE ASSHOLES.  If humor is the key, my friend has more years then she can count and plenty of Bunko left in her.

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