Monday, September 15, 2014

The Big C Hop: Willful Women With Woes and Secrets of Honor


                                                                      
A person's true character is revealed under the most adverse conditions. When my mom's close friend Joy's prognosis from lung cancer was only six months, she came up with a plan. After she made her funeral arrangements, and got the rest of her affairs in order, she invited my mom, and another friend to go on an Australian cruise with her. They made the most out of their "last hurrah." Happily, Joy proved the doctors wrong by stretching those six months into ten years.

Between chemotherapy and radiation treatments many cancer patients have difficulty coping. My Auntie Rho was not one of them. She made friends everywhere she went, and continued throughout the worst of times. Though she wasn't my aunt by blood, she could not have done more for my family. Before she came down with lung cancer, the non-smoker was the first one to help me clean up after a holiday dinner. Even at seventy, she would have everything cleared off the table and put away faster than I could bring out the next course. Just when she seemed to be fading away, Auntie Rho miraculously rallied to celebrate her seventy-fifth birthday with family and friends.

After my neighbor moved away, we were in and out of touch for a few years before she was diagnosed with leukemia. Since she underwent a bone marrow transplant, she has suffered from one complication after another. Her extensive cocktail of anti-rejection drugs has resulted in diabetes, as well as a slew of other ailments. Fortunately, she continues to maintain her wonderful sense of humor.

Whenever I inquire about her health, she always replies, "You don't want to know." Then she rattles off one horrible thing after another in a surprisingly amusing way. Recently, in an attempt to prevent a corneal transplant, her ophthalmologist glued her left eye shut for three and a half months. Her grandson asked her when she was going to stop looking like a monster. Despite all of her hardships, she still managed to potty train him in just one day.

Because she's been to so many different doctors, she's threatening to change her name to "Ologist." Remarkably, she doesn't let any of her ailments slow her down, and though her eyesight has been fading, her nose for news is stronger than ever. She is always up on all of the latest happenings in the neighborhood, and had to fill me in on what was going on practically outside my front door.

At the end of our recent phone conversation, I couldn't believe we had been laughing for over an hour. This tough little survivor who at one time dropped down to seventy-eight pounds, could always keep me in stitches. Though we have had the most entertaining time on the phone together, I couldn't remember why we haven't seen each other in years. Then it hit me. The last time I suggested getting together, she didn't quite share my enthusiasm, as she replied, "Well, it's almost winter."

Needless to say, all of the women fought with dignity, grace, and humor. The youngest, and feistiest of the group continues to fight off whatever is thrown her way, and I hope she doesn't stop taking my phone calls for many years to come.


This story may be featured in an anthology to raise money for  Melissa Bradley  who has been battling cancer. Proceeds will also go to Gilda's Club Chicago. Please visit Melissa to learn more about her story. You can  find Melissa, and the rest of the talented participants  here.  Special thanks also to Michael Di Gesu  for hosting this worthwhile event. I wish Melissa all the best in her recovery.



                                                                    


In other news, I'm thrilled to announce Carol Kilgore's SECRETS OF HONOR is now available on Amazon in print and Kindle editions.

Purchase Kindle edition here: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Honor-Carol-Kilgore-ebook/dp/B00NH0QTO6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1410632642&sr=8-3&keywords=secret+of+honor

Purchase paperback edition here: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Honor-Carol-Kilgore/dp/1500522031/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1410632642&sr=8-3

Please visit the delightful  Carol Kilgore at Under The Tiki Hut to congratulate her.



45 comments:

  1. I wish Melissa all the best. And thanks to Michael. Also thank you for sharing the news about Secrets of Honor.

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  2. These are wonderful and inspiring stories of courage and determination. Wishing Melissa all the best.

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  3. Such inspiring people! I feel stronger already. Thank you so much for participating. Hugs!!

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  4. What a loving and well-written post. The eye gluing could have made her a pirate (with a patch over the eye), or she might have changed her name to Cyclops.

    Love,
    Janie

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  5. Hi, Julie,

    I see you made it... I would've come by earlier, but blogger freaked my page all day. Nothing in my sidebar showed up until now.

    Thanks for sharing your stories... These women are truly an inspiration!

    Looking forward to lunch on Wednesday!

    Michael

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    1. the two of you having lunch together?! I have to say that I'm so jealous!
      Enjoy the lunch!

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    2. Ha, ha! Sorry you missed out on all of the fun, Michelle! You'll just have to fly in for a visit!

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  6. Carol - I know Secrets of Honor will be a huge success! I can't wait to get my copy! Thanks Carol!

    Connie - I really miss my mom's dear friends. You'd like my former neighbor, as she's a shining example of a (younger) tough old broad! Thanks Connie!

    Melissa - YOU are the epitome of inspiring! I LOVED your story about the "wig show!" Gilda's Club Chicago is a great charity, and I'm sure Gilda Radner would've also enjoyed your fantastic sense of humor.Thanks for hosting this worthwhile hop! Take care of yourself, Melissa!

    Janie - Yes, I would think her grandsons would get a kick out of Nana Cyclops! Thanks Janie!

    Yvonne - You are absolutely right, and Melissa is very inspiring too! Thanks Yvonne!

    Michael - I'm glad hubby solved the problem, and the Internet is finally up and running here! Now I'll be able to read your story, and start visiting some of the other Big C hoppers! I think this is wonderful medicine for Melissa, as well as for everyone who reads it! Thanks for hosting Michael! I can't wait to see how your beautiful book turns out. I'm also looking forward to Wednesday!

    Julie

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  7. They all sound like fighters with a great sense of humor. The right attitude is half the battle. I hope your friend amuses you for decades more.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this story of your loved ones. They all are remarkable women!

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  9. Beautiful stories, Julie! Sending good vibes Melissa's way. And hooray for Carol's release!!

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  10. Alex - Yes, they were the best kind of fighters! My friend definitely has a lot of living to do! Thanks Alex!

    Chrys - t'm glad you also think they're remarkable! Thanks for following me, Chrys!

    Ava - I'm sure Melissa will appreciate it! Very exciting news for Carol! Thanks Ava!

    Julie

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  11. amazing stories and battles. Wow

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  12. I don't know how I'm going to go (my mom died from lung cancer, but she was a smoker...so who knows?), but I'm confident that if I do get diagnosed with something dreadful in the coming years, I'll do the best I can to laugh and cherish those around me.

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  13. Great job, Julie. I hope you guys put together a wonderful anthology. Kudos to all of you.

    Have fun at lunch tomorrow!

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  14. Your stories about the people you know are wonderful. I love to read about them. They make me believe all is possible.

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  15. I really hope chemotherapy and radiotherapy will be replaced with something better. I read some promising news about a new treatment in Israel based on stimulating the immune system.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4571367,00.html

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  16. Such an inspirational and informative post. One of my sister - in laws is suffering from breast cancer and as much as she is thankful for radiation therapy I can hear the pain in her voice. I do hope that some day there will be no cases of cancer and we will not have to worry about treatment.

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  17. Your inspiring mosaic of stories could fill a book of its own. It's very hopeful. Thank you, Julie. Laughter plus spunk makes for a healing recipe.

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  18. Joanne - I learned a lot from all of them. Thanks Joanne!

    Al - Just stay healthy, my friend!

    Susan - I'm sure Michael and Melissa will do an amazing job with it! I wish you lived in Chicago, so you could join us tomorrow. Thanks Susan!

    Yvonne - Thank you so much for the kind words!

    Gorilla - I'll have to check out that article. It's amazing what advances they're making in Israel! Thanks for being such a thoughtful Gorilla!

    Munir - I hope your sister-in-law has a complete recovery. I'm sorry she's going through this. Thanks Munir!

    Robyn - "Laughter plus spunk makes for a healing recipe!" These are wonderful words to live by! I can't think of a brighter way to autograph a book! Don't worry, even if I tried to use it, no one would be able to read it anyway! Thanks Robyn!

    Julie




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  19. Julie, I pray that your friend makes you laugh for a very long time. What a great story. Her possible name change really made me giggle. What a great people who are true heroes. Thanks for telling their stories.

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  20. Attitude counts for so much in every victory in life. This is another good story to hear and an inspiration not to just give up. A battle is not over until we give up.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  21. What an inspiring bunch of ladies!
    Thank you for sharing these stories.
    Carol's book is all over - that cover is gorgeous...

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  22. Dignity, grace and humor; what a recipe for life. You sure have some inspiring friends and I'll bet their grateful for someone like yourself who always has time for them. It's amazing how many people back away from those who are 'terminal', sad but true, especially when you think about the fact that in reality we are all terminal.

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  23. People like Joy ( such an appropriate name) deserve medals for Human Endurance. What an inspiration she is.

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  24. Thanks for sharing your stories Julie. I lost my mother to breast cancer before I met my hubby, so she never got to meet her grand kids.

    Your stories are very inspirational. It's a difficult and beautiful blog hop.

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  25. Robyn - I also got a kick out of her changing her name to "Ologist!" Thanks for your good thoughts and prayers, Robyn.

    Lee - You are absolutely right about having a positive attitude, and never giving up. Thanks Lee!

    Michelle - I'm glad you also found them inspiring. It's great to see Carol's book everywhere!

    Farawayeyes - i really should make more of an effort to spend time with my friend. Fortunately, her family keeps her very busy. Thanks Farawayeyes!

    Lee - Oh, Joy would've loved to hear your kind words! Thanks Lee!

    Rhonda - I didn't realize you lost your mom so long ago. I'm so sorry. She would've been so proud of you for raising such wonderful girls, and for providing them with a worldly education.

    Julie




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  26. Julie, thank you for sharing about these inspirational women.

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    1. Susanne - I'm grateful Melissa and Michael gave me the opportunity. If you haven't already, you should read their stories, as well as the rest of the participants in The Big C Hop. Thanks Susanne!

      Julie

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  27. Hi Julie .. such an inspiring neighbour - who always has the right words ready to keep all around her cheerful and happy ... we all need those ... since my mother has been ill I do look at things in another light ... which comes over in my conversations ...

    Cheers Hilary

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  28. What an example, Julie! This is a wonderful and inspiring story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

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  29. Hilary - It is amazing how people who need the most comforting tend to provide so much comfort to others. I know what a huge help you were to your mum, and I enjoyed reading your touching story about her. Thanks Hilary!

    Val - I really appreciate your kind words. Thank you so much, Val!

    Julie

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  30. Wow, what an awesome story. Isn't it amazing how people with the worst health can often be the most full of life? If that doesn't inspire someone to live life to the fullest, I don't know what will.

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  31. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and inspiring story.

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  32. B & B - These are prime examples of how having a positive outlook can make a difference. I hope these, and the rest of the stories in Melissa and Michael's book do provide inspiration to anyone with major health concerns. Thanks B & B!

    Nas - It brought back some wonderful memories. Thank you Nas!

    Julie

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  33. I think you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle a cancer diagnosis. Everyone handles it differently. Some make the most of the time they have left while others fight with everything they have. No one way is better than the other necessarily. I think none of us really know how we'd handle it.

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    1. Stephanie - I agree that everyone has to do what's best for them, and their families. Usually the people who make the most of their remaining time, are fighting every step of the way.

      Julie

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  34. It's so inspiring to hear about those who are strong in the face of adversity!

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    1. Deniz - I also admire their strength and courage. Thanks Deniz!

      Julie

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  35. Happy Rosh Hashanah, Julie! All the best for a wonderful new year.

    Love and hugs,
    xoRobyn

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    1. Thanks Robyn, and the same to you! With all of your good deeds, you will have nothing to atone for next week!

      Love & Hugs,
      Julie

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  36. Julie: Your posts are always inspiring. The word "courageous" comes to mind when reading this post. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. JJ - "Courageous" is the perfect word to describe them! I also find your posts inspiring! Thanks JJ!

      Julie

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