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.