Thursday, April 12, 2012




The scent of alcohol was strong in my nostrils, my skin was stinging from the pain of the needle being placed in the port underneath. I didn't know how many more times I could bear this....

I felt 'like I was in another world'... I was so, so sick. I looked around me, each recliner held a person... a very sick person... just like me. My eyes were so weak, I closed them. There was so much pain here, so much grief... I sensed it. It affected me greatly. I was too weak to get up and go hold someone's hand, too weak to say a kind word.

Medicines were placed in the IV to slowly drip into my body to make it well again, to kill the cancer cells that were slowly trying to take my life. I'd been through life-saving surgery... the mass that was on my left lung resting against my heart had been removed. It had almost closed off my bronchial tube... just 'before' the surgery, I could barely walk, whisper, breathe. I was dying. I went to the 'dark' world.................

Skip worked in the office every day, he was the fleet transportation manager at the company where he worked. He would come to get me every day that I had to have chemotherapy treatments, and stay with me. Sometimes when the drivers would stay out of work, he would drive their trucks to Virginia, Maryland for them... he would still be with me at every treatment.

Skip never missed even one doctor's visit, chemotherapy treatment, tests... he took me to every one of them. He cared for me. He made sure I had any and everything I wanted, needed. Skip was a very sick man... we didn't know he was... his attention was on me... but, when he began having alot of bleeding... we knew... I was too ill to make him go to the doctor.

The woman was trying very hard to get the needle in to get a blood gas... the pain was horrible. She knew she was adding pain upon pain on me... my heart felt for her. I quietly spoke to her and told her that it's alright, we have to do what we've got to do... that I just wanted to live, I could bear the pain. As weak, sick as I was... tears were coming from my eyes when I told her... I was trying to let her know I understood it was hard for her.

That woman began crying, saying that she just couldn't hurt me any longer. She went and got another woman to take the blood gas. She told me she was so sorry for hurting me, she hugged me. She knew I didn't hold it against her. The new woman did it right away, I was so thankful. I didn't think I could take it anymore.

The nurse told me not to cry all the time... to allow myself only 15 minutes to cry all I wanted to... then... stop. She told me to cry like that if I became upset in the future. I tried so hard to do as she told me... sometimes it worked, sometimes... it didn't help.

I would listen as I laid my head back in the recliner... to Skip talking to other family members who'd come with their loved ones... who also, sat in their recliner to take chemotherapy treatments. I would choke up and begin crying 'inside'... I knew I was no better than anyone else to suffer. I cared about those people who sat there with IVs in their hands, the ports in their chests.

I didn't even question 'why' this had happened to me... I 'knew' that I would never have the answer. What I did know ... even then... was that there was a reason for everything that happens in one's life. Three years later... I found out 'why'.... Skip was diagnosed with colon cancer.

I was strong enough to care for him as he began his journey to fight for his life. I'll never forget the moment he was told the diagnosis... I looked at him and told him ...'now', I know 'why' I went through what I did... that it was time for me to take care of him. I was with him every moment possible, at every chemotherapy treatment, tests... we took care of each other.

Chemotherapy makes one very sick... more sick on top of already being sick. The drugs that go inside one's body, my body.... I could actually feel them. I could smell them. I always liked the scent of alcohol, so clean, healing... I began to dread that smell, I associated it with the pain I knew I was going to feel... when the IV needle was placed in my chest, in my hands when I had bloodwork.

The life port was underneath my skin to make it 'easier' to take the IV medicines. The needle still had to go through my skin in order for the medicine to be delivered intravenously.

I have two scars, one above the other where I've had two separate ports... one for the first year I fought for my life. The following year I had to begin chemotherapy/surgery once again to fight for my life... the cancer had come back on the 'inside' of my right lung.

I lost all my beautiful hair... both times. The drugs made my muscles feel very weak, my hands and fingers couldn't grasp things to hold them. It affected memory.

Once when I felt strong enough, I remember driving for the first time to Louisburg. I stopped at a pharmacy to pick up something. There was a woman working there that used to work at the hospital when I did. I'll never forget her looking at me... I probably looked awful, I hadn't gotten well, I still wore a wig...she looked at me in a way she'd never done before.

She spoke to me in a mean way, and I remember just looking at her wondering why she spoke that way. She asked me something and I replied to her that I'd been very sick, she acted like it was nothing. I didn't elaborate on my illness to her. I remember thinking about her all the way home... the strange thing about this woman and her friend is...

That each time I ever see them... something really bad had happened in my life... I associate them with 'bad' things. It's just that I've looked at them when Skip and I would be out somewhere.... through my grief, pain, shock from whatever had just happened in my life... deaths, so on. The last time being when Tommy died.

Of course, they in no way have anything to do with the events in my life... but... they seemed to pop up... standing somewhere looking at me... I always looked bad from all I was going through. I sometimes imagine they 'liked seeing' me look so bad. When I worked with them, I always dressed very nice... they were probably shocked to see me, my looks 'go to hell'.

Who knows? They would have looked like that too... if they'd lost so many loved ones, go through the illnesses we did, and the events that happened in my life. I 'did go to hell'... and it 'showed on me'. In my mind I just wished them well and hope their lives would 'stay perfect'.

These are just thoughts in my mind tonight, skipping from here to there.... just thoughts.

People are strange sometimes... I am strange sometimes. We never know how we will react to others when something 'bad' has happened to them. I hope that I can react in a kind, 'good' way... I hope I would never avert my eyes, turn my back... walk 'away' from someone who is, who has overcome a life-altering illness. I would hope to look them straight in the face with caring eyes, walk toward them, embrace them to let them know I care.

My thoughts jump to the time that wig got caught up on a tree branch, slinging it away from my head... no hair on my head excepting several little curls. I think how something so humiliating, so awful became so humorous in a 'good' way....... somehow it made it all better. I smile softly thinking about that... yes, humor in the nicest way does help.

I think I will go to bed now... I hope my mind is tired enough now... to let my thoughts rest. You know how it is when you 'think too much'... sometimes. I just thought I'd write some of them. Just thoughts... more thoughts........................


1 comment:

  1. Sometimes writing down thoughts is a good thing because one can get it out of their system or their minds. It is terrible what you and Skip had to go though. It was good that the both of you could be there for each other. You know I am always a phone call away if you ever need me! Love, Ms. Nancy