My Dad - Timeline by Michael Crichton
My son, Ryan - The Road by Cormac McCarthy
One of my doctors, Jennifer Potter - Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
My sister, Sharon - Love Does by Bob Goff
...........then books I found,
Killing Kennedy;the End of Camelot - by Bill O'Reilly
The Racketeer by John Grisham
Your Church is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan
The Black Box by Michael Connelly
The Skeptical Student by Timothy Keller
and then it happened.................................
A dear friend, Lynn Arthur sent me a book, Dancing with the Enemy by Meg Brown.
This book is the personal journal of a cancer survivor. When Lynn sent the book home, I moaned, a cancer book. I read to escape cancer and the pain of surviving. Come on, Lynn, you can do better than this. You are a reader! A book about cancer! Chris said that some of Lynn's family played basketball with Meg, the author, and she was diagnosed with cancer and had a stem cell transplant. Of course, I did the Christian thing and told Chris, "How thoughtful." I wondered how many days I should keep the book before sending it back.
That evening as fate would have it I couldn't sleep. I got out of bed and went to the living room to read. There was the book from Lynn. Great idea, I would scan the first of the book and then go to the final pages to see how the story ended. I know how cancer stories progress, the middle of the book is the same for all of us. I just had to know how Meg finished.
I was wrong. I read the entire book. I was captivated by this person's honesty. She voiced prayers to God followed by what we in Texas call a "good ole cussing" of cancer, her situation, and the constant physical variables that assaulted her. Meg described how it felt to go from a collegiate athlete to the struggles of walking to the restroom. She wanted to finish a round of treatment, not to serve at the local homeless shelter, but to go drinking with her friends at a bachelorette party. (She can't write that, we cancer patients have an image to keep.) Meg wanted to live and she was honest. Damn Cancer!
I am not good at being honest with others about my journey. I like to be positive, upbeat, and encouraging to others. What do you say when someone says, "How are you?" Let's see, honest answers might be:
- My eyes are bloodshot because I burst blood vessels while puking for 1 hour & 30 minutes in a plastic bowl that a friend was kind enough to send supper in. Thanks for bowl, Angie.
- The ulcers in my mouth are now in my butt; I have only had 2 popsicles for the last 2 days. Burns going in and feels like fire going out.
- Good news, I thought treatment was finished but just got orders for intrathecal chemo & 20 days of radiation. WOOOHOOO, more side effects.
- Oh, I'm just a little tired. Fell asleep in recliner at 4:00 a.m. and then my alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. Coffee, anyone?
- I think I'm okay. The last I remember, my body was in spasms, heard them call some code for my room, and I was packed with ice & then they put something in my pic-line and ............I am okay, right?
- I have no vision in my right eye. Retinal hemorrhage, should be healed in 4 weeks. Oh, I'm sorry! I thought I was shaking your hand.
- Yesterday I worked all day and only fell asleep twice at my desk, and no one drew a picture on my mask. Yep, good day!
- Or maybe just...............DAMN CANCER!
I was able to go back to work as high school principal on January 2nd. The staff & students have been incredible. Thanks for praying and for a few moments, thanks for letting me be honest. I praise God for this new chapter in Chris' & my story. Two more dear friends have been diagnosed with cancer and we will now have shared memories that I wish we never shared. DAMN CANCER!