Friday, March 25, 2011

The Check-Up

I'm here. I made it. Six months since my last visit and I sit in my forest green chair and I wait my turn. As I join the many people seated in the cancer clinic, that old familiar feeling surfaces in the pit of my stomach. I have spent my five minutes in the lineup at Clinic Reception 2 and have now traded my appointment slip for pager #103.

"Go fill out your questionnaire, please, then have a seat," says the kindly receptionist behind the screened area.
Like an obedient puppy, I obey. I know the routine. The black Acer screen beckons me with its cancerous finger. I forget my password. I don't want to appear a fool so I try to reset it. An older gentleman clad in the gayly coloured lemon-yellow volunteer's smock with the cancer society logo on the pocket, appears from nowhere. I confess I have forgotten my password. Six months is a long time and my cerebral hard-drive contains 15 or 20 other passwords.

"What year were you born?" asks the kindly volunteer.
A rather personal question, I think. Then I remember nothing is hidden at the cancer clinic. 1956. I punch it into the keyboard. Bingo. It works. I answer all the required questions. Eventually the printer spits out the completed page and I clutch it to my chest.

As I take my seat, I see a woman about my age, holding a beautiful, ebony-haired toddler. Grandma - perhaps? The mother hangs on to the empty stroller and positions herself three seats over from where I sit. She chooses the pink chair.

Dear God, I find myself thinking. Don't let her be the one with cancer.

I do not want the Grandma to be the reason they are at the clinic today, either. But my heart was heavy lest it be the young mother of that beautiful little boy.

Soon the dreaded sound of my pager buzzing brings me back to reality and Kay, the nurse, catches my eye. She greets me in her usual, professional and friendly manner. She settles me into the sterile exmination room and asks me for my completed questionnaire. We speak for a while. She documents my concerns and tucks them into the file.

"Doctor S will be in to see you in a while," she smiles.

She hands me my less than glamorous hospital gown before she leaves and tells me to take my time because Dr. S is busy today. I wait. I dig into my red, Write! Canada bag stuffed with papers, my camera, a writer's magazine, my agenda and a notebook. I don't know what to do first.         

My brain plays tricks.

Your cancer is back! Your cancer is back! The enemy has a heyday.

I pull out my Fellowscript magazine and start to read. I smile when I see the article written by Marcy Kennedy and Lisa Hall-Wilson - TWG members, on co-writing an article. I remember the listserve discussions on this subject a while ago. I flip through and read articles by more TWG authors. I suddenly feel like the prayer team is with me today - although I didn't tell them I was coming.

Then I think how hesitant I was telling my family about what I would share today. The enemy prods me again - ...the sin of ommission is you lied to your family...what kind of wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend are you?

Then I feel the presence of Jesus. A peace washes over me and He tells me not to believe the lies. He tells me that it is honourable to care about the feelings of others and that I ommitted nothing. He soothes my soul and tells me it is well.

I hear the footsteps. The door opens and Dr. S enters..


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prizes & Surprises!

Amanda - 4years old in her new outfit!
I had a nice surprise this morning. The memories flooded back. Amanda, my darling daughter and her little ones walked upstairs to the balcony at church. I giggled out loud when I laid my eyes on Jocelyn. My little granddaughter  was wearing the same burgundy crushed velvet dress that I made for her Mommy 27 years ago! She looked so cute. Just the way I remembered her mommy when she was wearing it! I didn't even know Amanda still had that outfit!
Boy, oh sure made my day. Amanda has an uncanny way of doing that - knowing how to make my day.
Jocelyn - almost 2 1/2 years old in the same
 (27 year old outfit!)
So I am not one bit sorry that I nominated her a few weeks ago for a glamorous makeover at Guys and Dolls Salon in Elmira - and guess what? She won! Here is the little blurb I wrote on her behalf:

     The name, Amanda, means worthy of love. Amanda, my daughter has more than exceeded her worth. In 2008 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It was a time of upheaval for our family, however Amanda rallied behind me and never let me say 'die.' She found ways to cheer me up, and took me hat shopping when I lost my locks. She brought my beautiful grandbabies to visit because she knew they brought joy to my heart. In fact, Amanda gave birth to her second child two days before my scheduled surgery. I desperately wanted to see my grandbaby and I had been praying that she would go into labour before I went into surgery. Our prayers were answered and I got to attend the birth of little Jocelyn.
     Amanda gives unconditionally and she attended to my needs without expectation. Ever since my tango with cancer in 2008, Amanda's passion to 'do something to help,' has encouraged and inspired me. She found out about the Ovarian Cancer Canada's Winner's Walk of Hope and she signed us up as The Sunflower Seeds team right away. It's been three years now and still we continue to walk and do our part to fundraise and help turn up the volume on this silent killer.
     Amanda was the 'brains' behind Zeal for Teal - a scrapbooking/cardmaking 'Ladies' day out' fundraiser for Ovarian Cancer Canada. We are now preparing for our third annual event in Drayton in April and anticipate 100 participants. All because of Amanda's drive and initiative, I was able to 'fight the good fight.' She gave me a sense of purpose and we are now able to 'give back' and help other women who may be facing cancer.
     When I saw the sign on your Guys and Dolls' window, I thought what fun it would be to nominate myself. Then I instantly chastised myself and realized that Amanda is the worthy one. She has given unselfishly and supported me with love and hope and joy in her heart. She rarely gets time for herself. (I think the last time she was pampered in a salon, was the day before her wedding!) Amanda would be a perfect person to receive this Makeover Contest. She has blessed me more than she will ever know!

Imagine my surprise when I received the telephone call the other evening telling me Amanda had won. Imagine my shock when the sweet gal at the spa told me that my story made them all cry and they decided that not only would Amanda win a makeover - they were going to bend the rules and make it a  mother/daughter treat. Who'd have thought? So now Amanda and I have to decide on a date...maybe we should get matching outfits! Grin.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Another Timmie's Angel

 Each Tuesday, Jocelyn and I get some granny time. Mommy is busy cleaning at Big Poppa's house so I get to whisk my darling little granddaughter away for a few hours. One of our Tuesday morning rituals is to high tail it over to Arthur to pick up the special 'British paper' for Big Poppa. Then we head on over to Tim Horton's to buy our usual 'treat.' 

We arrived at Timmies - busy as usual. Jocelyn and I were chatting away - likely discussing the perils of Larry the Cucumber or the antics of Dora. Before I knew it, we were in line in the drive-through to get our goodies. It's a little lazy on my part, but not having to figure out the combination on the baby seat and then not having to wrestle with 2 year old legs, arms, snowsuit and boots, is my justification for staying in the vehicle to retrieve my purchases every Tuesday.

I got to the intercom and the lovely lady on the other end spoke.
"Welcome to Tim Horton's. May I take your order?"
"One steeped tea [for mommy] - just milk, double cupped; a pomegranate white tea, nothing in it except the teabag, [for me;] a Dutchie doughnut [for Big Poppa] and two Dutchie Timbits [for Miss Jocelyn] please.

"That will be $5.48. Please drive up to the next window."

     I reached for my wallet and stuck my hand in looking for a crisp bill of some description. Panic set in. Nothing. I grabbed my change purse in hopes that I could muster up $5.48. A sick feeling stimulated the adrenalin and the nausea. $3.20 in change. What could I do? My calculator brain was on hold. All I knew was that I did not have $5.48 to pay for my wares. And there was no backing out. There were now three or more cars in the drive-through line up behind me. I got to the window and sheepishly spoke.

     "Would you mind just cancelling the one tea...or the Dutchie...or...I was becoming unglued and I had forgotten how much the tea was...or the Dutchie..." The lovely angel with the headset smiled at me and looked like she felt my angst. I watched the person behind me in my rearview mirror and wondered if he or she was wondering what the hold up was. I found another 85 cents in the bottom of my purse and in the glove compartment. Still not enough. $1.43 short.

The nice Tim Horton's gal started handing me my order. One steeped pomegranate Dutcie...two Timbits. I was speechless. She winked. I gulped.
"Thank you. Have a nice day." I drove away...

I thanked her again. She winked again. I drove away with my full order and a skip in my heart. I determined to pass it on somehow.  That nice, Tim Hortons' angel made my day.

And if that wasn't enough. I finished my tea; I rolled up the rim...'You win a free coffee!' Life is good...