Living with Lymphoma
Last week I saw Mrs. C at the grocery store. I avoided her because I didn’t want to talk. Sometimes, I just don’t want to talk about my health situation. Mrs. C was the mother of a friend of mine from high school and bowling, and was our traveling league driver and coach. She was loved dearly by our team because she was calm and encouraging, and allowed us to have fun. She even sat quietly for the many Chinese fire drills we pulled at various intersections. We loved her too because she reminded us of Mrs. C (Cunningham), Richie Cunningham’s mother.
When I was checking out my groceries, she was in the next lane. Our eyes locked. We both got through the lines and stepped aside to talk. She calmly asked me what was new and I told her. She said that it was funny because the same thing happened to her about 20 years ago. I wasn’t sure if I understood…You had lymphoma, I asked. She said she had it throughout her body and received multiple treatments. Although I wasn’t glad to hear that she had to go through having this disease and the uncomfortable treatments, I was glad to see that she survived well and was willing to share it with me. Before we parted, she told me I would be OK. Only God knows that for sure, but I’m always happy to hear people say that to me. I left the grocery store feeling grateful for my unanswered prayer of avoiding her.
I had my fifth treatment today. It was my first without my friend Jill. She went back home to Florida last week after being here for three months. I went solo. Less than an hour into it, Brian surprised me with a visit. After he left, a man came in for a treatment and sat in my area. We got talking, and I learned that his wife had lymphoma four years ago and was still in remission. He was dealing with another kind of cancer that kept cropping back up. When he started with this a few years ago, there was only one sure drug used for treatment that wasn’t very successful. Since then, another more promising chemo was approved, and he has been receiving it for two years, every three weeks. He was told today that this was his last treatment, and he was trying to absorb the meaning of being discharged. What will he do now that he doesn’t have to think about and plan for treatments? He’s a retired Army Colonel and wants a civilian job. It was impossible for him to look for a job where he would have to be out of work for a week every three weeks for treatments and the after affects. He’s now free to do as he pleases.
I hope he’s out celebrating tonight with his wife.
My encounters with Mrs. C and this man give me hope. Not only because they both had successful stories about survival from Lymphoma, but also because there are new treatments being worked on and developed every day in all areas of cancer which in itself, gives the promise of hope.
Sometimes, that’s all a person has to go on…and it can be pretty powerful.