Cancer Loses, Again
Having friends is a never ending source of courage and joy.
At11:30 that evening, my best friend Bonnie and I were finally led from a recovery room outside the Surgery Pavilion to a nice corner room in the UW Medical Center. (Since my release, a pathology report declared that I am 100% cancer free, Halleluiah!)
Somebody rolled in a “cot” for Bonnie that was more like a bed. It came with a mattress, blankets and pillows! My being in a jovial mood put Bonnie at ease and she pulled out her camera phone.
Her first picture is of me and my swollen face, but that isn’t enough. She starts taking pictures of different young pretty nurses posing with me. Everybody’s laughing and joking.
Nurse Enoch, a young black man from Uganda, is one of many nurses in and out of my room. I am extremely happy to make this young man’s acquaintance and look forward to a long lasting friendship.
Cancer Brought Out Our Best
All the positive attention has me feeling like a celebrity and wishing I could afford more cancer surgeries. Although this first, and hopefully last, cancer operation went way better than the doctors’ careful prediction, the life changing or even life ending results of cancer are not lost on me. I happen to have been very blessed.
Upon heading home the day after my surgery, I’m feeling sore and tired, but very thankful. I’m not only thankful for Bonnie, I’m grateful for the friends I know will be visiting me during my recovery.
The truth of what Zig Ziglar said comes to mind:
“If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
Bonnie and I laid pretty low the first couple of days following my surgery. Neither of us slept much, if at all, in the hospital, so in addition to my overall soreness, extreme fatigue weighed both our eyelids down.
On my second or third day home, while I was still too weak to sit up for very long, I sat at my computer desk.
I felt a need to be creative, but my computer wouldn’t boot up! Huh? I don’t have the time or the energy for this. Luckily, my brother had worked in Boeing technical support until moving to a different branch.
I picked up my cell phone. “Hi, Harvey. Do you have a minute?”
Within a few minutes, after some complex instructions I wouldn’t have figured out, I’m happily creating an earlier chapter of this story on my smooth running computer. Knowing a computer genius is cool. Having a computer genius for a friend and a brother is beyond cool.
Bonnie had cleared her calendar so she was free to stay with me during the first days following my cancer surgery, but she has responsibilities. She couldn’t just stay with me on even a semi permanent basis. I knew the day when she had to leave would come, and I was ready.
Thanks to principles rehabilitation has taught me about getting along with others and building mutually beneficial friendships, I called a friend from church. I’ve been friends with Phil for over a decade. He knew about my cancer operation and was quick to say he’d be over right after work.
“What do you want me bring for dinner,” he asked.
“Don’t worry about bringing anything,” I said, “Linda Jean is bringing chicken, mashed potatoes and coleslaw. “
The cool thing about the chicken dish is that she put toy plastic snakes in to correlate with a missionary who shared his experiences with Singly Focused about a mission trip he took to a place where snakes were a common part of the menu.
So it went for the next several days. I had more food then ever, and it was brought by smiling friends from the singles group at church.
My parents stopped in to see how I was doing. They knew about my surgery. They’ve both had cancer and helped Bonnie and I choose a treatment option. Being older, they had opted to treat theirs with radiation. Seeing them was great. I only wish I’d invited them to stay and watch the video someone brought.
Cancer Helps Me Man Up
That evening’s entertainment resulted in my having a new all time favorite movie. The Count of Monte Cristo has such a complex and cleverly written story line that I will never forget it.
As we watched, I suddenly grabbed the remote and paused the movie. I absolutely had to write down part of what the Count said as he saved an awkward situation at an important dinner party with a brilliant toast.
“Life is a storm.” he said to a nervous then pleased and confident young man.
“You will baske in the sunlight one moment; be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.You must look into that storm and shout
‘Do your worst for I will do mine!'”
Just think, if I hadn’t come down with cancer, I may have never seen that classic movie or heard and been able to pass on that incredible quote.
I love happy endings. Since we are all authors of our own life books, it is not surprising that I want to write a happy ending to my life book. The relationships that pass through our lives are key in determining how happy our books turn out.
Since 1999, Northshore Baptist Church has been a source of many positive relationships. One of the first people I met at Northshore Baptist was Mark Robertson. He’s a school teacher at a school where I have been blessed to share my strategy for overcoming challenges and living a happy and useful life. Now that my cancer experience has added a new dimension to my strategy, even more people will be able to relate.
One of the things that attracted me to Mark is his sometimes zany sense of humor. Another of his gifts that I enjoy is his musical ability. Something he and our very
good friend Roger enjoy is getting together and playing their guitars and banjos. The timing hasn’t yet been right for me, but I’m looking forward to accepting Mark’s invitation to bring my new harmonica over and join their musical extravaganza.
Cancer is a serious malady. Because of the many advances they’ve made in treating it, and because of the many friends that banded around me during my time of need, my cancer experience is a memory I’m glad I don’t have to live without.