The poem below was sent to me from Cheryl, a NP friend of mine, that used to be one of my leaders when I was the Singles Director. She is an awesome woman with a huge heart that has had her share of victories to embrace. I have read it before, but somehow…today it struck a chord!
Today marks the last day of radiation treatment for my bff, Joy. She is a single mom of 43 that was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent radical surgery, chemotherapy, & radiation. She will now have reconstruction surgery.
I remember the day she told me the tumor was malignant. It was August 2009. It was HOT in Texas (imagine that!) and I had just climbed on my bus to commute home. I was sitting behind the driver (this keeps me from getting motion sick). I got her call and just sat there crying. I had large sunglasses on and hid my face to hide the tears as they streamed down my face. On the route we pass a spot every day that is named “Cancer Survivor Square”. That day…those bronze statues came to life. They suddenly represented real people. Then there was a corner ad box talking about it. She was strong….I was a weenie. I remember crying to my bff/mentor, Nicole, while parked in the HEB parking lot. She told me I had to be strong. I remember telling the nurse in pre-op, through tears, to please take care of my friend just before she went in for surgery. I remember the day we buzzed her beautiful curls and then….a few days later she was bald.
I have to interject something. My entire nursing career had been caring for those that had been given news just like this. I have held the hands of the loved ones in constant vigil believing for miracles. Comforting a son that was finding out on Thanksgiving Day his dad’s sudden dementia was caused from a metastatic, inoperable brain tumor. I will never forget his face as I wished him Happy Thanksgiving. He knew I was sincere as he later wrote the hospital about the caring, compassionate ER nurse that took care of his dad. I have seen the violent effects chemotherapy had on once vibrant individuals. I remember seeing before & after pictures posted in the hospital rooms, that had become 2nd homes, and thinking there is no way the person in the pic and the one in the bed was one in the same. I had offered different meals to someone who merely could not eat or tolerate the thought of food. Once I was pulled from ER to the oncology floor to work when they were short-staffed. I was assigned a patient that couldn’t bear the smell of perfume. Well….the smell my Bath & Body Works hand lotion made her angry. From the report I had received, many things made her angry. I came up with a brilliant plan! Since I couldn’t shower and wash off all my lotion, I offered her a mask. I said I would knock (which I always did anyway), give her a chance to get her mask on, and then enter to care for her. She was happy & her entire attitude changed. Her day changed. She asked, “Why didn’t anyone else ever think of that?” I couldn’t answer for anyone else, I just wanted to offer her the best care possible. The stories are innumerable. You don’t become callous to death; you just learn to be brave in the face of those that can’t be. Bathrooms are great for crying! So are car rides home.
It wasn’t just the news of Joy. I realized I had never had anyone close to me have the diagnosis of cancer. She was my left hand in singles ministry. After several corporate America job losses, while unemployed, she got in business with me. She realized this was her only option. She is my “millionaire next door” prototype! My son kept her sons on Tuesdays for our “Tuesday night at the office”. Sure I had lost both of my parents and had a miscarriage during pregnancy. This was different. I knew her “dream” & worked diligently to accomplish it.
What else happens when you get disturbing news? Suddenly…..everything you pictured yourself doing flashes before your eyes. Actually…the things you’re not doing! The most important impression it made for me was…..life is too stinking short to let small things slip away. Suddenly…..I got serious about my goals that seemed too distant. Suddenly….you laugh more, love more, join a Zumba class, stop eating processed foods, become a pesco pollo vegetarian, & get your nose pierced…..well maybe not everyone….but I did. Surprisingly enough….I have had more women my age tell me they have wanted to do that for years….my advice….Just do it!
What’s next? Obtaining my 501(c)3 in order to begin my organization for single parents & their kids, (a safe house, a refuge,) write a manuscript for my first book (which I have finally named!), downsize to a small downtown Dallas loft with a pool & exercise room, valet, concierge & focus on making other people’s dreams come true. That is just this year!
Glenda and I will have a GNO to celebrate the completion of this process for Joy. Soon I will have my yoga loving friend back and watch out world! We have discovered the sky is not the limit….there are footprints on the moon!
What is it in your life that you need to “realize”? Please don’t wait until you receive devastating news to do so. I am reading this amazing book by Donald Miller, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, and I love the “story” part. It reiterates a biz CD of Orrin Woodward that says for some of us the ink has dried and you can’t erase your past. If your life is not going the way you dreamt, re-write it. You have permission!
Enjoy the poem, or whatever you want to call it, but please…..re-evaluate where you are today, where you want to be and what steps you have to take to get there. Life is happening, don’t miss it.
Believe, Begin & Become!
Who doesn’t have one.
The value of ten years:
Ask a newly
The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.
The value of one year:
Ask a student who
Has failed a final exam.
The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.
The value of one month:
Ask a mother
Who has given birth to
A premature baby.
The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed the a train, bus or plane.
The value of one-second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident.
Time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when
You can share it with someone special.
To realize the value of a friend or family member: