DINK #259 Walking Beside A Friend Living With Cancer

Posted on : 06-12-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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Picked up my good friend and long time mentor to take to lunch and then on to the American Cancer Society to see about wigs and to learn how the heck to tie on a scarf so that it looks chic and stays on the head???  Vickie has been undergoing chemotherapy for the past six weeks or so for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  That’s on top of already having a roaring case of Lupus and Diabetes (insulin) plus heart attacks and back stuff. You name it, this woman has been through it. But she keeps on ticking and I have to say that somehow through it all she has maintained an incredible sense of humor. The dry kind that makes sense when you’ve been dipping your toes into the fiery hell of disease for awhile.

I will never sit here and tell you that I am the most coordinated person that ever walked this planet; however, over the last five years or so I will say that I’ve gotten pretty durn adept at figuring out how to pack in Vickie’s various walkers into the trunk or the back seat of my little Toyota Celica so that we can zoom around to lunches or appointments.  Although the one she has now is the lightest she’s ever had (two pounds I kid you not!) it is still the same size of the previous ones and has the added bonus of a bumper guard on the front part making it impossible to fit into the trunk (even if I stuffed it in as good as I could and sat on the trunk lid like one of the three stooges with sweat rolling down the sides of my face because of trying to make it work…).

We went to Threadgill’s downtown and had good food for a fair price (as our friend Craig likes to say).  Half-way through our lunch I noticed this table of preppy-techie looking guys with polo shirts on that had their company name on the back.  Sometimes a few of them would talk but most of the time they were all using sign language to communicate with each other. I was very impressed with how the eight or so of them interacted and so I told Vickie about them.  She encouraged me to go up to them and introduce myself and tell them that I had been watching the cohesive way that they were communicating with each other and as a coach, I really appreciated it and then ask them for a card.  I was way too shy to do this but Vickie kept encouraging me and finally gave me this look as only a good friend with a rose colored cap on their bald head and oxygen tubes coming out of their nostrils could do. I had to go talk to them! They didn’t have a card, but I think they enjoyed meeting me and I sure did feel good overcoming my fear and shyness too.  Good ole Vickie, she always brings the best out in me.

The American Cancer Society gals were aces. They were loving and fun and respectful. We were very impressed.  Vickie hadn’t even been thinking about a wig but when we saw how nice wigs are these days as opposed to the old days when you would see illustrated or fake photos of women that looked like Arlene Dahl (heck it probably was Arlene Dahl) in the back of comic books.  Vickie got to special order one for herself because she has a petite head!! Who knew?!  I told her that if I had to go bald, I’d probably scare people half to death because my head is so big. I’m pretty sure it would be confirmed that I was in fact an alien.

Our main helper, Kathleen, also taught  Vickie how to put on the wig, care for it, suggested a beautician who could help her fit it to her head if it needed fitting etc.  Then the two other girls and me picked out scarves and wool caps for Vickie to try on.  We found some beautifully made caps, which Vickie really appreciated since she has knitted many a woolen piece in her life, and some gorgeous scarves. In fact, we left with a gorgeous purple, turquoise and red scarf all wrapped on Vickie’s head.  I told her that she could now let out her inner gypsy.

I almost blew it all though getting us back into the car.  Luckily, at the same time I was trying to re-load the chair in from a different direction Vickie had been bending down to mess with some stuff in her purse.  Otherwise, I would have definitely bumped her head with one of the wheels of the chair if not worse!! We laughed at the idea that we had just spent two hours taking such special care of her head and in on five minute spurt I could have decapitated her.  Macabre humor has its place among long time friends.

As I sit here typing this I am feeling that old familiar ache in my throat where the tears flow down from the back of my eyes.  I’m grateful that I’m able to enjoy my friend today where she is at and give her support as best as I can.  The hardest part of today wasn’t getting the cart in and out of my car or even transferring the oxygen bottles back and forth but it was more listening to VIckie’s cancer cough as she calls it and her apologies for coughing so much.  If I could have reached inside of her lungs and pulled out the mass of cancer in there and thrown it to the far ends of the Earth, I surely would have. Not very Wayne Dyer-ish of me I know, but it’s how I felt.  The cough gets worse when she talks but sometimes when I’m doing this Divinely guided kind of service, I go into a very quiet place and it doesn’t occur to me to talk about anything because I’m so intently listening.  We laugh about that too.

Friendship, precious precious friendship.  The commitment is so worth it.  Who will you allow to love you today?

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