Saturday, April 02, 2011

Something else to think about


I suddenly have something else  -- and someone else -- to think about.

Sue, who I have known since high school...



(she is the one there on the right in this picture, who is behaving herself)

and who I saw in November when I went to Los Angeles…



has sent an e-mail announcing that early in March she found out that she has breast cancer. Her mother died of breast cancer 20 years ago at age 73.

Sue is a very smart woman and has been faithful about having her yearly mammogram, and they have caught this cancer very early. So early in fact, that they had to do the equivalent of an “E-ticket ride” (if you did not go to Disneyland during its early years of operation you can read an explanation here) to get a biopsy specimen because the spot was so small.

Naturally this is a roller coaster for her – and no doubt there is a battle on-going in her heart not to cave into fear. I understand a little of that fear – I had a breast lump removed in 1990, that I knew they knew wasn’t cancer, but they wouldn’t come right out and tell me for sure it wasn’t cancer until they got it out. I spent some time on pins and needles until we learned it was a fibrocystic lump. 

This is the real deal for her though, not fibrocystic breast disease, and I don’t even want to hint that I know how she feels.

A lot has changed in breast cancer treatment since her mother died, and her prognosis is very good. I am so sorry this is happening to her, but I think she is going to be fine. Praying about someone else’s crises often is just the thing to help divert self-absorption.  

When Sue got married, I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. She chose purple and orange for her colors, and at the time I thought, “You have got to be kidding! Purple and orange?” Of course, it was gorgeous.

In the winter of 1981, I received a box at Christmas from friend in Oregon. The two years we spent there changed our lives in ways I can’t even go into, and I have cherished in my heart the relationships I made there. There was a king-sized “friendship quilt” in the box – which we have used every winter since then – and there was also grapevine Christmas wreath. It has hung on various walls in the house, gathering dust, and occasionally getting knocked off, since 1981. It became sadder and more tired looking as each year passed, and finally, a few weeks ago, as Spring began to peak around the corner, I decided I would give the wreath a face lift.

My friend Judy thoughtfully cut out a florist’s advertisement from the local daily paper announcing that she refurbished wreaths and arrangements, so at our last appointment with the grief counselor, I dropped the wreath off at a florist shop. I told her to “fix it up.” I gave her a dollar limit on how much I wanted to spend, and told her I wanted it to be bright and pretty, and then I blurted out that I liked “purple and orange.”

Judy was kind enough to pick it up for me. I think the florist did a great job.

It is now hanging in safe spot on Richard’s office wall,



and every time I look at it, and I can see it easily where I sit at the table to eat, I think about Sue and I say a little prayer that….

she will get the best care possible from the medical team treating her…
she will be strong…
the treatment will work…
she will have peace…
that she will be surrounded by strong and supportive people who will encourage her not to give up… and
her faith will not waver...

3 comments:

Paula said...

Wishing your friend the best in her unwanted journey.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Cancer sucks..but they have really advanced in their treatment of breast cancer over the years. I wish your friend the best..you have a lovely wreath to remind you of her and more importantly a reminder to pray often.
I wish you could have found something else to think about...but we never know where our journey is going to take us.
I like your cheerful pink header..you must have some blooms there by now:)

Leilani Lee said...

Yes... flowers are breaking out all over!