Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Big C

The week of October 4, 2004 was a blur. David’s angioplasty, scheduled for Thursday had to be moved to the following week.. Two memorial services were held for my uncle, one on Tuesday in SC where he had lived and taught school for many years and one in our small home town on Friday evening at a local funeral home. Because Earl (John) was cremated, his ashes were present at both services in a beautiful ceramic container in the shape of an eagle. Earl and his family had lived in several western states where he taught in a Native American school and his wish was for his ashes to be scattered over the Grand Canyon. My cousin made arrangements for the trip to Arizona for that purpose several weeks later.

Daddy’s very traditional funeral was held on Thursday at the First United Methodist Church where our family had attended since my great grandfather’s days. There was a viewing of the body the night before where we all stood in a receiving line for hours as friends and loved ones passed to pay their respects. Toby flew home from school for the services but ,like me, didn’t care to look at the prepared body of my father, preferring to hold onto happier memories of his smiling face.

Throughout the week David looked pale and weak. Most people thought his appearance was the result of grief. I knew better and so did he. His heart was in trouble and he needed the catheterization that was planned. As each day passed, he became more and more anxious. Finally on Friday, I phoned his doctor and after hearing the situation she prescribed anti-anxiety meds for David to take until he went for the procedure.

On Tuesday, we arrived at the hospital at the appointed time, David was prepared and fairly quickly taken into surgery. As he was being rolled into recovery the surgeon explained that there were several blockages severe enough to need repair. The choices were bypass surgery or placement of several stents. The doctor said he would choose the stents if it were him. When asked when the additional needed work could be performed, his partner replied, “Now,” and promptly rolled David back into the surgical suite.

When David was rolled out the next time he was recovering from anesthesia but his skin color was already much improved. He had really needed this operation!.

A few weeks later during a follow-up appointment David’s cardiologist was discussing the importance of avoiding stress. At one point he told us very seriously that if David continued to drive to work 55 miles each way in rush hour traffic that he was going to die soon. Well, that was all I needed to hear. Immediately, I began preparations to move from our big old house to an apartment in Charlotte.

It felt like we were selling everything , although as we would find as we packed to move and again several years later when we began our traveling adventures, that there was, as both George Carlin and Jimmy Buffett have said, “just too much stuff.” We told friends and neighbors to come shopping at our house. We gave family pieces to other members of the family. Finally, we had a huge yard sale netting thousands of dollars.

We moved into a new 2 bedroom apartment in Charlotte of December 1. On December 4, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

After a battery of tests, my surgeon said I would need, at a minimum, a complete mastectomy on the right side. Her recommendation, however, given some suspicious though not yet obviously cancerous spots on the left, was that I have a bi-lateral mastectomy. Surgery was scheduled for December 30.

David and I decided to wait until the boys returned home for the holidays to give them the news. After all, having just endured the death of their grandfather and then not being near enough to visit with their Dad before or after his procedure neither of them needed to hear right in the middle of exams that their mother had a serious health issue.

The Best Margarita

In Mexico margaritas are seldom made with prepared mixes as is almost always the case in the US.

3 ounces of white/silver tequila
1 1/2 ounces controy (Cointreau in the US)
Juice of a whole lime

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker over ice and shake vigorously. Pour into an ice filled cocktail glass (rimmed with salt if desired) and enjoy.

No comments:

Post a Comment