Friday, January 22, 2010

Normal Life

Since Christmas, I have been doing really well, but sometimes this normal life thing is busy - holy cow! Lots has happened since I last emailed, Grant and I passed the New Year on a date (not in chemo) that was nice, I am still doing my mini job, and, now, working for him. Yep, Grant FINALLY started his own business which is wonderful and a little scary all at the same time (thank God for home equity loans because no one else will give us a loan now!). He has wanted this for so long I can't tell you. When we were first married and I said, "Who is going to hire someone with less than 10 years of experience?". In 1998, he asked again, and I said, "You need an MBA." In 2001, he got one. Then, we wanted children and by the time we got done with fertility and pregnancy, I said, "Are you NUTS?!? We are having a baby!" Then, we had another, then, I got cancer. Now, he has 18 years of experience, an MBA, two kids that are not babies, and I am cancer free. Basically, I got nothin'. So, "Crete" was started. It has some symbolism. Grant loved ReTec where he started 18 years ago. Crete is a word scramble of that. It is also an island which he and his partner found they liked, but most of all Grant loves nicknames for employees. Yes, I told him several times as an HR director that is not advised, but he "selectively heard", it was. So, he now, if he is successful enough to ever have "paid" employees (unlike myself) he can call them "cretins" and when they leave, he can call them "excretins". He LOVES that part. He is a classy guy. So, onward Cretins, may you flourish!!!! (I will remain unpaid therefore dodging the title.) So, in all of this, I juggle. And then, real life happens......I get a call. Thirty five year old woman, two small kids, married, Stage Four Colorectal Cancer. She is my oncologist's patient. I call the cancer center - she goes in tomorrow. I tell them I am coming and they say, "She needs to hear it from you - not us - you." I put together a "kit" of items that she may not have, a list of things she may need, and I blow through the doors of the treatment center. I don't even think about how I haven't been there since treatment.......I go to her room and one of the nurses says, "Hey, they called to tell me you were coming - she needs to see you now." She interrupts the Social Worker and says, "Shelly, you need to talk to this cancer patient." I feel like looking behind me because I can't been that important, but again, as I surprise myself. I enter the room, say hi, and ask how she is doing. She says, "I've been better." And I reply, "I know - this sucks." Her husband looks tired and the social worker doesn't say a word. So, we begin, at the beginning. She is scared and I am confident. She has fight in her eyes - I like that. We talk for a while and I tell her I will be back in two weeks. Wow, the difference two weeks makes - now, she is confident, and calm. She told me about her "good week". She is determined and amazing. I tell her I will be back in two weeks. BTW - yes, I got the lecture about "taking care of myself". Bob would have gone; and will I - GAME ON. Not much later, I get a call at 7:30 in the morning. It is one of my college friends. One of the ones that I went to Leavenworth with. I answer, "What is wrong?" "______'s Dad died suddenly last night" she cries. Life. Normal. Life. The beauty in the sadness is that, as we always do, we get together, combine frequent flyer miles, buy down tickets, got free lodging from a friend of a friend and we will all be there - for her. There will be hundreds, if not many more, at this particular funeral. We may not even see her - but she knows we will be there. So, if you could say a little prayer for Shelly who charges on; and for my friend who loved her Dad, that would be great. Life. Normal. Heroic. Sad. Beautiful. Worth it. Love, Ang


leslie kendall said...

You are my hero....plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

You rock...I love your blog.

Love & Laughter,

Laurie Duncan Cleary said...

You are such a good friend to so many. We are all blessed to know you and have you in our lives.

Anonymous said...

Ang, So glad to hear from you and that your life is moving forward in a positive way. Good luck to you and Grant and the new business, sounds good. After being so involved in the Haiti situation, Bud is now back in Mexico for a month. The loss of Molly Hightower, Fr. Craig's niece in the hospice there was a real tragedy. Craig was one of Nan's closest friends at SU. He is now at your almamater Gonzaga. He volunteered there when Srs. Philomena and Fidelis were there. Fr. Rick has had his hands full with all of the medical needs there, as well as loosing his mother during it all. Now back in Haiti, he is trying to get things back in order, whatever that means. I tried to connect with Rick R. at Fox when he was home sick, but received a reply from someone else. Thought he would appreciate Fox did a wonderful job on memorializing Molly. Didn't know if he knew Fr. Rick was our Haiti person connected to NPH. I don't have your email, sorry about the long response.
I am so impressed about your reaching out to new cancer victims and giving them positive support.
Love you, Judi

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to drop some lines to say "Hello!". I feel free to say you are such a great woman. I know GOD is with you at all time. I send you a big hug.
Take very good care of yourself and I'm sure you'll be better each day.
God Bless You Always!


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Mary Benham said...

I got goosebumps as I read this blog because it shows your passionate advocacy & caring for others you don't even know. You can rest assured that Shelly appreciated your visit and words of wisdom more than anything at that time in her life! This is what we all need and it's contagious! Keep up the great "stories" of real life! It keeps us humble and forever thankful! God Bless!