I’m sitting here as the grey day softens into night outside my window. There is a candle burning, and I am warm from a long hot soak in the tub. Tonight marks an ending and a beginning. Three weeks ago, I underwent a major surgery. The doctor removed my kidney and the cancer that had invaded it. The pathology report confirmed his suspicion that the tumor was encapsulated and he was able to remove it all. For weeks, I’ve been home recovering my health, my strength, and my stamina.
Mom and Kristi flew out to be here for my surgery. My sister said she just needed to be there when the surgeon said he got it all. When he did, she cried. My mom stood with Keith as I lay hooked up to tubes and monitors in the Recovery room and then stood vigil with him as they watched over my care in the hospital. She napped on the couch in the waiting room. When I came home, my mom was here to be with me, allowing Keith and the kids to return to work knowing that I was in good hands.
Mom fed me chicken and stars, my favorite as a child. When I was sick, she made sure I had ginger ale and saltines. She was on bucket watch. There was something incredibly comforting about having my mom with me through this time. Every day she told me I was looking better… I think she might have been fibbing. She reminded me to get up and move around, to take it easy, to make sure I had something to eat. I am so grateful.
I have been humbled by the outpouring of love and support from my family and friends. We enjoyed meals delivered nightly from a small army of cooks from our church. The variety of loving care was breathtaking. Flowers, cards, and tokens from friends and family have touched my heart. My cousin Kindy sent a blanket with healing words and good wishes emblazoned across. I’ve been wrapped in that blanket for weeks. These well- wishes and visits have encouraged my heart and reminded me that I am not alone.
I have read and reread kind words and well wishes from friends on social media and through old-fashioned snail mail. Words from friends from long ago and far away, as well as, those in my everyday life. Colleagues and friends have shared their own stories of cancer and victory to encourage me on my way. A group of friends gathered a basket of activities for my convalescence for me and dropped it off the other day. Movies, homemade soap, coloring books, healthy snacks, pedicures, and gift cards for Amazon shopping all have their own place in the healing process.
This afternoon, mom went home. I am better. I’m not quite back to normal, but I’m on my way. The worst is over and life will soon go back to normal. Or maybe to a new normal. I’m not really sure what happens after this.
I do know that I have felt the grace of practical love and care poured out in so many ways. I have been deeply touched by the words and well wishes. I have been stunned by the variety of ways there are to let someone know you care. I am not sure that I will ever be the same after this… this love and concern, this earnest good will, and the deep and true care expressed so beautifully have changed me.