You Wouldn’t Know Death Was Lurking Over My Shoulders … If I Didn’t Tell You


Can you see Death looking over my shoulder?  Can you see the warrior in this photo?
Can you see that all isn’t as it appears?  Did you know that for 16 years I couldn’t look at these photos?

I have been digging up old photos that I’m even fortunate enough to still have.  The house fire of December 28, 2004 burned all of our belongings.

The photos were in a big suitcase upstairs in the big, historic house we lived in.  The man who owned the house put a new box on the outside of the house, didn’t replace the old, out-dated wiring in the house.  He told us after we moved in.

The stairs were burnt, and unstable after the fire.  I wanted to go up those steps to see if there was anything at all to save in Tommy’s room, and to get the photos.  The fireman wouldn’t let me when it was burning.

I waited until I was the only one at the house to salvage through the rubble to find anything that was left to show we had a life there.  There was very little.  I meant to go up those stairs … go up them I did.

The sad thing was we were looking for what was ours in the burnt shell of the house, on the ground … everyone was driving by, stopping to see what they could find that was ours … and taking it with them.

People were stealing from a house that burned down … stealing anything they thought was of value.  Some people didn’t know me … I watched them steal.  Why didn’t I tell them to go?

I was in shock … if you’ve never been in shock … I can’t tell you how it does one.  You aren’t yourself … not at all.  You are in a world where everything is quiet, far away … you are in a vacuum that is trying to protect you.  You see, hear … at a distance even if you are … right there.  Your soul is numb.

I would never have the nerve to let my face be seen doing at someone’s home that had just burned down … stealing.  The sad thing was … I knew some of them … if you are reading this now, I won’t ever forget.

Not only that, our neighbors were also, telling us who stopped to look for anything to take away with them.  Shame on you for stealing, kicking someone in the face while they were down.

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter any more … I let go of that anger several years ago … when Tommy died, I forgot everything.

I went up those stairs, grabbed the big, heavy suitcase.  I prayed that the weight of it, and myself … wouldn’t go crashing through the steps.  The suitcase was dripping water … water from the firemen’s hose.

The photos were ruint … there was black, wet and messy charring, and soot.  I took the photos out and began trying to separate them.

They had stuck together … it took weeks to salvage as many photos as I could.  I had to cut, trim photos.  I put them in a pan of water to try to get them apart.  It was awful, but I managed to save a lot of them.

So when you see damage of any kind to a photo of mine … know that it’s from the house-fire.  I’m lucky I have them to show we had a life prior to the house fire.

I found about 4 photos I never could look at closely.  Why?  Well, they were taken at a time I didn’t want photos taken of me.  I didn’t have any hair … and I’m a female.  The photos hurt me deeply … I knew I could never let anyone see them … even let myself look at.

The strange thing is I just discovered the photos …. they were taken during the 3 year period of time I battled cancer.  My enemy was non-Hodgkins lymphoma … I fought like Hell to win.  I won.

I was just told by the oncologist last week that I shouldn’t be here … well, I’ve survived 16 years and 98% patients died from what I had.

The photos … I made myself look into them … look into my face.  I couldn’t believe it … I couldn’t see Death lurking around me, but … it was.

I couldn’t see that the photos don’t look bad at all.  I couldn’t see that I didn’t look hideous with the beautiful human hair wig Skip chose for me to look like my own hair.

I never looked at the photos until 16 years later … during the past several days.  Now, I can see that those photos aren’t awful at all.  I look normal … you wouldn’t know I had a beautiful wig on unless I told you.

You wouldn’t know Death was lurking around me when you looked at them … if I hadn’t told you.

Note by this author:  I own all photos you see on my stories, posts, blogs.  All stories I write in my words, I also … own.  Gloria Faye Brown bates/aka Granny Gee/@grannygee

It’s Not About Vanity At All …


It’s Not About Vanity At All …

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

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Photo is of me … my beautiful hair!  🙂  Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

My hands fluffed, played with my hair. I love my hair. It’s thick … curly, full … below my shoulders. I don’t fix it all the time … I let it be wild. My fingers love the silky feeling curls.

I’ve always fluffed it, run my fingers through it. I wear perfume in my hair … my hair smells as nice as I do! No matter how ‘wild’ it is … my hair smells good.

I don’t mean to be vain about my hair … sometimes, someone may think that I am. The truth is … I appreciate my beautiful hair with my very Heart. I’m not vain at all … I’m most grateful for all my hair.

Cutting my hair short, in hopes that it could stay just like it was … I looked in the mirror. My eyes were red from crying my Heart out. I’d just had my hair cut short … I don’t like short hair at all. I’m looking back into the past … back to … then.

Just before cutting it, my hair was midway down my back … so many wonderful curls. Now … it’d been chopped off … honestly, it wasn’t ‘chopped’ off. The beautician had cut it in a nice way … she was gentle when doing it.

I looked back in my mirror … oh my God! My hair, my beautiful hair! I was told it was going to be worse than short hair … but, I couldn’t imagine. I was going to … lose all my hair!

I began crying once again … scared, ashamed. How many women want to lose their hair … become … bald-headed? How many? I was almost tempted … not to cut my hair at all … not lose my hair at all. If I had made that decision … of course, there’s no way I would be sitting here, writing.

Vanity for my hair … has through time … turned into gratefulness to have hair … long hair once again. I’m so thankful for it every day. So, if you see me playing with my hair, fluffing it … just know that while I’m doing it, I’m still aware of how it felt to not have it … know in my mind, I’m thanking God for it.

I had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma … CANCER. That’s how the word cancer was seen in my mind … in giant letters. I almost didn’t survive it … now, I have a heart condition from the drug, adriamycin. I am glad to be living … it was a trade-off to live.

I lost my hair twice, due to chemotherapy drugs. I had two major surgeries, twice. I went through chemotherapy two separate times … the second time, my hair was beautiful … short, curly … happy hair!

Can you imagine … no, you honestly can’t anymore than to imagine losing your only child … how it feels to be a woman … with no hair?

Think about it for a moment … I can imagine you thinking you are so glad you have your hair. Can you imagine … not having any choice in the matter … getting cancer, taking chemo treatments … losing your hair? No … you can’t … these are things you can’t even imagine. I pray you never experience it.

Losing one’s hair, as a woman … isn’t just losing one’s hair. A lot more is involved … like a nightmare one is living in, wants to get out of.

Over the days after the chemo treatments began … my scalp became very sensitive. Oh, how my skin on my head … hurt. Touching it … felt painful, awful. I wish I could describe how it really felt. The drugs …

Taking a shower became an ordeal … my hair began to come out as if nothing was ‘holding’ it to my scalp. Can you see yourself, standing in horror, looking into your hand … seeing your beautiful hair laying in strands … across your palms? You hurry to the mirror …. I hurried to the mirror … oh my God.

There were places on my head … there wasn’t any hair! I knew then … why my scalp hurt … had such a strange sensation in it. At nighttime … my scalp hurt when laying my head on the pillow.

I cried so much … how could I let Skip, anybody … see me like that? How could I? Everyone loved my hair … ever since I was a little girl … people always commented on my beautiful head of hair. Now … it was … all gone.

Without going into further detail … time has gone by … years. I have two awful scars on my back from those two surgeries … I’ve been trying for years to get my hair ‘that long’ … to reach those scars. Finally … I have done it.

Charolette, my beautician … has made it possible … she understood. In the past, beauticians have always cut it shorter than I wanted them to. She trimmed it, always … exactly the way I asked her. In fact, she was the one who had cut my hair with compassion … just before I lost it. I lost track of her through the years … found her again, this past year.

Hair … my hair … my beautiful, wonderful, happy hair! 🙂 Don’t I sound so vain? I think you know by now … it’s not about vanity at all.

Photo/true story are both owned by me, Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

#cancer

#losing one’s hair

#bald-headed woman

#grannygee

#Gloria Faye Brown Bates

 

One Doesn’t Have To Do Anything … In Darkness


 

One Doesn’t Have To Do Anything … In Darkness

 

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

 

 

 

Darkness … soft darkness. Mama! Mama, please tuck the blanket around my ears like you did when I was a little girl.

Yes, I ate something. Hearing Skip’s voice asking me had I eaten while he was at work. I didn’t know if I had or not … I didn’t know anything… it didn’t matter. Yes, was my answer.

So cold, I need more blankets. Turn the air-conditioner off. I shivered under my thick layer of blankets in … 100 degree heat.

Itching … in the soft darkness, I constantly itched. I’m not sure if I scratched or not. I wasn’t aware … these were symptons of … cancer … non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

I got up out of the darkness, to shower. Time to go to get chemotherapy. I was dressing … having a hard time doing so. Very weak, could hardly stand. I was still … independent … I’d do it myself. It was my will … to fight.

Skip walked into bedroom. His expression changed … I’d never seen such shock on his face as I did that day. It reached me in the state I was in.

I looked at him, asked what was wrong. I knew it had to do with me. I had lost so much weight in a short time (another symptom of cancer) … of course, I didn’t know it, I was too sick. I wore loose-fitting gowns, so … he hadn’t noticed.

In just weeks, I had lost probably fifty pounds, and I was … thin. I had wanted to lose weight ‘before’ … at this time, I didn’t think about it. Weight … what is weight? It’s unimportant …

I am alone in the house … I wanted to get up, go outside in the sunshine. Holding on to the wall, door … managed to get to back door.

Hard to open the door, my hands are like … rubber … from the chemotherapy drugs. I don’t consciously think of this at that time. I wanted to go outside …

Standing on the back porch … the sunshine blinded me. My eyes are blurred … tears fill them. I can’t see well through the medicinal fog I was in. I saw my hoe near the porch … I loved to plant flowers.

I wanted to hold the hoe in my hands. I made my way to the edge of the porch, my hands reach out to get the hoe. Oh my … oh! The hoe felt awful in my hands! It felt … alien. I couldn’t bear to hold the handle … it … hurt. I let go of it.

My hands had become weaken, so ‘unused’ to holding things. I couldn’t hold any weight. Things felt … rough to my very smooth hands. They weren’t used to doing anything … one doesn’t have to do anything … in darkness.

………………………………………………

Photo/Story Credit: are owned by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.

All I wrote here, is true. I was trying to give you an idea of being near death … not conscious of it … the darkness … awareness of things once taken for granted … the strangeness, later (the hoe).

I shared just a few conscious moments in time when I was very sick, fighting my battle to live from cancer. My battle lasted over three years. I thought it was the worse thing I’d ever had to live through in my life … until … my son, Tommy, died.

 

I know what it’s like to live in darkness … there’s nothing to do there … but, ‘be’.  By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

Post-Thoracotomy Syndrome… ‘Forever Pain’


Post Thoracotomy Syndrome…  ‘Forever Pain’

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

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Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee… 2013

Do you know someone who has had a thoracotomy surgery?  How about 2 thoracotomy surgeries in one year?  If you aren’t familiar with thoracotomy surgery… Google it.  Normally… if someone has this surgery, it’s one surgery… not two.

I had two… one on July 12, 1998… the second one on July 16, 1999.  I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  A big mass was discovered on my right lung, resting against my heart.  This was the first thoracotomy… a rib was removed… the first surgery began the pain I suffer with today.

The second thoracotomy was done when it was discovered I had non-Hodgkins lymphoma in my left lung.  A small portion of my lung was removed… this intensified the pain I suffer with still today.

Nerves are severed… the sad thing is… they can’t ever be ‘put back together again’.  Pain becomes what I call ‘forever pain’…  I remember losing hope when I asked a long time ago… if ‘it could be fixed’.  The doctor told me… ‘unfortunately, no’.

So you will know… I’m thankful to have this terrible pain.  Did I sound crazy saying this?  If I didn’t suffer with this pain… it means I wouldn’t be living.  It’s my trade-off to live…  I want to live… I love life… no matter how painful it is.  :)))  Not only is the pain my ‘trade-off’ to live… my heart was damaged from a chemotherapy drug called ‘adriamycin’.  It’s okay… I was near death… all helped me to survive.  Skip helped me to live…

Through the years, I’ve had more surgeries… all added to the pain I suffer with.  Old injuries now, haunt me with… pain.  Not only physical pain, I have suffered a lot of pain… mentally.  So many ‘bad’ things have happened in my life… so much more than for the average person.  Life is like that sometimes… I am stronger for it.  The good thing is… I’ve never become bitter.  I’ve tried to learn all I can from all that’s happened in my life.

If you, or anyone have caused me extra pain, grief through time… I’ve forgiven you for it.  It’s not my nature to hold grudges… though, in all honesty… I do feel lots of anger.  That’s my nature… to be angry.  I think I was born angry.  I’ve known it all my life… I’ve battled it all my life for as long as I can remember.

But… I’m not a ‘bad’ angry.  Does that make sense?  I don’t feel the need to strike out, hurt others.  I’m just ‘mad’…. until I finally cope with it… put it away.  I want to forgive… and go on; not look back… let it go.

Pain is my closest companion… I know it well.  Sometimes, when it’s bad… I am very angry.  I don’t realize it until… I become aware of myself.  I’m not proud of it… sometimes, I’m sharp with others when I am in great pain.  If I become aware of it in time… I stop myself, apologize.  I can say ‘I’m so sorry’.

Only someone who lives in such pain can understand what I’m speaking of.  If you have been so fortunate to never suffer… you won’t know what I’m talking about.  That’s good… that means you haven’t had to suffer.  I’m so, so glad for you.

This month, after 16 years of coping with the pain on my own… suffering, not wanting to take medicines other than what I have to have…. I have finally asked for relief.  I can’t believe 16 years have passed… I can’t believe 3 years have passed since Tommy died….

I’ve never wanted to take pain medicines… I have suffered more than I could ever tell you in my words.  I don’t complain, I don’t talk about it very often… it’s a part of me, just as the air I breathe.  It’ll be there until the day I die…

The good thing is… I have medicine that I can take when I choose to.  I have a second medicine I will take in low dosage for this type of pain.  I feel hope for the first time since the thoracotomy surgeries.  I’ve actually felt ‘happy, excited’… to know how it’ll feel to go through a day without pain.  I haven’t experienced it, yet.  I hope to, soon.  I can’t imagine… I just can’t imagine.  :)))

Why have I chosen to punish myself all these years?  I don’t think I realized it possible to get medicines to help me… unless they were narcotics.  I don’t want to take them…

I have grown up with the grief, physical and mental pain inflicted upon me from ‘family’ on drugs, alcohol… It affected me in such a way, that I’ve suffered greatly all these years.  It’s a wonder I’m not …. ‘crazy as hell’.  :)))  I’m not… but, I’m very strong.

Not only that, many ‘family’ members are gone now… people I loved with my very heart.  They all had ‘problems’… I can’t tell you the grief in my heart … these were the very closest family members I loved dearly from a child up…

I will say when my son died from blockages in his heart… it was the worse pain I’ve ever known… nothing I’ve ever experienced compared to when he died.  I’m so glad I got to see him the evening before… I still see his smile in my mind.  The pain… oh my, just the pain alone from his death…..

I don’t think a lot of people are familiar with ‘post thoracotomy syndrome’.  I hope this will bring awareness of such… hopefully, if someone you know is suffering from it… know it really is… horrible.  I haven’t went into ‘how horrible’… one can Google for more information.

I think I wrote this because for the first time… I am smiling, my heart is full of hope, excitement … I might get to feel ‘pain-free’ days in the near future.  I really can’t imagine such… but, I’m looking forward.  I smile most of the time… can you imagine my smile being like the sunshine?  Why, I’ll shine so much… I might glow at night.  A soft, happy, golden glow… so, if you see such at night… it could be… me.  :))))

Oh!  I told you… I wasn’t perfect.

Do You Know The Power You Have As A Person?


Do You Know The Power You Have As A Person?
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

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Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

I was thinking about the past, to a time when I last saw some of my ‘family’. Family on my father’s side…. I had been battling my own illness, been through two major surgeries, chemotherapy. I think back to the treatment I received from them.

I looked really, really ‘bad’. I had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I was deathly sick… I lost weight too fast, and my airway closed off until I couldn’t speak above a whisper.

The mass was on the outside of my lung, resting on my heart… closing off my bronchial tube. This went on until finally… I was diagnosed. At first, no one knew… until after many tests… I was dying. I could barely walk… I had entered the dark world.

I didn’t know anything, but… somehow, managed to walk on my own. That fighting spirit…. I spoke from the darkness I was in… Skip would talk to me, I couldn’t see him. I thought I ate, said I’d eaten… never knowing I hadn’t eaten anything.

Something wonderful happened… I didn’t know it. I’d lost probably 50 lbs. in a short time. I never knew it… nor got to appreciate it. Too sick. You know I’d been happy about that… if I had ‘known’. :)))

I don’t know of a lot of people who can look ‘beautiful’ when they are battling death to live life. Do you? Chemotherapy takes a lot out of a person…. side effects last for years, even to the day one dies. I know.

Your body is beaten down… you keep struggling to ‘get back up’ each time. You are knocked back down by death… to see if you have a fighting spirit to get back up. It happens time after time… until you become stronger, better.

And… if people are added to your battle… to make it worse… if you survive all that… you have become stronger. Oh, God… I made it… that was such a journey.

After surgeries that take your physical strength away… chemotherapy finishes up the job… you are lucky you can even walk… much less do what I did. I drove for two hours to go to my Grandmother Lola’s funeral. I was in a ‘bad’ way when I got there.

I just stopped for a moment to think about that. Skip wasn’t able to travel with me that day… he was on a trip.

I was all alone, not used to going out by myself. It’s strange… no one there at my ‘family’s gathering’… seemed to notice, care. Of course, ‘me being me’… I never complained. I never shared often how I was feeling, especially when I was ‘at my weakest’. I knew people treated ‘weak people’ bad…

It’s taken all these years until this very moment… to realize that. Not one person mentioned my illness, nor was glad to see me better. It was like they… didn’t know, or… acknowledge it. Whereas, I’d run, not walked… to their side to be there for them. To make sure they were okay, after ‘knowing’ they were fortunate to be alive.

I would have kept sensing them… to ‘try to feel’ if they were alright. I would have been… kind. I would have been … protective. It’s ‘my nature’ to be like that… I don’t care who, or how someone looks… I will protect … if possible.

No one cared… no one cared. I sit here in amazement… as I see all of them in my mind’s eye. I look at ‘each one of them’… I smile a sad smile now. But… I just thought of something else… ‘it’s my fault’.

Yes… it’s my fault… ‘I didn’t tell them I was so sick, the trip had been hard on me’… that day. I didn’t tell anyone that I was worried about driving 2 hours on the busy interstate, to get back home after the funeral. I didn’t tell them I was afraid. There wasn’t any one person, I could have asked for help from.

I know ‘several of you’ who were there that day… are reading my life stories. I remember ‘you, and you… and you… and you’….. and how you treated me at the most worst time in my life. You know that saying…. something about … ‘I wouldn’t care if you were dying’… well, ‘you all’ taught me the true meaning of that saying. Thank-you.

I really mean that… it just added to the things that ‘I know how they feel’… ‘I’ve been there, done that’, sort of thing. The good thing is… I don’t hate you, and you, and ‘you’ who are reading this ‘now’. I honestly don’t.

You thought I was a ‘goner’, and I’d never live to remember it. I do remember… but, I don’t have hard feelings toward you. I would never say, ‘do you remember when’? I wouldn’t have to, because… of course, you do.

You may just find out how it feels from your ‘families’ when you become weak in your older life… I do believe in people knowing how it feels to be treated the way they treat people, especially at a time that person’s fought to live, and that person loved you, was glad to see you… you turned your back on them.

And… laughed, made fun of them? Because …of how they looked? That’s ‘why’…. Camie, the little puppy I rescued… was ‘thrown away’… that’s why she was ‘left to die’… she didn’t look good enough, she was too sick. I didn’t turn my back on her… I gathered her up in my arms… I didn’t know what I was going to do to save her… but, she ‘damn-well’ wasn’t going to die alone. I cared.

I promise that I remember probably every person who hurt me when they saw me… turned away, ran the opposite way…. when I was struggling, battling to live. I wouldn’t have ever run away from any of you… I would have come to you, let you know I cared, and was glad to see ‘you’.

I have to say that one older man that I always loved, respected through the years… shocked me when I was so sick… we were in the supermarket. He didn’t see Skip… I’d turned the corner… when he saw me, he began talking fast… I couldn’t understand him… he turned away, almost ran to get away.

There’s nothing stranger to see than, someone ‘acting completely out of character’. I stood there … stunned. What did he say? I feel pain… he ran away. It hurt me so much that I had to hold onto myself… when Skip came up, he asked me if I was okay. I told him I was just very weak… I couldn’t tell him. I was so embarrassed to be treated that way by someone we both liked, respected. I really felt… awful.

A couple years later, we learned that the older man had cancer… and he… died. I felt sad for him. I really liked him, I had always thought he liked me, too. Isn’t it ironic?

Same for the treacheous step-mother I told you about in a previous story… she had cancer… died within a couple of years after she did wrong. Isn’t it ironic?

I could name ‘more’ who had cancer… have died, since I was battling to live from my condition… and from how I was treated by … them. I cared for them; I loved them… if I had known, or seen them… I would have ran toward them. They wouldn’t have died being hurt by me… I would have.

Skip made me go with him to the supermarket, and places when I didn’t want people to see me… I was so sick. I had never been out in the public looking like I did. I had never seen myself look the way I did, when I looked in the mirror. I had always been dressed very nice, every hair in place… and ready to go anywhere. Looking the way I did… I lost every bit of pride I’d ever had.

You see, I did have a beautiful head of hair, long and curly. I loved my hair… I took pride in my big head of hair. I lost it to the chemotherapy medicines to save my life. I had to wear a wig, adding to the ‘look’ I was wearing.

Not only that… when it did grow back out to several inches long… I had to have surgery again… the cancer had returned to the inside of my other lung. I had chemotherapy again… I lost my hair for a second time. Can you imagine what this does to a young woman? She’s fighting for her life, people she loved… trusted turning their backs on her… and lose what we all treasure … her hair?

Skip didn’t want to leave me, when he had to go to the supermarket, stores… he wanted me to fight harder to live; wanted me to do the things I always loved to do. He wouldn’t ‘let me be’… he wouldn’t let me ‘just sit’ when I was too weak… he ‘meant for me to get well’.

Skip is my hero… he knew how to ‘invoke that fighting spirit’ … when it sagged. Guess what? I’m the same kind of person… Skip is. When he later became ill, diagnosed with colon cancer while caring for me… I meant to be well enough to care for him. I ‘had to become stronger’… and, I did.

I, also, ‘knew how to invoke that fighting spirit’. We ‘meant for each other to live’. We are here… now. :)))

When I went with Skip ‘out’… people I liked, cared about…. turned away from me. Why? Did they think they’d die… if they acknowledged me? People ‘used to love me when I was beautiful’… I learned what they’d do when seeing me when I was at ‘death’s door’.

Can you imagine the pain… grief added to my struggle? Did you know… all of ‘you’…. were God-fearing, ‘good’ people, ‘christian people’ who did this to me? I knew ‘each of you’, I knew the very churches you went to… I knew you were ‘supposed’ to be fine, upstanding citizens of the community with your ‘good’ selves.

You were good… I don’t doubt that at all. I wonder ‘what went wrong when you showed no compassion for someone who was deathly ill’? What in ‘your Bible’ told you ‘to turn away’?

I’ve sat many times trying to ‘put myself in your shoes’… to understand ‘why’ you did the way you did. ‘I swear, I just can’t figure it out’. I can’t do that to someone… I hope I never do that. I am a good person, who cares with her heart for both people, animals.

I’m not a ‘christian’ who goes to church to fool, pretend to others that I’m something I’m not. Don’t you get so tired of seeing this happen? I do get sick of it… I stay to myself, because I just simply can’t tolerate being around ‘false’ people. Be yourself… you’ll be happier being ‘true to yourself’… I promise. I am.

You went to your church, probably… that following Sunday… sat there with a sweet, little contented smile… thinking about ‘how good’ you’d been all week, forgetting …how you acted at the supermarket… maybe that didn’t ‘count’…..

Some years later, I would meet you at the supermarket, stores, I would see how uncomfortable you were… ‘you remembered how you treated a dying person’… now, you didn’t want to speak to a … person who won their battle to live. Aren’t you the ‘fine one’?

You have to be proud of yourself… you never had to feel a thing… nor see… you turned your backs, with your Godly selves. You didn’t waste your christian-comforting words on me… it would have been like snagging up on a limb underwater, when fishing. Too damn much trouble to get … free. There’s more fish to catch…

I don’t want to go to ‘your heaven’… at all. I don’t know of even… one real christian. If I did… that’s who I’d like to be associated with. No one is perfect… I don’t care who you are. I truly do… not believe… one person is ‘that perfect’. I really tried to be for several years out of my life… no matter how good I was… ‘I wasn’t good enough’…

Just because ‘you aren’t perfect’ doesn’t mean you treat people badly… especially when… they are at a point in life… a smile, even a kind word could make all the difference in them wanting to live… or to die. Think about that… with your christian selves… when you are sitting there in church thinking you are so… Godly.

Do you know the ‘power you have as a person’? Just moving your mouth in the tiniest of smiles, if you didn’t want to smile at all… can comfort someone without you realizing it.

You could even just ‘smile’ with your eyes, if you didn’t want to move your lips. You could barely ‘nod’ your head; barely ‘move your hand’… just at least acknowledge someone, especially when they are very sick. Did you know as a person… just doing only those little things… can bring ‘big’ comfort?

I realized I looked awful… in comparison with all my ‘family’ that day. I looked like ‘hell’. I knew I’d made a terrible mistake in coming to her funeral… I was being judged by my family members… and some of them were glad they finally had a chance to laugh, make fun of me. Why didn’t someone come to me, care?

On both sides of my ‘family’, no one cared. One brother that truly loved me, cared. My brother, Ricky… ‘Rick-Rick’. He and I, had the same mother… we never grew up together. No one knew he had a sister, and I… a brother… much less, a mother. No one grew up in the same home… together. No one could associate anyone with me to know… yes, I had ‘real family’. Just ‘not like their families’.

I remember once when I was so bad off… I barely opened my eyes at the hospital… I saw Rick-Rick with tears in his eyes standing at the foot of my bed… he was looking at me with such pain in his expression. I couldn’t speak to him… did he ever know I saw him? Did I ever tell him?

Sadly, my brother… Rick-Rick… died in 2007. He was the only family member who loved as I did… he loved me no matter what. I was the same way… no matter what. The love we felt for each other didn’t have anything with who, what we had in life… it was a true brother-sister love. That’s the only time in my life I ever experienced that… it was unconditional. I never-ever felt that with anyone else in my ‘family’… on either side.

I sat on the couch in my aunt’s beautiful home… everyone sat around. When I first got there, they looked me up, then… down. I smiled, my face already feeling numb from medicines… felt number, embarrassed. I shouldn’t have been there… I was no longer ‘good enough’. I looked too bad, too sick to have done anything about it… I did the best I could.

I pretended not to see my sisters, and their families laughing at me. They knew I’d been fighting for my life… I’d just come through battles they didn’t know exist. They never had an illness to knock them down to death’s door… When one would catch my eye… I would smile in a kind way… I saw ‘smirking’ in theirs.

It was how I ‘looked’. I’d been fighting for my life to get to the point I was at in life for so long. I was sitting there… being made fun of… laughed at. I looked at one of them… who was a stripper in a bar… ‘she’ was making fun of me… to her mother-in-law who……… I’ll never forget that. My sister was laughing at me… the one I truly loved as a child.

Strange enough that day… I saw three sisters. One was a sister who had the same mother I did… she did seem to care; she looked for me. She came to sit beside me… I will never forget that. It did mean a lot to me. She never knew the ‘other sisters’ I had… they all only ‘knew of each other’. At certain times in our lives… we’d all lived within … 4-5 miles from the other… in different homes.

I remember the expressions from my ‘family’… looking at her. Everyone thought they were ‘better’. The strange thing is… they really … weren’t better, not at all. She handled herself beautifully that day. I’m sure with her being healthy, not ill like I was… she had surely seen how ‘my family’ were doing.

More strange is… ‘they were all my family’, not her family at all. I have to write it this way… it’s a good thing I know all this… I would become confused! Just know this as you read… I don’t hate anyone, nor do I wish bad for them… I am just writing another ‘color’ in my life… a dark color.

So, no one has to judge anyone… you know, everyone is on a different plane in life… we do as we feel we must do… even, if we are making a mistake. Then… time goes by… and maybe we think about what we did… and we are sorry… only, it’s too late to go back to say that. No one knows where anyone is… and no one knows how the other will take them… and … all ‘that kind of stuff’.

Years go by… and those kind of things ‘become unimportant’… why? Because, as time goes by… lots of time… one is learning the ‘for-real’ important things in life. Those things from the past ‘no longer matter’. Sure, they aren’t forgotten… but, there comes a time when you think to yourself… ‘that’s okay, now… they did what they felt they needed to do… for whatever reason’.

When people have these kind of things happen in life… everyone tends to think ‘it’s the end of the world… relationship’. It’s really not… but, not many people ‘find their way back’ to see that. Be it pride, anger, pain… it prevents them from ‘going back to see’.

From all this, I look for my lesson learned… it’s that I’m amazed at the things that ‘almost killed me, destroyed me, hurt me’… I forgive people for. Those things that devastated me at one time or other in my life… no longer seem important.

I’ve let go a long time ago. I’m so glad… I don’t have ‘to grow old’ with ‘pure hate’ in my heart. It’s my nature to ‘hate, be angry’… it was ‘born in me’. But… somehow, I’ve escaped ‘that part of me’… I’m not like that at all… ‘even if I appear’ to be that way.

Of course, there are some people I’m never going to like… even the best person in the world… has ‘those people’. The main thing here is… to treat them with respect… be nice, get away from them as soon as possible. You don’t want them in your life, they aren’t ‘nice’ people. Don’t waste time with them… you know how they are.

Sitting there, at my aunt’s house, I fought the desire to just get up, leave. Drive back home, hide myself. I wasn’t strong enough for the world … yet. I didn’t know ‘my own family’ would become my enemy on my father’s side of the family. You wouldn’t believe… I didn’t. How sad I am when I think about all that… transpired. All I learned…

I will give them the credit they deserve for that day. They won… they succeeded in making me feel so little. I wasn’t the strong, beautiful young woman they remembered seeing. I sure didn’t appear to be ‘rich’, anymore. I know some of them were …glad.

You know… jealousy. Women are like that naturally… think about it… you might not let others know it… but, naturally if you are a woman, there’s someone you are jealous of… envy. Females… it’s a female ‘thing’.

I won’t even argue this with anyone… females are like this, no matter… how they hide it. Life is like that… and that’s the way it is. That’s right……

They had never seen me wearing such clothes as an adult. Hell, I probably didn’t know what I had on… myself. All I could think about was my grandmother had died… I loved her very much. I hadn’t long been at the door… that she entered, and I … ran away from. Death’s door… my grandmother was 100 years old.

I told you… you wouldn’t believe how bad I looked… imagine someone you love, coming back from death’s door… the only thing pretty about them is ‘that smile in their eyes’, the smile that says, ‘I’m so glad to be here, I made it, I’m glad to see you’!

Fighting spirit, I do have. I have more fighting spirit than… I have anything else. I was taught that well as a child. No one wanted me, on either side of my family. It’s made me feel the same way as an adult. I don’t really ‘want’ anyone that’s ‘family’… that’s a good way of staying in turmoil. I’m too private for that.

I only have a very few people in my life now… that I want. I learned my lesson well… strange enough, it took almost this long… to learn this particular lesson. Thank God, I have. I can’t bear the pain of loving so many people … I’ve been taught ‘over and over, and over’ how it feels to ‘lose everyone I truly loved’.

The pain, oh my God… the pure, pure pain of grieving. If you never experienced it ‘over and over’… there’s no way … you can understand. Especially when it seems in life… the only people dying are the ‘most important loved ones’ you ever had.

‘Now’… I want to be friends with everyone… but, I never want to be ‘close’ to anyone in my private life… never, never… never. If you get gone tomorrow… I’ve got to be ‘far enough back from loving you, as I can’… I can’t bear the pain… the knowledge that you… are gone.

Truthfully, even the distance I put there… doesn’t buffer the pain I feel in my heart. I love people who don’t love me back. When I say that… I can honestly say… it doesn’t matter. I don’t need their love… I just need how I feel inside… it feel right.

I hate people that I love… I don’t love people that I like. I was taught that as a little girl. It’s natural for me, but… probably not for you. You probably had the perfect childhood. I’m glad for you… you probably didn’t have to learn lessons the hard way… making your life more rewarding, easier… happier. It took me … longer to get here. :)))

The positive thing is… I turned out to be a ‘good’ person, too. Even if you don’t like me… or even if… you think ‘you’ are better. It doesn’t matter to ‘me’… life isn’t about wasting it on being liked by the wrong people. Life is about real things…

My fighting spirit makes some people like me, or not like me. Why?Because, they see a very sweet person in front of them… and you know how it is… eventually there are going to be the ones… who want to take advantage of a good person.

Their thinking is that … ‘hey , she’s too nice to be mean’. How many times have I encountered that in my life? People have even said after ‘trying to take advantage of me… pushed me too far’…. ‘but, I thought you were a nice person’!

They learned quickly… even a nice, good person …has limits. To be ‘good, nice’… doesn’t mean you have to do what ‘bad’ people want… or fall down on the ground and say… ‘walk on me’.

When I say ‘I don’t like ‘you’… I promise ‘you’ …. there’s good reason. If I don’t speak to you first, when meeting you… you can bet your ‘ass’ that you’ve done something negative to affect my life… and for the ‘time-being’… I DON’T like you. To get me to speak to you… you have to speak first. I might warm up to you… I might not. Depends…

Each person has power… no matter who we are. No matter if people appear to not care… they do. Doesn’t matter who you are… it does matter. Even the ‘lowest person on earth’ can make a person feel better… with just a nod, a wink… movement of their hand.. a tiny smile from their eyes… or mouth. Do you know the power you have as a person?

 

 

C A N C E R … Diagnosed With Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma


Photo of Granny Gee/Gloria… 1998 …Christmas Tree with Decorations painted, drawn, cut out by Gloria Faye Brown Bates….  (I never knew the day would come that I would dare to show this photo to anyone, much less ‘the world.’)

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 C A N C E R …  Diagnosed With Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma        

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

 I can barely remember this photo… I can’t remember a lot during this time of my life… what I do remember was … bad, good, bad … good.  So, I’ll describe it again in one word …. bittersweet.

 

We were waiting for Tommy to get home from Germany.  Skip had bought lots of gifts… strange, I can’t remember shopping with him.  

 

I sat here, just this very moment … looking into a photo once again… seeing what you can’t see, but… I know is there.  You see a smiling woman… I would even say her face is pretty here… but, nothing in comparison with how beautiful she used to be.

 

You see just a smiling woman … you don’t see where she had surgery… where a rib was removed.  You don’t see the pain in her body from the terrible surgery she had.  

 

Scars from the breathing tube, port catheter in her chest for chemotherapy drugs  (https://www.google.com/search?q=port+catheter&hl=en&tbo=u&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=H23kUNSQIoPe8ATEnIGABQ&sqi=2&ved=0CEoQsAQ&biw=1920&bih=932 , scars from the needles … you can’t see anything like that in this photo.

 

I can see for a moment a woman who found her fighting spirit from words her husband said to her… said out of love, not real anger.  Words that gave her hope, words that put steel in her spine … though here… you can’t see it.  

 

Those words made her get out of bed, begin seeing that she ‘meant to live’… she dug her heels in… she was going to hold her ground.

 

This woman, ‘me’, Granny Gee/Gloria…. was diagnosed with cancer… non-Hodgkins lymphoma in July 1998… I was close to death when finally, I was diagnosed.  

 

Skip carried me from one specialist to another … at first, they didn’t know what to diagnose me with.  My first diagnosis was sarcodosis… (http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/sarcoidosis/)… it was quickly changed after the fine needle aspiration. (http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=nlungbiop.)

 

When I had the fine needle aspiration procedure done … it was inserted through my back, into my right lung.  The doctor who performed it, caused me such pain, became nervous.  She had to let another doctor do it.  Just after … my right lung collapsed.

 

My body was so weak, I was so sick, I was … dying.  Skip was taking me back, forward for tests to determine what was causing me to not be able to breathe, I couldn’t speak above a whisper.  Steam from the showers ‘suffocated’ me, panicked me.

 

I had a PET scan, more tests…. (http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11912).

 

I lost weight rapidly, I began to stay in bed, I wasn’t able to stay up.  I stayed so cold … oh, how I remember how cold my body stayed.  Skip would pile blankets on me … I still stayed cold…. in one hundred degree weather…. 

 

I itched …. my whole body would itch … in the darkness of my mind … where ‘I was’ … I would scratch here, there.  No relief did I get from the itching.  

 

I had developed a cough… I had a bronchoscopy… my bronchial tubes were closing up.  Breathing was difficult for me.    http://www.medicinenet.com/bronchoscopy/article.htm 

 

I had CT scans (http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/computed-tomography-ct-scan-of-the-body), Muga scan (http://heartdisease.about.com/cs/cardiactests/a/muga.htm), and many other tests.

 

I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  The mass was on the outside of my right lung, resting on both heart and lung.  I was very ill.

 

On July 16, 1998, Skip took me for surgery.  After the surgery, before I could see through the drug-induced fog, before I could be sat up (Skip and the nurse were helping me… I was in a upholstered chair before I became aware of … myself)…. I heard what I can only describe as an impression of a ‘big’ woman, with a loud voice…. hateful voice.

 

First, I’m hearing someone crying … it was me.  I began to feel the terrible pain… then, I have the impression of a ‘big, tall’ woman come into the room.  She was saying something to me … the strange thing was when she spoke, I was actually seeing in my mind…. letters, about a foot tall.

 

She told me I had ‘CANCER‘… I could see each letter in my mind individually…. C  A  N  C  E  R … each letter was a foot tall.  I never saw her face, to be able to recognize her when I next saw her.

 

She told me that she was my oncologist, that I’d be having chemotherapy in the near future.  She also, told me that I had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma… that she couldn’t promise me anything.  I could live, I could… die.

 

I vaguely remember looking up into Skip’s face, turning my head to look into the nurse’s face … both looked angry.  I was crying, weeping … my mind had went to the word ‘CANCER’… I was dead, already.  I was afraid for the first time in my life in a medical setting.  

 

My memories are dark while being in the hospital… I remember nurses I couldn’t see … holding me, comforting me while performing a bone marrow biopsy. (http://www.medicinenet.com/bone_marrow/article.htm).  The pain was so great from this procedure.  Tests, needles, so much was constantly going on … to save ‘me’… to save my life.  

 

I remember my blood pressure staying too low, my nose bled… oh, the pain … the pain was mostly what I knew.  I’d had a thoracotomy.  It was done by a cardiothoracic surgeon.  I had a thoracotomy.  (http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/St-Wr/Thoracotomy.html).  

 

One year later, I had a second thoracotomy on my left lung… a small portion of lung was removed.  I had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma… it came back.  I went through being ill again, chemotherapy, losing my hair, all the tests … nightmare… once again.  Now… the pain I lived with … was doubled.

 

For now, I will stop here, give you the symptoms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma … and tell you this, though it doesn’t lessen one bit what you would go through, or lessen the severity of the disease…. 

 

I was told over and over this:  ‘if you get cancer, this is the cancer you would want.’  The chances are good that you can go into remission… for years.

 

The symptoms are at this link:  I had them all, when I began to get sick … it happened rapidly.    http://www.medicinenet.com/non-hodgkins_lymphomas/page4.htm#what_are_symptoms_and_signs_of_non-hodgkins_lymphoma

 

I first became alarmed when my blood pressure would stay low, but……. my pulse would be so high.  Deep down, I knew it shouldn’t be that way.  I was exercising, walking… eating right at the time.  I always look back to this time …before….

 

Then, the cough developed.  Not a bad cough, not a noticeable cough … I’d always had allergies…  It was one of the first symptoms I noticed.  I was diagnosed at first with … pneumonia, when we went to the Emergency Room.

 

I do remember the night sweats… I would be so cold.  The itching…. I remember laying in the ‘dark of my mind’… wondering why I was itching… but, I didn’t focus on it, I ‘just knew’…….

 

A doctor at an urgent care saved my life.  He ordered an x-ray, talked to us, sent me on my way … to saving my life.  That was when the specialists, tests began…

 

The weight loss… I’ll never forget Skip’s face looking at me in shock at the weight I’d lost so quickly…. he didn’t realize it because my clothes were very loose.  One day when I was changing clothes is when he noticed.  

 

I thought I was eating all the time … in reality, I wasn’t eating at all.  Only when Skip was there making sure I was… he had to work, care for me… too.  We had no one to help us.  When he asked me if I ate …. I’d automatically say I had…  I thought I had.

 

Looking at the photo above … I looked closely to see if you could see the pain I suffered, the grief of knowing I had cancer, the grief of how ‘friends, family’ would go quickly in the opposite direction when seeing me …. do you know what I see when looking?

 

My eyes see an ‘impostor’ … not ‘me’.  I see the beautiful wig Skip purchased for me.  He took money we could ill-afford to purchase me a very expensive wig, to be as close to my hair as possible.  In the photo… I didn’t ‘see anything’ to make me run in the opposite direction from a friend.  Do you?  If so, honestly tell me… I would like to know.

 

One friend, I’d had for many years, met up with us in an aisle at the supermarket… he came around the corner, ran into us.  He couldn’t talk, he was flustered, talked fast (we never understood him)… turned around, he took off in a different direction.  He hurt me deeply.  

 

That man is dead now… I wonder if when he became sick, before he died…..  if he thought of his ‘friend’ that he ran from?  I wouldn’t have ran from him … or no one who was fortunate enough to beat death.

 

I see in the photo …. my eye lashes, eyebrows are … gone.  I see me holding onto the gate that at the time, kept our Pups ‘then’… from going into the living room around the Christmas tree.  I was weak, but… I had become determined to ‘survive this thing.’

 

You can’t see the ‘steel in my spine’… but, it was there… it came back.  You can’t see my feet flat on the ground… you can’t see my ‘fighting spirit’… but, it was just coming back.  I won…. but, it took quite some time, and oh my God, the pain… pain that I live with ..today.

 

I was looking at my face … I can ‘see’ how my face looked ‘washed out’ from ‘all’.  

 

I look one last time at ‘me’ in the photo…. my eyes still look ‘soft, caring’… so, a ‘part of the real me was showing’ in this photo.  I had on a beautiful wig… I just needed some eyebrows, and eye lashes to stick on, too.   :)))

 

I told you about the time my wig got caught on the tree limb!  Yes, I walked under that tree never thinking I’d lose my hair … then, it happened.  I quickly grabbed it, stuck it on my head fast.  I looked at Skip, asked him did I have it on right.  

 

He told me, “move it to the right!”  I had put it on ‘lopsided!’  I had to trust him to tell me how to keep moving it… until it was ‘just right!’

 

I know I looked ridiculous when that wig was on my head ‘all crazy’… I smile gently now, thinking about it.  Skip never minded, he always said ‘it’s just temporary for now.’  He was my hero, my everything.  He made me feel like I was going to live.  He never stopped caring… his calming voice… I always heard it, when I couldn’t see him.

 

There was gentle humor, where we could laugh, tease me.  I had to tell Skip and Tommy that we needed to find humor in a nice way.  Skip named me the Gerber Baby.  Tommy would tease me about the one curl on my head… in the sweetest way….  Humor, laughter is healing…. that’s not to say…    

 

That I laughed, found all kinds of things funny during that period…  

 

Far from it… I did my share of crying… and a time or two, when I was alone, I …. screamed at God, only to later be ashamed.  

 

I tried not to feel anger, but… it happened from time to time.  

 

Remember… I said I’m not perfect, I’m not an angel … I’m mean, sometimes.  :)))  Even when … I’m sick.

 

My words in no way can reflect the shock, grief, fear….. that comes from being diagnosed with cancer.  In fact, if I tried to color my words with those emotions… I’d come up short.  I can’t think of words powerful enough to make you ‘feel’ …. how it feels.

 

My words would be colored ‘pale’ in comparison … to being told ‘you have C A N C E R, you have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma!

 

The Test That Could Save Your Life…


 The Test That Could Save Your Life …

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

 

We hurried to get ready for the appointment this morning. I didn’t want anything to stop us this time. Last time, when we got there… he went through the needles, pain… only at the last minute before being put to sleep… all was stopped.

The nurse saw something on the monitor to disturb her. She told them that she didn’t feel comfortable with him being put to sleep. He was going to have to go to the cardiologist before they could carry out the procedure at another time.

Thank-goodness for that nurse from Duke Hospital. The doctor agreed with her, saying that he could suffer a stroke, or ‘worse’…

Several days later, he did suffer a mild stroke, he did end up in the hospital, he almost………. he was in really bad shape. His wife was so, afraid…. of losing him. He and her Pups are all she has in this big, old world.

He made it, he got better over time. She re-scheduled this appointment again. Oh my… it went smoothly from the time they arrived. The procedure was carried out in a short time, soon Skip was waking up in the recovery area.

I walked to his bed where he laid smiling. He asked me was it already over? It was so fast!

There were some ’embarrassing, comical’ moments, but… like the nurse said, “this is the most socially acceptable place to come to … pass gas!”

She said it was ‘music to their ears’ when that happened… because air is pumped into one’s colon… it has to come out. One has to ‘let the air come out’… before they can leave. It’s all part of the procedure.

Skip finally had his long over-due colonoscopy… finally. Skip has had colon cancer in the past. He’s very lucky to be here. We waited for the doctor to come in to speak with us to find out the results…

The doctor walked in smiling, saying “I found two, small baby polyps… they’ll never grow to be adult polyps, because I got them! I’ll see you in three years.

I can’t tell you the relief I felt inside. Skip and I looked at each other, smiled. We both have worried…

I hope everyone will get a colonoscopy. We hear some people say they’ll never get them because they would feel ‘violated, too ashamed.’ I would say to them… please change your mind.

I was there with Skip all through his surgery, treatments when he was diagnosed with colon cancer… if he’d had a colonoscopy in time… he could have prevented having colon cancer. Skip was very lucky.

When going for a colonoscopy, you are made comfortable. One doesn’t have to worry about being embarrassed. It doesn’t do anything to your ‘manhood’… or ‘womanhood’… it can save your life… keep you around for the very ones who love, need you. Oh… the actual procedure last about thirty minutes.

Skip said that a colonoscopy can really save your life… any polyps can be removed that could cause cancer, and it is painless, you are sedated. When you come to, you are back in the recovery room, and haven’t felt a thing.

Skip said the worse part of getting a colonoscopy is the day prior to going for the procedure… is prepping for it. That involves fasting that day, drinking the solution… then, thirty-two ounces of water. You can guess what happens next… you ‘do have to run’ a whole lot… to the bathroom!

The following morning, you have to repeat drinking the solution, then, thirty-two ounces of water… run for the bathroom again for a while. This is the ‘worst’ part of the whole thing…. oh, Skip said he was waiting to ‘eat something’ afterwards, too!

 

Just Talking … To You


Just Talking… To You

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

This morning I have been reading email.  I had several new Twitter followers… it’s been happening alot this week!  I’m amazed.  I have been following back …my followers.

I never thought about having a ‘real’ Twitter audience… I’ve been on Twitter ‘to be on Twitter’.  I had no idea it would become important to me… I’m no one special.  Truthfully… I’m so amazed that my blog is read by so many people.

I’m completely…. awed…. in the quietest, softest ‘amazed’ way.  In such a way that it touches my heart in the nicest of ways… I ‘feel’ it so much… that it ‘squeezes’ tears into my eyes.  They would… fall out if I didn’t blink my eyes!  Thank-you everyone… you have become so important in my everyday life… you’ve ‘become a very real part of me’.  You mean the world to me.

When I see so many people are reading ‘my words’… I am always running to Skip excitedly… telling him.  He says because I’m the person I am… he thinks I’m special.  :)))  Skip is the one who is special… he’s my very life, my real-life hero… he is my whole world.  Do you recognize this saying:  ‘I love the ground he walks on’?  You could hear me say that ‘anytime’ about Skip.

This morning I have alot of things on my mind.  For instance… I have to go to Wakefield Rex Healthcare to have a mammogram done.  Do you know what?  I love going there…. but, any tests I have done just isn’t fun at all.  :)))  I’ve been through hundreds of ‘tests, scans, procedures’ since 1998.

Thinking about tests, I’ve had quite a few surgeries… and guess what?  I’ve had ‘my share’ of injections… yes, those needles with medicines … that they stick right in you… and they do … hurt!  :)))  I would venture to say I’ve had several thousand injections of some sort… since 1998.  That’s when I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

I know I’ve been deathly ill in my life but, the strange thing is/was… I was ‘always in the future’ in my mind.  ‘When I could do this… when I get to do that’… you know, things like that.

I will admit though … for the first year of being so ill… I wasn’t as positive because I thought I wouldn’t survive cancer.  When Skip would buy things for me… flowers, my favorite Ty Beanie Babies for my collection (many years later I gave alot of them to a young guy named Dylan who collected them).  Skip would buy me clothes, and such.  Tommy would do the same.

At that time, I was very ill… I would tell Skip, Tommy… not to buy things for me.  I would tell them that they were spending unnecessary money because I ‘didn’t know’ that I would ‘be there’ to use, enjoy them.  For a moment I ‘let myself look back’…. for months I thought I was going to die… for months it wasn’t that I was being negative… I was facing reality… so, it wouldn’t sneak up on me to devastate me once again.

The more I learned about non-Hodgkins lymphoma… I found out that people actually survived it…. could go on and live a real life!  The oncologist, nurses would tell me …’you are going to be fine, everything’s going to be alright’….. ‘this is ‘the’ cancer one would want to have ‘if’ you had to have cancer’.

Of course, it took many months to believe what they told me… my body was going through so much.  Chemotherapy treatments, constant scans of all kinds, so many things.   I could barely walk… Skip had to help me.  My body was so weakened at that time that I lost all muscle tone…. I’d never done that in my entire life.

I remember as I became stronger … the day finally came that I did know I was going to make it.  I began to want to do things again… a broom, mop, a garden hoe… anything I picked up …felt ‘alien’ in my hands.  They ‘felt so hard’ in my hands… I remember looking down at my fragile hands thinking ‘how strange it feels for me to hold things in them’.  I’d been sick for so long.  For three years… I’d been on a journey in life, survived it…. cancer.

One day I will write about this… the strange thing is … I’ve never really talked about it to anyone.  I’ve seen people who talked, and talked, and talked about being so sick…. as for myself… I ‘go on to forget’.  Yes, you read that right…. ‘I go on to forget’.  Isn’t that strange?  I have to do that so, I can go forward… even if I’m very ill… very sick.  :)))  I try not to dwell on it.

I ‘forget’ that I have medical problems… until something happens.  I don’t know how this happens… I always ‘stay in the future’.  I wonder if it’s self-denial?  Like I’m trying to ‘make it not real’…. but, believe me… my body has known it was ‘all real’.  Some day, I will sit and ‘study this in my mind’… I’ve suffered alot because ‘I forget’… all of my life my mind has had to ‘forget things’.

It’s strange because sometimes I witness, or am a part of things so interesting… I ‘forget that I am’…. until someone triggers my memory with a word, or action.  Then… I’ll remember…..

I’ll have symptoms of something… yet, with myself I won’t ‘see’.  With others… I will see and be concerned.  I’ve been very ill/sick, keep going for so long to finally realize… ‘hey, I’m sick’!

Don’t you agree?  We humans are very complex… we are alike, yet… not alike at all.  It’s like no two people will react the same to one medicine… our body chemistry is completely different.  You can like something… I don’t.

It’s time for me to take my wonderful shower (I love warm water, lots of bubbles from the soap, and the wonderful scent!).  I have to get ready to go for a mammogram.  I think I do dread it… it’s necessary.

Guess what both Skip and I are scheduled for in September?  A colonoscopy!   Skip survived colon cancer in 2000…. he was very sick when he took care of me when I was diagnosed with non-Hodkins lymphoma in 1998… I was very ill for three years fighting to live.  Skip almost didn’t make it either.

So, we both are examples of ‘why’ people need certain tests.  They can save one’s life…. he never had a colonoscopy prior to being diagnosed.  He began seriously bleeding… it would happen time to time when going to the bathroom.  During all the time he was suffering, going through all this… I was battling for my life…. I didn’t know.  I’ll never forget the shock when I did ‘know’…..

This morning I have written things as ‘I thought about them’.  Who knows, maybe it ‘was for a reason’….. maybe someone will decide to go get a test they really need, and it could make all the difference in the world.  I’ve enjoyed ‘just talking’ this morning to you… :)))  Happy day to you all!  Love, Granny Gee/Gloria

THESE CANCER PATIENTS TRY TO LEAVE WITHOUT PAYING THEIR CO-PAYMENTS…


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Payment Method (Photo credit: @cdharrison)

‘THESE CANCER PATIENTS TRY TO LEAVE WITHOUT PAYING THEIR CO-PAYMENTS‘…

BY GLORIA FAYE BROWN BATES/aka GRANNY GEE

Skip helped me out of the Expedition… I stood there for several moments to ‘gather strength’.  I meant to walk the distance to the hospital, down the long halls to go to the oncology department.  It hadn’t been long since I had the first thoracotomy surgery.

I had major surgery … a thoracotomy.  I understand today thoracotomies are done differently.  Mine was a major thing… not only that …one year later I had a second one on my left side.  This was in 1998 and 1999.

I can not even describe the pain I feel today from those surgeries… pain every day of my life.  I live with it without taking pain medicine for fear of getting addicted to it.  Sometimes I cry from the pain, sometimes the terrible pain makes me feel anger … anger at hurting all the time.  Some times are worse than others.  It’s something I will live with the rest of my life, I have no choice.  But… if I feel pain… I am alive…I want to live.  It’s my trade-off… I will bear it.

I do have a choice on ‘how’ I live with it… I choose to live with it in a positive way, though… I’m human.  It really hurts so bad, like right now as I write this.  It’s rare that I take something for pain. It’s rare that I speak of it, complain with it… but, sometimes like ‘now’… it’s so much that I’m like a glass of water..when it has been filled too full.. water spills over.

Getting back to walking inside, not using a wheel chair… no matter the distance… I was determined to walk in.  I did this most every time for all my appointments no matter how weak, how much pain I was in.  I had alot of appointments for chemotherapy, tests, doctors.

As we walked to the oncology department I had to stop several times, I was in agony.  Skip held onto me as I stood, waiting patiently until I was ready to walk again.

It had been only a short time since I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma…. cancer.  I was still coping with the fact that ‘I had cancer’… ‘I really had cancer’… ‘I couldn’t believe that ‘I’ had ….cancer’.  I was going to die, the end of my world had come……

When we went inside the oncology department we went to the desk where a red-headed woman worked.  She wasn’t very friendly, really she had no business working in a medical office with the attitude she had.  As sick as I was I dreaded seeing her… worst was hearing that hateful, hateful voice of hers, seeing her unkind eyes.

At that time we had the best of insurance, we were so thankful.  I say that because since …. we learned how it felt to ‘not’ have medical insurance… how bad one feels when walking in those shoes.

We had just sat down when that red-headed woman called me back up to the desk.  Everyone could hear everything she said… I heard her talking to other patients in that hateful voice she had.  If I had been well… I would have taken up for some of the very sick people she ‘talked down to’.

It seemed it was my time to be talked ‘down’ to.  She asked me for my co-payment of twenty dollars, our insurance would pay for the rest.  When she asked me for it prior to seeing my oncologist… she said the reason for it was because ‘the cancer patients seemed to forget they are supposed to pay a co-payment and would try to leave without paying’.

When that red-headed woman said that… she caused me to experience another shock.  I stood so still while looking at her… I was so sick, I’d just learned I had cancer…. and this mean woman was saying that ‘the cancer patients’…………………..  ‘the cancer patients’……….. ‘the cancer patients’…………..

My mind was trying to cope with being called that… at that time I couldn’t.  Skip gave her the money and got the receipt… he walked me back to sit down.  All I could hear in my mind was ‘the cancer patients’ ….meaning I was one of the ‘cancer patients’ that red-headed woman meant to collect money from…. because I might go out the door without paying a small co-payment.  I was very sick, I also, felt terrible anger and upset.  How she must have demeaned many very sick patients before me….. ‘cancer patients’… like I’d just become.

I told the oncologist about it and how it affected me to hear the red-headed woman say that… I told her that I hadn’t fully faced up to having cancer… I couldn’t believe I had it.  Then… there’s that mean-mouthed red-headed woman driving it home to me just as if she were nailing a nail in my coffin.  Her hateful voice, her unpleasant expression making sure ‘I knew I had cancer, I was a cancer patient’.  I can’t describe the grief, the pain I already felt… she only added to it.

To her… I was ‘a cancer patient who might try to leave like the other ones without paying a co-payment’.  I used to work in a medical setting… there is a way to ask for money without hurting or demeaning patients.  Also, one speaks to patients in a kind voice, their eyes are kind when a patient looks at them.  When speaking to a patient one doesn’t have to ‘broadcast’ their illness, their business to everyone in the room… I always spoke softly.

That was when I wasn’t a cancer patient trying to sneak out before paying a co-payment… that’s what that red-headed, mean-mouthed woman really meant.  I wonder if what she said ever ‘come back around to her’?