I Believe in the Right to Die With Dignity …

I Believe in the Right to Die With Dignity …

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter

Photo is owned by me.  The friend (Cindy) who made this for us never knew how comforting I found this light in the bottle to be. Even my photo of it … comforts me.  Why?  Because light chases the darkness away.  I’ve been in darkness too much in my life.  Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter



This is another controversial subject I’m going to write about. I’m going to tell you how I feel about it.

I respect your feelings, your way of thinking on this subject.  I would never think I can tell you what to feel, think.  I will let you respect my feelings, way of thinking … I couldn’t let anyone tell me that my way of thinking is wrong.  How do you know?  How do I know?

So, before I go on … I can see your way of thinking as well as my way of thinking.  It’s just that my way of thinking ‘feels right’ to me inside my Heart.  These are my feelings that are … right for me.

I have been in the position of dying … of knowing I was going to die.  I know what it feels like to … know … there was no need of buying me pretty clothes … Ty Beanie Babies for my collection … no need of doing anything extra for me.

I knew I wouldn’t live to see a future.  I didn’t want money wasted on me when it could be used for more important.  This was my way of thinking when I so sick …

If you’ve never been to this point in life … being sick with a life-threatening illness … so close to death, I can’t expect you to understand.  The only way you will be able to make such a decision as I’m going to talk about … is to go to the doorstep of Death … if you can come back from it … you can make a judgement.

I’ve been there a few times in my life.   I was dying from cancer … non-Hodgkins lymphoma … the suffering, tests, the time it took to find out what was wrong with me before surgeries … took several months.  Only surgery could … save my life.

After the surgery … I was told I could die before I opened my eyes to see who was telling me I had cancer.  I never saw her … I never saw the oncologist that saved my life with the aggressive treatment she used … and others didn’t understand why she chose that.  It worked … it damaged my heart.  It was a trade-off to live.  I’ll take that.

I remember I thought she was a big, tall presence.  Later, months later when I began to be aware of things … I really looked at her, saw that she was tall but … not big.  How did I think she was ‘big’?  Because later I found out she lost a lot of weight.  Strange how I perceived her … I never saw her clearly and was drugged up.

When I heard her booming voice … the nurse, Skip were sitting me up in a chair in the Intensive Care Cardiac Unit … that’s the first I remember.  All I could see were tall letters in my mind when the oncologist’s voice said … C A N C E R … in giant letters.

I’ll have to describe the strange feeling, thoughts that played in my mind when I couldn’t see around me …  because of the drugs given to me, the weakened state I was in.  I kept thinking I could go back on the other side if only … I could go back, not have cancer.

I was dying.  For some reason, I kept ‘thinking I could go back to being all right if …. ‘

I could see an invisible line … if I could just go back to the other side of it.  I lay in that dark world … my mind kept trying to take me back … to the other side of that … invisible straight line.  Strange I know.  I’ll examine that closely one day.  I’ve never taken time … why does it bother me … now?

I know now, I have lived 16 years when I shouldn’t have … not many made it.  The new oncologist told me not long ago, I shouldn’t be here … 98% didn’t make it with what I had, and as sick as I was.  I was at Death’s door the morning I had the first surgery to remove the huge mass off my lung … resting on my heart.

I will have to take time to sometime, think about what if anything I have done of value during the precious sixteen years I was given.  I don’t think I’ve done anything so special.  I should have at least been some kind of hero or something.

Anyway, dying with dignity.  This is how I really feel after making it back from the Cancer Journey in my life.

I feel if I’m at the point of dying … know that I’m not going to live … laying in agony … or becoming a ‘vegetable’ … I should have the option to end my life while I’m aware.  I feel I should be able to say my goodbyes if by that time … I have anyone to say goodbye to.

No one knows it … I had my option to let go of life … if I knew with certainty I was dying, no chance of living.

I knew I wasn’t going to live … I was preparing.  The thing is … strange thing is … something kicked in (I do think it was that infamous fighting spirit I have :).

When it kicked in … I began seeing in my mind … the future.  The future where I could see me doing things once again.  It was like putting a colorful toy just out of reach … to encourage a child to learn to walk.  If he wants it bad enough … well, you know the rest.

When that happened, I began forcing myself to sit up (oh God, I could never tell you the horrible pain I had in my chest … get a thoracotomy … you will always know.  I had two thoracotomies exactly one year apart … I have ‘forever pain’ you wouldn’t believe).

Anyway, no matter the horrible pain … I couldn’t see straight for the powerful medicines I was given … I made my body raise up, stand up, hold onto things to walk.

I could barely walk … and go only a few steps.  Tears ran down my face, I couldn’t breathe for crying … I kept doing this for many months.

I had become determined to live.  I wanted to live … I wasn’t accepting death without one hell of a fight.  When I did these things … I would fall into bed … in agonizing pain.  No matter, I meant to get strong.

No one can ever know the agony I was in … I was alone while Skip was working as a fleet manager in a produce company.  I tried to be strong when he came home so, he could go to work, know I was all right.

Not only that … if he even thought I was suffering … he would become very upset.  So, many times I have to say … I fooled Skip into thinking I was so tough, strong … we have to do what we got to do.

That wasn’t a bad way to fool someone … at least in my situation.  It did make me personally stronger, and I made it.  It gave him comfort … he just knew I was still me … and I could do what I said.

After 3 years of fighting the toughest battle of my life … I made it in time to go with Skip to the doctor, then … oncologist … to be there when he was diagnosed with … colon cancer.

Skip had been caring for me, working his ass off … and he was … dying with colon cancer that had begun coming through his colon.

I’ll never forget what I said to him at the moment he went into shock.  I said, “Skip … that must be the reason I lived … so, you could see that you can make it.  I’ll take care of you just like you did me”.

I will say this … when I became aware of Skip being sick … something wrong … was during the time I was very ill.  I couldn’t make decisions for myself at that time … had to hold onto things to walk.  My body was in bad shape … I was on powerful medicines.

Skip came to me during that time, told me that he’d been bleeding.  When he’d ‘go’ to the bathroom … the commode would be filled with blood.  You know how sick I must have been when I couldn’t jump up from there … make him get to a doctor.  I wanted to … but, the state of mind when one is very ill … you aren’t yourself.

One day, I raised up out of bed after Skip told me he wished I could see all the blood.  I meant to see it … I knew deep down something was wrong.  Skip had been suffering with terrible cramps in his legs.  Ripping cramps up the inside of his legs.  This had been going on for months.

I made Skip help me to go see … my knees buckled under me, he grabbed me.  I began crying … I knew then … Skip had colon cancer.  The damn crazy thing here is … I ‘knew’ … but, being so sick I couldn’t keep it in my mind … I couldn’t make him go to the doctor … I couldn’t help myself.  Months went by …

This is what happened as time went by … I had something in my mind that ‘made me’ know I was going to get well to do.  I meant for Skip to go to a doctor.  I knew … he was very sick.  Skip … like me … is strong … has a fighting spirit that matches mine … maybe stronger.

I know our neighbors heard me crying through the walls of our home at that time.  They just didn’t know that I was beginning to force myself to do things in the house again.  I had a purpose ….

I made myself hold a broom … my hands had forgotten what a broom felt like.  So hard, splintery.  I made myself put clothes in the washer.  I began to mop … sure the area was very small … it was a beginning.  I burned my hands as I stood at the stove staring at the eye on top … it was hot.

Somehow I had forgotten … like a child, I didn’t think about it burning me … isn’t that amazing?  I took something out of the oven … letting my hand touch the top … I learned from that burn … not to touch hot things.  Now … I knew that … but, forgot everything during my illness.  I am amazed when I think back.

I began to do little things … in my mind … I could see me in my future being strong, well again.  I knew I wouldn’t be letting myself die … with dignity.  I knew I was going to live.

You have to know that knowing I could decide what I wanted to do … if … I was going to die … gave me comfort.  I needed that comfort … I didn’t want to live not having quality of life, someone having to care for me.  So, no matter what anyone thinks … that’s the way I felt … still feel.  I won’t argue it with anyone.

A person who has never experienced this … can talk all they want to.  Put their ass in the same situation … see what they do.  It’s funny how things change when the person who talks loudest … experiences pain, agony, near death.  You find out what you are made of.  You find out … that your whole perspective changes on life, death.  You find out … you know nothing.

So … those who run their mouth about this or that … don’t really know anything … maybe they’ll get to know firsthand … then, we can see what they think.

It’s like in my situation being a grieving mother … I lost my only child … having listened to people who ‘knew it all’ about losing a child … find out they don’t know a damn thing … they don’t know how it feels to have their own child … die.  Some people … hadn’t ever had a child … go figure.

Until people can walk on those roads in life … they can only ‘guess’ at what they would do.  I promise you … they won’t do all these things they so loudly say they will do when … tragedy strikes.  I promise you that.  It would be good if they kept their mouths shut … not make an ass of themselves.

They do not know a damn thing.  Admit it … just say I think I would try to do this or that.  Not ‘if my child dies I know I’ll do this, I know I’ll do that’.  Like I said … you don’t know a damn thing.

I don’t even listen anymore to people … like you.  It’s probably best for you to tell someone who has a weaker mind than I do … I don’t want to hear it.

Why … would I listen … to you  …tell me something you’ve never had to deal with in your life?  You’d be like a teacher trying to teach … never having an education … not a foot to stand on.

It’s like someone telling you how to drive … never driving in their life.  It’s a whole different ballgame …

Anyway … unless one knows from experience … it would pay to tread lightly when saying things around people … who have survived trauma, tragedy … bad things in their life.  You don’t want to make these people … teach you a thing or two.  You really don’t have to say a thing excepting … I care, I’m so sorry.

This is some … I never said it’s all I think on the subject of death … of what I think about dying with dignity.  In my case after experiencing what I have with near-death …  it’s for me.  I believe in it.  I believe in hospice … keeping someone from suffering.

I believe in my case, my life … I would want to have a tablet to take when it came time that I knew I couldn’t come back from my illness.  I can’t speak for you … only for myself.

I believe in the right to die with dignity.



Note by this Author:  Photos/my thoughts on this subject are both owned, written by me … Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee/@GeeGranny on Twitter.


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

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


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?



Have You Ever Thought About It?

Have You Ever Thought About It?

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee




I’ve been reading about … aspartame.  What I’ve read has alarmed me more… now, than ever.


Skip and I both, agreed to quit using artificial sweeteners.  I have a feeling we’ll both see a marked improvement.  We both have some issues I feel are related to aspartame.


Tonight, I learned for the first time, there is a possible connection between aspartame and… non-Hodgkins lymphoma and luekemia!  I felt sick to my stomach when I read that…


In fact, I felt sick at a lot I read… that wasn’t ‘new’ news to me.  It’s strange how we can read, absorb knowledge through the years… yet, we don’t act on it to ‘save ourselves’.  To just help … ourselves.


I do know that through the past several years I have drank more diet sodas than, I’ve ever drank in my life.  I’ve noticed some changes… Hopefully, in another week or so, there will be a huge difference.


I have a feeling after all the researching I’ve done all evening… there will be a positive difference.


Have you ever Googled ‘aspartame’?  Just for the heck of it… Google it.  You wouldn’t believe the ‘symptoms’ of aspartame poisoning.  I ‘knew’… but, I didn’t know… but, I really knew.  I guess it’s time to pay attention…


This is what I’ve had on my mind tonight.  I am disturbed by what I’ve read… I think about how we ‘still do things’ to hurt ourselves, knowingly.


Everybody else does it… so, we aren’t alone.  Misery loves company… If it hurts me, it hurts everyone else… have you ever thought about it?


Making Magic… Turning Straw Into Silk

Making Magic…. Turning Straw into Silk
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

I sat, talked with the lady. Felicia was her name… I found this out later, as I spent time with her.

I quietly told her my story, my experience. I asked her for a miracle, hoping she might be the one. The last time I asked for one, a disaster happened, devastating me.

Later, I watched as her hands moved quickly, doing things I could tell she was very used to doing. She was performing magic… I prayed for my miracle… at times, I held my breath. Is it possible…

I could smell the scents of the different magic potions she used. Oh, they smell as if magic could happen! I loved the soft fragrances that tickled my nose…

In the meantime, I talked with her and Brandon, the young gentleman who was close by, busy with his own client. I would try to peep, see what the lady was doing… hoping, praying something special would happen….

This miracle meant the world to me as I’ve been living with such sadness inside for the past almost 3 years.

On March 5, last month I went at last to begin making my hair look nice again… so, I could begin being ‘myself’ again. That was the day… my hair was turned to… straw. A ‘bad spell’ was placed on it… my curly hair became straight… dry… I couldn’t bear to look at it in the mirror.

I have been a ‘strawhead’ for one month and a half now. I’ve been using Moroccan Oil, and Nexxus products on my hair…. thank-God for such wonderful products… they’ve helped me to come this far. I was devastated when my hair was … ruint.

Finally… I had grown it out long enough to have the curly perm I wanted, so… I could fluff it out to my heart’s content, and enjoy my ‘big’ hair again. My hair ‘finally’ reached the first scar of the major surgery I had when I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

I went with happiness in my heart to get that perm, knowing it was going to be ‘beautiful’… my hair was finally as long as it was when I lost it the first time due to the chemotherapy treatments.

It has been my goal… it’s been hard to grow it out this long again… not because it wouldn’t grow… but, every hairdresser would cut ‘it all off’… no matter how many times I would stress ‘not to’.

The past several years I finally began to be very firm about cutting my hair… guess what? My hair began to get long fast…

You know what happened next… my hair was changed to ‘straw’. You wouldn’t believe the grief I have suffered over my hair… along with the grief I carry in my heart for Tommy.

Getting back to …today. I went to a place where magic could be created in a moment… I’d passed by it many times looking in, seeing the miracles that happened there. I saw lots of smiling faces, and… beautiful hair. I want my hair to be ‘beautiful’… again!

This is where I met the two nicest people… Felicia, and Brandon. I was impressed with them when talking to them… because when I sat quietly, asked my questions (I already knew the answers)… they would answer me honestly. I needed that…

For instance, one of the questions I asked was… ‘isn’t my hair too light’. I asked them, and in the nicest way possible… they answered my question, said ‘yes’. Skip and I both knew it was ‘too’ light… making it ‘hard to see my face’.

I appreciated so much someone telling me … this was a good thing. I, then… talked about having two colors on my hair…. more my own natural color with softer blonde.

I asked Felicia to help me decide on the ‘right’ colors for my hair. I told her I realized I had become older… but, I still liked my hair to be big, fluffy, beautiful. I, also, told her that for the past years I haven’t cared… everything stopped when my son died.

Her hands began to work their magic, mixing this potion… that potion. The next thing I knew … I was looking in the mirror as she worked her spell… my hair was separated into strands, placed in foil. She put the magic potion on my hair… as she did, I said a prayer. I prayed that she could fix my hair to be beautiful… somehow.

As she went through the ritual of making my straw hair become more like hair… I felt hope as I looked into the mirror! I even felt happiness when I saw my hair as she worked. Then… I wouldn’t look … I didn’t want to break the spell!

Soon, Felicia was finished after she deep-conditioned my hair. Oh, when I looked into the mirror, I was elated!

Felicia had worked a miracle…. she turned straw into silk!
I thank you from my heart, Felicia. Skip loves my hair… not only that… I ‘pure love’ it!
It means the world to me. I called you this evening to find out that you had made a ‘customer card’ with all the necessary information on it… including the perfect colors you chose for me… I wanted to make sure you remembered them… because I will be coming back to you.
Thank you, Felicia. I am excited to wake up in the morning to look at my hair in the mirror… you can’t imagine how long it’s been!
Brandon, I enjoyed talking to you, too. I liked you very much… I watched you do magic on your client… and saw her smiling face when you were through. Both you, and Felicia made a big difference in my life today when I met you… a person’s hair means ‘everything’.
Oh… I don’t want to forget the lady who had the pink hair, I think she said it was called ‘camo’. You are very nice, too. You reminded me of my friend in Australia… she has pink in her hair, too! Not only that, she used to have leopard paws in it! You have a wonderful personality, too.
Today has been a good day… you all touched my life in a good way… sometimes, we need that.



You Aren’t Alone… If You’ve Ever Had A Bad Hair Experience


March 08, 2013 ..Bad Perm at SmartStyle, Louisburg, NC 27549 002



You Aren’t Alone… If You’ve Ever Had A Bad Hair Experience

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

If you’ve had a bad hair experience, you aren’t alone. I’m here, I’ve had a really bad hair experience.

Everyday, I’m having to cope with it in my mirror. I cope with it when I see people looking at my hair, wondering ‘what happened to my hair!’ I can’t explain to so many people…

My hair makes me cry now. I have one more thing to make me cry. It’s almost comical. Now… I cry over my hair… look at my photos, wouldn’t you cry, also?

I can’t fix it, I can only wash, let it dry naturally so, as not to damage it any farther. I began using Nexxus shampoo, conditioner. It’s very expensive. I was told it would help my hair until it grows out… grows out!

I can’t believe I have to ‘let it grow out’… I have waited so long to get it the length it is… to reach the scar I told you about. The scar of the first surgery I had when diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. (cancer).

Now… I don’t know what else to do. I wonder if anyone knows how I would care for my hair now. No one has bothered to answer my calls, to at least tell me how to care for my hair.

After this email with photos of my hair… if I don’t get an answer, I am going a step farther. I feel I should get my money back, and get my hair taken care of. Time will tell. I will keep you updated.

I have never heard of anyone ‘spraying a perm solution’ on someone’s hair like mine was done… not once, but… 3 times… each time being placed under the dryer again. The chemicals are harsh, and combined with heat… you can see by the photos what happened.

You aren’t alone if you have had a bad perm. I’d be so interested in knowing how someone coped with their hair, cared for it.


Die With A Soft Smile On Our Lips… ‘Knowing We Did Right’



Artwork by Gloria Faye Brown Bates … done on February 25, 1998.  This represents ‘Hope’… do you know ‘why?’


This old drawing is one I did just 4 months before being diagnosed with non- Hodgkins lymphoma (cancer)… I drew this picture.  


I was feeling the need to begin drawing ‘something to leave behind’… not knowing how ill I was becoming, not knowing I was going to be fighting for the biggest battle of my life… to live.  I ‘was feeling something’….. not having any idea at all……


Oh… this old drawing really does mean ‘Hope’… something we can never let go of … this old drawing survived a house fire that destroyed all our belongings on December 28, 2004.  This … old drawing was one of many that somehow survived the fire!  HOPE!





Die With A Soft Smile On Our Lips… ‘Knowing We Did Right’

 By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee



I watched him talk to the woman sitting in front of him.  A desk separated the two … one could look, know immediately ‘who was the boss.’


The woman held her head down, tears streaming down her cheeks, onto the front of her blouse.  I knew the tears were hot, sudden … unexpected.  I’ve done this ‘a million times’ both in happiness, and in grief.  I recognized real tears as I watched her face closely.  I’ve been on both… the giving, receiving end.


I saw pain in her eyes, you know how a person’s eyes will for a fleeting moment reflect such deep emotion.  If you aren’t watching for it, you’ll miss it.


“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said softly.  I waited to hear ‘why’ she was thanking her boss.  She sat there, her shoulders shaking as sobs rocked her body.  What did he say to her to cause such emotion?  What!


“I’m giving you $20,000 to pay off your mother’s medical bills, and $5,000 for an education fund for each of your four children, and last… but, not least……………….. something for you.  I’m giving you $60,000 for yourself, your bills, to buy a home for you, and your children, to buy a car.


Sudden hot tears were in my mind, rolling down my cheeks unexpectedly!  I wanted to be the boss!  I wanted to be the one granting such wonderful things, being able to afford such, to make others’ wishes, dreams come true!


The man began wiping his eyes with a kleenex, he…. too, was filled with emotion as he watched the woman.  He knew his words would make her happy, he didn’t know what kind of reaction he’d receive with his words.  Now… he was the one crying, he felt as if he’d been given a gift!


In fact, he had been given a gift!  He ‘saw’ what his act of kindness did to affect the rest of another human being’s life.  He had made a positive difference in her life.  It didn’t have to be on that grand scale… it could have been thousands ‘less’… he would have…. gotten the same reaction.


His ‘gift’ was something that could only be ‘felt inside one’s heart’…. felt so much that it evoked such emotion inside him, making him feel …. so thankful, so grateful that he did something … good for someone who needed it, who had wishes that might never come true, unless … for his kind act.


She was so quiet, so ‘like in deep pain.’  Her soft sobs came out, she couldn’t hold them back.  Her reaction is a lot like how my reaction is when good things happen to me… I get very quiet as my mind absorbs what has happened, and I ‘cry from the inside’…. from my very heart.


What a wonderful man… who is he?  Undercover Boss… I love that one show!  It makes me cry everytime I see it … more than one time.


Some of the ‘bosses’ grant the most wonderful things to people they come to know, care about … as they pretend to be ‘everyday people’ as they work side by side with them for a period of time.


Do you know… I would love to be an Undercover Boss… it would be like ‘Victoria Fairchild’ in my story.  I would go out …. listen, watch, and I would ‘know’ over time ‘who/whom’ …. I would be helping next… be it a person, or an animal.


I wouldn’t have to wait for the heart-touching reaction from whomever I helped… though, it’s one of the most beautiful emotions a person can show…….. gratefulness, thankfulness… because it comes straight from the heart … right at that very moment.


I could help, feel satisfaction inside, even if a person ‘didn’t know’ it ‘was me’…. who made their life better.   I don’t have to be told … ‘thank you.’


I already ‘know how it will feel’… I’ve been there, many times in my life.  ‘It means the world to one, it did/does to me.’  I, also, know ‘how it feels to give’ back… oh, how I love that wonderful feeling.


It’s a ‘high’ I could live with forever….  I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs …. if I had to choose a ‘high’……… ‘giving, contributing to people, animals’ needs, wishes, dreams’ and how it feels ‘afterwards’…. would be the ‘high’ I would choose!


I would be in a constant ‘state of happiness’… I would ‘drown my grief, my sorrow, my pain’ in it… just as one goes to a hot spring of fresh, clear, warm water…. to sit, relax their bodies, minds in it… for many hours.  I ‘would get up, keep coming back, to feel like a new person ‘time after time’…. forever!


Call me what you will … this is my number one dream in my life.  It’s my number one wish in life.  We all have such thoughts, wishes, dreams in our hearts … yours might not be the same as mine.


I dream… too.  I may be a ‘Granny Gee’ now… I still have my dreams.  :)))  Oh… you’ll find as you get older …. there’s no difference in how you think, feel … everything is still there!  You are just a little older, more maturer in mind, body.  You are still a real person who hears, sees, moves ( a little slower?  :)))… just as you always did!


Look back quickly, older folks!  Remember how you used to think people ‘our age’ …. couldn’t feel, think, see.  You thought that somehow ‘old age’ had put an invisible blanket over them… there’s no way they could understand how it felt to be young… those ‘old people just don’t know nothing!!!’


Remember … how ‘dumb’ we were?  Well… I see myself ‘getting my medicine back’ … all the time, now!  I, sometimes… don’t bother talking …when it feels unimportant.  If someone wants to talk to me … they can come to ‘me.’  I remember being very young… so, I let them ‘come to me… if they want to talk.’


I don’t ‘put myself out there’ to be hurt, rejected, embarrassed … or whatever.  It is special, important, meaningful … if I do begin ‘talking first.’  I ‘quit talking quickly’… depending on what I sense.


I can remember when being younger, having lots of money … I gave freely, but… youth is full of arrogance, innocence…. no matter how nice you are.


I was ‘too young, too naive…. to ‘really see’ deeply, to ‘know’ what life was all about.  ‘If I had known what I know, now…. oh my… the many wonderful things I could have done through the years!’  I’ve wasted a lot of years, a lot of time.


I would love to live that part of my life, again……. with my life experiences, I ‘know now.’  Call it what you will … I would love to be a ‘fairy Godmother’…. ‘maker of wishes come true’ …. an Undercover Boss!  :)))


I think it very sad to get ‘older’….  know the things we do ‘now’…. to never have a chance to ‘go back’… and make things right, do something about what we’ve learned in life.  We just ‘die with that knowledge one day’……….  Don’t you think it such a … waste?


This is the age… if we had the means… we could go back, make amends, make things ‘like they should be, make them right’……. do more good things for people, animals……….. then……… die with a soft smile on our lips… ‘knowing we did right.’






Yes, yes, yes …. I know I am a dreamer, I still believe in fairy tales, good things, I … just know everything is ….going to be all right.  I believe in Santa Claus… :)))


No matter how bad … things do get ‘all right’ … again.  I never give up hope…. this comes from a person who has every right to have given up many years ago.


I am just ‘me’…. I believe, I … have hope.  I don’t give up.  I am a fighter … if I give up … it’s only to ‘get my second wind.’


I want to die… with a soft smile on my lips one day … knowing I did right.

The Bare, Naked Tree Stood…


Doodles by Gloria... Old Photos 026

Artwork by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

‘Doodles by Gloria’ … Just A Bare, Naked Tree … gBB/2013


The Bare, Naked Tree Stood…

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

Out in the meadow stands a big, graceful tree

For now, she stands naked without her lush, green leaves

All bare limbs, stretching to the sky

Raindrops lingering on the branches

Glistening like diamonds on a fancy lady

She’s still beautiful, this bare… naked tree

One can see ‘her’, even without her leaves

She stands strong, she’s survived

The storms of years gone by

Come a little closer you will see

Into each shiny raindrop

You’ll see memories through her time

Memories that are clear as a crystal ball

Look at the bark on her body

See the scars carved in through time

Scars of grief, pain, abuse from long ago

Stand back … feel deep inside

How she stands there, smiling up at the sky

The big, graceful tree focuses only on the sky

She doesn’t look down to see the scars

Left on her body of years gone by

She is waiting… waiting for rain

To make her grow, grow more stronger

For her years to come

To make her older, more graceful

As the years go by

To make people feel love, when they see her

See her as a big, graceful tree

Stripped bare of her seasonal garb

When she is again, clothed in her lush, green leaves



I was reading something interesting…. about writing. I just tried it to see what would happen … this is the result.

I was reading ‘to just write what comes to mind, let it flow’… I did just that, not giving any thought to what would come next. The words I read said not to change a thing, just write your words as you thought them…

I do this anyway, I call it ‘getting on a roll’… when words come naturally, when my fingers continue to type as I think… it’s like drawing, painting … my mind ‘knows what to do’… as my fingers, hands follow along… I’m always surprised to ‘see what happens’… sometimes, I look, feel good about the results. I ‘always knows when I’m finished’…

Anyway… this is the result, whether it be good… whether it be bad. :))) Granny Gee/Gloria Faye Brown Bates :)))




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.’)


 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!


That Big, Dark Cloud Of Impending Doom…

That Big, Dark Cloud Of Impending Doom

By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee

I have to tell you all something.  I know you’ve noticed that recently I’ve spoken alot about … death, dying.

I’ve told you about going through this thing about what I was feeling inside…. being afraid to die.  Everything has been ‘death’.  I told you about the big, dark cloud that seemed to be over me.

What I did… and didn’t tell you was… I’ve been so afraid for Skip.  It seems that I ‘did have everything to worry about’.

Skip saw a cardiologist yesterday… thank God.  He found out that he’s been taking medicine that’s not right for him… this medicine was given thirty years ago to ‘end renal failure’ patients……………….

That’s not all…. (inside I am crying for how Skip has suffered… I feel shaky thinking how close he came to…….. )….. that’s not all… the same doctor gave him a fluid pill to take daily……………………………….

The cardiologist went through Skip’s medicines…. Skip took them so, they ‘all could be seen’ by the doctor.  If you could have watched the cardiologist’s face like I did……….. you’d seen him begin shaking his head saying “this is the worst medicine, you don’t need to be taking this!”

The fluid pill was depleting Skip of his potassium, electrolytes…. Skip has been suffering for many months, in this hot weather… I ‘knew’ something was wrong.  But… I’m not the doctor.  I ‘can advise’…. but, I am not a doctor.  You know how we all get these feelings… but, we might be listened to… BUT… we are not doctors.

It seems that the medicine he took previously wasn’t a good medicine for him either… it shouldn’t have been given to him because he was over fifty years old.  It ‘seems alot of things’…….

This has been more than upsetting to me… I’ve been watching Skip suffer, go through each day with his pulse too low, dizzy, and not feeling well.  He forced himself to stay strong…. how did he do it.  Just like he did years ago… when he was losing so much blood… when I was deathly sick.

He put me first… how he didn’t die then… amazed his doctors.  (How he didn’t die now, because of the doctor who gave him these medicines…………………………………………… is amazing.  His pulse came down to 29!  It was staying around 37………………………  )

That was when he was diagnosed with colon cancer… I was too sick to be aware of what was happening to Skip.  He worked at a company where he was their transportation fleet manager… once in a while when a driver would be out… he’d drive their truck out of state to deliver for them.  He was in Maryland the day, night before his surgery……

They had to give him so much blood…. the surgeon couldn’t believe he’d functioned like he had for so long …. losing most all his blood.  He couldn’t believe Skip hadn’t had a heart attack while driving.

Skip’s oncologist was so shocked when she was told of what Skip had endured before his surgery.

I had been diagnosed, was being treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma… cancer, to save my life.  Skip meant for me to live…. he worked hard, he was with me at every chemotherapy treatment I ever had…. I went through this twice in two years… I didn’t stay in remission long.

Skip was so sick… dying at the same time I was so sick… dying.  He worked every day… he’d drive to get me, go to all the many tests, treatments I was scheduled for.  No one was there for us…. no one.

I had made Skip promise not to tell Tommy…. he was in Germany.  Just before I couldn’t talk anymore, I remember whispering to him ‘Skip, promise me you won’t tell Tommy, promise me!’

I was so afraid if Tommy found out his mama was sick…. nothing would hold him back getting across that ocean to me… I was afraid something bad would happen to him.

Tommy loved his mama.  Tommy’s mama loved him.  They ‘would have walked through hell for the other’…. they would have crawled if it took that to get to the other.

‘Now’… to the present.  I know ‘why’ it has happened, and I know that alot of people are being prescribed medicines that aren’t good for them.

Guess what?  I was a victim, too…. just before Tommy died.  I went to a doctor in a local town close by.  I was having allergies… coughing, sneezing, my eyes watering, red.

This doctor did the allergy tests on me… I do have alot of allergies to various things.  Not only that……….

The doctor sat there looking me straight in my eyes and said, “you have asthma“………………………….  I looked back at him, repeated his words.  He said, “oh yes, you have asthma”.  Strange enough, I didn’t believe him…. but, I went against my feeling … took the medicine thinking it would really help me breathe better……….

He gave me samples of medicine to inhale… and gave me prescriptions.  I took it over a period of weeks … I was becoming progressively more short of breath, and panicking because I couldn’t breathe well.

Skip took me to the hospital emergency room where we told them about the medicine I was taking.  Skip told the ER physician that I was diagnosed with asthma, showed him the medicine.  In the meantime…. the ER physician called my cardiologist… as I didn’t have a primary doctor.

My cardiologist came to the hospital wanting to know what was going on.  He couldn’t believe I’d been diagnosed with asthma, taking that medicine.  He admitted me…. I couldn’t breathe well, I was panicking, really… in bad shape.

Once admitted, I was tested with this huge machine that was very sophisticated… it took quite some time to do all I was told to do.  I didn’t have any evidence of ………. asthma.

It took a week before I began to be myself again… I had gotten in bad shape….

It seems there are doctors who want, need more patients sometimes…. need I go on?  No matter what profession people are in… it’s like a basket of beautiful, red apples….. there are going to be some ‘bad’ apples.

I could go on, and on here about some doctors I’ve known, but… I won’t.    I will say this much…. always question… research on the computer about medicines… if something doesn’t feel right… or you feel ill effects from medicines… get a second opinion.

Just because a person ‘fixes cars for a living… doesn’t mean he is a good mechanic’ every time.  Sometimes, we have to take a car to another mechanic to get it fixed…… right.  It’s the same way in everything in life.

Skip… I have been so worried about him.  ‘Now’… I know all my feelings were right.  ‘Now’…. I know I had a right to be scared that something was going to happen to him.

Now.. I know that big, dark cloud of impending doom … was real, was looming close by.  I know more than I’ve written here.

I also, know like us…. millions of people don’t have insurance… sometimes, that made a difference in the care we get/got.  The truth is the truth…..

It seems this morning that big, old dark cloud of impending doom…. is moving away from here!  :)))