I was at cross purposes when I started this post and my thoughts were bouncing everywhere. I couldn’t figure out what it was I was really trying to say. It started as a review about a wonderful dinner, no that wasn’t it... but as I wrote I moved things around the page like a puzzle when I realized I wasn't writing what I was thinking. The real story was in the background.
I was trying to articulate the noise.
Two things the distractions had in common were Kathy and Terry, my sister in law and brother.
This tale is no plea for sympathy, it’s a short little story about faith, determination, love, patience, and perseverance. We’ve all faced challenges, big one’s that come when least expected, when you’re not prepared. Once in awhile, when I find myself on the pity pot about my place in the big scheme, I think about Terry and Kathy. Not only then, but especially then.
About 3 ½ years ago Kathy suddenly became very ill. Almost overnight she couldn’t walk, talk, or function. She was diagnosed with an aggressive, spreading invasive cancer and over the next two years she had two brain surgeries, a kidney removed, chemoradiation, a tumor on her spine removed, and the CyberKnife. The prognosis wasn’t good and she lost memory, vision, speech, dropped to 85 pounds, and was totally incapacitated.
Each and everyday was about the next thing that had to happen.
It wasn’t about her recovering to get ready for the next procedure, it was about doing the next procedure before she got any worse.
It was a total gamble and the doctors were wonderful. The cancer was everywhere and coming on fast.
Through it all my brother’s been there everyday before work, after work, and every weekend. He takes care of the her laundry and brings her food to guarantee her dietary needs. With no immune system he's her front line defender and he takes a lot of time off work for all the doctor appointments, keeps the home fires burning, and does his best to manage the totally mind numbing BS dealing with the insurance company.
For over a year now, as Kathy puts it, “I’ve been in a fog and the dots in my brain don’t connect.” The miracle is she’s out of the fog and the dots are connecting. She learned how to talk again and she can walk a little with assistance. It’s wonderful to witness the progress.
This Christmas my brother and I were determined to do something to make the holidays special. We went totally secret ops candlestine and kidnapped her from the care center and threw her and her wheelchair into my Ford Explorer and took off!
We went to Spanaway Park just south of Tacoma to see the Fantasy Lights. It’s a wonderful 2 ½ mile drive through a holiday light show with deer jumping over your car, Santa on a motorcycle going over a jump, a giant blue space ship with aliens and a strobing light tunnel, just for starters...
Afterwards we went to the Homestead Restaurant for a feast of Prime Rib and steak dinners with all the trimmings.
Kathy loved it so much we had to take her back the next week for another dinner just after New Years.
Terry and Kathy are private, quiet, salt of the earth people, a little old school, and the social media world I live in is a mystery to them. Yet I have an agenda for this year and I’m up to making it happen. Kathy’s a teacher with a passion for writing. She’s curious about blogging, probably because I talk about it all the time.
I want her to blog. She needs to share this amazing story. She’s almost there and when we chat Kathy always talks about the future and how she’d like to do something to help those who find themselves on this path.
I think it’ll happen. Case in point, months ago I kept talking about texting. At first it was, “Oh no, I’ll never do anything like that. Why would I? What would I text?” Thanks to my son Jeff who spent some time to show her how.
Now guess who’s a texting maniac!
This new year looks so bright and hopeful and my heart is filled with joy to witness them emerging from that long dark tunnel.
As Winston Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
And that they have!
I know the journey isn’t over, there’s no guarantees, but the signs are positive, the cancer is stopped and we see progress.
Kathy and Terry, let’s hope this year is about celebration and happiness and putting life back together again. Have a great 2013!