Friday, October 29, 2010


Anticipating my thoughts at the end of December, I believe I will look back on 2010 and consider the first couple of weeks of June one of the best times, if not the best time, of my life. So far.

I received my colon cancer diagnosis on Tuesday, June 1. Ricky, out of school for the summer, was with me. The next day we were able to meet with the surgeon and schedule my surgery for Friday afternoon, June 4.

The three days in between were busy, telling my children and parents, getting work and home squared away. There was no panic - just mild disgust that my body had betrayed me this way. It really is creepy to know that something wild with its own agenda is growing inside you. (And you won't be giving birth to it!)

But mostly I was smiling. Not sleeping well, I spent those three nights on the couch, going through the possibilities. I couldn't come up with a bad outcome, though. Even if it turned out the prognosis was grim, I have had a great life. And absent dying on the table, a quite remote possibility, there would be time to wrap things up in a good way.

So for those first couple of weeks of June, the mundane aspects of life slipped away and we were focused on the important, our relationships. Recently, our pastor, as part of his series on "the family," told a story. A husband, constantly annoyed by his spouse's clutter, considered what his life would be like with a neat house, but no wife. The clutter peeve vanished as he realized how much he cherished her.

The demands of daily life are so pervasive we usually forget to cherish each other. You get a reminder every now and then - the birth of a first baby or a child's wedding, for examples - that loving each other is what it's all about, and little else matters.

I am pleased to report that our wake-up call is still working. We have replaced thoughtlessness and indifference with an active thoughtfulness. I can misplace keys every single day and it's okay. He just grins and goes on (after finding the keys, of course.) He thanks me when I follow up timely on medical procedures, and I choose to do so because I know it relieves his anxiety. We are more considerate of each other's schedules. We are seeking ways to spend more time together.

The scars and pain of recovery are a small price to pay for this renewed sense of purpose and optimism. It has been a very good year.


Ricky Balthrop said...

I love you more than words could ever tell you.

jennifer said...

Made me cry..... I love that you love each other so much.... What great role models you are.....I'm so glad you are in my life!