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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Flying with the lessons learned from chemo

Yesterday I have the honor of going to chemotherapy with my running partner Yvonne who is battling breast cancer. I did not know what to expect. I know that in the cancer wing people are taking their last breaths. Often there is an aura of sadness and even hopelessness and expectant dread there.  

Among all of that is a man who brings Krispy Kreme doughnuts and yes I ate one. My first in many many many years. But I had to. I had to because he buys three dozen every Monday and he hands them out. He doesn't ask for money, but he takes donations. He has been doing this for 14 years. I made a donation and sampled a doughnut. It would have been rude not to after he sat down and told me his story. 

What amazed me was that the people getting chemo did not look any certain way. Cancer does not discriminate and it was evident today. I saw tall people, short people, older people, my age people, no young people today, people of all colors, couples holding hands, people alone, gray haired, no haired, long haired, and the list goes on. It was beautiful in a sad sort of way. 

I learned many lessons. I learned that a kind word and a smile can make a world of difference. I learned that people want to talk and it does not take much energy to listen. They want to be asked about things other than their illnesses or sometimes that is exactly what they need to talk about. 

I learned that in spite of the diagnosis of cancer, the people I encountered were not exhibiting a gloom and doom attitude. If I did not know better, I would not have known that they were sick. 

I watched Yvonne as the drugs disappeared into her veins. She ran 5 miles that morning, made phone calls,  sent emails, talked about everything and nothing all with a smile. I know she would rather almost be anywhere else, but she was present taking her medicine. Today is a new day and she will tackle it with grace and dignity and maybe a yoga class. 

  Cancer is a word, not a sentence. 
John Diamond

Cancer is a journey, but you walk the road alone.  There are many places to stop along the way and get nourishment - you just have to be willing to take it.  
~Emily Hollenberg


Amy Lauren said...

Yvonne is so inspirational... to run 5 miles before chemo, do yoga, not let it get her down and out. So many people would just give up.

And thanks for donating to the guy and eating a donut- it might not be physically healthy, but it probably meant a lot to him and definitely showed your appreciation of what he does, which is sometimes more important.

Plus you ran 5 miles :). We can splurge a little!

doretha said...

Thanks, Amy. Yvonne ROCKS!