This past week marked an anniversary for me. One that I really should pay a lot more attention to than I do although, in truth, I do recognize it every day but I don't mention it all that much.
It was four years ago this past week that I was initially diagnosed with cancer.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since that day when I had my first colonoscopy and afterward, the surgeon spoke to my daughter Mandy and to me - explaining what had been found.
I have often thought of that talk the surgeon gave me that day though. And, had I had a different doctor - the kind who just tells you well, this is what we found, this is what you can do, and then leaves the decisions all up to you - what choices would I have made?
In all honesty, if my doctor then had been that type, I probably would have said ok, I'll think about this and get back to you and then, would have walked out of the room and not returned. It's not that I had or have a "death wish" exactly, but decision making, especially of that magnitude, would have been a really mind-boggling thing for me, as I was also extremely depressed at the time, unemployed and seemed to be virtually "unemployable" too as I couldn't have gotten an interview it seemed then even if I could have bought one!
But my doctor at that time - one Dr. Timothy Phillips - formerly on staff at Clearfield Hospital in Clearfield, PA and now, practicing someplace up in Wisconsin - was very straight-forward with my daughter and I and put the cards on the table not in a way telling me I had a choice but rather that he had just planned out my life for the coming year and this is what I would do, when I would do this and that and other things and simply put, That was That, he was the boss, I was the patient and the listener and I would do as he said and I 'vould like it! No if's, and's or but's about it!
He told me in two days I would have go to the chemo clinic at the hospital and they would insert a "pic" line in a vein in my arm, after which a home health nurse would show up at my home and install the pic unit from which I would receive chemotherapy for the next 6-8 weeks, non-stop, 24/7! The following Monday, I would go to Altoona Hospital, see Dr. Jack Shocker there and they would set me up for radiation therapy - also for 6-8 weeks, five days a week - to try to shrink the size of the tumor to make it easier to remove during the surgery that I would then have in about three months.
And, after recuperation from the surgery, I would report back to the chemo clinic for roughly six to eight more months of follow-up chemotherapy.
There was no decision to be made as Dr. Phillips had made all them for me. He was very strong in his explanations of the entire process and never gave me a chance to voice a difference of opinion - just acceptance of the road map he had drawn up for me to follow.
And four years after the fact, you know I kind of like the fact that he did treat me in that manner!
There have been more than the initial surgery since the first one in June of 2003, the last one this past October which resulted in my having a colostomy. So no, his road wasn't necessarily the easiest one to travel.
But, in retrospect, there have been so many highlights to it that perhaps I would not have been around to see, much less to revel in them as I have been able to do even though at times, the road was really rocky and rough and difficult to appreciate those highlights to the best then but I've made up for that since then.
I've been able to be around, to enjoy, to cherish and love and learn to know two beautiful little babies I might never have known had Dr. Phillips not taken the stance he did with me. What joy, what absolute magnificent joy I would have missed had I not been able to see, hold, help to raise my little Princess Maya and the junior prince, my grandson, Kurtis. And my older grandson, the big prince, Alexander, is now nine years old, tall, strong, handsome as all get out and just the best thing ever too since sliced bread! The thought that I could have missed out on being around them for this time is just incomprehensible to me now.
So, this message then is one of thanks to Dr. Timothy Phillips, somewhere in Wisconsin, practicing his art of surgery somewhere up there for giving me for now, four of the best years ever of my life! And, if anyone reading this post has him for a surgeon, trust me when he says to trust him because he is one fantastic individual and yes indeed, an excellent surgeon!
And, there's another anniversary too I'd like to mention that took place on Saturday, St. Patrick's day.
Happy Anniversary to a couple who are very good friends of mine - who celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on St. Patrick's Day! I meant to call them on Saturday and wish them a happy day but didn't get around to it and I forgot to do that on Sunday too to give them a belated wish. So here it is now, two days later and I'm finally doing that!
If you see Durvin and Rose Little Wick - give them a hug and a hearty handshake and tell them you knew all along (like I felt I did way back when) that they would be the ones who would make it this many years! I grew up next-door to Rose and her family and Durv, I came to know through school and two better people you'd be hard put to find!
Hmmm - I'll have to make a note to be sure to include a special greeting for them at our high school class reunion coming up in June too!
Two pretty doggone good things to celebrate in my book - a 45th wedding anniversary and four extra years of life and enjoyment of family and friends!
I'll drink to that!