Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life's Twists and Turns... a little background

Events occurred over the past two years or so that came together to send us a very clear message - picture a theater marquee with a million lights:

Life is precious and fragile... and health is a gift not guaranteed

There we were, going with the flow, doing what we’re supposed to do, plodding along and (to be honest about it) getting fairly bored. Here’s a quote that sums this up beautifully: 
For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. – Father Alfred D’Souza
I was beginning to suspect that life would be disappointing if I wasn't careful, and was wondering what to do about that when three major events occurred – buckets of cold water, you could say.
  1. My longtime and much loved friend died just a few weeks before her 48th birthday – breast cancer. She left behind three children and a husband, and a large group of dismayed, bewildered friends and family. How could this happen? Charisse should have grown old and crusty, calling me up each year on my birthday as she had for more than 30 years, to sing to me and fill me in on news of old school friends and Bajan family. She was an anchor for me, a connection to a beloved past, a link to my old home. Charisse’s passing really rocked my world and still does. I know she would be very pleased at the idea of our Great RV Escape.

  2. A little over a year after Charisse passed away, Lynda suffered a major stroke exactly one week before her 46th birthday. It was Pearl Harbor day, December 7th, and a day that for us will certainly “…live in infamy”. Lynda did not have any of the risk factors for stroke. We were at the gym, barely 20 minutes into a fairly low level work out and she collapsed. The signs of stroke were classic, although it was hard to believe. And so it began, 5 days in acute care, close to 3 weeks at the wonderful Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center, countless physical, occupational, and language therapy sessions. All this and Lynda is still recovering. She will probably be in recovery for the rest of her life - a stroke such as the one she suffered changes your life forever. But she was lucky, at least within the parameters of having the stroke itself. It took out a huge chunk of her right parietal lobe and even did some minor, spotty damage to her left brain. The doctor at the Mayo clinic (we went there a few months after for follow up and a second opinion) was amazed she could walk and talk. He told her it was a miracle. I don’t know about that, but I do know we have a lot to be thankful for.

  3. About 6 months after Lynda had her stroke, her mother Carolyn was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Oh crap” is an understatement. But Carolyn went after this like a missile on target. No fussing, no fooling, no pussy-footin’ around. That tumor had met its match! Surgery was immediately scheduled and chemo followed. The chemo took a toll on her but she is working her way back out of the effects. We are very optimistic that Carolyn is the Victor of this battle, not the cancer.

    Side Note to Women – Be sure to have regular mammograms and pay attention to your body! Don’t run or try to hide from illness. If you’re diagnosed with cancer, fight back fast and fight back hard. Fight to win, like Carolyn did.
So Lynda and I have come to understand that there is no guarantee as to how healthy or able we will be next year, next month or even next week. If there are things we want to do, then now is the time. So here we are, rearranging our life to get ready for our Great RV Escape and having a wonderful time just planning for it and getting all the pieces in place so we can go. It’s a shot in the arm!

I guess you could say our Great RV Escape has already begun.

1 comment:

Judi said...

This blog of yours is WONDERFUL!! I don't know where to begin with the compliments. It is very professional and very thorough. Writing really is your true calling. You have had a long run at several successful careers. But writing-telling stories-is to you like painting was to Rembrandt, like composing was to Mozart, guitars to Les Paul. I relived each emotion with you as I read; the heartbreak of losing a close friend, the fear and anguish as you watch those you love suffer, the joy of watching them fight and succeed against great obstacles, the thrill of the hunt, the joy of feeling success.

I am excited for you and Lynda and I can't wait to live each new adventure with you as you and Lynda make your way along the Great Escape.

You are an amazing woman. I am honored to call you friend and thankful to call you family.

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