Friday, September 16th, 2011 is just another day. It is 5 days after the anniversary of 9/11 and while listening to the local radio station (KDBM) this morning several people are celebrating their birthdays or anniversaries on this day. There will be football, some of us will be going to school, some of us will go to work, some of us will spend the day at home or out with friends. We will go to the gym, we will eat breakfast we will watch the news. Somewhere in the world a baby or two will be born and someone else will leave us. We will either follow our usual routine or we won't. No matter what we do today it will still be Friday, September 16th in the year of 2011.
I am 8 today -- I may look and act like I am 51 (well I may at times still act as if I am 8). But no matter what, today I am 8. Eight years ago today I had a routine mammogram that led to some not so routine events. Recently there was an article written about me. It focused on my tiara collection, my costumes, my love of books and my involvement in the local business builders association and the shop local group. It touched on my creative side and The Bookstore. Then it talked about cancer.
cancer.......to me that is still an odd word. We all know what it means. That word makes us hold our breath for just a moment. No matter if the word is directed at us or referring to someone we know or someone that we don't know but we know someone that knows them. It is a word for pause. We shed a silent tear or yell and scream or sit very still saying nothing. cancer is out there I would find it hard to believe that there is anyone that has not been touched by it in someway, either as a participant or an observer.
This is my annual reminder to get a mammogram. It is the day that I silently thank God for the people that made this trek with me. Not just Bill and my family and my friends and my employees and my customers but the health professionals that sat beside me and still follow me on this journey of life.
There is Betty Jo Howells, Leslie Cottom, Dr. Judy Wilson, Dr. Lou Rudolph, Dr. Shafi Shafaieh, Dennis Hatfield, Dr. Judy Schmidt, Kathy Elliott, Debbie Bolin, Bev Bishop, Ryan Black, Kevin Mackey, Deanna (the bruiser), Patty, Sue and Joni. There are many more but these people were the ones there in the beginning.
Betty Jo was the tech that felt the lymph node while doing the mammogram. Leslie and Bev were there the next day quietly holding my hand. Dr. Rudolph, Kevin and Ryan are the reason that I can read an x-ray and they looked me in the eye every time I had a question. Dr. Shafaieh, Kathy Elliott, Dennis Hatfield and the surgical staff were there when I went to sleep and when I awoke from surgeries. The line of professional and friend blurry yet clear. Debbie Bolin shaved my head when I could no longer tolerate the rapid loss. The nurses Joni, Patty and Deanna dealt with my shrinking veins with valor and determination all the while making sure I was OK. Sue provided calmness, massages and toe rings. Dr. Schmidt and everyone at Guardian Oncology took care of me physically, emotionally and spiritually. They not only cared for me, my husband, my family and my friends but they cared about us too.
You may not know these people but you know people like them. We just spent time remembering and honoring heroes of 9/11. These humans that I mention are my heroes. They walk among us doing their jobs not expecting anything in return. But they are my superheros, my masked crusaders.
Today, September 16, 2011 I am 8, I am at work, I am laughing, I am talking on the phone, I am checking in books, I am taking care of customers, I am rearranging displays, I was interviewed for a a study (about trees), I am eating a kit kat bar that was part of a pak of 8 (a gift from a friend to help me celebrate #8) I am contemplating what to fix for dinner and I am enjoying my life.
Don't take your annual physicals, Dr.'s appointments and routine exams lightly. Get them done. Remind each other, go together. And please always acknowledge the heroes in your life.