Monday, January 5, 2009

A long day of mixed blessings

This won't be my happiest post. It has been a long day with some bad and some good. So basically a day of mixed blessings.

My husband had surgery today to remove skin cancer from his nose. The cancer ended up being the size of a quarter so the end result isn't terribly pretty. Of course, with the stitches, bleeding and swelling it looks much worse than it will in a couple months. Then, other than a scar across his nose, he should be pretty much back to his normal handsome self. And that is much better than what could have happened. He could have lost half his nose--which we were told by the anesthesiologist probably would have happened had we used a different surgeon.

Our story began about a year ago when he got a little sore on his nose. It seemed to go away but then come back. It seemed so small and insignificant we didn't even notice it after a while--until we were recently looking at pictures from the past year and saw he had the sore in all of them. So, he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. It isn't life threatening, but it did need to be removed.

We felt blessed. Wes has a brother who was recently diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing radiation therapy. His outlook is good, but the road to recovery will be difficult. Therefore, we also felt guilty. Wes told me he would gladly lose his nose for the guarantee that his brother would live.

After letting me kiss him goodbye, the nurse took me to the waiting room. It was on the far side of the building and down a long hall from where we entered. It also happened to be directly across from radiation therapy. The same radiation therapy my friend Lisa and I used to take our friend Meg. We took turns taking her every week for several weeks . . .until she died. That was five years ago this month. And sitting in the room across the hall from that place brought back memories of a sad and difficult time, but also sweet memories of kind, tender Meg. Both made me cry. Although it has been five years, I still have a message from her saved on my answering machine.

When my wait began to feel very long and my anxiety was rising, I started receiving telephone calls. They came from my mother, my daughters and my girl friends. Of my friends, Lisa called first. I became friends with Lisa while we both cared for Meg. Our service together wove a cord that has continued to bind us to each other. I next heard from Jenny. It was while visiting with Jenny at the luncheon following Meg's funeral, I realized how much we had in common and we have been good friends ever since. Then I heard from Sonia. She was best friends with Jenny and came into my life soon after Jenny did. I love them all and gained strength from talking with every person who called me.

I really don't have a moral to this story other than to be sure to check out sores that don't heal and odd looking moles before you end up losing your nose. But I think that for me there may be another message as well . . . Our journey through life comes with ups and downs. Some days we rejoice and others we mourn. Sometimes prayers are answered---as with Wes--and sometimes--as with Meg--they are not. But through it all, there are people placed on our path to love and support us and help us find . . .joy in the journey.


Momza said...

HI there,
i really appreciated this post. My husband has a little irritation on his cheek that I have been after him to get checked for months now. I'm making the appointment tm'rw morning.
As for your loss of a dear friend, I am reminded of a self-writtne obituary of a gal in Boise, ID from 2 years ago that I cut out of the paper and kept, it read: "There is nothing remarkable about my life except in the company I kept. I will miss you all." Written by a very young mom of 4 children.

Joy For Your Journey said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing that quote with me. It was so wonderfully sweet--and describes how I feel about my life. Hopefully your husband's irritation can be easily remedied.

Emma T said...

I am so sorry for your husband! My husband broke his nose once and looked terrible--at least I thought so. He thought the bruising was pretty cool. That mach mentality, you know.

Emma T said...

that was supposed to be "macho"

Becky said...

I have had basal cell on my arm removed. No fun, but part of AZ living I guess. My mom also had a spot on her nose removed that turned out to be nothing. Still not fun. I hope your husband is feeling better soon.

Aunty Em said...

I'm glad Wes - I mean Prez Wagner - is doing better. I love that I know most of the people you mentioned here. You do have a lot of great people living around you!

Thanks for the message.