Seven Years Ago…

Seven years ago, on this very day, I wrote this on my Facebook page.
I’m wearing my “Gonna be a good day” socks from the Sloans. I’m off for my follow-up appointment in LaCrosse today. I am hoping for a good pathology report and to have my no-lifting ban removed.

I had just a week or so ago had surgery to remove my thyroid. I was going back to get my stitches out. Naive me didn’t have a clue of how those few minutes in the doctor’s office would change my life.

The whole day was off and weird. On our way into Lacrosse, I was doctoring there then, just as we were about to cross the bridge over the Mississippi, our pickup started acting up. Our plan had been to go early and do a few errands at Menards, a big box home improvement store. The truck was making a sound I have never heard before. Kramer, my husband, was concerned so all plans of errands fell aside.

He pulled into a gas station, popped the hood, and started checking it out. He couldn’t see anything.

We checked the clock. Maybe shutting it off and starting it again would be a good idea…but what if it wasn’t and it didn’t start again. We were at a gas station so he shut it off. It started again and the noise was gone.

We checked the clock again. We still had time to get to Menards. We made a quicker-than-planned run and then we went checked out, hopped into the truck, and drove to the clinic for my appointment. On the way, the noise in the truck started up again. UGH.

We made the decision that I would go to my appointment, after all, I was just getting some stitches taken out, and he would go and see if there was a garage that would quickly look at the truck.

I went in. I checked in. I sat in the waiting room. I was called back. The nurse took my stitches out and I thought I was done and ready to go home. Nope, the surgeon wanted to see me. He was great. He chatted about how I felt if I was taking pain meds, and told me my weight restriction, which I had been so wanting to be lifted, was gone. I was happy.

Then he said my pathology report came back. Oh yah, I thought, pathology was going to look at my thyroid. Just then I was back hearing what he was saying. What?, I thought. He said cancer. Oh naive little me had more or less forgotten that cancer was even a possibility. I tried as hard as I could to shut my brain off and just listen to him. I found myself saying, “Could you write that down?”

He handed me a piece of paper that said, “Follicular Thyroid Cancer”. He told me I’d likely have to go through some testing, be on a diet for a few weeks and then take Radioactive Iodine. He assured me that my doctor’s people would get in contact with me and let me know the next plan. In all seriousness the part of the conversation telling me I had Follicular Thyroid Cancer and telling me the treatment took only about five minutes.

I was then sent on my merry way to find my husband and break the news to him. Who wants to tell your husband news like that? Immediately my mind went to the worst cancer patients you see. It went to me in bed. It went to me dead. It went everywhere …

but where I am today seven years down the road.

I did find my husband and the truck. The mechanic told him what was wrong with the truck and that we likely could make the 2-hour drive home and be okay.

He was wrong. We had to stop in a small town along the way. A different mechanic gave us a “band aide” for it and didn’t charge us anything after Kramer told him our story and that I was just diagnosed with cancer. What a wonderful guy. I’m sure the guy had not idea what it meant to us…but it was the first kindness set our way regarding my cancer.

I never dreamed that 7 years later I would still be here. I never dreamed doctors would still be trying to figure out how to get rid of my cancer. In so many ways I could be mad or angry about that day and my cancer and how it continues to linger but I’m really not.

I’ve come to point that I realize everyone has something…mine just happens to be cancer. I’ve also realized that even at 57 years old, I’ve lived longer than many. I have a great family. I can take care of myself. I can go places and do things and I have the energy to do it. I have hobbies and pets that I enjoy. I just have that one thing…cancer.

I am so proud of myself for not letting that one bad day…that one bad diagnosis rule my life.

You know those socks with the smiley faces that I showed in the first picture? I’ve only worn them once-the day the doc told me I had cancer. I’ve never worn them again. I’m not superstitious. I don’t believe in bad juju or anything like that. I’ve thought about throwing them away but that didn’t seem right either. The socks were in fact, a gift from my niece Jody who passed away from breast cancer three years after my diagnosis. Instead, those socks are in my sock drawer. Every morning when I open the drawer to get a pair of socks I see them and I am reminded I won’t let cancer be my life…I am living another day and I’m making the best of it. Everyone else doesn’t get that chance…seeing those socks and knowing Jody didn’t get another day makes me remember I need to go there and appreciate the gift of one more day that I was given.

21 thoughts on “Seven Years Ago…”

  1. Thanks for another excellent post! You so often put things in perspective for me when I’ve lost my way. It’s one of the reasons I look forward to reading what you have to say twice a day.

  2. Jo you are such an inspiration. So glad that you are still with us and share yourself, family and blog readers, among others with us.
    Keep those socks.

  3. Thank you for another gift to us, your readers. That’s what these types of posts feel like, a special gift where you use your natural writing skills to share such meaningful thoughts. Blessings, dear one.

  4. Thank you for touching our hearts in many ways. You never know who might need your words of hope or your warm quilts and puppy dog kisses to make them smile. Bless you.

  5. You are so encouraging! Thank you. Have really been missing your “Sew With Jo” videos. Looking forward to them showing up soon.

  6. The things I have are all pretty small. Sometimes they seem to gain mass and get to me. But, you are whom I think of when I need to motivate to get on with things. You are a mentor to me, a guide in how to be. Thank you for everything you do.

  7. Having spent the past four days laid up because my MS has flared up, the depression has started to rear its ugly head. However, reading your words has given me the mental kickstart I need, to look at things differently. Thanks for sharing, Jo.

  8. Each post you share is a gift to all of us. Sometimes they make us laugh, sometimes they make us cry, but always they give us something to think about. They remind us we make choices about how to live our own lives.

  9. Thank you so much Jo for sharing your heart with all of us. You always put things in perspective for me. I wish I could use words to express myself as well as you do.

  10. To have that moment of connection with your niece every day sounds like a special blessing. I know you were very close. You still keep her close.

  11. Thank you for sharing with us. Your words remind me to be grateful for the days we’ve been given. Every day is not a “great” day but every day here is a good day.

  12. Thanks for that! I’ve just started following you recently, so this is the first I’ve heard this story. My brother had colon cancer….he thought he just had a cold, until it started poking out his side, so it could be felt. By the time he made it to the doctor, it was already stage four. He died at age 58, 11 years ago. So glad you are fighting the good fight!! Keep it up!!! :-)

  13. I love your positive attitude. I would hope that I could do the same but with my history of major depression, not so likely. Hopefully, I won’t need to find out.

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