About two weeks ago, Beth and I decided to start walking regularly. Fast walking – somewhere between strolling and swinging-arms-around-the-mall power walking. On our first outing, Beth had an abdominal attack and I (still not completely acclimated to this higher attitude - ha ha) got a side ache about 5 minutes in. We decided to walk to our neighborhood grocer and get some water.
On our way in, we ran into one of my neighbors. She lives between Beth and I, but Beth didn’t know her. She is an amazing older woman who is widowed and lives alone. I admire her because of her independence and her continued curiousity in the world. One day last summer she waved across the street to me with a VERY large smile. “Carol, I just took the tram up to the top of Sundance and then hiked down. It was amazing! You HAVE to try it sometime!” (Yes, I will – when I gain the stamina of a 70 year old!)
She introduced herself to me within a few days of moving here, last July, and I immediately LOVED her because she had a great thick German accent that reminded me of my Oma and all my Tantes. She has baked German cookies for us and even brings the kids special candy treats on holidays.
My mom and dad came to visit late last summer and I quickly introduced my mom to her because of their parallel German heritage as well as their health parallel – they both have cancer.
We all chatted, after I introduced Beth to her, about where her house was in relation to Beth’s as Beth worked her angle. (She’s looking for someone who won’t mind if she and the boys cut through their yard to get over to our street where all the kid action is.) My neighbor asked about my mom and I filled her in on her recent failings – the tumors that had afflicted her legs, lungs and brain.) She was immediately sympathetic and thoughtful. I then asked her how she was doing and unexpectedly discovered that she was also going through some difficulty – that she too had a tumor in her lung.
As Beth and I said our goodbyes, I hugged my neighbor and told her that I would pray for her. She lifted her sleeve to reveal one of those yellow Lance Armstrong bracelets. (I’d always thought that I should buy some due to the large number of people I know affected by cancer.) She smiled at me and told me that I should get one for my mother.
Friday, a package was on my doorstep with ten Lance Armstrong Foundation “LiveStrong” bracelets. Each bracelet was individually wrapped which caused the kids to think that they were something special – like packages of fruit snacks or something. Harrison ripped one open and put it on his bear.
Yesterday I went into work for awhile. My school had a recruitment event. I came home about 3:00 PM and Chris was waiting by the door. The kids were happy to see me, but he immediately put them in their coats and outerwear to take them outside which I thought was a little odd since I had just gotten home. He then looked at me with a serious look and said, “Call your mom. She’s in the hospital. Blah, Blah, Blah.” I didn’t really listen to everything he said. Something about blood clots.
It turns out that she has two clots in her lungs and a large one in her leg. She had trouble breathing in Friday while my dad was golfing. An ambulance trip later, she was admitted for three or four days. She’s on oxygen and complete bed rest.
I’ve talked to her a couple times and she seems to be getting better. The words I can’t get out of my head, though, are “I am so sick of this.”
I would do anything to make it all go away.