Cancer’s Parables

by Debbie Twomey on August 29, 2017


I said when I started this journey that I would be as honest as I could, even if it meant some gory details. I don’t believe a warrior always puts on a happy face because that is just unrealistic and for others to truly understand just what this feels like, I think they need to see all sides.

It has been a very rough summer for me. The side effects have been severe constipation or diarrhea, outbreaks of yeast and MRSA infections and bone, bone tiredness to where functioning is a chore. But I manage to face each day and hope for a better tomorrow which I pray includes the cancer being gone. But because I had to remove one of the more aggressive drugs from my chemo and go to the lowest dose so my body could handle it, we are not sure of the end results. So, there is prayer.

Today I want to share some of the stories of those cancer warriors I have met on this journey. They too face challenges and pain and worry and come to chemotherapy, hopeful and often times, very upbeat.  Since I began in May, I know of two of these warriors who lost their battles. This cancer is a daunting foe so never think someone gives up or did not fight to the best of their ability if they succumb. It is not a level battleground, trust me.

There are my Facebook friends like Judy, Jeanne, and Kim who were all diagnosed with breast cancer and are at various stages in their treatment. And there is Emma, a motivational speaker who even after living a very healthy lifestyle and ate healthier than most people, is now in hospice with her breast cancer in Stage 4. She has been an inspiration to many prior to becoming ill and now, is so on whole new level.  She even managed to fly to her home country in the Philippines, for a week. despite the late stage and pain of her cancer. Words cannot express my admiration for this woman and all she has shared with us.

There is Kathy who always has a smile. She was doing chemotherapy to shrink her breast cancer before surgery; unfortunately she had complications, most notably extreme neuropathy so she is now going to have her mastectomy in a week. This is her second bout of cancer; she had ovarian to start with. She seems to understand what is expected and ready to face it.

There is Rosemarie, a new patient. She has the same type of breast cancer as I do and just started her rounds of the “red devil”. She is a very cheerful and loving Grandma who comes with her husband and is so friendly to everyone there. We have become good friends but I see the changes in her already. She shaved her head (her hubby did too) and now she sleeps through her chemo. I know that her taste buds are pretty bad as mine were and that she is often quite tired. But she always leaves the treatment room with a smile on her face.

There are a few men who are not as chatty; they sleep through most of their treatments so I do not bother them. A couple of other women are facing their protocol with strength and positivity but there are some days when fatigue or feeling crummy just make the treatment room a bit quiet. We respect each other’s feelings and if quiet is required, that is what is shared.

Last week I met the most amazing woman and I cannot stop thinking of her. Her name is Laura and she is 83 years old (almost the age my Mom would be had she lived). She was sitting in a chair saying the rosary. I told her she reminded me of my Grandma Ceil who said the rosary every single night. Whenever I stayed overnight I went to bed hearing her whisper the prayers. Laura was saying them for all those suffering with cancer but it is her story that really got to me.

She was there with her 52 year old son Dan. He is on his third round of esophageal cancer and was sleeping in the seat next to me. He is not doing well and cannot eat or hold down anything so he is going to get a J-tube inserted to take nourishment. He had been there since 8:30 for his chemo.

Laura just sat quietly saying her rosary and here it was now 2 pm. I started chatting with her and she had such a tale. Her daughter, who was my age, discovered a mass on her liver and though, initially she was told it was not cancerous, she died three months later from liver cancer. Laura’s husband also died within months, from cancer, So her son moved in to help her and he then was diagnosed. Now she has to drive him to all his appointments and keep track of vital information. This is such a burden on a woman who should be the one being cared for at this stage of her life.

I just could not imagine cancer’s destructive path in this family’s world. And here sat Laura, quite calm and seemingly at peace in prayer. I envied her the comfort she had from her faith but I was angered that such a decent person could be put through so much. We talked for about an hour and she left me with a promise to include me in her prayers and I gave the same promise to her.

My heart bursts with love and pain for all of these new friends who I only met because of this damned cancer. I pray daily for all of them and that they find peace and comfort, but most of all, healing.                    

Live Laugh Love



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Deb Oster August 29, 2017 at 2:37 pm

How you have the strength to even write this blog is  beyond me!  You are such an inspiration to so many.  My wish for you and all cancer patients is to find a cure and end this suffering.   I will keep you in my prayers.  Love the picture of you and mouseā¤


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