Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Radiated Tears

With all the entertaining photos during my stay at the hospital, I never got around to the truly deep and meaningful thing that happened to me there.

The night before my radiation therapy, I prayed to God to be with me on Monday since I would have to go through everything alone. Mentally preparing for the 'idea' of driving myself to the hospital and not having any visitors there was just bizarre. Thankfully, I'm an independent person, but I was still a little unsure of doing this all by myself.

God answered that prayer in the form of JL.

JL is a member of our church. She is a GLBT mother of 4 - two adopted special needs children and two bio children. The second bio child she had through insemination. (IF issues like us) She is a foster mother. (like us) I had been wanting to meet her for months to pick her brain, but could never get to it (they sit on the opposite side during worship and would always be gone before I could get over there). Anyway, about the second or third Sunday we brought our twins to worship, she came over to meet them. And she and I talked for about an hour that day about her foster care experience, her kids, her story. I knew she was a nurse, but she normally works in ICU.

Yesterday, she walked into my room, not really recognizing me, until I say, "Hey, I think you go to my church." And she screams out, "What are you doing????" And then caught herself, "I mean, obviously you have thyroid cancer, but where are your boys? How did this happen?"

So, we have this woman who I respect and admire, and who I totally connected with after the birth of my sons. But it gets even better. She had thyroid cancer two years ago and has already had the treatment!

She spent about 30 minutes with me, talking to me, and telling me her story. We compared new pictures of her kids and the 3-month pics of our boys. And I'm tearing up just recounting it now, because I know in my heart that JL was God with me that day. I wasn't alone. He sent her to comfort me. It was and is amazing how he answered my prayer.

God is good.


Last night, I was the recipient of a text-a-thon from a bunch of my drinking buddies at work known as the Deuce-one-Deuce. I'm the only female, which makes it especially enjoyable for me. Right around 8pm, I started receiving texts and phone calls from these guys who were students in a Management Development course I teach. There were my second class, or the 2nd graders as they call themselves.

My favorite one was from one of their wives, "Please call me if there is anything I can do. Anything. Errands. Cooking. Cleaning. Glenn is grounded from Sam's Club so I'm sure he'd be happy to get you anything from there."


And then today, I walk out to the mailbox to find a care package from my friend J.

J. was one of my rooommates in college. We weren't really friends, we just got along well enough to share a room. We both worked. I was a waitress. She delivered pizza. We had no friends in common. We did not socialize. But we chose each other, year after year. It just worked.

When we were juniors, J. became pregnant. The father and her had been dating, but he kind of flipped out on her and wasn't really supportive. So, I went to childbirth classes with her. And sometime that summer, she went on bed rest to prevent pre-term labor, so childbirth classes ended. I remember joking that the childbirth people thought we were 'together' and I remember she layed on this inversion table with her head below her heart for awhile in that hospital. She didn't have a lot of money, so up until this point, she hadn't had a lot of pre-natal care. A few weeks later, she picks up on something the nurses are saying and figures out she is having twins. I shit you not, she had no idea there were two in there! And she gave birth to her twin boys less than a week later! And I got to babysit them both on Valentine's for her, when they were about 5 months old. Which may be why the thought of my own twin sons was not so overwhelming. I've always lovingly referred to them as my Valentine's dates.

We graduated from college in 1999. Since that time, she married the twins' father and they have a daughter now. They live in WI. We live in KS. I was in their wedding. She came to our wedding. But those are the only two times I've seen her in 10 years. We talk on the phone maybe once a year, and rarely email. But oddly enough, she was planning to bring the kids here for a visit this weekend. Until I called her about the cancer and radiation. Now, its just her coming to visit, to help DH with the boys all weekend. A perfect helper - someone with experience with twins.

What are the odds?

All those years ago, I wasn't a very good friend to J. At least I never felt like I was. I was a pretty big partier, and she never touched a drop. But she remembered some handheld Solitaire game I bought her for the hospital and wanted to repay the favor. So, today in the mail, I found this care package. Magazines. Lemon Drops. And photo frames to take with me to isolation. One day too late for the hospital. But just in time for my basement quarantine.

I was so touched, and so moved, that not only is she coming to my home all the way from Wisconsin, but she sent me such thoughtful items. All with little sticky notes on them. I am humbled by her consideration and care. Really. What could I have ever done to deserve all this?


If I don't stop crying these radiated tears pretty soon, this place is going to be an EPA superfund site.


LuckyOnce said...

Oh my goodness. Chills. Tears. I really think you're right that these people were sent to you. There's something priceless about people who know just the right thing to do during tough times like J did. I'm so happy that the nurse was able to bring you such comfort too.

JamieD said...

You are right - I think JL was sent to you as God's representative. Crazy how it all works out sometimes.

I am so happy you are home! I can't imagine how weird it would be to not be allowed visitors and have all the paper and strict instructions for your hospital room. It's all so bizarre I wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Know that you are much loved by many. You may not feel like you were a very good friend to J, but you obviously left a big, big impression on her heart.

Sushilover said...

I agree, I'm so happy these people were sent to you. Hang in there!