I remember a time when most of the people I knew were healthy and vibrant. Was it the age we all were at that time? I'm fairly certain there were young folks around that were not in good health. Did I just not notice?
It has been cold for the past few days. Our temperatures have nose dived into the thirties, but I'm expecting after this week to be listening to the ac unit kicking on instead of the furnace.
I love this time of year here in the deep South. It's my time of year. It's time for a sweat shirt and sweat pants or a pair of jeans and a sweater, socks and shoes. That's the only part I don't like is the socks and shoes. I have been known to wear my flip flops regardless of the weather.
As soon as the cold front arrived, I slipped into my "warm" clothes and went shopping. Though I've been here over 20 years, I'm still not "nativeized" (not a real word) and I easily note the natives by the layers and layers of clothes, the tall boots and the total body shivering, fast walking, hunched over sprints to get out of the weather. I just reached the point yesterday where I had to add a light jacket to my ensemble when out of doors. I find it invigorating. The heat of summer and the humidity oppresses me, hence my fondness for the winter months here.
Slipping into the mall, a place I seldom visit, I was on my way to pick up a package ordered online and being shipped to the store. As I stood at the register waiting for the clerk to ring up my purchase, a woman approached, smiling and greeting me with a "Hello there! I haven't seen you in such a long time!" As she approached with her greeting, my hands went up in front of me to ward off her greeting and let her know that she must have mistaken me for someone else. Someone she knew. This happens to me often. People are always coming up to me and starting a conversation thinking I am someone they know. I usually try to stop them quickly to avoid embarrassment to them.
This woman stopped and said "You don't know me?"
With this she mentioned her name. It was my turn to be embarrassed. She had lived across the street from me for over 10yrs. She downsized and moved into a smaller house as her children left the nest for their own homes and families.
As one does, when reconnecting with someone after years of not seeing them, we chattered on trying to catch up in the few minutes she had before going back to her job. I shared my diagnosis; she embraced me with her exclamations of sorrow. As we stepped apart she said "K has cancer too."
K is 21 years old. She was about 10 yrs old when Sue left this neighborhood. I had not seen her since she left with her mother. I was terribly saddened and at a loss for words. Her cancer is a sarcoma. A cancer of the tissues instead of the cells. 1 in a million contract her type of sarcoma and the rarity is prompting them to go to M.D. Anderson in Houston for treatment. She was diagnosed in September and since then had 5 surgeries. One to remove the sarcoma with the remaining for reconstruction. Her scalp had to be removed from the forehead to the mid part of her skull. Further treatment will be done in Houston.
My days following this encounter with Sue has been interrupted with thoughts of "K" and her future. I'm hoping with all my heart that this young lady gets to return for her last year at LSU and continue on with her life and that this is just an interruption and a short one.
I won't be sharing this post on Facebook. It's one of those posts I have to do as a part of this path in my life.
"K" if wishes come true, you will be safe"
I'll be making that wish every day for you.