Well, over the last few weeks I have been poked and prodded and scanned. The general consensus of the doctors is that the treatments worked and the cancer is gone. I will have another scan in October to check it again. I don’t know that I have won the war, but I do feel like the battle is mine.
And battle scars—I have a few. My shoulder has a gouge taken out of it due to the removal of a tumor that was on my carotid artery. My voice box has been removed along with the throat cancer tumor and my voice. A tube with a back flow valve has been surgically inserted between my trachea and my esophagus allowing regulated air to flow into my mouth cavity and thereby allowing me to talk. There is a button on my throat that I can push to direct air through this tube when I want to talk. It is a very simple device but difficult to explain.
So I have a new sense of hope. When I think of cancer I think of a movie (The Shootist, 1976) that I saw with Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne in which Stewart looked at Wayne and said, “You have a cancer.” I knew right then that the character was going to die. Up until recently I guess my mind just accepted cancer as being the kiss of death. Now I know different. I know that in many cases, finding the cancer is the first step in treating and eradicating it.
I have been learning about my “store bought” voice for five or six months and have been slowly gaining confidence in using it. My writing group, The Rome Area Writers (Rome, Georgia) was due to meet last week and the writing prompt was “Tender Mercies.” I decided to write something short to read for the group and just find out how much progress I was making. The reading went rather well considering, and I felt good about it. Here’s the piece:
She is a nice looking forty-five
Year old third generation
Trust fund baby who had
Married a second generation
Trust fund baby.
I have just gotten through wit
A three year cancer battle
In which I lost my voice
And sustained several other scars.
“You look good, John.”
She said as she gave me a perfunctory hug.
She stood back and looked at me
“How are you doing,” she asked
And nodded toward the button on my throat,
“Other than that…”
“How insensitive,” I thought to myself
“I’m feeling great,” I said with a big smile.
She replied, “I’ve been praying for you, and
We put you on the prayer list at my church.”
I thanked her kindly.
On the way home I thought to myself
“Four years ago
Four years ago I would have been devastated
To think I would have a button on my throat
That I had to push any time I wanted to talk.”
And I thought some more.
There is nothing like five months
Without being able to talk,
To make one really appreciate such a button
I pulled into the driveway,
Home from a long day.
“Welcome home,” my wife said
She smiled and gave me more than a perfunctory hug.
She backed off and looked at me
With a shine in her eye…
“How was your day?” she asked.
If you still need your plant fix for the week, go see the website for my new hero, Jake Hobson. He has taken Japanese pruning techniques to England. Wow
As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?