My visits to Cancer Treatment Center of America have become fairly routine. My husband and I follow my schedule, going from floor to floor, clinic to clinic for my various appointments. This visit was a little different. I left my husband at home and took my mom. Actually, she took me. During my darkest times this year, my mom came over nearly every afternoon to help care for me, relieving my husband so he could work and do necessary errands. She shared the duties with two lovely friends of mine. When I ended up as an inpatient at CTCA in March, my mom and stepdad traveled to GA to see me. My mom didn’t get to see much of the treatment center because she stayed with me in my hospital room. (Sometimes, despite our age, we just want our moms) I really wanted her to meet the people who’ve helped me so much at CTCA and who spoil me with kindness and love.
We headed out bright and early in the morning with our sights set on Georgia. We were so excited, we gabbed the whole trip about nothing and everything, giggling like little girls. When we finally arrived, we unloaded the car and checked ourselves in. We unpacked then made a quick trip to a couple nearby stores before dinner. As soon as we walked into the café at CTCA, I spotted our friend, Jeannie. She welcomed us with a smile and a hug.
The following day was my appointments. We woke up and went to the café for breakfast, again seeing more familiar faces. While I was standing in line, my chiropractor came in and saw me. He came over to say hello in case he didn’t get to see me this visit. I told him he was on my schedule in just a couple hours. He said he’d just go back to his office then and practice until I got there. When we finished our breakfast we went to the second floor for my follow up appointment at 9:00 with my wound care nurse. She hugged me, happy to see me and was quite pleased with the progress she saw. Then we were on our way to see my chiropractor. He made necessary adjustments and discussed my progress and gave me some additional exercises to do each day to provide more mobility to my right arm. 10:45 nurse assessment next with my friends in Pulmonary. Without my husband to direct me in the quickest way to get to the fourth floor clinic, I had to stop and think for a minute. As I was thinking, up walks my friend from housekeeping, Commie. She was showing a new employee around but took five minutes to walk us to the elevator that would open up in the fourth floor lobby – right where I needed to be in about one minute! In pulmonary, a tech took my vitals then my nurse came in to hug me and ask all her usual questions. Then right on schedule at 11:00 my pulmonary doctor came in. Hugs again, then I introduced my mom. After removing my Pleurx catheter last month the doctor wanted to do an ultrasound during this visit to see how much fluid had accumulated. He asked my mom if she wanted to look at the screen. He described what she was seeing: my lung, diaphragm, liver and the fluid…”Wow!” he said. The fluid had diminished to about 10cc instead of increasing! There was only a little bit of fluid there. Not even enough to drain. My doctor was pleasantly surprised. (Thank You, Lord!!) (Happy dance!!) We said our goodbyes then headed downstairs. My next appointment was a lab draw on the first floor at 12:30. That meant I had just enough time to grab something to eat.
As we traveled back home to Florida, I thought of our visit. We enjoyed meeting many new people and we were encouraged by many others. So many little joys had added up to make a delightful trip despite where we were and why we were there. I thought of Yolanda. Even though she had not been feeling well, she refused to let it overcome her. She persisted in spreading love and joy. All these things reminded me of a card I keep that my grandparents sent me many months ago. This is what it says:
Having a beautiful life isn’t so much about getting that one big thing
or reaching that one great goal.
Having a beautiful life is more about
seeing the wonder in the little things,
the everyday things that life washes onto your shore.
Gathering them like pearls,
stringing them together,
And realizing what a treasure you’ve collected.
Do that, and you cannot help but have a beautiful life…
The one you are meant to live.