Celebration of life

Today we celebrated Life After Chemo, a friend’s transition from illness to health, restoration of energy, and a normal expectation of a future.  At the onset of her chemo ordeal, the women from today’s group met at the same table, at that time a new table and chair set, so new, the owner hadn’t yet taken off the manufacturer’s tags.

All those months ago, Karen’s expression was sturdy, she was solid in her faith, resolved in strength to face whatever, and encouraged by our solidarity beside and behind her.  We wrapped her in extreme giggling, mutual ribbing, and unexpected hysterically funny stories about Jackie’s own breast cancer diagnosis experience in Germany now ten years ago.  She remains cancer free.

Karen is single, lives alone, couldn’t work, and couldn’t always make it to where she wanted to go, like church, like outings.  She did not complain.  As individuals we would check in by phone, and include her in prayer.  As groups, the one that met with her on day one and the Sunday small group, prayed.  We had her over for Thanksgiving, she attended Diana’s Christmas Eve party, but for the most part, she stayed at home.  Germs is the main reason when one’s immune system is virtually wiped out with chemo treatments.

Knowing that the pet scan in October showed a few dots of cancer, that the doctor wanted to administer at least two more treatments, we were concerned, as was Karen.  What do you do?  You’re a moron to suggest that you’re tired of it and want to quit, so two more treatments were administered and another pet scan run.  The all clear came through just about ten days ago.  Happy New Year, Karen.

Today, she was a new girl — still jovial, still secure in her expression, but oh, the relaxation in her voice, her posture, and smile.  She still wore the hat but now and then she will unconsciously stroke the short fuzzy hair peeking out under the brim.

Today, we sat around the table celebrating Karen’s new lease on life.  We discussed the new politburo and prophecy, TVangelists,  listened to Jackie’s experiences in Poland and Russia as a missionary, Rebecca’s survival of earthquakes and journey from Venezuela after Hugo’s takeover, and accepted Diana’s invitation to be her personal attendants this May when she marries one of the nicest guys I’ve seen in a blue moon or two.

All this joy, not to mention the food,  around the same table and chair set with the manufacturer’s tags still attached.

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