Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

We got up at 4: 45 am, and were on the road by 5: 30.  Headed to Durham.  Duke Morris Cancer Clinic to be exact because I had a checkup.  Now isn't that a romantic way to spend Valentine's Day?

Actually, yes, it is.  That's the kind of stuff love is made of.  Not the "love" you often find in movies and songs, but it's the kind found in real life.  Real Life vs Reality TV.  Again, there's a major difference, but that's another soapbox for another day.

I'm grateful for these trips to Duke.  Yeah, it's nice to get good reports.   I've got a great doctor and I love his nurse with lots of initials after her name...always good to see Karen.  All the staff are the most compassionate, helpful people you'll find anywhere, no matter what their job.  And let's not forget the volunteers!

In case you've never been, Duke Morris Cancer Clinic is a pretty big place with several levels, various clinics that deal with and treat various cancers and that means you'll see patients from all walks of life and all ages. You'll see people dealing with various stages of their disease and you'll witness various attitudes.  But mostly you'll see a "can-do" spirit, not self-pity.

Today, as usual, I saw children with their parents.  You can usually tell which one is sick.  Wheelchairs, IV poles, and bald heads are give-aways.  Sometimes it's a parent; sometimes it's a child.  It should never be a child or teen, but you'll always see at least one in each age group.

And determination shows up.  Determination to be just like every other child and do "it" themselves, whatever "it" is.  However they have to do "it."  Determination on the part of the parent to make sure their baby does, indeed, do it just like they want.  And the determination to dare anybody to get in baby's way.

Determination walks with a mission, talks with authority, laughs with full knowledge that laughter is the best medicine, cuddles with held back tears, kneels on the floor with prayers and touches, breathes with precision, looks with compassion, and breaks with the dark.  Determination can look tired and be confused with "resignation" but never think someone's "resigned" to anything.  Determination finds great strength in numbers but can function well alone if need be.  Determination is a driving force for all concerned--patient and doctor alike.  Determination is necessary to beat a determined disease.

"Determination" has many definitions, but it cannot be adequately defined apart from a cancer clinic with young people accompanied by parents.  Love is determined and love will find a way and love will spend Valentine's Day and any other day in clinics across the world if that's where a loved one has to be.

We live almost 2 1/2 hours from Durham, but if we were a lot closer, I'd be one of those volunteers there.  I'm lucky right now.  I'm not taking chemo or any treatment.  I show up twice a year for blood work and once a year for x-rays and my doctor tells me all's well and I can go home.  No wheelchair, no IVs, no wig or scarf.  I'm determined to keep it that way.

To all who were at Morris Cancer Clinic, or any cancer clinic, for Valentine's Day, I pray you've had a blessed day.  Thank you for your witness of love, determination, and strength.  You make the world a better place...

And I am grateful.
 Note: My story is at:
http://letsgivethanks.blogspot.com/2010/12/big-c-is-not-candy.html