When I was told at age 82 that I had stage Four cancer, I thought, “Well, this is it.”
My oncologist recommended a treatment he said would delay the progress of the cancer and “give me more time.” Nothing was said about any hopes of a cure. I began giving away things, and traded my car to our granddaughter for hers, an even older one that I had given to her when she started college. I didn’t intend to renew my driver’s license, but my husband insisted I should.
I didn’t bother to learn how to use the new smart phone he had given me, because I figured it was a waste of time. I stopped going out much, but one reason was rational. The treatment I was taking compromised my immune system, so I avoided groups, and crowded places. I mostly ate foods that would boost my immune system, even those I didn’t like.
My friends and family were praying for me, but I wasn’t counting on much. I remembered what my Grandfather Cook used to say. The gist of what he said was:
Old Father Time is a mean, old man.
He’s going to catch you any way he can.
It might be cancer or maybe not,
But he’s “gonna getcha” no matter what!
I wasn’t afraid to die; I just hated pain, and I had plenty of that, but suddenly, the acute pain was all gone. I attributed it to the pain treatment I’d been getting. When, at my last doctor’s appointment, the doctor came in beaming, and told me I had an A+ on my last PET scan, I was shocked. I kept waiting for him to say, “April Fool” or something, but he wasn’t joking. He told me, “Thanks for making me look good.”
When I told family, friends and neighbors about my good news, I was surprised to hear that all of them had been praying for me. I had not asked anybody to pray for me. I thought I knew God’s will, and had accepted it. One neighbor is so thrilled, that she is giving me a celebration luncheon next week. Another new neighbor I barely knew, presented me with a quilt she had made for me!
I routinely thanked God for each day I was given, but had not once asked to have my life spared. I thought I should be thankful for being allowed to live for 82 years, and that I shouldn’t be greedy and ask for more. Oddly, thinking I didn’t have much longer to live gave me a sense of freedom. From that time on, I focused on doing what I wanted to do, not what I thought I ought to do.
I’m thinking now that maybe God puts us on this earth to do what we love to do, because that is what He put us here for anyhow. I enjoy writing, so that’s what I’m now doing most -including RIGHT NOW!
Margaret Miller Curtis