Jane is a ten-year survivor of a very rare form of cancer Myelodysplastic Syndrome. She has enjoyed several exciting careers including a librarian, counselor, teacher, and writer. She loves to write about surviving cancer, overcoming hearing loss, and her hearing ear service dog, Sita.
We all have our angels here on earth, but need to know where to find them (and be one) on our difficult cancer journey.
I have been asked several times whether I believe in angels, and I do. I remember my mother telling me that my sister was a preschooler when she insisted she saw an angel. My wise mother never attempted to dissuade her. How do we really know that angels don’t appear to innocent children who do not doubt and are open?
However, this is not about those kinds of angels. I want to talk about the angels here on earth that every one of us cancer survivors have (and others too). Sometimes we aren’t even aware because they are so quiet about what they do. Or we may be so upset and self-absorbed with our illness we don’t see it. We should never take them for granted, but we do!
When I was having trouble understanding my first oncologist because of a heavy accent, I asked a friend to accompany me. She was there to hold my hand when I was told my life span was around 104 months. She went with me to a second, more supportive doctor until I assured her I was comfortable being alone and could understand this doctor. This wonderful friend went with me to three different medical centers until I found one that gave me hope. She has been with me to all my bone marrow biopsies. Every step of the way she has been like a sister to me.
I have another friend who has cleaned and helped me out for years. She told me she would take time off work if needed to take care of me. She is like another sister. I have a cousin who drove me to chemo, cooked for me and stayed with me through some rough days when I needed her while adjusting to a new treatment. I had two men from my church that came on one of the hottest days of summer to install a ceiling fan, because I was so hot and miserable from the chemo.
When I had a recent downturn on my cancer journey, people from my church gathered and sent wonderful cards to me — some of them daily. I have other friends who have brought me soup and food when I was too tired to cook. A neighbor walks my dog for me when I have my bone marrow biopsies. Another friend from church made me a beautiful blanket, so I would know I was warm and loved. My sister lives out of state, but e-mails me daily and visits me monthly with love and encouragement.
My oncologist and the nurses at the medical center treat me with compassion, respect and have helped me through so many rough patches. To me they are all angels. My Facebook friends are always encouraging and helping me out with their positive messages. Then there is my minister, who supports me when I sob and rail at how unfair this all is. My church and many other people assure me that I remain in their prayers.
You see, these aren’t the angels who fly through the sky with halos and wings. Although I do think they might be like Jimmy in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and will earn their wings in another world. But these people are all angels dressed in everyday clothes. I am convinced that every one of us has angels, but don’t think about it often enough.
My hope is maybe I can pay it forward. If I try to be encouraging, send cards, listen to people in pain and think about others, I can be an angel in disguise to someone else. In this tough world, we need all the angels we can get!!!