Thursday, November 19, 2009

When Angels are Disguised as Human Beings

There are times when I follow other websites in journeys with cancer that I can truly feel my heart ache; times when I learn a significant piece of the cancer puzzle; times when my frustration with the enormity of it all is overwhelming; times when I am amazed beyond words of the strength and internal fortitude of parents describing their joy in the love they embrace through their children; and times when my jaw hits the table.

Here I sat Tuesday night, reading up on the latest updates, specifically Lisa Buechler: - and can I say this website cracks me up every single time, because that is exactly what you say when the doctor gives you those words of diagnosis, "I have what?" Lisa is our new friend up at Huntsman as she is fighting the exact type cancer as Nick, in the same original place - the sinus. She has additional complications of health issues before cancer was ever introduced to her life. I continued to read that a "friend of Nick & Lori" came to help Lisa on Monday. Lisa is confined to a wheelchair and has an aide help her to all of her appointments, except on Mondays. Our friend, Ruth Taillac, had also read Lisa's updates, and knew she needed some help with transportation. She made arrangements to drive to Lisa's apartment across town, drive Lisa's van equipped for a wheelchair, and assisted Lisa to her radiation appointment and back home. Now, I know Ruth as she has kindly invited me to Christmas and neighborhood parties in years past, but she is much closer to fairy godmother, Denise. Denise had just visited with me all afternoon at Huntsman while Nick was getting chemo and she never mentioned Ruth's act of kindness. Turns out she didn't know, either.

Denise and I spoke later and we determined that between the fairy godmothers (Denise & Jennie), myself and Ruth, we can make sure Lisa gets to her appointments on Mondays. Serendipity played a roll as I saw Lisa yesterday afternoon at Huntsman; I gave her a big hug and kiss and let her know Mondays would be taken care of. Lisa's relief and gratitude overflowed. Because Lisa is a transplant from Alaska, her support system in Salt Lake City is not as strong as Nick's. I think we can do something about that. Nick asked me if I'll get emotionally attached (because he does) and I responded, "I already am!"

Ruth, thank you for your kindness. So many people think about helping, but can talk themselves out of it before the thought is even complete. Do we risk the emotional attachment? Do we compromise the convenience and comfort of our own family to reach out to a stranger? Ruth looked beyond Nick's story to Lisa's story and found a need she could fulfill. She has set an amazing example for her husband and children, her community, her church and those that observe from afar. All because she gave someone a ride.

Just one story among many, I'm sure. Timing is perfect, as always, because my maternal heart needed a little comfort. Nick's ANC count (number of baby white cells being produced) is .7; he is supposed to be at 1.0 before chemo can be administered but the powers that be decided to go ahead anyway. I'm worried his counts are that low after having 3 weeks off chemo (rather than the usual 2 weeks). He slept for 15 hours last night and is totally wiped out. All I can pray for is that the remaining cancer cells are wiped out, too.

We also ran into the young man - Mike Gorley - who visited Nick during his absolute worse in 2007, doing radiation and chemo at the same time. Mike just celebrated his 2-year remission anniversary. He had the exact presentation of cancer as Nick, except he had embryonal rhabdo vs. alveolar rhabdo that Nick has - alveolar is more aggressive. I encouraged him to visit the online rhabdo support group as we need a good survivor story right now.

With loads of gratitude,



Chris Ulvin said...

Dear Lori,
Your posting made me immediately think of the Parable of the Good Samaritan - Luke 10:25-37. A great story to reflect on as we head into the Christmas season. God bless you, Ruth, Denise and Jeannie.
Love, aunt Chris

Lorin Decker Buck said...

Hi Lori,

Thank you for mentioning Mike and his two-year remission. I really appreciate the survivor stories -- I hear so many of the other kind of stories, I sometimes wonder if anyone does survive. It's especially helpful to hear about young people with rhabdo in the sinus. It gives me hope!

Thinking of you,