Monday, December 23, 2013

Breast Cancer Won't Stop Me - Carol, 71

November 21, four days after my surgery, I headed the Attic Treasures sale as the lead person and head cashier at the Oakmont United Methodist Church.  After work in the evenings of the week before my surgery, I had set up the sale.  I unpacked the used items, sat them on tables in the primary room, and priced everything according to my best guesses.  It’s a job I had done two or three times a year for about seven years.  This time it was a job that busied my mind from my troubles.  The money earned is used for various local and international missions, and I have only missed one sale and that was when I had my heart attack. 

Because of the advance preparations, everything was ready when the crush of shoppers rushed in at 10 a.m.  I couldn’t use my left arm or lift because of the incisions and the risk of  lymphedema, so I borrowed a sling.  I used it to hold on to the strap to provide support and ensure that I didn’t forget about my “bad” arm.  As I checked out purchases, my husband stood behind me wrapping and bagging items and my daughter and grandchildren handled the jewelry counter and the customers out on the floor.   

Jim’s opposition to my decision to work the sale dissolved once he saw I was set on doing it, and he was right there with me.  The only time I left was for a half hour when I met the visiting nurse at our house where she stripped the drain that was collecting fluid from the surgical site and attended to some of the unsavory details.  As I returned to the sale and did my usual patter and thanked the customers for shopping at Methodist Mart, I saw a glimmer of myself returning.  

I look back and I am amazed with my spirit and strength, but it was that part that needed to take over from that sad me that sat and didn’t speak and only had frozen words that couldn’t be said.  The doctors were healing my body, now I had to heal the rest of me.  I had help with that. 

After the visiting nurses no longer came to the house, my husband tended to the dressings and the drains and all of my pains, and he did it with a gentle grace.  The love and support of my family further helped to heal my brokenness.

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