Sunday, May 13, 2012

15 more chances...

I don't about you, but I remember when Cheetos's had a nacho cheese flavor.  I was addicted to those things.  I was in the throes of a wicked bout of chemo and rarely had much of an appetite, but oh, those Cheetos were the best.  Absolutely no nutritional value,but I really didn't care.  The last time I had them was Mother's Day 1997. I remember that day like yesterday.  It was a beautiful day.  We spent the morning at church, then just drove around and had a relaxing day.  I remember that I had to protect my skin from the sun because of all the medications I was taking to protect my organs from the chemo treatments.

I had no idea where the bruises and tiny red dots that covered my body had come from.  When I called the nurse to report the strange sight, she immediately directed me to the hospital to receive a platelet transfusion.  My body had stopped making them.  I remember craving the Cheetos!  I told the boys that I would be going to the hospital and would be back in a couple of hours. It was 6:00 p.m. No worries. While I got settled into my room and prepped to get the platelets, Andrew went to get my Cheetos. 

I don't remember many details of what happened next, but I do remember this: the odd sensation of not being able to take a full breath.  Of barely being able to stand, but catching a glimpse of my swollen face in the mirror as I stumbled to the hospital bed.  Of collapsing, yet still being conscious but not having control of my body.  I remember the sea of faces as the code was called.  The nurse jamming a needle into my arm and saying "stay with us now, it's ok, we are giving you something to help".  The doctor with a crash cart...I remember the thoughts running through my mind...that I would die on Mothers Day.  That I told my boys I would be back home. That my husband was sitting at the foot of my bed and was going to witness this. I remember those things, I remember thinking that I hope he and the boys knew how much I loved them.

When I woke up, it was dark in the room.  My husband was resting his head at the foot of the bed.  I thought, oh my goodness I died and he is distraught.  I actually pinched myself (very hard I might add), to make sure that I was indeed alive.  It was 2:30 a.m. I called for the nurse and asked to be discharged.  She tried to talk me out of it, but I was insistent.  I wanted to hug my boys.  I wanted to sleep in my bed next to my husband.  I wanted to eat my Cheetoes!!

Ironically, in my haste to leave the hospital I left the Cheetoes!!  Really!   Oh but I gained so much more.  Though just weeks later I would be told that there was nothing more that could be done to stop the rapid spread of the cancer, and then learning I could participate in a study...I was given a chance that has turned into 15 more.   I have been give 15 years of life.  15 more birthdays.  15 more anniversaries. 15 more chances to be completely awed by my sons.  2 chances to see my children graduate.  3 chances to see my grandchildren's births, and the chance to anxiously await the birth of the 5th.  2 chances to say goodbyes to my grandmothers.  15 more chances to honor my mother and father.  I have been so blessed that it is almost surreal. 

I know who was in charge that night.  God had his hand on me.  I still don't know why, but I don't ever want to take for granted what He did for me then and continues to do for me now.   I pray that God will give many, many more years to serve Him and enjoy this life that has been gifted to me. I am blessed beyond measure, and one day, just one day...Frito Lay will make nacho cheese flavored Cheetoes.