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.