Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Better Plan...

If I told you I had chemo today from 8 til 2, and broke my tooth half way through on a pretzel stick, would you think I had a pretty bad day?  May I add that my bestfriend from grammar school who is a substitute teacher (and a cancer survivor of nearly 10 years!) was going to hang out with me during my treatment but couldn't.  Duty called.  She was told at 6 am that a classroom needed her.  I was bummed, but knew that we'd catch up again soon.  So knowing that she wasn't coming, I arrived early to get the one private room that has a DVD player so I could finally watch The Help.
But as soon as I sat down in the room, I was asked if I would allow a new patient to have that room for the day.  I'm kinda nice, so I said yes.

Well, things happen for a reason, right?

Because I wasn't tucked away by myself watching a movie, I noticed the discomfort on the new patient's face.  When I saw her husband step outside for a bit, I walked in and introduced myself.  I usually want to strike up a conversation with everyone around me there, but I often don't.  But this time I did.

I reassured this newly diagnosed breast cancer patient that cancer isn't always what it's cracked up to be.  Sometimes it's more doable than one may think.   
I wanted her to know that I've never thrown up following chemo and that my hair began growing back in just four months.  I told her she could buy great fake eyelashes at CVS for $4.  And I couldn't resist trying to make her laugh with my minipad/wig story.  Don't know if I've ever shared that one on my blog before, but it's a good one.   

A few hours later, her cousin came by to sit with her.  She is a breast/ovarian/bone cancer survivor.  Who better to support you through cancer than that lady!  Before long, they were laughing and I'm glad to say, she was now relaxed and comfortable for the duration of her first treatment.

A little bit later, another patient sat in the chair beside me.  
Fortunately or unfortunately, eavesdropping is very easy to do there because the chairs are so close together with few partitions.  You basically hear everything that's said to your neighbor.  As a result, I overheard that this woman's scan just revealed that her cancer had spread to her bone.  I heard that she was a little concerned about how she was going to get to daily radiation treatments, so I leaned over and told her that during my good weeks, I would be happy to take her.  I handed her my card.  Some of you may know that my cards feature my life's motto, "can't do cancer without God."  I saw that she studied the card and said nothing.  She thanked me for my offer and placed the card in her purse.

We then talked about food for two hours.  Raw foods.  Vegan diets.  Wheatgrass.  Just stuff.  She told me that her doctor misread her mammogram, telling her she was fine, only to find out one year later when she had her next mammogram that she wasn't.  She now had advanced breast cancer.

Do you know how beautiful it was to look into her green eyes and listen to this woman say how lucky she felt.   She said, "I'll tell you this because you have cancer.  You'll get this.  I'm actually grateful for this cancer because it has brought me closer to God.  I was very busy when I worked, and led a very stressful life as a result of my job.  And I kind of got away from God.  And this was a great wake-up call for me."  She agreed that cancer offers many silver linings.

My eyes were beginning to fill with those dang tears of mine.  Not because it was sad and I felt sorry for her.  But because when you face something like cancer, you get what's important in life.  And that's a gift.  A gift like no other.  And I was so glad she got it -- the meaning,  not the cancer!

I handed her a pink "can't do cancer without God" necklace from around my neck.  She studied it for a long time and then said she noticed that that phrase was also on my business card.   She then asked me what church I went to.  I told her it was basically behind us and across the street.  I told her that when we find a Sunday when we both feel well, I'd be happy to pick her up and take her.  

She said she'd be happy to go.  
And put the necklace around her neck.

Right before she left, I told her that I was so glad my friend couldn't make it this afternoon.  Because if she had, I would have been off in conversation with her and would have missed this lovely connection with my new friend.

I love when God surprises me.  

I love that my plans fall through.  
And His plans flourish.


  1. That was a great post. Seems like God had plans for you that day!~Hugs, Patti

  2. I am going to marinate in the words you wrote here (again) contrasting the chaotic busy-ness of your "former life" (bc -- before cancer) and now... You've written to me about this before and I've sooooo often thought of your words to me, on especially busy days, telling myself "Ruth, what is God going to have to do with you to get you to SLOW IT DOWN???" I remember so well your words when you wrote in an email to me that you were also crazy-busy like me and now you wouldn't want that life again. Thanks for this reminder again, Ruthie. Perfect timing all the way around -- in your situation that day in the treatment room and in your words here for me to read. :)


  3. God shines so beautifully through you....


  4. Hello My Friend,

    As I thought about you all day long yesterday, thinking about my day that was planned with you & how disappointing it was that I was called up to sub. In the years prior, I would have denied the call and in some ways I wish I would have yesterday also to be with you, but the jobs are needed and unfortunately, I could not deny the work. I take them as they come and I'm joyful and grateful when they do. You are so much more important to me, I hope that you understand that, but at the same time, I know that you are so understanding. I am looking forward to a visit with you next week and I will pray that I have a day that is good for both of us to spend time together at last. Love & Hugs and continue to work your magic with others in need of your joyful soul & spirit Ruthie, you're amazing. Love you!

  5. Thank you for sharing this story of God moments. Since I found your blog back before Christmas I think of you often and whisper a prayer for you. xo rachel

  6. How amazing and awesome that the creator of the universe has "us" on His mind all the time.... "He will never leave us or forsake us".. and I am so thankful... and I can see that you are too!!! Hope today is one big blessing!!! Praying for you from Florida!! Terri