Personal-Everyday ChaosPivotal Moments

humble pie | blairsville, pa photographer | pivitol moments

By May 5, 2011 4 Comments

Today….things were put into perspective for me! I mean REALLLLLLY put into perspective. To put it frankly, I’m humbled.

Today is my birthday (which all of you already know—I mean I have a bazillion “Happy Birthday’s” on my facebook wall today) THANK YOU for all the cyber-space love by the way! It definitely kept me busy during my treatment today…which is what I’m going to be talking a little bit to you about. Today, I cried….yes, I cried-let me explain! Instead of cake and ice cream, I was served a bit of humble pie!

Long story short I had scheduled a doctors appointment for myself to see a blood specialist. If any of you know how hard it is to sometimes get an appointment with a “specialist” it can sometimes take months and months. Coincidently, Greg had scheduled his wisdom teeth to be taken out on the same day via sedation and needed ME to drive him home. We had to call my Grandfather at the last minute because neither of us wanted to reschdule for fear that it would take FOREVER to get an appointment. I actually called just to see if I could reschedule and the nurse on the phone had pulled my chart and was very persistant that I try my hardest to make it down. So we went our separate ways….Greg with my Grandfather and me by my lonesome self.

Before I continue, I’ll just explain that I’m having an issue with my iron, hemoglobin, thyroid….so I’ve been going thru a series of tests over a course of the past year to try to “figure out” what’s going on. Basically, I have no energy, I always feel tired and worn out and well….I’m just darn right tired of feeling tired. I mean I have a full time job, run a business, have a 6 year old and maintain a house…so I should be tired-right? Well, not THIS kind of tired. Soooo that’s the nutshell…my levels are at a low of 13 which should be AT LEAST in the 200(ish) range. I’m gimpy-what can I say!?

When I arrived I was under the impression that I was there for a consultation to go over my blood work..blah blah blah. Towards the end of the consult (when I thought I was about ready to go home and meet up with Greg at the dentist office) he broke the news. “I’m not sure you will be going directly home right now, I’m insisting that you stay for a IV transfusion.” OK no problem (i’m thinking) this shouldn’t take too long—WRONG… 4 hours!  1 hour to check to make sure I”m not allergic to the IV and the other 3 hours to actually DO the transfusion”. So change of plans, I was staying. Want to know what went thru my mind….”CRAP, I forgot my IPad, this is going to be so boring, what an inconvenience, this is my birthday, I need to be home editing, I skipped breakfast and now I’m going to be starving, did I place that order for so-and-so?”….all of these things-non important things really, but these are the things that were flooding my mind. I’ll admit, I was a bit annoyed.

The nurses walked me over to “THE ROOM”. The room where everyone who is receiving their daily, weekly or monthly chemo treatments (among other things). The staff was so friendly and welcoming. They all knew that it was my first time and there was a friendly face around every corner-including the patience -which I will get to. She briefly shows me around, “here are the snacks and drinks, here are the books/magazines-you may want to grab one, you’ll be here a while, the bathrooms are over there and you can choose ANYYY seat you want that is open. Get settled in and I’ll be over to get you started”. I choose a seat by the window, selfishly, I thought it would be a great seat to just stare out the window and zone about all the things I still had to do at home and for the business.  No one was back there and I could be ALLL by myself. As I walked past everyone to get to my seat-which happened to be clear across the room-I couldn’t help but notice how many people where there. Most of them bald, some of them wearing wigs but everyone of them had big cheerful eyes and a warming smile. Sheepishly I walked by everyone and to my seat and home for the next 4 hours.

It was then after  I got settled just as the nurse instructed that I really got to take it in. *I* was there merely for an iron deficiency, to have a IV transfusion but ALL these other people were here in their various stages of cancer. *I*, the one that was SOOO annoyed that I had to stay there a few extra hours out of my day, and *THESE* folks, they were there hanging on to every last string of life they could fight for. It was like a brick wall—I got up, went to the bathroom and cried. I mean I CRIED! I felt soo selfish. The worst problems I could think of in my own life were grains of sand to these people and yet…..they weren’t ANNOYED, they were cheerful, hopeful and soo soo so very welcoming. I was so humbled.

I composed myself and got back to my seat and as the nurse asked me if I was ok, a man named Charlie sat down in the seat beside me. He had the happiest smile every, carried a bag with personal items and he looked like a veteran to the Cancer Center. He sat his bag on the ground and looked directly and me and said, “oooh HI” and stuck out his hand to introduce himself. I found that after chatting with him for the first hour that he comes into the Cancer Center daily at the same time in between his bus routes (he’s a high school bus driver) to get his treatments. He tells me about “his story” and how he found out he had cancer, what  it’s been like for him and how it’ affected his life-he has melanoma and he found it during a work required checkup . A perfect stranger but yet I felt like I knew him so well. In walked another woman by the name of Marry, got comfy in another seat near by, she was immediatly began to tell “her story” of breast cancer and how SHE found it after seeing a poster on the wall at the hospital when taking her mother for out patient surgery.

It sounds cheesy….but I walked in there feeling so alone and yet I walked out with two new friends. We laughed, we joked and we smiled….IN THE CANCER TREATMENT CENTER. That boggled my mind. He told me how he was grateful to have done the things he did when he was younger, that he holds onto the those memories and that there was a handful of things that he wished he would have had the courage to do “back then”….because in the end, worrying about the money, what others would have said, how they would have judged him doesn’t matter. She went on to say a few of the same things….and then I began to tear up this time in front of them. Those things he talks about …”worrying about the money, what others would have said, how they would have judged him…were exactly how I feel sometimes. Sometimes we are afraid to follow our dreams for those very reasons….when in the end we should be doing what makes us happy, what creates memories, what leaves us with NO REGRETS. He said he has no idea how much longer he has, but he knows one thing…..he’s not going to sweat the small stuff.

I left that place  humbled. I hope that I get to see them again when I continue to go down for my next monthly transfusion. I think this time, I’m going to leave my IPad at home on purpose. 🙂 Generally, I wouldn’t have chosen that way to spend my birthday, stuck with needles in a Cancer Center getting IV transfusions….but in all honestly, it was the most meaningful birthday I think I’ve EVER  had!



  • Bridget Super says:

    Wow! You’ve had quite a day!Happy Belated Birthday, by the way!My daughter Erin turned 24 today so we have been celebrating too 🙂 She is a second grade teacher down at Homer Center. We have an agreement. I take cupcakes down on her birthday and she acts surprised and the kids seem to get quite a kick out of it. What a way to celebrate! Her favorite color is pink so you can picture what this looked like.

    So you wonder why I’m telling you this. It’s because she constantly complains about being tired. But she, like you has a million things going on. Married, house, full time job, 19 kids, working on her masters. You get my drift.

    I’m glad you took that extra step and went to a specialist. Maybe if I make her read your story she might do the same. It’s crazy how busy life gets. It’s hard to make the time.Bravo for getting yourself there and trying to get it all figured out.

    They say one day at a time for a reason, will keep you in my prayers. God has great plans for you, hang in there, it will be OK 🙂

  • Robin Grimm says:

    Jen:- Happy Belated B-day and also best wishes to you and your health. I can relate to your visit as I suffered injuries from a fall and had to stay in a skilled nursing facility for a month. Believe me, that was an eye opener and humbling experience. I did not feel sorry for myself one bit as I looked around at the people that have been there for years! I felt I was placed there to make a difference for a month to my roommate who has been there for 10 years now and she is not that much older than I. Even though it was temporary and “I did not fit in with the crowd”–I still decided to make the most of my stay and hopefully bring smiles to my new friends’ faces. I think everyone should make a visit at Children’s Hosp, Nursing Homes and Cancer Centers!! You come out a different person–that is for sure. Take Care–God Bless-Keep Smiling.

  • Tara Penatzer says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I think sometimes we all need to be reminded of what some people out there are going through, and how petty some of our daily annoyances really are! (I know I needed it!) Take care and I hope they get things figured out and turned around for you! 🙂

  • Cheryl says:

    I have been going for treatments for cancer that will soon be in remission. I won’t say it has been a pleasure, but after 11 months I can’t tell you how many people have touched my life in some special way everytime I go in to the cancer center. I have watched a young girl with leukemia pass away, yet her sprit lives on, as she accepted her illness with unbelievable strength… more maturity than anyone at her age should ever have. I’ve seen an older woman with brain cancer deteriorate… but still take the time to smile and say hello every time i am there. I experienced the loss of one of my own friends, who lived only 2 weeks after he was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer. Though all of the people I have been in contact with over the past year are suffering from pain, sickness, fear… you wouldn’t know it by the love, care and compassion that they share. They are special people that have helped me to put my own life in perspective.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.