Sunday, September 24, 2006

Enduring Life... By the Grace of God



Excerpt Chapter 1: Freefalling

It was the day before Thanksgiving 2004. The week before had been brimming to overflow with children’s holiday parties. My three young boys and I had soldiered through a full spate of elementary school celebrations. I was overcooked and wilted, but now that the Pilgrim plays and chicken nugget banquets were behind us, I had family festivities to plan. I opened my refrigerator that morning to a cavernous hole I’d carved out for the annual turkey. Twenty pounds of plucked and butter-blobbed bird were nowhere to be found. Uh-oh! I forgot to buy a turkey!

We’ll be cranking out the Banquet frozen entrees, I wearily mused.

What’s the chance of getting a fresh turkey at this point… and how would I thaw a frozen one?
I shook my head in mild disgust. Disaster! I’ve really blown it this time!

Just then the phone rang shortly before 9:00 o’clock.

Hello, I said.

Is this Sarah, a woman asked?

Yes, I replied.

This is the doctor's office, the woman continued. The doctor has asked that you come into the office as soon as possible… and you need to bring your husband.

I could feel my heart begin to drum and a flood of fright as the words penetrated. All I could do was parrot back.

The doctor has asked that I come into his office… as soon as possible… with my husband, I echoed.

There was a small pause as both of us, perhaps, wondered if it was possible to just hang up and rewind.

That doesn’t sound good, I said, breaking the silence.

The woman simply re-drilled the instructions. You need to come in to see the doctor as soon as possible… with your husband.

OK… when?

How about 1:30 this afternoon?

We’ll be there.


That phone call lasted no more than a minute. No one ever said the word “cancer.” Both caller and receiver maintained a professional and detached clinical calm. Yet I knew that I was about to receive the abject worst news of my life. I knew I would be told that I had cancer. That cancer kills. And there was the potential for three little boys—all of 4, 6 and 8—to grow up without a mother.

I stood for a moment in my kitchen just shaken and needles-and-pins numb. Two minutes before, my biggest worry was what we’d have for dinner the next day. Now I am certain I am in a battle for my life.

My eyes locked onto a small figure in the next room sitting at a table stacking wooden blocks. It was my four-year-old son, Daniel. He was softly singing a song about a turkey named Tom. Just yesterday it seemed he was getting so big. But today he seems so very small…

(Sad Lady by Schizo o'23, see flickr.com for restrictions.)

4 comments:

Jamey said...

You have me on the edge of my seat with tears in my eyes. Can't wait to read more. Praise God that I know the rest of the story!

T said...

The best is yet to come...

Sarah Onderdonk said...

back to the doctor on monday... will let you know how it goes. my prayers are with farrah fawcett. i'm so sad for her.

Sarah Onderdonk said...

Good appointment today... back in three weeks for "two-year-anniversary" screening. That's a biggie.

PLEASE, readers, ask questions about family history regarding cancer or other serious illnesses. If you are in a "high risk" categroy for certain diseases, medical screenings (blood assessment, colonoscopies, MRI's, mammograms, etc.) could SAVE YOUR LIFE!!

If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you need to talk to your primary doctor about getting screenings BEFORE the current recommended age of 50. My own children will be screened when they are 20. This is a curable disease... highly curable... if caught early.

Be proactive and stay healthy, dear friends!