World Cancer Day

4 Feb

Cancer and I met almost 15 years ago; a youngish mom, 3 young kids.

She (cancer) came back to visit again and again until finally she came to live; she decided my body, my home was also home for her and she decided to take up more space..different ‘rooms.’

Now we live together. I know she wants to fully take over all my living space, but every few months I get confirmation that she is still sleeping in the different rooms she came to stay in 5 years ago. An unwelcome visitor to my home, my family, my body, my mind. Time marches on. The young kids are now young adults and a mom with cancer is all they’ve known.

6 weeks ago cancer came to visit my dad; a bigger, badder relative of my cancer. It’s been hard. The chemo regimen is rough. I now live with cancer and am caregiver/helper to my dad…and my mom who’s tired both mentally and physically.

Cancer is that unwelcome visitor that wants to stay. It’s rude and inconsiderate of peoples time and feelings. It has a ripple effect beyond the singular person; the reach is wide affecting family and friends.

But why? But also, why not? All of it can be maddening. I get sad then angry then tired, but now playing all the roles of cancer fighter and caregiver, I’m mostly tired.

I used to view hope as the long game , the ‘hope for a better future’ kind of deal, but now I know hope lives very much in the present moments. It’s in the friends that reach out, the ones who leave a small gift on your porch, the nurse that brings that extra cup of ice water, the PA who calls you on a weekend to see how you are, the stranger at the hospital that sees you crying so they sit with you a minute and offer a prayer, and even the dog who puts their face in your lap wanting pets. Yes, hope is present.

Cancer or any long term medical diagnosis puts mortality at the forefront; reminds you that your time on earth is finite so what do you do with your time? It has changed my life. Some of the things I thought were big deals are not so big and actually some of the smaller things, small moments, matter the most. Time is our greatest commodity. The words faith, hope, and love are always thrown around and sometimes flippantly but when you live devastated, hopeful, and grateful simultaneously, those three words are fully alive and pretty much carry you day to day.

This World Cancer Day, be kind, practice love, say a prayer of gratitude for being alive, and hug your loved ones extra ❤️


2 Responses to “World Cancer Day”

  1. Judy Baumhauer February 4, 2023 at 9:55 am #

    DEAR ANNA, GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY. You have more faith and trust and love than anyone else I have ever known. You have made me aware of what I have right now. Wake Up Judy and realize how blessed you are and what you have instead of what you don’t have. I miss Dick so much and don’t think I will ever get over him being gone. I know where he is and who he belongs to but that doesn’t help me miss him less. We had many great years together and many years apart. I was blessed to have known him since 2nd grade. I know that God brought us back together when we were in high school. We married young (18) and had our ups and downs and had our 2 wonderful children and life was good for many many years. I still have no idea why he left and got divorced and what happened all those years. I just know that I was blessed to have him back in my life and remarried. We were married for 29 years and he decided he wanted a divorce and moved out – just like that – no reasons given. His life was not good after that. He lost a great job that he loved, moved here and there and out-of-state. He started another job and that didn’t work and moved to California. He wanted to get married to a lady who was Catholic and they tried to get our marriage annulled but I filled out lots of papers and the Detroit Archdioses (sp) found no reason for that to happen. He then moved back to Michigan and we went through hours and hours and hours of marriage counseling before getting remarried for 16 years. Our dog, ELVIS, was part of our family then and he was wonderful. He was our child from our second marriage. Those 16 years were good. We were active at Kensington Church and that was really great for us. We had our grandchildren and daughter and son-in-law near by and GOD WAS SO GOOD TO US. Then Elvis got sick for 1 day during COVID and finally got him to the vet and they sent us to another vet in Novi where they did tests and found out his gall bladder was full. He was asleep and brought him home still asleep and just started to wake up around midnight and died as I held him. Dick and I both knew that we needed another dog. Elvis had been our child fun our second marriage and we were lost without him. Long story short, our niece has a cottage in Clare, MI and she saw some puppies at an Amish Greenhouse. We immediately drove up there and saw the puppies (Mom – miniature Australian shepherd and Dad – miniature poodle). We went back the next Saturday and got 2 of the males and our niece got the other male. Sharon called us on Monday and was in RO Beaumont with COVID and Dick got tested and also had COVID. He kept himself upstairs away from us and eventually needed to get the anti-body infusion. I took him to a Beaumont Urgent Care and they took his oxygen and it was so low (in the 50’s) and they immediately put him in an ambulance and he went to Troy Beaumont. He was put in ICU and ended up on a vent and died. So here I am with my 2 little guys that Dick named – Toby (Tobias) and Beau (handsome). Needless to say my life has changed and I am lost without Dick – this happened on June 10, 2021. Sorry to go on and on. My puppies will be 2 in March. They love me and I sure love them. I just take 1 day at a time and am so thankful for all of those years that Dick and I had together. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. LOVE TO YOU ALL. We have gone to Heritage church where Chris Zarbaugh is one of the pastors there. We had a Celebration of Dick’s Life in October – closer to our first wedding date – October 12, 1963. Life sure has it’s ups and downs but I know that God is always with me and was with Dick. I know where he is and that someday I hope and pray that I will see him again. May God Bless you and your entire family. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR CONTINUED STORY AND MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU ALL.


  2. Vera Miller February 6, 2023 at 5:20 pm #

    Anna, you have been such an inspiration with your emails. I am in awe of your insite and fortitude and way with words. And I am so happy that you have been able to share in the many milestones of your children. I hope that your son made a full recovery and that your dad has the will to fight his battle with cancer. It doesn’t seem very fair that you have to fight it for the both of you now. You and your dad and mother are in my thoughts and prayers.

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