It was Thursday, January 26th at 3:07 p.m. when I got the text (actually we all did because we have a group text, named “Winona” of course.) Patty had gone to Moffitt Cancer Center that morning for her monthly check up; we were waiting to hear how it had gone:
“Back to Chemo…..neck mass is a bit bigger and the nodules in my lungs are a tad bigger too. Tumor marker went from 79 to 265…..I start Tuesday.”
It’s time. Time to resume Chemo.
If you remember, six months ago we returned from our Route 66 trip to Patty’s final chemo dose. And she’s not had Chemo ever since! No Chemo for six months. The medicine did its work. The Chemo. The Trip. The Love and Kindness. She had stood at the top of Chemo Mountain and fearlessly plunged down its length. I wrote at the time…
“She must feel like she is out of control careening around the bend, though we know she is headed in the right direction. She is the Queen of Sleds, this friend of ours. May the drug be gentle but victorious, selective but virulent, specific but mighty. We await at the bottom of the hill, Patty. We’re waving banners and screaming encouragement in an embarrassing manner, as you’d expect of us…”
and now six months later it’s time again…for her to mount the sled by herself. That is the terrible thing for all who love her. We must watch her go through these Chemo doses. While she faces them with our support and love, in many ways she faces them alone. Yes, we stand at the bottom with banners and cheers…but she makes the harrowing turns; she gains speed without control; she waits for her blades to catch…
Within twenty-four hours we got another text from our leader. She’d ironically gone in for a routine mammogram. One of the radiology center’s staff members had asked about our Route 66 trip, and Patty showed her our recent Moffitt Cancer Center video (part of Moffitt’s #becourageous campaign which was filmed this fall) and talked to the her about her experiences…
And this is what Patty texted us from the Radiology Office Parking Lot and less than twenty-four hours after finding out she would return to chemo:
“She then watched our video on the Moffitt website…she was crying…what I’m trying to say is that the magic continues…it’s what I needed to keep going….this was the shot of courage that I needed to change my attitude about Tuesday…it’ll all be okay…”
This is our Patty. So we did what women our age do. We joked about the torture of mammograms. We made plans to meet up and get moving with our next trip. Chemo and girlfriends. The medicine that’s required. It’s time.
The following Tuesday there was no space for our Patty at Chemo so she got to wait another week…
We texted each other about the people on the Route 66 trip that we’d met that had meant so much to us…those who had shared their stories and their kindnesses with us…
the flight attendant on Southwest, the servers at Joe & Aggie’s Cafe,
the family at the waters edge near the Santa Monica Pier….
and Mayor Bob
and Keith, and Ellie, and Debyjo, and Delvin,
and Cooper,the Tucumcari Museum Dog,
and the Donut Lady
and Parker and Tom Weber.
Cathy Finch, and the guy whose daddy was THE LAW
Trudy and Frank and Jan
and Brent and his family at the Grand Canyon
the Park Ranger at the Petrified Forest
the Harley Bikers who took our pic at the Muffler Man
MARTY MERRITT, Debbie at the Shake Pit, David Reid, Katie…
and we got together to plan another trip…We met at my house and poured wine and caught up. I had lobbied hard to join the Apparel Committee (mostly because I had placed an order on amazon and thought it would be fun to surprise the girls)….
We’re headed to MEMPHIS! The birthplace of Rock n’ Roll. The land of Steamboats. And Barbeque. And Graceland. The Sixtahs are going to dip their toes again… in the Mississippi this time. The Big Muddy. Ol’ Man River…
And Jean and Patti drove with Mama B and Patty’s Aunt Margie to Moffitt for the first of twelve every-other week chemo doses to be given on Tuesdays. It’s time.
And if you could give the best gift of all to someone you love, to our Patty, what would it be?
Patty’s video produced by Moffitt Cancer Center for the #becourageous campaign back in the fall:
Patty’s slightly less professional Christmas Song Video that we released back in December as a teaser for the Christmas Album we hope to release someday…
Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce
If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do is to save every day til eternity passes away just to spend them with you.
If I could make days last forever… if words could make wishes come true…I’d save every day like a treasure and then, again, I would spend them with you.
And if you know Patty and Janey then you surely must know Mama B and Aunt Margie…these lovelies are to be seen at every sideline in the tri county area supporting Callahans on every stage and field and Moffitt Run. They’re basically the best cheerleaders EVER….hats off to these sweet sisters…the sixtahs have nothing on you two!