Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm Thankful for Good Health!

-- Vonnie Davis

I think age has a lot to do with what we’re thankful for. Teenagers are thankful for an easy quiz at the end of a boring social studies chapter—or the latest iPhone. Young mothers are thankful for a good night’s sleep as opposed to two am feedings. Workers are thankful for steady employment and a modest raise. Grandparents are often thankful when the grandkids go home. Senior citizens, like myself, are thankful for good health.

Calvin and I have been on a worry treadmill these last two weeks. I had surgery four weeks ago to remove a cyst in one of my saliva glands. Medical personnel at our local hospital sent the offending grape-sized cyst to University of Virginia’s lab for review. When pathologists there couldn’t identify some of the cancerous cells, they forwarded it to the Mayo clinic. Folks, my cyst has traveled more than I have of late.


All we knew was that I had cancer. Was it a slow growing kind or more aggressive? Was it contained within the cyst? What?

I met with a radiologist and chemotherapist today. Good news: the low-grade cancer was contained within the cyst. The term “low-grade” in reference to cancer means slow-growing and less likely to spread to other parts of the body. Although another cancerous cyst may form in the same area, it is only 5% likely to happen. So, for now, I am cancer free, good-to-go, sassy as ever.

I am relieved.

I am truly blessed.

I am beyond thankful.

Cancer is such an insidious disease. Lives are altered. Families dunked into a pool of fear and financial stress. Yet, research seems to move at a snail’s pace to find a cure.

In my debut book, Storm’s Interlude, the hero’s twin sister has leukemia. Believe me, it did not go unnoticed that one year ago today, I signed my publishing contract with The Wild Rose Press for this book, and today I went from doctor to doctor at a cancer center, waiting word of my own fate. How ironic. Yet I fared much better than my secondary character whose cancer was not cured by her first round of chemo.

My heroine, a nurse, comes to stay at a ranch in Texas to care for her new patient. I’d like to share a scene between Rachel, my heroine, and Sunny, Storm’s twin sister.

Sunny turned worried eyes on her. “I’m afraid I’m running out of time. What’s your opinion?”

“Well, I might have thought that initially, but,”—she shook her comb at Sunny—“if you can come into my room, stomp around and throw a bit of a tirade, tossing pillows and bitching about things around the house, I’d say you’re a fighter.”

At Sunny’s widened eyes, Rachel smiled. “Sunny, a fighter always wins. Two boxers step into the ring. Two emerge. Both are victors because both had the guts to fight the fight. You’re in the boxing ring of life with cancer. Do you have the guts to fight the fight?”

Her patient shoved up the sleeves on her robe. “Believe me, I’d love to fight someone right now. To feel alive again.” She tilted her head to the side and smiled. “I did throw a bit of a tirade, didn’t I? God, it felt so good! You never once told me to sit down or be calm. Why was that?”

“All women need to bitch now and then. We were born with the bitch gene, after all.” She shot Sunny a wry look.

Sunny laughed. “Oh, I’m going to enjoy having you here. I can tell we’re going to be great friends.”

Rachel walked over to Sunny and knelt by her knees. “Training for the fight won’t be easy. You’ll have days where you’ll hate me for pushing you so hard. I’ve found the stronger a patient becomes, the better they can handle the fight. When I’ve pushed you too hard, I expect you to tell me. I need to know exactly how you’re feeling.”

She took Sunny’s hand in hers. “Promise me. Promise me you’ll give me honesty every moment of every day, so I know how you’re feeling both emotionally and physically. In return, I promise I’ll be honest with you. I promise you’ll feel alive again.”

Sunny blinked several times, her eyes locked on Rachel’s. A slow smile curved her lips and her face shone like the star she’d been named for. “Girlfriend,” she purred, her Texas twang especially pronounced, “you’ve got yourself a deal.”

** I'm giving away an eCopy of Storm's Interlude to one lucky commenter today. Please include your email address so I can contact you, should you win. And please, you know your body; report any changes to your doctor.

23 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

Oh, Vonnie, I'm so sorry you had to go through all that worry - and so thankful you got good news in the end. I know you're the kind of woman who would fight the fight (and kick serious butt!)but I'm glad you won't have to. Terrific excerpt!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Vonnie, So pleased to hear that things are not as bad you first thought.
Storm's Interlude is a great story, how do I know? Because I've just finished reading it.

Regards

Margaret

Jerri Hines said...

Vonnie,
I'm thrilled to hear you are as sassy as ever! I can't imagine the wait. My mother-in-law use to say "You have everything if you have your health!"
I concur with Margaret on Storm's Interlude. Loved the book. Some lucky reader's going to enjoy it!

Barbara Edwards said...

I'm so happy for you, Vonnie. The worry can be so draining. Your book sounds great. its in my TBR stack.
Barbara

Alison H. said...

What a blessed relief to receive good news after what must have seemed like an endless wait. Now your whole family has something extra to be thankful for this year!

Vonnie Davis said...

Thanks so much, Roses, for your kind words. I can tell you that I slept with great peace last night. Whew! So glad that worry is behind me.

I simply don't have time for cancer. I have too many stories to write--and read, so please keep writing ladies. HUGS!

Susan Macatee said...

So glad to hear this, Vonnie! We went the round of cancer with my mom a few years back and her outcome wasn't good, but at least she's now at peace. But I know how worried she was about her finances and becoming a burden on me and my sisters.

Maeve said...

Yay Vonnie! I'm so glad you got good news. :-)

Marie Tuhart said...

Vonnie, sorry you had to go through this, but I'm glad it worked out for you. You have a lot more great stories to tell. Big hugs.

J L said...

Damn, you stole my blog post! I was going to write about health ... glad your woes worked out okay for you!

Lynne Marshall said...

Wonderful news, Vonnie! Sheesh, I thought your cyst was just a cyst. Little did WE (your devoted public) know.

Onward and upward now. No holding you back, lady.

hugs,
Lynne

Paty Jager said...

Congrats on the good news, Vonnie! And your book sounds awesome! Wish I'd said those words to my mom when she was fighting for her life.

Calisa Rhose said...

I'm so happy about your news, Vonnie! Thank God for your health and good news! I had a mole removed in February that had the same sort of cells. They got it all and it won't spread, though there's a chance another might crop up one day. I don't care how 'small' the circumstances seem, that word is always glaringly huge and scary. I already have my copy of Storm's Interlude so don't enter me in the drawing.

LaVerne Clark said...

Oh! Thank God Vonnie. It must seem like you've been holding your breath all this time. Now you can let it out in a big, loud, WHOOWEEE!!

Your earlier words made me chuckle - senior citizens?! I struggle to see you both that way : )

You know I adored Storm's Interlude already, so no need to put me in the draw, xx

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Such good news, Vonnie. As a survivor, I always hold my breath when the "C" word comes up. I'm so glad you won't be gaining first hand knowledge of those awful treatments. From your excerpt, you don't need it to understand the devastation of the exercise. Once again, congrats!

Melinda said...

Vonnie,

I am so thankful that it was taken care of and hopefully not come back....You are one of my deartest friends.....I love you.....With the loss of my precious husband I have to say be true to yourself and love your spouse and children like today is your last day here....

With all my love,
Melinda

Beth Trissel said...

Oh thank God, Vonnie! I had no idea what worry you were burdened with. So glad for a happy prognosis.

Vonnie Davis said...

I'm checking in after a great afternoon of football. Yes, I am an armchair coach! I'm deeply touched by all your well wishes, truly I am. I return the well wishes to all of you ten-fold. Stay well and write on.

Lilly Gayle said...

Vonnie,
I am so happy your cancer was contained! Trust me, I understand your fear and your relief. After my second surgery for breast cancer, I can't tell you the relief I felt when the surgeon told me my lymph nodes were clear. I had DCIS AND an aggressive, invasive carcinoma of the breast. Thanks to a screening mammogram, it was caught in time. But I still had to undergo chemo and radiation. Trust me, Sunny is right. Sometimes a good bitch fit is just what the doctor ordered. Mad is better than sad. ;-) Unfortunately, there will be people in your life who'll walk away in your time of need because they won't understand. Or, they won't have it in them to be there for the dark times as well as the good times. God bless you and Calvin. And have an awesome, thankful, praise-worthy Thanksgiving!

Joya said...

What a tough two weeks that must have been, Vonnie. So sorry you had to go through a scare like that, and so glad your news is good. You're right, we all know our bodies best. Thanks for sharing. :)

Rachel Brimble said...

So, so, so happy you have been given the all-clear, Vonnie. Much love to you and Calvin, you are the best.

Rachel x

Linda Hope Lee said...

Vonnie,

I can imagine the stress while waiting to hear the results of your surgery, and also the relief you experienced upon hearing good news. All the best for your continued good health.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Vonnie, sending healing blessings your way and thankful for your good news from the pathologists. As a cancer survivor myself (cervical cancer forty years ago and thyroid cancer two years ago), you have me in your corner. Rachel is correct--fighters come back a higher percentage of the time. So do those of us blessed with good caregivers like your Calvin and my sweet husband.