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Monday, July 19, 2010

My two longest summers

Last winter Everett and I enjoyed South Texas. I edited a manuscript. Joyce and I worked on our new book (Role Call: Women’s Voices) and the spring issue of The Bugle. Everett and I volunteered at the new birding and nature center on South Padre Island. In the evenings I headed out with my camera to the beach, the island or the wildlife refuge. Oh yes, we spent many evenings chasing after Brownsville’s parrot flock – to no avail.

Life was good and my life bounced right along. Mark, our son, visited the week before Easter. I needed to get to Branson to finish up the Bugle. The day after Easter I had my doctor’s appointment. While there, an “Oh by the way…” question turned into two months of tests and a May 28 diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

Life changed. I needed surgery – as soon as possible. My choice was Houston or Kansas City. My family preferred Kansas City. So we immediately headed north. Mark scrambled to find the best doctor to perform the surgery. I think he found the best in Dr. Robert Thompson. My surgery took place on June 11 and I left the hospital minus my thyroid and eight lymph nodes – with the knowledge that cancer was in both sides of my thyroid and 3 of my lymph nodes and instructions for my radioactive iodine treatment.

My endocrinologist, Dr. Mercado, informed me that after my treatment I will have a full body scan to find out if the cancer has metastasized. It’s a summer of waiting and more waiting.

The 2004 summer of Ben’s (my grandson) auto accident stretched on forever. We prayed, waited, and prayed some more. This summer I’m doing much the same thing.

Our book is finished. Joyce and I are now working on the fall issue of The Bugle and I’m starting the second week of preparation for my treatment; a low-iodine diet (you’ll hear more about that later). I’m not finding time for my camera and I miss it.

As life lessons go, I’m learning a lot – about a disease I knew nothing about, about life and most of all about the beautiful support and love of family and friends. I’m learning from others who are fighting their own cancer battles. I’m witnessing strength, faith and unbelievable caring. I’m learning how much each of us means to our family and friends. What a joyous lesson!

Life is a series of adventures with twists and turns. While I never would have chosen this turn - or Ben's accident - I realize both have a purpose and have changed the path of our lives. We are what we are today and we can't change that. While we can't always control the future, we can control the way we face it and what we do about it.


  1. Our prayers are with you, Pat! Stay strong! Sean

  2. Pat -- I had no idea what you've been going through! Glad I saw your blog post.

    Take care,

    Kathy Rodgers (MWSA)

  3. OMG Pat - I had no idea. Please keep me informed and you are definitely in my thoughts and prayers!!

  4. I have complete faith you will make it just fine. At least my family has some experience with this one and knowing you, you will kick its butt!

  5. Thanks. You all are appreciated beyond words!

  6. 2225hrsDear,

    Dear, dear, Pat,

    I don't really know what to say other than I do know that you write your world and I Know that you are a gifted writer the same as I know that 'your world' has been tumultuous since 2003, up-and-down with personal hardships! I believe that I can relate to this world!

    Because I don't check and/or haven'g been able to check my E-mail very often like I used to, as I should, and because of my own surgery, which also kept me away from my computer and away from the MWSA 2010 Conference, I am just now, tonight, finding out, Pat, about your
    bout with thyroid cancer. Because of my lousy habit, I have 1863 E-mails the majority of which I haven't read.

    I am madder than Texas Bluebonnets at bird pooh hitting their petals and, in shock because I had no idea and because no one told me about anything!

    My wife did, but not face-to-face. She sent me an E-mail on 19Jul10 but, I didn't open this E-mail until tonight. I've known you since 2003, Pat, and you never told me a single thing about your grandson, Ben, and his auto accident.

    I am so, very, sorry that I didn't know. I guess I haven't been a very good friend, have I? Actually, since the 2007 MWSA Conference in Branson, we have corresponded very little, at least, certainly not like we used to do. Daw-gone-it-all, you are my publisher and I didn't know a thing!!!!

    Right now, I'm sort of like you! I used the phrase, sort of, because I have never been the caring, loving, person that you are, Pat, and you are you in so many other ways and, I am who I am, a combat veteran soldier who cares, cares about you, someone who loves you as a friend.

    I owe you the deepest and sincerest apology I can express in this 'Post A Comment' world. With get well wishes and my best wishes, I am and will always be the 'K' in the Kings of the Green, Jelly, Moon! Hugs, love, and kisses to you, always! I will pray and, then, I will pray for you, Everett, and your son, Mark!