I sat on my front porch glider this morning, holding my hot/cold plastic coffee mug, full of energizing and hot to the tongue liquid; I was soaking up the much anticipated and waited on, coolness in the air along with the smell of early burning chimneys and remnants of night-time bonfires.
The mug was a high school graduation gift for my youngest son from one of his customer’s aka biggest fans; but it, with its antler rack on the front, has become a favorite of mine. It usually reminds me of my son and his joy of any reason to hunt; but today, it makes me think of my girlfriend who loves to hunt as much as any man I know, and whose season this year has been lost to one of the biggest signs of Satan that exists.
The instant message comes across the screen, wanting to know am I busy and can I talk? I sent an answer right back that I am free and ask what is going on your way? The reply is a simple, “can I call?” And somehow, I already know this call is not going to be a normal, everyday, what’s going on, call. I wait in silent anticipation for my phone to ring; and then it does.
We go through the same ordinary greetings but I have become an expert in that tone, the one that carries a tremble with it, and a multi-layered range of fear. We have known each other so well, for so long, she takes the dive and plunges in, the words all but gurgling for air as she tries to speak them. My ears immediately began to reject what they were being asked to receive as she began with: “I haven’t told anyone yet, but I am calling to tell you, because I need your help getting the word out to everyone; I had my first chemotherapy treatment today.”
My brain is screaming so loud the roots of my hair are hurting, “How many more times will I pick up the phone and hear these words? How many more women that I love will have to live this horror story?
There will likely be no tree stands, no freezing mornings blowing smoke as she breathes, or struggles to remain silent and still this year. She will spend her time in a room, her body now owning an installed port that will pour poison in, trying to kill/run deadly poison off.
Statistical odds say one in three women will be affected by breast cancer. Ladies, make your annual appointments, get your Mammograms. I hear women say they have no insurance; the Gadsden County Health Department can give you free referrals for mammograms at the Women’s Imaging Center. The same type of program is offered in Leon County. There are no excuses, and never be ashamed to receive the treatment you need in order to live, that you cannot otherwise afford. Take control. Choose to be a survivor, not a victim of this horrible disease. Choose to live.