Sunday, September 03, 2006

I HOPE YOU READ THIS

I posted this 2 yrs ago.I wish to share it again. This is the month I think of my best friend the most. PLEASE read this. It may make a difference in your life or the life of someone you love.

WHEN WAS YOUR LAST PAP TEST?

It’s a Thursday like any other; but at 11:15 am, the phone rings. I notice on the display that it’s my sister-in-law Manon. I picked up and she immediately says, “When was your last pap test?” “I don’t know probably 2 years ago,” I answered. “Well make an appointment NOW!!” she says more desperately. “Yeah, whatever,” I say. “I’ll get around to it.” “I have cancer,” she blurts out. “Quit kidding around, that’s not even funny Manon!” I retorted. “I’m serious, it’s cervical cancer,” she says as her voice starts to wobble and she starts to cry. All I could say was “Oh my God!” She goes on to tell me she’s at her aunt’s and she was having a hard time dealing with it at the moment, she’ll call me later.

As I sat there stunned with the dial tone buzzing in my ear. I thought, this isn’t real. She’s in her 30’s. She’s only a year older than me. This happens to other people like your neighbor’s niece or your milkman’s cousin and the people are much older. Her daughter’s only 11 and she’s my 10 year old daughter’s aunt for Pete’s sake! It’s a mistake. It can’t be. It’s way to close to home!Manon has more energy than anyone I know, she’s always moving or running circles around everyone. For her, everything has to be in order. I often kid that if she let herself go it would be safely assumed that she’d ricochet of the walls. I get tired just watching her.

Manon is more than a sister in law. We hardly go a day without gabbing on the phone at least 2 or 3 times. She has no siblings so she loves to hear all about mine who live across the country. Over 13 years our friendship has survived more than a few major tests. We are the only two people on the planet that can truly relate with each other concerning the species we call our in-laws. She has no right to leave me alone to deal with them! She’s also one of the most unreliable people I know. Every time she borrows clothes, I don’t see them for months even after countless reminders!

The dreaded treatments have started. The chemo and radiation could bring a horse to its knees. You wouldn’t know it by Manon though. After the first day of diagnosis, she decided crying wasn’t going to help her or anyone else around her. She’s gained a peace and wisdom rare for her age to a point of being an inspiration to the doctors and nurses who treat her along with many other cancer victims she’s come to know, most of which are much older. They look forward to her constant humor, words of encouragement and support. I don’t know where she gets this strength. We’re all trying to be strong but she manages to make us stronger still.

The worse is over for now. The side affects from treatments are quite evident but she’s not complaining. In fact she’s really excited about going away with her daughter and husband for a well deserved vacation. One month after they had a great vacation together, her liver stops functioning. The cancer has spread. She’s admitted to the hospital and we all understand that she’s not coming back out. There’s nothing more they can do. All she says to the doctor and us is « I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid to suffer. I don’t enjoy pain! » We cry and she calmly tells us that it’s ok.

I was able to tell her, while I still could that I loved her dearly and how happy I was to be part of her life. I also thanked her for showing me what strength, dignity and courage are.I spent what I know now to be the last 24 hours of her life, at her bed side. She died quietly. I had always done her hair threw the years so I combed her hair for the last time before calling loved ones.

When I kneeled in front of her casket with tears flowing down my cheeks, I also had to smile. She looked beautiful and at peace. The irony is that she was wearing an outfit that I’d lent her many months before. I would swear I could hear her whisper with a laugh, “Try getting this one back!''

I think if she had anything left to say, it would be, “When was your last pap test?”by Monette Bouvier September 9 /2000
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I wrote this story in 2000 right after my best friend/sister in law died in Sept....I have been meaning to share it with you. If anything possitive came out of her death it was to really show me how short life could be and it wasn't meant to live being miserable...hense my total change of life within less then a yr after her death . Believe it or not but at 37 I had never had a driver's liscense lol so I began taking classes etc, I started preparing for the rest of my life...seeing a lawer, making arrangements with my now ex Michel for our joint custody of our daughter , coming to an amical parting of things and ways. We had been together for 14 yrs but having never married the legal stuff was about our daughter and our possessions , no divorse .I then had to shop for my own house to enable me to continue my job as a foster family etc....it was one of the hardest years of my life but it was also the easiest if u can figure that out. I came though all of that with my head held high, my self esteem renewed after so many yrs of not having any at all , but most of all I felt like a new and stronger woman ready for the rest of my life no matter what it held for me. I knew I had done what had to be done and I had acomplished it in the best manner possible........All who know me also know how happy I have been with Chris in my life. I believe everything happens for a reason. I never would have thought I would meet a man like him or be treated the way he treats me..I wish it for everyone ................I still look up at times thinking of Manon with a smile and I tell her...look at me now...bet I surprised you...but thanks for watching over me just to help along the way during those really hard parts...........So, be happy to be alive... we tend to not appreciate it as we bitch and moan about everyday crap... I certainly do...that is why its nice to be reminded of things like this and the perspective of life at times .......HUGS ALL

19 comments:

kenju said...

Moon, in a previous life, I was a cytotechnologist; a person who screens Pap smears for cancer and other diseases. I know how important it is for women to get yearly exams and Pap smears. I am sorry about Manon, but you - and she through you - can help other people to avoid the same fate. Good for you! Michele sent me this time.

Faith said...

Wow - at first I was just going to stop by and say 'hi - Michelle sent me' but then I read your post. It is so true, you just never think it could happen to you, or your loved ones. I wish you and your family all the best in fighting this.

Im Chele In LA said...

yep that is true..
you never know

Im Chele In LA said...

oops over from the other micheles

Carmi said...

Our next door neighbor died this past May after a year-long battle with cervical cancer. You may have saved someone's life today by re-posting this.

I admire your courage - both for sharing this, and for being there for your sister.

Gina said...

That was a truly touching story and I loved reading it...So many times you don't expect to get such a personal insight to a cyberfriends life...Thanks for having the courage and compassion to share it with us.

kelley said...

at the age of 23 i found out i had cervical cancer, at a level 2 i was lucky.... My mum had it had 37 at a grade 4.. she was one of the lucky ones though, 3 major ops over a year..though she lost a very important part of her body, and i swear her mind, at times.

the one lesson i learnt though, for the first 5 years after i found out and had it treated, i was checked every 6 months. My choice, now its at least once a year. For 5 mins of being uumm looked at means a year of being alive, i wont change what im doing for the world.

Last Girl On Earth said...

This was such a beautiful post, Moon. You got me blubbering here. I lost my Mom in May, so I'm pretty sensitive to what you are talking about here. I try to remember every day about how happy I am to be alive. I know my mother would have wanted me to get on with my life. I'm happy for you that you were able to take your grief and learn from it. I only hope I can do the same. Hugs back to you.

Moogie said...

What a wonderful post. I know that it must have been very difficult for you to share but I think you have put a very iimportant message out there. Thank you for doing this.

Michele sent me.

Deana said...

I am so glad you posted that! Women need to get pap smears early. I was at had stage 4 dysplasia in my cervis at age 28! My doctor suggested I take therapy for women my age that had to have a complete hysterectomy. Luckily surgery removing a cone of my cervix has taken care of things for the past twelve years. I never did have kids. Not because I couldn't but it would have had to be a perfect pregnancy as I was already dialated to a 3 and I just never even tried.

It is scary stuff. I am so, so sorry for your friend, for the great loss in your life. Maybe others will listen.
I keep wishing for a more advanced test for ovarian cancer....the silent killer for us.

Oh- Michele sent me!

Tracie said...

What a beautiful post. A tribute to a woman who sounds as if she led her life to the full. A real inspiration.

Thank you for the reminder to do something that we should all be doing regularly, but all too often, don't.

Carrie said...

Thanks moon. What a great reminder. I know several women that haven't had them in years. That is such scary business.

Kross-Eyed Kitty said...

What a loving tribute to your Manon.
Isn't it something, when out of a really terrible experience, you find some good. Sounds like you needed a push and it turned your life around.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Moon, thanks for the beautiful tribute. Made me cry, but made me thankful. You remember I told you that my mom, my sister and I were all diagnosed with breast cancer within one month's time. I got my chemo port removed day before yesterday, which means I'm done with treatment and been given a clean bill of health. My sister has also been given a clean bill of health. We just pray for death to come to Mom as she is in so much pain. Her hip has totally dissolved, either from osteoporosis or the cancer, we are not sure which.
Along with your pap test, make sure to get your mammogram. Love ya! Miss ya! Pogo Lori

caramaena said...

Moon, beautiful post - I have tears in my eyes.

Here via Michele's

Maverick said...

Okay, I am an absolute mess after reading this post. Due to "stalker" issues, I can't go into too much detail but to say that a person very very close to me died of this and this hits so very close to home.

Thanks for posting this, I'm over from Michele's. You are so right, it's so embarassing to be "checked out" but so necessary!

I bet that was a difficult post to write. Thanks.

ribbiticus said...

thanks so much for sharing this, moon. you hopefully will be able to touch a lot of people and change their lives forever. ;)

Sandy J said...

I cried when I read this, Moon. I am so sorry for your loss. Thanks for making a point and getting the word out to those who might not take it seriously.

Here via Michele's.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Moon. I get yearly pap smears and my last was abnormal. I don't know yet what that will mean for me, but I'm staying positive through it all.