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CHOOSE MEMORIES - May 4, 2006

I have completed 12 radiation treatments. Each treatment takes about five minutes. This seems like such a short time each day to change my life for seven weeks. But I am climbing my mountain. God is giving me these 35 days. They can be used for memories or ordeals. I choose memories.

The first two weeks were very frustrating, because of equipment malfunctions and lack of reliable cell phone service. I would arrive at the center and be met by three glum-faced staff who would tell me, “It is off for today.” The memory is that of a pharmacist, Steve Crawford, formerly of Calhoun County, and a hospital administrator, Mark Doak, a former accountant at Calhoun General Hospital, who took a few minutes to let me know that “We care that you are being inconvenienced.”

This was also a good time to renew a long-time friendship with Betty and Voras Haynes. We attended Holy Week Services and had lunch together each day. It was very special to share this Christian experience with them.

The next week was a memory because of five grandchildren “taking care of me!” They made the trip to the cancer center several times and enjoyed meeting the caregivers. I was amazed at their ability to help with meal preparation and cleaning. The best part was taking part in their fun and laughter.

Last week’s highlight was visiting three tourism centers to gather information on places that would be of interest to children. I picked up all kinds of brochures and maps.

I took notes for the time coming when Calhoun County will have a visitor’s center. A new friend drove for me on Wednesday. We explored Elkins and had lunch at a unique restaurant. We talked of many things . . . America, West Virginia, our counties, homes, family and faith. Most important was her prayer for little things, like radiation equipment!

Cancer treatment is literally changing day by day. Information will be available in the near future about new cancer drugs that have been clinically tested with amazing results.

One cancer survivor told us that 25 years ago she was employed in a legal office in Chicago and managed her treatments by going very early in the morning so her employers would not be aware of her situation. She said that she is still not comfortable in talking about it. There is still some reluctance in treating it as another disease.

PLEASE do not be afraid to have your mammogram, Pap test, colonoscopy or other screenings. Knowing about early detection of cancer and available treatments and help can save your life. Early detection and knowledge can make a big difference. Don’t give up! You CAN climb your own mountain.

This Week's Editorial:

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