Do you believe in serendipity? Do you believe in just being in the right place at the right time? Feeling at the end of my rope on Friday I wondered what the universe is trying to teach me. Tonight we went to mass in the city. Lately we’ve been going to Sunday night mass at St. Mary’s but tonight we were in the city. After dinner we were going to go to mass at the cathedral but didn’t want to wait the extra 30 mins so we made our way to South Philly to St. Nick’s. It’s been a rough week. I’ve been angry and anxious and upset and feeling out of control. Tonight’s homily was about how we’ve all been through hard times and we’ve all asked, “why me?” The priest said, “Don’t be bitter,” … “Don’t be afraid,” … “Trust God,” “Jesus is always with you.” It’s like he just knew I’d be at that mass. I was so moved and inspired. So I’ll gather my strength and pray that this will truly be my last surgery.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
— Corinthians 13:13
*waves* Hey! Happy New Year and welcome to 2012. I hope you and yours had a lovely New Year. When I decided to stop writing about myself I assumed this first post of 2012 would be about the new and returning TV shows for the winter season. But then a happy confluence of events came together and put me in a more thoughtful headspace.
During this last week I’ve watched quite a few movies. Yesterday I watched An Affair to Remember and Seabiscuit. The moral of Seabiscuit is even the most broken among us (man and beast) can blossom and succeed and heal with love and encouragement. We can again be whole and grow in the light of love. Seabiscuit’s original owners trained him to lose to other horses so the other horses he lost to would gain confidence. He learned to become a loser until Tom Smith saw greatness in him and loved him into the inherent greatness that was his birthright. In fact, each character in the movie was in some way broken. The last line of the movie is,
“You know, everybody thinks we found this broken-down horse and fixed him, but we didn’t. He fixed us. Every one of us. And I guess in a way we kinda fixed each other too.”
Inspired by these words and refreshed by an afternoon nap we made our way to 6pm mass at St. Mary’s in Williamstown. As it turns out the church is holding a mission this week and so the visiting Redemptorist priest who is giving the mission gave the homily. In what can only be described as serendipity he spoke about how there are those who stay away from Jesus because they fear that he wants them to go through trials and to suffer. He said that if you were to get to know Jesus you would know that he does not want us to suffer or endure trials. This, by the way, is what I believe about God. Father was a wonderful speaker I very much enjoyed listening to him speak. His words brought to mind the story my father tells about finding the church in the fog.
I told this story on the blog in January 2010 but this past October we were lucky enough to have dad in the car with us on a ride down to Cape May. He was able to point out the actual church so we got out and took a few photos, which you see throughout this post.
Dad quit drinking 28 years ago. He struggled for many years after that with the desperate want (need) for a drink. He was a truck driver back then. He’s retired now. Early one morning as he was driving a load of cardboard to Cape May he was in desperate need of a drink and driving through heavy fog on a small two-lane rural highway in southern New Jersey. The fog was quite heavy and so he began to look for a place to pull over until it cleared. Somehow he found a parking lot and pulled in. Sitting in the truck he fell asleep. I don’t want to embellish here so I can’t tell you whether or not dad asked God for help. When he woke up the fog had cleared and his desperate need of a drink had passed. As it turns out the parking lot he’d found was a small Christian church along Rte. 47 in southern New Jersey.
With love we are healed.
I’ll be back later this week with pop culture, politics and a healthy dose of shallowness. Thanks for reading!
~ Carol Anne
So today was the second MRI. All the scheduling stuff went off without a hitch. However, there must be something wrong with my veins because for the third week in a row a medial profession had a hard time getting one. The woman where I had blood work told me she got all the tough ones today, the nurse who put the IV contrast in last week had to try three times to get a vein, and today the man who did my MRI had to try 4 or 5 times before he got a vein. Both of my arms are covered in bruises from the last 3 weeks of medical tests. I’m glad they’re done because I’m kind of over all the bruises. Oh well if that’s the worst of my worries I’ll take it.
So now the blood has been drawn, my neck and soft tissue has been scanned magnetically as well as my brain. And now we wait. I don’t see the oncologist until the end of the month so I have a few weeks to cool my heels and relax. Yeah, right. Ever since this round of tests began I jump every time the phone rings; my heart beating in my throat as I look at the caller id.
I really want these next few weeks. I want to go to the Renaissance Faire and I want to finally get my ears re-pierced now that I’m done with MRIs for at least a few weeks. I want to spend time time enjoying the beautiful fall weather I’m hoping will soon arrive and perhaps stick around for a while. I spent almost all of last October in the hospital and the rest of autumn recovering at home. I’d like to go down to Hagley in Delaware and take photos of the trees along the Brandywine River. It was beautiful the last time we were there in October 3 years ago.
I decided against taking any Xanax before today’s MRI because truthfully it didn’t really help calm me that much during the test and then I slept the whole afternoon away afterwards. Today I was determined to go out and enjoy this beautiful, sunny, breezy autumn afternoon and so I did. We had originally planned to go to the Philadelphia Zoo but 3 full parking lots of other people’s kids and the option to pay $12 to park on a back road and walk like half a mile to the entrance didn’t particularly thrill either of us so we went to plan b. We took a drive along West River Drive, we finally took the time to visit Laurel Hill Cemetery so I could take photos of the beautiful old monuments and then because the hubs is super extra awesome we parked and walked to the South Street bridge so I could take photos of the Philadelphia Skyline. It was a gorgeous day to be out taking photos, it was a gorgeous just to be out and about with the hubs. After our afternoon in the gorgeous sunshine and warm temps we stopped at Pizzeria Pesto for dinner. We were a little early but they let us in anyway and catered to us like we were their only clients. We love their pizza and the opportunity to be the only ones there like celebrities was kind of awesome. We order from them every week and Chuck brings it home but rarely get to sit and eat there so it was quite the treat.
We ran a few errands afterward and stopped for books and coffee at Barnes & Noble in Cherry Hill. The day started off rocky but it turned out amazing in the end. I’m so glad I opted not to sleep the afternoon away. As always, thanks for stopping by. I love you all.
With much love,
~ Carol Anne
365 days ago at 8:30am October 11, 2010 I walked into the ER. The sore on my head had started bleeding in the early morning and I couldn’t make it stop. I had no idea that 5 days later I’d wake up in another hospital in the ICU. By the time I woke up I’d had brain surgery and plastic surgery. I had a breathing tube helping me breathe. The following day (Saturday) I learned that I had basal cancer.
Since then I’ve spent 13 days in the hospital and 5 days in a rehab facility finishing up a course of IV antibiotics.
In March I had a second skin graft surgery, http://www.pagliotti.com/newsoapbox/?p=1718.
In May I started my 32 radiation treatments, http://www.pagliotti.com/newsoapbox/?p=2038
In June I completed my 32 radiation treatments, http://www.pagliotti.com/newsoapbox/?p=2295 and http://www.pagliotti.com/newsoapbox/?p=2315
In August I found out that a follow up MRI showed “something” residual, http://www.pagliotti.com/newsoapbox/?p=2705
and in between all this I told you about my family, http://www.pagliotti.com/newsoapbox/?p=687
I told you about my nurses, http://www.pagliotti.com/newsoapbox/?p=675
I told you about my friends, http://www.pagliotti.com/newsoapbox/?p=2966
By the Numbers …
It’s been …
- 1 year since I walked into the ER
- 364 days since my first surgery (brain)
- 363 days since my second surgery (plastic)
- 351 days since I left the hospital for rehab
- 347 days since Ieft rehab to come home
- 284 days since the 365 Days of Carol Anne project started
- 264 days since since I got the all clear from the neurosurgeon that the blood clot in my brain was in fact gone
- 215 days since my biopsy came back negative and I learned that the cancer had not spread
- 205 days since my second skin graft
- 107 days since my last radiation treatment
- 68 days since I found out the cancer may not be gone (Fact: It could be gone, they just don’t know)
- 17 days until I see my oncologist again to find out the results of this round of MRIs (fun fact: I came home from on October 27, 2010. I’m hoping this coincidence is an indication of good outcome)
(click on the photo to go to my Flickr page to see every card I received, inside and out)
To those of you who’ve been there all the way, thank you. For all those who’ve offered love and support and kindness, thank you. For everyone out there who reads every day, thank you. I love you all. I hope next year’s blogs will be filled with discussions about pop culture and politics. Thank you for being part of my life. I love you all.
With much love & great affection,
~ Carol Anne