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A Humorous Look at the Bright Side of Cancer... and There Is One

June 17th, 2016

Dear Fran Drescher #23

Silk Tree
The silk tree I fell in love with while I was out decompressing. ©Marie deHaan

Dear Fran,

Hello again. It’s now about four in the morning, and I have a few more things to tell you.

A friend of mine called a few days ago, early in the morning, and left a message: “I have a quick question for you.”

The only problem was, I missed her phone call because I was out the door at the crack of dawn, trying desperately to get my body back to normal, my mind calm, and my act together:

8:00 a.m. — Cash & Carry
I picked up a box of chamomile tea so I could hopefully knock myself out when I got home.

9:00 a.m. — Chiropractor
I went so that he could put my body back into alignment and magically fix this thyroid problem or hormone problem or whatever problem this is. While I was there, I also had him work on my plantars fasciitist because it’s been excruciatingly painful. (Remember, I’ve been on my feet for hours and hours in the yard trying to get stuff done while I’m decompressing. That, and I’m old.)

10:00 a.m. — Fred Meyer
I purchased a bunch of piddly things that would make my life easier: matches (almost out), marbles (for my cut flowers, not my head), potting soil (so I can get my cilantro and other herbs planted in my kitchen-garden pots before they croak), etc.

11:30 a.m. — Massage Therapist
I hadn’t seen her since April 23 and my arm needed to be worked on. A lymphatic arm does not like 12 straight hours of yard work. She also worked on my plantars fasciitis (which I’ve already mentioned) for quite a while. Mainly, she tried to calm me down. Halfway through the massage, she said “You know that you can just lie here and relax, right?” (In other words, “Shut up, lady. You’ve babbled in my ear for 45 minutes already.”)

1:00 p.m. — My Garden Nursery
I had to pick up a few plants and bring one of the employees a copy of my book because we got to talking about cancer the last time I was there.

2:00 p.m. — Garden Spot Nursery
I was just there to pick up some yellow calendula—because it reminds me of one of my favorite aunts (since she had it in her yard)—and my other aunt that just died because she adored yellow plants like I do. I was almost out the door when I fell in love with a silk tree.

3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. — Various other things that I don’t even remember

9:30 p.m. — Home
I quickly checked the answering machine and saw that some “unknown caller” had left a message. “Ah, probably just some dumb solicitor,” I thought to myself, and went to bed.

The next morning, I actually listened to the voicemail. It was my friend, Ria, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer about four or five years before me. She had been such a rock for me to lean on during my own diagnosis. We sent emails back and forth with each other for months and months.
“I have a quick question….”
Crap. Her cancer is back. She suspects her cancer is back and wants to ask me first if I think that’s really what it is. She wants me to reassure her. Crap, crap, crap. Cancer sucks. First Aunt Ann, now Ria….
I dialed the number, holding my breath.
“Hello?” It was Ria, sounding chipper as always.
“Hi Ria, I’m so sorry I didn’t call you yesterday because I had a ton of stuff to do and I thought you were a solicitor and please, please, please tell me that you don’t suspect your cancer is back…” Oh my word. I had graduated to the raving lunatic portion of my hyper thyroid episode.
“Oh no,” she reassured me. “My daughter is getting married in your neck of the woods and I just wanted to know if my sister Jody could stay with you.”
“Yes, yes, yes.” I couldn’t get the words out fast enough. I knew Jody, but hadn’t seen her for years. I stayed with her (in Toronto) while I was dating the hubby all those years ago. She was a good egg.
We talked for almost an hour. We talked about our families and a few other things, but mainly we talked about cancer and how we both struggle with survivors’ guilt. I explained that my aunt had died and I could hardly visit my Uncle John because I felt like he would think, “Hm. How come you get to live while my precious wife didn’t?” Of course Uncle John wouldn’t think that. It’s my problem.
Ria reassured me. “Maria,” she said, “we both have to remember that we’re not done yet doing what God wants us to do.”

That’s one smart friend.

Speaking of friends, I hope to meet you soon.

Best friends always,


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Marie de Haan

Marie de Haan


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