I am convinced that all my health issues over the years have been to prepare me for cancer. I’ve worn eye glasses since the second grade (I can remember the school nurse holding out a letter, “Take this to your parents.”) I was in the fifth grade when the opthamologist showed me how to wear contact lenses – one of the youngest to wear them at the time. A major car accident at the age of twenty-three, left me with my head protruding an eggplant, broken ribs and arm, and severe back pain. Only a few years following the crash, I was hospitalized for pneumonia, and later diagnosed with asthma. A skating fall in January of 2001, required surgery to reattach my posterior knee ligament in my left leg; and, according to my tumour pathology, the tumours were already growing.
The skating accident happened only three months after I was married. That was the first time I had been put under general anesthesia. Prior to the knee surgery, I was somewhat fearful about anesthesia. I heard that it may cause death; although the occurrence is rare, there is a possibility that you won’t wake from it (where have I heard that before?) So when cancer required major surgery, I had no fear of being put to sleep.
September 28 was fast approaching, and that past summer was eventful to say the least. My Dad had turned eighty only days before I was told I had tumours in my stomach. We celebrated by renting a house up North that accommodated all fifteen of us. My Dad’s wish for his birthday couldn’t have been more fulfilled. He loves just being with his family. He’s at the age where fancy parties don’t interest him anymore.
That weekend the weather was beautiful. Each couple had their own bedroom, and Mary’s children slept on the large sofabed in the living room. There weren’t many double beds, mostly single and bunk beds. The mattresses were of very poor quality and the brightly-coloured linens not so much like home. Mariano, Isabella, and I were in a room with bunk beds that I would never dream of sleeping on. My daughter and I shared the bottom bunk to distribute the weight. The master bedroom was on the second floor and my parents were welcomed to it. The kitchen was average size, but too small for all the chefs in the family. A wooden dining table accommodated most of us. We had a fireplace that wasn’t needed in August, but added to a comforting ambiance.
We didn’t spend much time outdoors, except on the balcony, where my Dad and brothers-in-law enjoyed the view as others cooked, set the table, or simply entertained. We filmed the weekend, so we could show the young children later how they sang the Italian songs my parents loved.
We brought lasagna for dinner and all the breakfast items on the menu. The crowded kitchen created a feast for the meals we shared there. It’s always about the food. Pictures from my photo albums reminded me of the one dinner we shared at a local family restaurant. We all sang the Birthday song as my Dad blew the candle on a little dessert we got for him.
When we watched that video after my bout with cancer, I noticed that my skin tone was different at that time, but had never noticed. I was dark by nature, moreso than my sisters. That olive tone had turned dull and made me look ill. None of us had perceived my skin colour as a negative, even though I was in the process of testing for that bleeding incident. We were just all used to my colour being different. My oldest brother-in-law used to joke about me being adopted.
Peace and love to all! Your continued support is heartfelt.