One Year Ago Today …

One year ago today, May 3, 2017, God chose me to receive one of His blessed miracles.   It was a beautiful and bittersweet time and witnessed by so many of my family and friends (“Loved Ones”).  It is also a time that I do not regret and would do over again to receive His blessings.  Please note though I do not wish another of “THE Event” on myself and Loved Ones at all, but once you read the story, I think you will understand why I say I do not regret THE Event and would do it over again.

You see, it was one year ago today that I was admitted into the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida and underwent lung resection for Stage I Lung Cancer of the upper right lung. I was being monitored for the two prior years with regard to several nodules in the same lung to insure they were nothing more than maybe scar tissue.  In March of 2016, I had what was supposed to be my last CT Scan.  I would no longer require a CT Scan if the nodules had not changed.  Unfortunately, undergoing one CT or PET Scan is equivalent to being in the sun 350 days straight which is why these diagnostic tests are done more routinely. (Yes, I asked!)  My being a “former” smoker of 44 years (I quit for good on March 19, 2014) places me at high risk for lung cancer, so I knew The Event would more than likely happen and it was just a matter of time.

My anxiety level would climb mountain high as the time approached every year for the annual CT scan and pulmonologist’s appointment. My poor pulmonologist was so good and more like a girlfriend.  I loved him and his staff.  Anna, his RN, was just as country as she could be, but she was an excellent nurse and even though she was probably younger than me, she had that Country Mama personality that you just felt safe when she was in the room.  She was fulfilling God’s calling to do what she does.  I felt like I had known her all of my life.  As soon as Doc would walk into the room, I would start bawling!!  He kept telling me he was not concerned about those nodules.  I am like, well, then why do I have to have them monitored?  They always made sure a fresh box of tissues was in the room!

All of my annual appointments seem to fall in the first quarter of every year.   It wasn’t until I was approaching what was supposed to be my last CT Scan when I started feeling like it was going to be okay and not allow my anxiety and worry to climb.  Nothing was going to happen.  The nodules had not changed in the last scan and therefore I was not going to be anxious for nothing.   This would be my last one.  Unfortunately, that was not to be the case.

I received a phone call from Doc’s office scheduling me for a PET Scan. I was stunned and devastated as I knew what it meant.  PET Scans are to determine where cancer is living in your body.  I did not tell a soul as I needed to be able to process it.  I cried and cried.  And I begged God for the strength, grace and mercy that I would need to get through whatever was to come.

I finally told a close friend, Bestie, who took over for me and rallied my close family and friends.   She and her mom went with me to the local doctor appointments and took over my life for me while I concentrated on getting my office and home ready for me to be out of commission for a while.  They were a Godsend and a true blessing!!!  I have always been the friend that was there when needed, but refused to allow anyone to be there for me.   Bestie made me chunk that policy!

Arrangements were made for me to go to Moffitt Cancer Center where I became a patient of Jacques Fontaine, M.D. and his team. They were AWESOME!  The entire facility is AWESOME!  Bestie and close family/friends came from afar to be there with me throughout while many others were on standby to be on the road if and when needed.  Again, I have been truly blessed throughout my life.

But, it wasn’t until I was in recovery, doped up, that I recall Dr. Fontaine coming in, waking me up and standing there with both hands in a touchdown position, yelling, “NO CANCER!!!”   Those in the waiting room were stunned as well.  EVERYONE WAS STUNNED!

He had taken a small “wedge” from my upper lung (via computerized robot), along with taking four biopsies of that lung, and all were found to be NEGATIVE, including the Evil Playmate!!!   Now let me tell you, Mr. Evil Playmate (the nugget) was lit up like a Christmas tree on the PET Scan.  None of the specialists even suggested that it may not be cancer.  All of the recommended treatments were for Stage I lung cancer.

I had been praying like I had never prayed before beginning with the first time a nugget was even found on March 19, 2014. Then, when Mr. Evil Playmate appeared, I prayed and prayed even more.  About a week before the surgery, I told God that if He would heal me, I would witness for him.   You see, I had always believed in God, but had this distant relationship with Him that I did not realize was distant.

On May 3, 2016, by God blessing me with a miracle, He closed the distance in my relationship with Him. I now attend church or watch Dr. Charles Stanley every Sunday.  I read a daily devotional every day.   I talk to Him in prayer every morning and evening and throughout each day.  I now have a thirst for the knowledge of knowing Him and becoming the person He wants me to be.   I, like everyone else, am still a work in progress and will always be as I am human and not a saint.

And that, my friends, is why I said I would do it all over again if it was for the same reason – to bring me closer to Him.

In addition, another very good friend of mine underwent a bilateral mastectomy last week and received her pathology reports today. She, too, was blessed with a miracle on this day, one year later, as the pathology reports were negative for any cancer having spread beyond the one breast.  Please keep her in your prayers as she recovers and works to remain cancer-free.

And this is to God: I thank you for all the blessings and miracles You have bestowed upon me in my lifetime and continue to do so. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

God is Good!

Aunt Maxine!



Hitting Two Birds with One Stone …

WHOA PETA Members/Supporters/Organizers, STOP!  Slow down and don’t go there – this is only a figure of speech – an Ol’ Southern cliché. No one (that I am aware of at least) is trying, much less able, to hit two birds with one stone.  I mean, seriously, I can barely knock down one bowling pin with a bowling ball.  So, let’s continue on.

You know that moment when you realize you should have listened to Him (Him being God) and didn’t? Yeah, well, that moment hit me this morning like an iron skillet upside the head (again, figure of speech.  Darn!  I know now what manufacturers feel like with all of their warning signs on products, i.e., an Iron: WARNING!  Hot when plugged in!  (Ya think?)  SQUIRREL!


Yep, I keep getting off track – it is in my DNA.   [See the past Squirrel blog.]

God did everything BUT hit me on the head with an iron skillet this morning trying to tell me not to go my normal route to work. But, did I listen?  Noooooooooo … not me!  What do I do instead? I ended up going around the world and being about 15 minutes late(r) to work.  I am so thankful Boss is not a morning person either and was out of town today!

It was one of those mornings when I just couldn’t get it together after a very busy and stressful past two weeks. All I wanted to do was crawl back under the covers and sleeeeeeeep!  My “normal” arrival time to work is 9 a.m. give or take a few or more minutes. (I get this from my mom who was never on time anywhere!)  I was in a mental fog.  My mascara disappeared and I still have no clue to where.  I just used it yesterday and keep all of my makeup items in one cosmetic bag.  My coffee kept spilling out of my sippy cup – yes, I am even messy with a sippy cup! Ugh.  And I didn’t change from my black flipflop sandals to a more office-appropriate pair even for Casual Friday.  And all of this before I even got to the vehicle.

Once inside the vehicle, my phone (“Mr. Siri” with an Australian male voice – oooh la la) automatically phone lights up with – “27 minutes to work via T-ville Road” and then the GPS (“Mr. Geeps”) picks up and tries to tell me to do the same route.  Um …. Thinking …. Mmmm … No.  I hate that route.  But, here I was thinking Mr. Geeps was just trying to tell me which route would be quickest.  Little did I know IT was right, but not due to the route itself!

[Note: T-ville Road is not my favorite route as it is multi-lanes of bumper-to-bumper, dog eat dog inconsiderate drivers.   My peaceful mood is no longer by the time I arrive at my destination when I take that route.  I prefer the scenic countryside, two-lane canopy roads route where drivers are actually allowed to go slow because you cannot move from/to any other lane and no passing is allowed due to the curvy road.]

So, I decide to not listen to Mr. Siri  or Mr. Geeps as when I approached the end of the driveway, what do I see to the right but a schoolbus stopped picking up neighborhood kids. Mmmm… nope, need to beat the schoolbus out which is going my normal route, so I take off out of the driveway telling Mr. Siri and Mr. Geeps,  no thank you, but I have this one.   I can hear them both saying, “Yeah, not so fast Missy!  You are going to regret this one!”  Whatever!

Off I go taking my normal scenic route and it has limited traffic (probably due to the schoolbus holding everyone up).   Then it happens!  I see flashing blue lights ahead of the all of the red brake lights that are lining up behind as well.  Oh Snap!  Seriously?  No biggie.  The LE Officer will re-route the traffic around the auto accident one lane at a time.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t happening anytime soon.  No oncoming traffic is getting through other than those drivers in line who are now doing a 10-point turn (with these small lanes and deep drop-offs, 3 point turns aren’t always possible) and going a different route.   I now do my 10-point turn and go back through a large subdivision that apparently everyone else is doing as well since the main roads are backing up.

Well, it wasn’t Mr. Siri or Mr. Geeps trying to tell me – it was GOD using them as his transmittors! Now, I normally try to listen to Him when He is trying to get my attention.  But, for some reason this morning, He wasn’t getting through.  And God tried to tell me TWICE!  Take the T-ville Road route!  Take the T-ville Road route!!!   My child, next time you will listen to Me.  Yes sir.

I finally arrive to work 15 minutes “later” than I normally arrive. If I had only listened to Him … sigh

And the two birds with one stone? God not only helped me with fodder for The Blog, but maybe saved me from being involved in an accident.   Thank you God.

P.S. And, too, maybe He was helping me to be safe by allowing me to be in a mental fog this morning preventing me from leaving earlier and being involved in that accident.  (Hopefully no one was injured and my prayers are with any and all involved.)

Happy Friday!  Time to do the HaPpY DaNcE!

Ya Gotta Laugh!

Aunt Maxine