(so suck it up and get on with things)
For the last several years, I have acknowledged and been thankful for the fact that upon rising each day, and later lying down to sleep each night, I was completely pain free. Occasionally I experienced the usual back twinges and muscle aches that come from hard work. But that kind of pain is a source of pride knowing that you have accomplished something that day. I truly was rarely sick. So today's discussion is about, you guessed it, a few examples of pain.
As a little girl, one of the ways my mother heated our big, old drafty farmhouse, was to turn on the gas oven and leave the door open. It made our kitchen toasty warm, but be forewarned that if you left that general area, the air became cooler and you knew you were heading for frozen-room zone (seriously, we had a little turtle freeze solid in the water of his bowl). One day, I happened to noticed that the open oven door was just about the right height for a little tyke like me to sit upon. Mistake Number 1. was that I was wearing a dress, not slacks. Mistake Number 2. was the fact that Mother had just baked something and the oven door was HOT! Mistake Number 3. occurred when I plopped my little behind down on the open door and burned the bejeebers out of the back of my thighs. I remember Mother smearing some kind of salve on my legs, but it hurt like the dickens for a long time. Eventually I got over it. That's the point. Eventually the pain goes away.
I experienced another form of pain during my wimpy Freshman year in high school. During the sixties, our P.E. class was conducting the Presidential Fitness Test, a program started by Pres. John Kennedy. Kennedy's goal was to push Americans into a healthier physical condition. His family was known for being super active, so he must have figured that everyone else should get cracking, too!
For a little incentive, each high school class would be represented by the top two girls and top two boys, who had completed all the sections of the test in a certain time, and each of these kids would receive a gold colored cloth sew-on patch. Then (if Jeanie N. and I can remember the details correctly) each class had four more kids - 2girls/2 boys (second placers) receive a blue patch which stood for "you are doing great", and then four third-placers (2girls/2boys) got a white patch (you're better than most) .
Well, one particularly nasty task was to hold on to a bar approximately 3 1/2 feet from the floor, brace your feet out in front, and hang on at a 45 degree angle. The goal was to complete 25 pull-ups. Since I went to school with a lot of strong, healthy farm kids that followed instructions without whining, we set off to do our best. While I was doing my turn at the bar, two friends, Jeanie and Sue T., stood on either side of me and encouraged me, telling me that I could do it! With their help, I did - all stinking 25 pull-ups. I remember I couldn't use or straighten out my arms for a full week. Talk about pain! (Wimp Alert) Again, I got over it.
(THE REST OF THIS STORY DETAILS THE PAIN - OF EMBARRASSMENT :)
At the end of the school year, our annual Honor Awards Day arrived. This was an exciting event when everyone, from an outstanding athlete to a fast-typing office student, was given their letters or pins or ribbons, for excellence. When it came time to announce the Fitness winners, Jeanie and I were called out for the Freshman girls. I kid you not, when we were presented our gold patches, there was an audible gasp from the entire audience - and frankly, I knew it was meant for me. Jeanie was one of our school's outstanding athletes, and I was, well, a weak wimp - and everyone knew it. It was no surprise that Jeanie had earned her patch, but JANENE? They were all as shocked as I was (My gosh, I went out for softball, proceeded to get hit in the face, and ended up quitting. HEY - stitches were required).
I just want to acknowledge the strength and help that those two lovely young girls gave me all those years ago. It's amazing how encouragement and sideline cheering can make a difference. Jeanie and Sue, thanks for helping me to learn that pain is just something we have to get past to get where we need to go.
Another school friend whom I have know since we were little pups, is cheering me on during this time. Betty C. is currently involved with one of her dear friends in Missouri, who also has cancer, but I get to treasure her support also, even if we are miles apart.
COMMENT TO JENNA: What's with the jenky picture??? LOL Alec looks like he's half asleep and it appears that half my face is sliding off sideways. I noticed that you look unusually lovely in that photo (like always). You silly girl, I'll have to post one of your enormous hair pictures from your high school years. (Oh no! a photo war!)
As far as me having any pain right now it's still zip, zilch, nadda, nope. My first chemo went fine and hopefully, the second go-around on Dec. 23rd will be good, too.
God bless you all.