A Different Kind of Scarlet Letter

On January 28, 2019, the Morgan County Library had their first Cancer Support Group Meeting.  Our last meeting was on February 24, 2020.  The group, known as the MOCO Warriors, has not disbanded, we have just fallen victim to COVID.  The underlying condition issue is a gigantic factor for cancer survivors and no way am I going to risk getting a warrior sick. 

You might be groaning at this point, “Good grief, here she goes with the cancer thing again.”  Yep, I am so sorry, but I just had to visit this ugliness again.  Last Monday, our community lost a guy that never got a chance to be part of our group.  Big John would have been such a great addition.  If he was anything like his granddaughter, I can only imagine the fun he and Deb would have brought to our meetings.  On Wednesday, a former colleague, friend, and fellow Goldschmidt attendee left this world to join his lovely wife that fought the same cancer he did.  Jerry, you will be missed.  At the earliest beginning of Sunday morning, a dear friend and a fellow MOCO Warrior, took her last breath.  Elaine, I will miss your sweet smile and tender heart.  I am so sad we never got to enjoy a lunch together, but I will forever treasure our time spent in my car and on the phone, visiting and yes, sometimes even laughing. 

I have compared cancer to buying a car that you think no one has, only to see a fleet of them on your way home from the dealership.  I have also thought that maybe it is just an age factor, you know I am 50.  Maybe it is just people I know are aging with me and cancer risks can increase with each of our trips around the sun.  Or maybe we all share a different kind of scarlet letter, a big C and while it is invisible to most, others who wear one can see it. 

I miss my warriors; us C wearers need each other.  We need people that understand us, that can listen to the ugly and make us not feel alone. 

Most days I don’t think about when I was sick, but every time someone dies from cancer I go searching to find out what kind.  I still feel my stomach, making sure I can’t feel any bumps.  I always tell those in their battle not to be on the internet, but there are days I can be found searching for any new information on my specific cancer.  I unfriended 1300 Facebook friends partially because I feel that I am just a sad reminder that their loved ones didn’t make it.  When someone dies, especially those I know personally, I just hear that awful whisper in my head, “It will get you too.”  All those ugly thoughts are exactly why our support group is so important. 

Not all of our members have access to technology for a zoom meeting, but I think we might try one in January and I will find a way for everyone to participate.  When I get it scheduled, I will share the date in the upcoming events part of the bookworm.  I don’t ever want to miss getting to know a fellow warrior, like Big John, again.  I will never forget when Jerry and I spotted each other at Goldschmidt, he told me he would not fight it.  I think he did, but his reaction is exactly why support is necessary.  I want to make sure that, even if it is for one meeting as it was for Elaine, that people find their people.  Bless each of these families, your people were true warriors. 

Upcoming Events: 1/6 Story Time in the Community room (masks required for adults) at 10am, 1/9 STEAM on Facebook at 10:30am (Mad Scientists, Brittany and Stacey will be sharing some cool experiments), 1/11 Adult Crafts on Facebook