Archive | October 2013

“He Took Care of Me”

“He Took Care of Me”

When you meet the man of your dreams, and he literally sweeps you off your feet, you never think you will not have the fairy tale ending. I was born a romantic at heart, and at sixty-two, I have never gotten out of it. But I have learned, there are no knights in shining armor, on big white horses, who will ride up and whisk you off your feet. He rides a big red Dodge truck, he wears blue jeans and his name is Bubba!!

When I met my fellow, I was working as a property manager in Roswell, GA. He and his brother came up to an apartment complex to give an estimate on a landscaping contract. He was working on a part-time job with his brother, along with his full-time job with Georgia Power. A couple I knew worked with me, knew him too, so I was bound to meet this man.

Needless to say we hit it off. We were so happy and broke the first few years of our marriage. We both had marries before. I had one son, and he had a daughter and a son. Blending two families together always will be a trial and ours wasn’t any different. He had child support and my son was living with his father when he was eleven, so it was just the two of us. We learned how to live on very little.

I moved to Northwest Georgia with my fellow to the most beautiful country I had ever seen. I got to go hunting, fishing and star-gazing at night. When you turned out the lights in the country it was blacker than midnight under a wash-pot. The stars do shine bright in the night sky.

Four years into this wonderful laugh filled turmoil called marriage, cancer attacked me. This just did not seem fair! Why me? I had turned my life over to the Lord. I was a practicing Christian. Why was I going through this now? We were just becoming financially able to travel, which we loved to do.

My entire family lived in Alabama, except my only son who lived in Atlanta in 1992, when cancer hit the first time. He was working full-time on a start-up company and he did not have any time he could take off to stay with his mother. My mother and two sisters lived two and a half hours away. They had jobs and could not take off their jobs. My step-children were still in school and all the ‘taking care of ME’ was on my fellows shoulders.

The husband was doing nothing but landscaping during this time, and we almost starved to death, but he was home with me, which I needed so desperately. When I had chemo-therapy he would hold my head and make sure when I threw up I was okay. He made sure I had all I needed when my bottom hurt so badly after the chemo burned it up!

When I was told the cancer had returned in 1993, and I had only eighteen months to live, he really stepped up! My mother and sister’s took me to Birmingham to the UAB to get another opinion. Those doctors said, ‘No the doctors are right. She only has eighteen months’. Not only did I get scared to pieces, I lost the ability to stay on my job. I was put on disability and had to turn over all my needs to the husband. I had always been on my own since I was sixteen. I had made my way and now I had to put my faith and trust in him? OH ME! He took such good care of me. He never made me feel like I was a burden on him, in any way. He always cooked for the two of us. I never did cook…long story…for a different time.

The fellow and I started making our bucket list of things we wanted to do after I got through with the chemo. We wanted to go to Montana fly fishing, to Wyoming to see Yellowstone National Park, and to Alaska on a cruise for starters.

In 1999 I had my left kidney removed due to renal cell carcinoma. I could not believe kidney cancer had attacked this time. What was going on? Again, no answers! But the husband was there for me while I was in the hospital. My family came to help out when I got home, so he could continue to work. He was working as his own boss; such a difference in the jobs but not a difference in the husband.

We worked together really well, when he was running his own business. He was the President of the company and I was the CFO…Chief Financial Officer. He made the money and I spent it wisely. We really got to travel and do those things on the bucket list we had only dreamed of doing.

Every time I had to go to a doctor’s appointment, if he couldn’t go with me, he would make sure I had someone to take me. He would call and ask how I was doing before I got out of the doctor’s office several times. I told him I would call when I got home.

The last time we had to go through this was February 2013. I had a double mastectomy. Twenty-one years since I was attacked with the first breast cancer and this hits again? Why Lord? My husband just held me and said, “God will help us get through this! He always has!”

On April 3, 2013 my ‘fellow’ wasn’t feeling good and I had to take him to the hospital. He had seven blockages and had to have open heart surgery April 9th with three by-passes. When he came out of recovery, and off the vent, he was talking to us for three days. Then suddenly his lungs went ‘south’. He was on a vent from April 12th to 26th. I thought I was going to lose my best friend and my care-giver.

April 9th I had to go into the hospital, for emergency surgery due to a bad infection in one of my breasts. When he woke up he asked where I was and my Cancer Navigator told him I had to have some rest and she sent me home. He didn’t question her. I don’t know what I would do without him. Praise God, I didn’t have to. We are both fine now…and plan on more trips.

He has semi-retired, sold his business, and we are no longer planning long trips; just those to the doctor’s offices and church. But at least we have each other, as best friends and care-givers.

Dee Bradley  10/13/2013

October is Breast Cancer Survivor Month–this is my Cancer Navigator submission

Only Eighteen Months to Live

My name is Deliska Bradley, but I go by Dee for this reason. Nobody can remember or say Deliska. My mother waited nine years to have children and she wanted a different name for her first child. Well, she got it.

I won’t bore you with all the ‘facts’ of my misguided youth…because I was one of those prodigal children. I did know all about Jesus at the age of nine, and joined a little Baptist Church and became baptized into the faith. I tried to be a good girl until I was about sixteen.

I married at nineteen, had a son in 1972, divorced, moved to Texas, married, divorced…and the story goes…

I moved back to Georgia in 1983 and I went to a church after being invited by my mailman to come to a bible study on Galatians 2:20, The Crucified Life of Jesus. I figured I had tried everything; I might as well try Jesus, again! Isn’t this sad? I’d try church again?

After ten weeks of Bible Study, and so much soul-searching and prayers, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart and become my Lord and Savior. I was a new creature. I wanted to jump pews and shout, “I got it! Praise God, I got it!” But as most of us know, I was too embarrassed to do this type of praise! How awful! I should have.

I had met a man who stole my heart. He was the finest man and I loved him with all I had. He was so kind and funny! And he was good-looking, tall, dark complexion, curly hair, brown-eyed and did I say he was tall and funny? He was just what I had always dreamed of.  His name was Ray Bradley and he was from Rockmart, GA. Where was Rockmart, GA?

We married November 5, 1988, and I wish I could say all things were just wonderful, but if I did, lightning would strike me dead. We had our issues. But God and love held us together. We never really talked about divorce, but we have both contemplated killing each other a time or two.

In 1992 I was having lots of problems with my digestive system, and I had worked for a doctor who had been supposedly keeping up with my problem. He kept telling me to take my medicine and eat right. I quit working for him in March and by August I Stage 4 colón cancer was a real diagnosis by a REAL doctor. I went through seven months of chemo-therapy. The oncologist wanted me to take six more months of chemo and I told him NO in short order. He told me he wanted me to have another CT scan, because the blood test never showed any cancer.

The CT scan showed I had another mass. Surgery was scheduled for April, 1993 because I had a metastatic colon cancer and my first breast cancer. The breast cancer was a little spot in my left breast which was ‘sore’ and Dr. Banny Harbin took it out, not thinking it was anything to worry about. I had something to worry about!!

I was told in April 1993, since the attacked by Stage 4 adenocarcinoma colon cancer with metastasized cancer and breast cancer I had the diagnosis of eighteen months to live. I needed to go make my final arrangements and get my affairs in order. I did. Little did they know. I knew the great physician!

I had a heart attack in 1997, I was attacked by kidney cancer in 1999 and had my left kidney removed. Ten years less one month I was diagnosed with another tumor in my right kidney. Not a doctor in Rome, GA would touch me. They said I had terminal kidney cancer. I said OH NO I DON’T! I went to Birmingham, AL and had cyoablation on my right kidney. They froze the tumor. I had complication, but I’m alive!!

I was cruising along, thinking I was cancer free! I was scheduled in January 2013 for a mammogram, which I have every year! I went to the clinic, and when they called, saying I needed to come back in for another look, I wasn’t worried. They had to do this before. I went back in, and when the radiologists came in, with ‘the look’, I knew I was in trouble. He said, “I hate to tell you, we did find something in your left breast, and if you think we need to do a needle biopsy, I can do this now, or we can wait six months and watch it.”

Well, with my luck, I don’t wait. I said ‘NOPE, we’ll so it NOW’. He did. And it was suspicious. They found two cancers in the left breast, both different. So the decision to take off both breasts was my doctors suggestion. I had reconstruction surgery. I would not tell you to do this, if you can have a lumpectomy, please do so. I did this the first time, and this was right for me then. This time it wasn’t an option.

I do not know how much more cancer I will have to endure. It is not up to me. I do not invite cancer…I do not HAVE it as a guest! It attacks me! I do know, if God brings me to it, HE will bring me through it. If I had not turned my life over to HIM in 1988, I would not be here today. “I am a spiritual soul in an imperfect earthly body!”

Breast cancer is spelled with a little ‘c’ and my Christ is spelled with a big “C”. One day we will find the cure for cancer, but today we have the cure for eternity and it is Christ.

Praise the Lord. No matter what happens to me…I am gonna be Okay!!

Dee Bradley  10/13/2013