This industry is responsible for much of the smell here – some say it smells like money, others joke about the smell of benzene in the morning.
They joke, but there does seem to be an alarmingly high rate of cancer found among residents of the “Golden Triangle.”
Two years ago, we watched and prayed as my grandfather underwent surgery to remove a tumor in his lungs. The road to recovery has been a hard one for him, having lost an entire lobe of one lung and suffering physical as well as mental setbacks as a result of the surgery. We’re strong, stubborn stock for a reason, I guess, and my grandfather is doing very well these days.
We hoped that might be our only run-in with the C-word, but then I got the phone call last week . My grandmother was headed to MD Anderson.
This lady is the mama of our whole family. She feeds us, clothes us, ferries us around, and does whatever it takes for her family’s well being. She refuses to take sides when we squabble with one another, turns everything over to God in prayer, and is the most loving, humble, generous person I know. There are people all over this state, and even country, who have called her some form of the name mom, honoring her commitment to looking after all the children of her Lord that might cross her path in need.
It would have been understandable for us to freak out, but there was no dramatic family gathering where my grandmother held court and announced she might have cancer. It was simply, “I have iffy test results. We’ll see.”
So we prayed, we researched, we organized ourselves to cover her commitments for the time she would be in the hospital. We learned words like myeloproliferative disorder, chronic myelogenous leukemia, polycythemia.
On Monday she went in for what was supposed to be a week of testing, and emerged exhausted at the end of the day with a diagnosis and an outline for treatment, released to go home.
Right now, she doesn’t have leukemia. Her disease is chronic and incurable, but it is treatable, although it carries a risk of transformation to acute myeloid leukemia.
We’ll continue to pray but not worry, monitor but not obsess, help but not hover. My grandmother is right back at her usual activities today, chasing around her infant great-grandsons, scheduling appointments for family members on her clipboard calendar, wondering about what to feed everyone for dinner, asking nosy questions.
We are grateful for answered prayers and the amazing staff at MD Anderson, whose praises she has been loudly singing since she came home. We are relieved that her ailment can be treated. And we are reminded again how blessed we are to have such an amazing model for what a mama can be.