More Than My Hair

It’s been nearly a month ago since I got my hair cut. A short haircut, for the first time in seven years. Shorter than I’ve ever worn it. Even shorter than the pixie cut my mother thought would look cute on me in first grade. Shorter than when I cut my hair to look like…

Loving a Dog

Even fewer puppies than children are planned, wanted, created purposely with the intent of bringing joy into our lives. But you were, Chester. You were planned and wanted and you brought me great joy. One night after a dinner I’d hosted for some of my college students at my house, one of my students, Tucker,…

Sometimes You Just Gotta Get the Shot

This past Tuesday I had my first round of chemotherapy and for days before, I kept remembering the time my aunt had to take me to the doctor. I was seven or eight years old and I’d gone to spend a couple of weeks at her house, like I usually did in the summers. My…

Waiting, the Unknown, and Other Things I Dislike

This morning the oncologist’s nurse is supposed to call to tell me when I begin chemo. They’ve been waiting to get approval from the insurance company. I won’t say anymore about what I think of all that. I’m just ready to get on with it. I think. Worse than waiting is not knowing what to…

The Day Before the Tomb Was Empty

The oncologist ordered more tests – more blood work, an echo cardiogram, and a PET scan – after my initial visit a couple of weeks ago. The PET scan was the only test I hadn’t been through before, but I knew it was similar to an MRI, only with radioactive dye injected into your veins…

Critters in the MRI

So the first procedure I had to go in for was a breast MRI. I’ve had MRIs before. Lie on your back, fold your arms over your chest, close your eyes and talk to yourself for 45 minutes to an hour. Talk to God, talk to yourself, just don’t raise your hand to scratch. First,…

Words That Scare Us

The first time I ever heard the word, “cancer,” I was seven years old and my grandfather had it in his stomach. By the time the Archer County Hospital doctor found it, there was nothing anyone could’ve done in 1969. So my Papa died of stomach cancer in the early spring when I was in…

Kindness. Always the Best Medicine.

A couple of weeks ago I was told that I have breast cancer. I’ve had some time now to process that diagnosis, to learn more about the type of cancer I have and the course of treatment I’ll pursue, and that’s helpful. Having at least an idea of what to expect is always better than…

“You Can Have the Town…”

Looking back I realize we watched a lot of television when I was growing up, because I remember characters on TV as well as I remember the people I interacted with in real life. Maybe it was because television was still so new, still a novelty to my parents who were older when it first…

No Fear.

I don’t remember being afraid the day my mother and I climbed out onto the side of a mountain in Yellowstone to play in a patch of snow. But to hear my mother tell the story, I should’ve been. She claimed we nearly died that day. It was one of the summer vacations we took…

Birthday Gravy. And other things guaranteed to stick.

One year my birthday fell on a Sunday and at the age of ten, I had no idea what trouble my mother went to to pull off what I asked for that year. I wanted to eat Sunday dinner at home. I was tired at eating at Luby’s. I asked my mother to fry chicken…

A World of Difference

Six years ago my world was very different. On this day six years ago I received a phone call I won’t ever forget. I could take you to the exact spot where I dropped to my knees and wept as my dad’s voice came over the phone. “Sally, Joe Rex has been killed in a…