Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just A Leg

The other day I asked that good thoughts, vibes, and prayers be sent to very dear friends of our family. What their family is facing is not going to be easy but as with everything he's done with his life: our family friend will face it head on, gritting his teeth until he has conquered this tough path that life is taking him down.

Next Monday, this friend will undergo an operation to amputate his left leg. He has been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer in his bone that can not be stopped by radiation and chemo alone.

When I first heard the news last week, I had no words. It was more than I could comprehend. He had only been diagnosed with cancerous cells about a month before. I didn't understand the how's or the why's. I had several questions that no one could give me the answers too. Thoughts in my head became a jumbled mess. I couldn't even begin to talk about it without crying.

In an effort to answer some of the questions I had, I turned to Google. I don't know what exactly I was looking for or what I was expecting to find. I just needed to understand and makes sense of it. I read about the cancer, the procedure and what happens afterward. I read stories of other people who have gone through similar situations and how they prevailed. And then I stumbled upon a site that sold t-shirts with humorous sayings for amputees, things like "Don't Make Me Take Off My Leg and Beat You With It" or "My Surgery Cost Me An Arm AND A Leg." While I know it seems crazy these shirts made me laugh through my tears. Sometimes laughter is what gets us through the most difficult situations and I'm no exception to that.

The most poignant quote was on a shirt that said "I May Have Lost My Leg, But I Still Have My Life." Call it a moment of clarity amidst chaos, a light bulb going off, whatever. This saying was what I needed to hear. That statement was the one to provide the perspective I was severely lacking. There are no answers to the questions I was seeking. There is no rhyme or reason that can help me figure out why this is happening. I can't keep wondering what I would do or how I would handle the situation if it were me. Its not me. Its him. And this is happening. Very, very fast. What I need to focus on is being there for him. Helping him find a smile though the tears. Helping him get over this obstacle so that he can get back to living a very full life.

He is not losing his incredibly positive attitude. He's not losing his caring-I'll-do-anything-I-can-for-you generous spirit. He's not going to lose his sharp mind or wit. He's not losing his sense of humor. He's not losing his hope, dedication to his family and friends, or his faith. Nor is he losing his full life surrounded by people who love and care about him. He's also not losing what makes him special to those of us lucky to know him. He is not going to lose the great deal of respect and admiration people have for him. He is not going to lose anything incredibly valuable or what makes life really worth living. While this operation and subsequent treatments will change his life, they will not define it. He will continue to live an amazing, brilliant life.

In the end, all he's really going to lose is just a leg.

(Thank you for all of your thoughts so far. Please keep them coming as our friend has this surgery next week and goes through the physical and emotional healing process.)

12 comments:

Frank said...

He will be in my thoughts...

I hope everything goes well, or at least as well as possible.

Little Fish said...

This was an amazing post.

Those tee shirts are not weird, they are actually perfect. The greatest ability humans have is to find a reason to laugh even at the worst of times!

Stay strong!

nory said...

This post gave me goosebumps!
(and I admit, I cracked a smile at the funnier t-shirts.)
I'm glad you are doing better with it all and I'll keep the prayers and thoughts coming your way for him and everyone involved.

Big Midwestern style hugs, too. They always help a bit =)

MeLaNiE said...

Praying so hard for him & everyone involved! I agree that laughter can get you through it sometimes.

Andy said...

You know he's already in my prayers. He symbolises all of those who are fighting for their life against cancer.

chasinglibby said...

my thoughts are with you and your friend! i hope all goes well.

LBluca77 said...

Oh wow I can't imagine how hard this has to be on you and your friend. I hope everything goes well with his operation. Keep us posted about it.

Katelin said...

such a great post. i hope everything goes well for your friend!

Auburn Kat said...

We have a family friend that has one leg, he has a prosthetic leg and you can hardly tell. I would be making the same choice that your friend is. I hope everything goes good for him...

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I think we all deal with confusion and grief differently. The fact that you found a moment of levity AND clarity while reading shirts is awesome. Maybe he'd do the same if you were able to gift him one or two of those shirts. =)

Bayjb said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. I'm sending you positive thoughts and I think it's great you're using the blog to share your emotion so personally and eloquently. I give you a lot of credit to open yourself up like that.

Mandy said...

Thank you all of you for your kind words and thoughts.