By Allan Gillis
It has been a crazy few weeks. Saint Anselm of Canterbury said “disasters teach us humility”. My God… sometimes these lessons can be so frightfully painful.
The month of August started nicely but when a birth-mark on my wife’s arm looked a bit “iffy”, her primary-care doctor suggested she should see a dermatologist. She did just that and had a painful biopsy…which a week later we were told was Melanoma. Frightful stuff. They then scheduled a day-surgery which removed the birth-mark. This was all very, very difficult for my Sweetest and she really wasn’t of the mindset to enjoy our vacation which had been scheduled since the early spring wherein I have all the kids and grandkids down to a beach-house that we rent on Long Island Sound where I grew up. We all went anyway and Helen did a yeoman’s job staying focused on the kids, the beach, the salt marsh, the crabbing and the Book Barn in Niantic, Connecticut ( a SPECTACULAR PLACE!). She was horribly-worried but allowed the family to enjoy a nice week on the beach, the kayak excursions, the late night fires on the patio overlooking the ocean steps below. I got closer to the kids and I had a nice couple of afternoons with my wife as well going hunting for fine “fiber” (it used to be called “yarn” when I was a kid!) for her knitting and crocheting as well as hours of pouring together over millions of used books at The Book Barn.
We were then told by the doctor that we needed to go surgically deeper and try for “clean margins”. In other words they wanted to cut down to the muscle and remove enough skin and tissue such to avoid metastasis. Again, very frightening. Now, be mindful that my Helen is a health nut. She power-walks three miles a day – rain, sleet or hail. I mean it. She’s a machine. She lives on what a dear old friend of ours referred to as “teriyaki dust”! …beans, rice, fresh vegetables, tofu…you get the gist here I’m sure. She has a heartbeat at about every three minutes I think! She’s wicked healthy! She’s driven. She’s admirable. So, for her to be ill is quite a knock off the rails for her. We came home from the Connecticut shore and braced for what we hoped would be the surgical solution. She went through it like a trooper. She’s a brave girl. Then, we had to wait.
We got the news this morning that the final biopsy is clear and she’s cancer-free and I am so happy and grateful to God. She is too.
We’re thankful for your prayers. Truly we are.
Saint Anselm was so “spot-on”. In the face of disaster I am loathe to think about the many times I have been so smug – even in here in this blog. God have mercy on me.
Here is another of Anselm’s quips: “Remove grace, and you have nothing whereby to be saved. Remove free will and you have nothing that could be saved.”
The summer ends and a new season begins – with it’s hopes and challenges. Saint Joseph pray for me as I endeavor to be the “strong and silent type” as you were – quietly and doggedly taking care of your family. Protecting and providing. No fanfare, no braggadocio. Just “gettin ‘er done”. Being “father” is sometimes trying.
More to come on that topic I assure you.