Mount Olive Seniors By Dixie Kuykendall
The North Jefferson News
October is breast cancer awareness month and I decided to write in a little different vein this week. I would like to share with you my journey with cancer.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 1995, and I was not happy about it. As a matter of fact, I was just a little bitter.
My pastor sat in my kitchen talking with me and I asked him, “Why me?”
He looked me right in the eye and said, “Why not you, Dixie?”
“Well,” my mind silently responded, “because I’m a good person. I go to church, I teach Sunday school, I tithe, I abide by all the commandments (most of the time) and besides all that, my mother is getting worse daily with Alzheimer’s disease. I have a little granddaughter who needs me, not to mention my very important job.”
I needed a scripture, a promise, something just for me from God’s word to hold onto. The verse given to me was Isaiah 43:1-2: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.”
Now I knew this was written just for me. I don’t swim a lick and I’m scared to death of deep water. I wrote my name in my Bible. “Fear not, Dixie, for I have redeemed you — I call you by your name and I will not let the waters get over your head.”
My Sunday school class gave me a beautiful angel; I named him “Isaiah” and took him along with me to the hospital. I knew that he would remind me of God’s promise to me.
I must have quoted my “promise” verse 50 times going into surgery. My daughter had placed Isaiah on the bedside table so that I could easily see him when I woke up.
I prayed that I would not have to go through chemo. Of the 19 lymph nodes removed, more than half were positive. I was treated aggressively with the highest dosage of chemo mix possible. Robert gave me injections daily to grow my white blood count and my blood was tested twice a week.
I prayed that I wouldn’t lose my hair. Let me tell you, I was one ugly bald-headed woman! I scared myself to death when I got out of the shower and faced the mirror.
One day I seemed to be having an especially bad dry bone pity party day. Feeling really sorry for myself, I decided to leave work early and go home.
Stopped at a light on Finley avenue, I was lost in my own misery when I glanced over in the right lane and eyeball to eyeball with a redneck in his pickup truck with all the trimmings — beer cans and other sorted trash in the back and a styrofoam spit cup on the dash. You got the vision?
He tipped his not-so-clean baseball cap in my direction, winked and blew a kiss flashing his three teeth. From out of nowhere came my hand and snatched off my wig. I winked and blew kisses in his direction and gunned it leaving him sitting at the light.
After almost a year of chemo and all that goes with it, I knew that I was not going through on my own strength. I knew how very fortunate I was to be the center of my family’s love and concern and to be part of such a wonderful and supportive church family. I knew they were always there for me, praying for me.
Ten years later, I learned that I had cancer again. I have always tried to walk with God, but I was not very excited about the path He had chosen for me.
I remembered writing in my journal back in 1997, “I know that God will someday make a stepping stone out of this stumbling block.” This was taken from a poem ending with, “each is given a bag of tools, a shapeless mass, a book of rules; and each must make, ere life is flown, a stumbling block or a stepping stone.”
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks — it was not God’s responsibility to make those stepping stones. It was up to me to allow God to work through me.
I did not pray that I would escape chemo and I did not pray that I would not lose my hair. I prayed for peace and for an attitude of gratitude for all that I had been blessed with and for strength to share my experience with others.
So the message I hope to give you is that our ability to choose is part of the tools that we have been given. The challenges of making stepping stones and keeping an attitude of gratitude belong to each of us.
Mount Olive Seniors By Dixie Kuykendall
Elder mediation can ease conflicts
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
Senior Center News
For more information about the Fultondale Senior Center, call 849-0916.
Dear Savvy Senior
What can you tell me the about the constant ear ringing syndrome known as tinnitus? At age 56, I have had it for several years but it has gotten more and more noticeable lately. Is there anything I can do?
— Ringing Rhonda
Dear Savvy Senior
What can you tell me
the about the constant ear
ringing syndrome known
Civitan’s ‘General’ wins major recognition
Gardendale native Robert E. Lee is revered as “The General of Recruiting” as the president of the Gardendale Civitan Club.
Lee has led the club for more than 20 years and he’s recruited about 200 people into the organization. “There’s a secret to recruiting for Civitans and I’m one of the few people that knows it,” he said. “The secret is a-s-k. You just have to ask people to join.”
- Area seniors welcome in Fultondale We are excited about all of the things happening at the Fultondale Senior Center. We’d love to invite all seniors over the age of 60 to join us.
Seniors getting informed, dancing at center
July has brought many new members to the center.
We are so very happy to see folks come in to enjoy our various programs and activities.
Retired teacher loves shopping, family time
Lillie Y. Patterson has lived in the North Jefferson area for 63 years.
A retired teacher from the Birmingham City School System, she tutors in her spare time.
Morris native enjoys flowers, spending time with grandkids
My niece Maria and I went out for a girls day several Saturdays ago and ran into a delightful lady, Erin Sullivan.
Mrs. Sullivan grew up in Morris and has many friends in the Morris and Gardendale communities.
- Person You Should Know — Bernice Chandler
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