#30memoriesin30days Day 28
Michael D. Butka
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The past twenty-eight days I have been sharing all my positive memories. Life is not about only the happy times. Life provides challenges to help us grow as individuals and families. Today memory’s is about the good, the bad and the ugly side of cancer.
The GOOD is the support of family and friends. A husband, Michael D. Butka, who is at your side daily, taking a step down in his job so he could be at your side. A daughter, Tyna Butka, who helps you see the beauty in yourself when you hair is all gone. A son, Michael J. Butka, who is serving his county in the Air Force still calls you to let you know you are loved from a distance but there beside you in spirit.
Friends, Devine Derry Dames Red Hat Society, who take you out to breakfast on the day you decided to remove what hair hasn’t fallen out on your pillow each day. A decision is made they will have the honor of shaving my head. A friend, Lynn Anderson, even decides to shave her own head in support of you. Even though you tried to convince her not to, because the holiday season was approaching.
Linda Bowman, Lorraine Wolfham and Lynn Anderson
A Medical team that is caring and supportive each step of the way. Some of that team were the same ones who cared for my mother in 2000. They remember her and shared those memories with me providing a comfort I’m not sure they fully understood they provided me.
The BAD is the many days of illness from the chemotherapy side effects. You have not energy to even lift your head off the pillow, to smile, to even visit with your loved ones.
The UGLY, is seeing your hair in large clumps on your pillow when you awaken in the morning. Having to deal with the cancer in your body, feeling like you have no control over what is going to happen to you.
YOU DO HAVE CONTROL of your mental attitude. I grab that control and held onto a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE during one of the rest times in my life. I helped me stay the course, to endure the discomforts and remember that life is full of surprises, good and bad, that make you stronger for it.
Treatment Complete Ringing the Bell of Success!
I AM more than A Survivor. I am a stronger woman, mother, wife, sister, and friend who will remain positive no matter what life offers.
I remember the loving support more than anything else from my cancer adventure. That is the way I will always want to remember that time in my life.
June and Tyna Butka choosing a wig
Here are a few poems I wrote during my 2005-2006 Cancer Adventure
May the fear, sadness and anger
Be subdued by the comforter
A Positive Mental Attitude
Mind Wandering after Diagnosis
How many doctors
Doctor appointments galore
Surprise breakfast calls
Wig choice fun
Sadness Short lived
Hair loss Wigs
Low blood count Isolation
ONCO Study Care-giving
Positive mental attitude Healing
Rise early, take meds, shower and check e-mails
One hour later eat, take more meds and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Forty-minute drive to chemotherapy
Check in, labs, results, doctor appointment
All before a four-hour treatment
Medication one hour before eating
Trying to keep food down
To prevent nausea, vomiting
Maybe a week without symptoms
It starts all over again
Unexpected surprises occur
Cards, people visit, daughter calls
A stuffed animal from a friend or two
A smile from across the room
Can you remember their names
Marge, Janet and Monica are a few
Radiation End Nears
Six more boosts to go
The end is just so
The time just flew
Enjoying morning hue
Travel thirty minutes to and fro
Five times a week
The radiation did seek
Excitement of journey’s end
Fear did suspend
Happy days here again
Self-time around the bend
Waiting for Treatment End
Here I sit glancing at faces
Reading, thinking, glaring spaces
Radiation treatment number fifteen
Nineteen more waiting in between
Sad eyes, smiling eyes, quiet eyes
All waiting to say goodbye
The ringing bell
The end does tell
Cycle of Life Season of Death
The season of life overlaps
The season of death
Death is a release, a flight home
Sufferings end, pain free
You can walk again
Trapped in a body is a
Death in itself
To be free is the life of hope
Comfort measures are for the family
Our comfort is to be free
We suffer for loved ones at least
Through one cycle of treatment
But when is enough, enough
Quality verses quantity of life
Can only be decided by thee
She found solace in her photography. It was her way to deal with her cancer. The treatments had ended. She was waiting to find out if she was in remission. The wait is the worse part of cancer or any illness. The not knowing takes a toll on even those with a positive mental attitude. She was of the belief in a positive attitude, focusing on what you can control, not what you can’t is the best way to recovery.
She and her dog would take daily walks around her new surroundings. They had moved across the river to another southern New Hampshire town after the completion of her treatment. Her husband’s and adult children’s relief when the house sold can best be described in her daughter’s statement; “Now there won’t be a third death in this house. You are going to survive.” Her mother and nephew had both died in that house. She was the caregiver of her mother when she was dying of cancer. Eighteen months later, on Halloween night, her nephew went into cardiac arrest. CPR was immediate and non stop even when the ambulance arrived within a matter of minutes. The hospital doctors told the family that unless he was at a hospital where cardiac surgery was performed, her nephew couldn’t have survived. He was in between two cardiac surgeries. The doctor had said he was doing well two days before.
She had felt the presence of her mother and nephew. She had smelt their scent when their spirits were near. This provided her with comfort. She had been aware of spirits surrounding her since childhood. The eldest female of her mother’s line all had the gift. The gift was being able to sense the spirits, of being aware of another dimension of support from past family members. It was how she knew when things would be fine or when a rough patch was ahead. She would hear a voice or smell their scent when they were near. She had felt alone during her cancer treatment because the voices and smells had left her. The support of her family couldn’t give her the same reassurances that the support from past family members could.
She knew this happened to her mother during treatment as well. The chemicals in the body prevented the gift from getting though. She felt the gift would return as it had with her mother. The voices and smells were there supporting them both and guiding her mother home. Her photography played an important part in her healing and getting to know her new surroundings. The comfort of focusing on something concrete helped her stay positive. She had remembered coming to the town of her new home as a child to visit relatives but could never remember the specifics of where or who, only that the visits stopped when she was six years old. She decided that if she became familiar with her surroundings, maybe the fifty-two year old memories would return.
She spent the evenings with her husband, watching their Monday shows. After eating they would watch the recorded shows. At nine o’clock they would watch their nightly shows together. This routine varied slightly during the week. After watching the recorded shows she would watch her shows on Lifetime Movie channel or Food Network channel. Her husband would watch the recorded late night’s shows from the night before.
She was having what she calls a “down period.” She would have very little energy and slept almost around the clock except to take out her dog. She had been doing this through most of her treatment. She would spend a day walking and photographing then having to sleep a few days away. She kept hoping that it would resolve once treatment had finished. She was trying to stay positive. She was hoping the gift would return. She was hoping to feel the past family support again. She is still waiting. Five years later. Why isn’t what we have enough?
This post is 10 year since my last treatment for cancer. I want people to remember to look for the positive in life and in death. Yes, even death can be a positive, when one in trapped in a body that causes pain daily and doesn’t allow you to walk. It set you free to walk without pain. Death doesn’t mean you want it to come before its time but the understnading that when it is time you will greet it as a old friend and release yourself to freedom it offers with grace and dignity. Life is a cycle we all go through, we are born, we live, we die. What we make of that time is what we choose to be remembered by. I want to be remembered as a person who met life head on with a positive mental attitude, strength, love and caring for all who touched my life. Even those who touched it briefly in a time of crisis.