Here is our story:

Chapter 1
September 2003


September is a special month for me. Both my husband and I celebrate our birthdays. It’s the start of all the gorges fall colors, here in Illinois. Sweatshirts will soon come out of their summer boxes. I love sweatshirts….strange as it may sound. They are comforting. School starts back, which when my son was little was a blessing. Goodness, there are so many reasons.

But there is one reason in particular. Spider’s! Yes, I said spider’s. To me spider’s are good luck. Now wait, I know there are many who have, what do they call that, arachnophobia…..not me, spider’s have a special place in my heart.

c890b7c4e20022e0c81018364cae5727In the summer of 2003 a spider suddenly appeared outside our bedroom window. I have a flower box in the window and it was colorfully planted that year in red and white impatiens flowers. One summer morning I opened the shade and there was a spider sitting in the center of a beautiful web. She had carefully spun her web from each side of the window, and down into the flower box. It was HUGH, and so was she! I was very glad she was OUTSIDE!

All summer MacGyver (hubby) and I watched her. When I watered the flower box’s I tried very hard not to disturbed the web but often it got tore, and the next morning there she was, web beautiful constructed back again. She became part of the family that summer, and we enjoyed watching her…… through the window!

In late August of that summer, MacGyver was bitten by something while doing some clean-up at a historical site in southern Illinois. He did not see “the spider” but after a trip to our physician it was diagnosed as a spider bite. While there the Doctor suggested that MacGyver have a colonoscopy, since he would be turning 50 in a few weeks. We knew, for him, a colonoscopy was very important. His father had recently passed away after being diagnosed with colon cancer in July of 2000.

The test was scheduled with Doctor U, who cared for my father-in-law during his battle with cancer. He was very insistent that each of the boys, MacGyver is the oldest of three boys, have a colonoscopy done at age 50. The test was done on Tuesday, September 9, 2003, just three days before MacGyver’s 50th birthday.

At 10:00 a.m. that September morning our lives were forever changed by one sentence. We have found cancer. As MacGyver and I drove home that morning I cannot even explain all the emotions that we were experiencing, I am tearful as I write these words, just remembering the events.

But, as the days and weeks went by, that September we were strangely comforted by that spider who had made her web outside our bedroom window. Every morning I would open the blinds and there she was in the center of this magnificently crafted web. I confess that several times I removed the web, but each morning it would be careful crafted back, as if nothing had ever disturbed it. We decided that perhaps that spider was in fact a sign.

If MacGyver had not been bitten by a spider we may never have found the cancer as soon as we did. Even with a stern warning by Doctor U about having the colonoscopy I doubt we would have scheduled a colonoscopy that early. I learned that no matter what happens things can be rebuilt, and often much to our surprise…… better then before.

This September will mark MacGyver’s six year cancer free! Having made it through chemotherapy, radiation and two surgeries….WE will always be so very thankful for that spider……. bite! It saved his life.This year we have a new spider. She is in my flower boxes in the front room window. I’m glad she is there.

Just a simple reminder that everyday is truly a gift!

January 2004

MacGyver had completed radiation treatments with flying colors. Two tiny tattoos, one on each side of his derriere, were the only outside markings of 25 radiation treatments.

His surgery was scheduled for Wednesday, it had been four months since his diagnosis of (colon) cancer. Which still seemed like yesterday. The plan was to reduce the size of the tumor by radiation then surgery. MacGyver’s surgeon had requested that he takes radiation first. Doctor T. was strait foreword, soft spoken, ball headed and clearly confident! He described carefully how he thought it would go, but was also very frank when explaining that we need to be prepared for the possibility that MacGyver may come out of surgery with a colostomy or ileostomy, and/or the cancer may be farther along then he expected. Our future was in the hands of a total stranger and we had no choice but to put our faith in his assessments. Our life was dramatically changing again, and I was asking God for guidance, daily!

It was a cold, rainy, wintry January evening that Sunday. Our son bowled in a tournament that afternoon, and we were going out to dinner with friends. A celebration of sorts. The radiation was complete, and the surgery was in about 48 hour’s. We stopped to watched Billy Bob bowl then headed out to eat around six that evening. It was misting rain, and by the time we left the restaurant, the temperature had dropped considerable. We all talked about the days events, and raved at how good dinner was. We turned off the interstate, and onto the overpass now only about ten miles from home. Suddenly, the Blazer began to sway from side to side. I remember hearing someone yell, “OH…shit…. hang on!”

MacGyver and I were in the back seat. I grabbed for his hand as I was suddenly slammed against him. My face brushing against his soft jacket as we were throwen from side to side. It was if we had been magically transported to a carnival ride. I could hear the metal groaning as the blazer began to tilt. The groans turned into screeches with the sound of metal sliding across the pavement. A crackling replaced the screeching sound, as if someone was pouring hot liquid over ice as we traveled upside down the embankment, and then silence.

image004We slowly climbed out of the Blazer with the assistance of a trucker who had stopped to give aide. You could hear the distance sounds of sirens. The air was very cold with a slight mist of rain and ice that gently fell upon us as we ALL stood along the roadside shivering, and trying to comprehend what had just happened, while gazing down at the dark outline of the overturned Blazer. Illinois State Troopers arrived, and we were escorted to warm vehicles. “Everyone all right! Anyone need to go to the hospital?” One of them asked.
MacGyver calmly replied, “No thanks. I am going Wednesday.” To which I busted out laughing in hopes of fighting back the tears.

After seeing the Blazer on Monday, in the light of day, it was a miracle that none of us were killed or seriously injured. We arrived at the hospital early Wednesday morning feeling very peaceful, and a little sore.
Doctor T. came around the curtain and look at us both. “Any questions?” he said.
MacGyver quickly responded, “Let’s get ur done!”
I smiled back and silently said, “Thank You.”

Everyday is a gift!


3 thoughts on “Cancer

  1. Hello! Ok, so I talked to the reps at American Cancer Society. I have two websites and a third on the way. These websites are amazing and so easy to find information and LOCAL programs! – you can find anything and EVERYTHING there is on almost ANYTHING cancer related. Type in your cancer, or zip code…you can type in food and get diet tips for cancer patients, type in ride and you can learn about the road to recovery program….if you need anything this would be the first place I would look! – this site connects you with the American Cancer Society Relay For Life site. This is a general site to learn or help raise money for your local areas to help in the fight for cancer.

    Coming soon I will have the Prairie Land Youth Area relay website link up for 2010. Mary, we would like you and Uncle J. and Little J. 😉 to join our Relay Team this coming season. When you become a team member with us you will have access to our own page as well as our team page and can utilize that through here to help raise money for us locally.

    I hope this is what you were looking for! Talk to you soon!


  2. Hi Mari! These are very good blogs! I loved them! It’s nice to hear survival testimonies, especially when they are far and few between in our families. As soon as it’s up I will get you the link to our Relay. I will also get you other links to the American Cancer Society. They have some wonderful programs. Keep posting, we’ll keep reading.


    1. Aubery, please make sure I get the links and stuff.
      I will keep posting thanks for checking in and check in often!
      Aunt Mari

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