88 Keys of Playing the Piano of Life: Living with Pancreatic Cancer
by Cheryl Treadwell
My mother was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in June of 2011. I remember the phone call from my sister in Kansas City, because I lived in Sacramento. I pulled together a conference call line from free conference call. com and we emailed and called her siblings, my siblings and close family friends to get on the phone line and let mom tell everyone as she can only do in her nurse language. But we immediately, began to pray as a family, that we will stand and be beside her every step of the way. My mom has been a nurse since 1954. A lot of first in the field as a black woman. My dad died in 1971 from Hodgkins disease for which there is now a cure. Mom loves the piano and has taught all of her children how to play the piano and all of her grandchildren too, the piano is her comforter. That is why this journey is like her playing all 88 keys on the keyboard. The songs will change as the journey changes from gospels, to musicals, she has played it all. God bless her! Well, like most, we began to search everything about the disease and only to find out this cancer is ugly. Mom was a breast cancer survivor from 2000, that seemed just a little hurdle, compared to what this battle is going to look like! So many things to think about, because my brother was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma skin cancer in April 2011, and he had moved in with her so that she could take care of him. I said to myself, this was going to be a tough journey. The song playing " We've Come this Far By Faith".
Today is October 1, 2012 and here we are one year and three months later and she is still here, and my brother is not. He died at 51 in November from his cancer. That was tough to grieve for my mom and all of us, but it seemed we had to move on and begin to fight with her. She has attended a wedding, buried a niece, a brother-in-law, made a trip to Chicago to see her best friend, who had leukemia and died in September 2011. She must know that God has something for her to still do. But praise God she is still here at 79 years young. We are planning her 80th birthday, with the expectation that God will see fit to keep her here a little while longer.We are all soaking up as much as we can so. But I know that the hard talks need to begin while things are going well. God gives me the strength. Amen.