Mark and Bea

You can imagine the trepidation that my husband and I felt when we walked into the hospital for my first chemo treatment.  Although the waiting room was beautiful, everything was a mystery.  Do we take a number?  Do we register?  Do I have a cold?

The night before, my family and I had sat down for what I felt was about to be the last supper.  My anxiety was through the roof.  I had actually felt my heart racing as I stared at the steroids I was to take to begin the journey.  These steroids were the threshold of a new world.

“Some ha’ meat and canny eat, and some ha’ meat but want it.  But we ha’ meat and we can eat, so let the Lord be thanket.  Amen”.  This grace, my Dad always spoke at family gatherings, enveloped my spirits.  I was reminded, once again, to count my blessings.  And so, I opened the cap to the pill bottle and downed all five pills.

Amazingly enough – once that first step was taken, I felt such relief.  The fighter in me arose.  Bum, bum-bum-bum, bum-bum bummmmm  ran through me head (The Eye of the Tiger if you couldn’t tell).  My fears quelled.  We ate dinner together and silently faced the mysteries that would unfold the following day.

There were many people waiting for treatment at the Royal Victoria Hospital.  Some had hair.  Some did not.  Some were older and some younger.  Some came with a cheer-leader while others were alone.  What they all had in common, though, was a calmness.  We were all there to receive care and it was in modern medicines’ hands in terms of the type of care we would receive.

My husband and I looked to the morning CBC newscast that was broadcasting.  Stephen Harper was in the headlines again.  It was the Mike Duffy scandal in question and the timing of his trial.  I heard a “harumph” from the gentleman across from us.  I knew it mean he was not impressed.  I looked under the television and there were a stack of hand-knit hats in a variety of colours.  I pointed them out to my husband and we walked over to investigate them.  Each was tagged with a beautiful hand-written note.  Eagerly, I chose the orange and white hat, made with love by Pam.  I don’t know why I felt I needed it – I guess I felt it was a “step” that would prepare me for my seemingly inevitable hair loss.  We sat down in our seats again and there was a story about the Ebola virus.  “Isn’t that awful?”, I heard the gentleman across from us murmur to his wife.  Instantly, my husband and I entered into discussion with our “new” friends – Mark and Bea.

The conversation drifted inevitably from the world news to our news.  “Is this your first treatment?” Mark inquired.  That simple question opened the gates to a conversation I never thought I would ever be having with total strangers.  Fifteen minutes later, they were called to the chair for his treatment.  Shortly afterwards, I was called too.  Wouldn’t you know it  – we were in the same pod as them and he was busy teasing the nurses.  It was a relief to see him happy and to see that the nurses were human.  It was a relief to see Bea beside him looking confident as she hunkered down for a few hours.  It was a relief that our new friends were there.  We joked that he would be the “bad egg” in my class if this were my school.  He said, “Stacey, you have me pegged right”.

I looked around and nurses were putting on gowns to cover themselves as they began the chemo on patients.  I guess it makes sense that chemo is a poison and it is not good to spill poison on the skin.  Egad.  But is it okay to stick it in veins… how ironic.  Mark explained his chemo was actually a form of mustard gas.

The nurses hooked me up after being very vigilant to ensure I was indeed Stacey and that this was my chemo.  First was a saline flush, followed by benedryl, followed by the first of two cocktails that would keep me hooked up for six hours.

Once I was locked and loaded and safely responding to the chemo, my husband wandered over to continue our chiding of Mark and Bea.  Bea came and sat with me.  She became my instant inspiration and reassurance.  She dispelled myths of the chemo.  She dispelled myths of the trauma of the side-effects.  “Mark has not had any mouth sores, tingling of his hands, vomiting, or loss of appetite.  In fact, he feels great and has gained weight.”  I was an empty vessel into which Bea poured hope.

On the other side of the room, Mark explained to my husband, “Stage four does not mean the next stage is death.  Stage four indicates how wide-spread the cancer is so the doctors know where to go to treat it.”  Such simple logic can yield such great relief.

Eventually, the partners switched back and my husband and I watched as he ended his treatment and got up to go home.  I wanted to ask for their phone number – to let them know the impact they had had on our mental health and faith in the process we had just begun.  I didn’t know if that was appropriate etiquette to do that.  What were the rules of treatment?  In any case, I did find out they would be back in three weeks on the Wednesday.

“I hope we see you again… sort of.” I said.  “You know what I mean.”

They wished us luck and off they went.

Other patients came and went without pomp and circumstance while my husband and I waited out the six hours.  None had the impact that Mark and Bea had had. Were they the right people at the right time?  Were they placed there as our guardian angels?  It’s hard to say.  Their gift that day, however, was one that I want to give to someone else someday.  Who would have thought that a conversation that began about a scandal would end as a gift of hope and faith?

Thank-you, Mark and Bea… wherever you may be.

About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
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30 Responses to Mark and Bea

  1. Debra says:

    Some people come into our lives when we need them most. We didn’t ask for them, nor did we even hope for them. They just miraculously appear and they often leave us feeling differently then we did before we met them. Mark and Bea might come again, and then again they might not, but the gift that they gave you will last forever. I am so happy and grateful that they were there at exactly the right time that you needed them. Love given is love gained and so is true for compassion. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and all the moments of discovery and gratitude along the way. Much Love ~Deb

    • inmycorner says:

      Wow – your comment was more inspiring than the original post! grin. You are so articulate and so right. Thank-you for following this journey with me and being there along the way. I know you are one to understand right people at the right time. Thank-you for being in our lives.

  2. Donna says:

    A fabulous read! Sounds like you had a divine appointment with Mark and Bea. God gives you all that you need.

  3. Rita says:

    Thank you Stacey, for sharing your journey. As far away as I am, it makes me feel like I am walking the path with you when reading your thoughts. This one about Mark and Bea reminded me of a piece of writing I read years ago so went looking for it … I’m sure you’ve read it previously but here it is again.

    People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.

    When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

    When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

    LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway); and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

    Author Unknown

    • inmycorner says:

      Thanks for this, Rita. I have actually never read that before. There have been many people who have come into and “back” into my life these days. It is almost like my life is flashing before my eyes. It is weird, but in many ways very comforting. I’m glad that you can walk with my on this journey of ours through my posts. It is so much nicer to be able to explain my experiences and feelings at my own leisure – and it removes the elephants in the room when people are not sure what to ask or if to ask.

      I actually saw you have viewed the posts and told you Mom as the Latvia icon popped up.

  4. I knew I would spell your name wrong! (Reference another blog.)

    I’m glad you directed ‘us’ to this blog. I wonder how Mark and Bea hid their wings? Thank you for sharing this.

    • inmycorner says:

      Ha – yes — they MUST have wings. I actually didn’t even know what it meant to “press” a post. I just threw caution to the wind. It is nice to have to “old” community back. .. not that you are old – but you know what I mean. grin. I actually had to read your blog to become re-inspired to write.

  5. Mandy St.Germaine says:

    Stacey, your writing is so beautiful. I was there with you and Kevin in that room!! Thank you for your writing. I am thinking of you every day and sending you positive vibrations and love.

  6. cindy kennedy says:

    As I read your blog, tears streamed down my face. These tears were not tears of sadness, although my heart is heavy in regards to you having to go through such a scary illness; more so, tears of happiness that you were able to experience your first treatment in a positive way.
    Blessed are you, to have Kevin by your side and hopefully some new friends.
    Life is 90% of what happens to us and 10% of how we react. I believe this with my heart. You have already started this journey with a positive outlook, I believe this can and will make all the difference in the world. Keep blogging, I really enjoyed the read and keep smiling that beautiful smile that could light up the world. You are an inspiration to all who have the pleasure to meet you~~
    Cindy Kennedy

    • inmycorner says:

      Oh, my goodness Cindy. Where did you learn to write like that? You have grown up so much – I can hear your maturity in your thinking. I wonder what you have gone through since I met you…. You are wonderful to have said the things you said and the words have lifted my spirits. It has been many years, CIndy, since our paths crossed and yet – here we are still connected. I feel blessed to have you with me through this journey.

  7. 409 525 peguis street says:

    i always feel that when things like this happen, it is your guardian angels by your side that give you the strength and the ability to handle what is needed of you at this time .
    Mark and Bea were there when you were needing some understanding and compassion, and through them they were guided by your angels to give the words you needed to hear at that particular moment so you were able to handle what was coming your way. Just know that the terrible word of cancer does not define you, it is just a word and can be handled with strength and dignity that i know you have within you
    thank you for letting me share your emotional journey with you. Written words have always been able to help us out in difficult times and i believe that is what you are doing here. so remember i will be
    saying a daily prayer for you and your family

    • inmycorner says:

      I am of the same opinion about those guardian angels. THank-you for wanting to share this journey. It is not one for the weak of knee! I appreciate those daily prayers — especially for my family.

  8. I took my chemo-therapy at the Victoria Hospital in London — maybe the same one you’re referring, too? I think it’s been rebuilt or added onto, though, since I was there in 1981 after breast cancer surgery. All the best to you.

    • inmycorner says:

      Wow – inspiring. 1981 and you are still writing! You ARE a good news story for me. My chemo is at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie. I hope that it will service me as well as your Victoria Hospital did you in London! Best to you as well!

      • Glad I could cheer you up! I was twenty-seven when I had my mastectomy and have been clear since, but lately diagnosed with CLL — a chronic form of leukemia which affects a lot of people, I gather, but is treatable.

        I’d encourage you to go into your theme and eliminating one sidebar or go to your widgets menu and remove the extra widgets. This would eliminate the duplication we see on your sidebar.

      • inmycorner says:

        You have such a great attitude. I appreciate that. Thanks also for the coaching – I am really blind in terms of the technicalities of blogging – will take a look at that today. Wondered by there was duplication and whether it was just “me” that saw it. Thank-you!

      • inmycorner says:

        Couldn’t figure it out – so I changed the format! Hope that’s better — I don’t see a double side bar on this one.

  9. Tom Graves says:

    Hang in there!!! God is good and Jesus is our healer, Isa 53:5, Matt 8:17, I Pet. 2:24. Blessings, Tom

  10. So well-written and compelling.
    You’ve captured so well how instant, powerful connections can be made when people are going through a similar experience of life-threatening illness. My husband and I experienced this ourselves very recently, and marveled at realizing that the wife of the man sharing the hospital room with my husband was praying for our family at almost the same moment when I was praying for them.
    Sharing our hopes and fears — and knowing each family was praying for the other — provided comfort between strangers..

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