You’ve got to pay your dues….

To everyone who’s made this awful illness easier to bear,

Just for today I want to share with you something you may or may not know.  Cancer battlers are in different fraternities depending on which cancer they’re battling — and each fraternity has its own personality.  The breast cancer group, for example, is full of women are perky and fun.  They welcome new members with open arms.  The brain tumor group, on the other hand, tend to be a little full of themselves.  In order to enter into this society of know-it-alls you’ve got to meet certain initiation requirements.  To start, you need to spend some time on the operating table.  The brain cancer group like to brag about how many hours of surgical intervention we have to put up with, and they don’t want any slackers.  

Another requirement is that you have to put up with making your brain a toxic place for tumors to hide out in.  The message to the tumor is a simple one:  “Leave!”

I’ve been reading CIA reports about creating a hostile environment for cancer.  One report suggested that Rock and Roll music might be good at driving the stuff away.  Much as my husband and daughter would like to keep the house shaking to Incubus, the Pentatonix and the Killers, ‘Quiet’ has become my very favorite kind of music.

Perhaps two years of faithful viewership to ‘Jersylicious’ helped fuel the tumor’s desire to leave.  On the other hand, ‘Jersylicious’ might be the perfect environment for growing tumors.  We’ll have to put that one under investigation.

The most important initiation requirement is gratitude.  Having a brain cancer would certainly make you one grumpy dude or dudette if you can’t find reasons to be grateful. You’re not a full member of the fraternity until you can count your blessings to a million.

So, lets start:

#1 — of one million)  I am so grateful for my wonderful husband, for the way he writes posts that make me seem way better than I really am, and the way he puts words together to provide love and hope to the people we really care about.  Paul, you’ve put your bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing to good use.

#2 — of one million)  I woke up this morning next to the most precious human being in the world, my darling daughter.  How can someone be so lucky as to have a daughter as beautiful, kind, talented, funny and loving as I have?  Angelique, you are the joy of my life.

#3 — of one million)  The minute I was born I had a best friend.  She was three months older, but I was her aunt (go figure).  She’s one of the few people in the world who can make you laugh so hard that you cry — laughing over something too silly for anyone else in the world to appreciate.  I used to be jealous that her birthday was before mine, but now that we’re ‘of a certain age’ I get to use the time between March and May to torment her for being an old lady.  Karla, you do all right for an old biddy!

#4, #5, #6 and #7 — of one million) I’m also grateful to have a ‘pretend’ little sister.  She’s given me the opportunity to make me enormously proud of all the wonderful and creative things she does.  I am especially grateful for this:  She is one of the few who truly understand the five important things in life: a) A good chicken soup has carrots and celery bits that are all cut the same size, b) Fritatas must be served cold on a slice of warm Scali bread, c) The best ice cream sodas are made at home — with enough ginger ale to make a refreshing treat, and enough chocolate chip ice cream on the bottom to be a dessert on its own,  d) Always choose the beach over a lake — actually, always choose the beach over anything, e) Life is way cooler when you live in Cambridge.  Stephanie, people would know you were the bomb even if you didn’t keep reminding them.

#8 — of one million)  For all the wonderful, wonderful, wonderful people who have sent over home cooked meals.  Thank you Peters’, Keebler-Coakley’s, Hylton’s, Linquist’s, and Griffen’s!

Well, I don’t have time to write down all of the million — but all the million are in my heart.

Love, Love, Love



About pamvbradford

I am a fifty seven year old banker specializing in government banking. I have a beautiful twenty-one year old daughter and a wonderful husband. My husband and I recently downsized, and purchased a beautiful condo in Watertown MA. We love our new home. I know I am a very fortunate person. I am surrounded by supportive family members, by supportive coworkers and by the marvelous support of our faith community at Sacred Heart Parish in Lexington MA. As the Psalm says, "There is nothing that I lack." My whole life changed on July 18, 2012 when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The news came from out of the blue. My tumor was removed by the marvelous Dr. Mark Johnson and his wonderful team of surgeons at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The surgery truly was a miracle. I couldn't possibly have gotten better care. Now the 'easy' part is over. The tough part is to learn to walk with God in the midst of danger and surprise. My mood shifts from gratitude to fear and back again but I know God has a purpose for me. There's a reason I didn't die on the operating table. There's something that God wants me to do. This blog is my effort to share with others, with all of you, what it is that I am learning as I put one foot ahead of the other, live each day as it comes, and discover what it is that God has to teach me. Your prayers keep me going. Your love comforts me. Your knowledge and faith guide and teach me. God bless you all!
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One Response to You’ve got to pay your dues….

  1. Amy Ko says:

    Hi Pam,

    The brain cancer group has nothing to worry about with you! You are certainly not a slacker!!! You’ll show them that you have the strength and muster to beat this cancer out of you!

    I am so glad that Leanna and Heather shared your blog with me. I know you will be well again soon and I look forward to seeing you on the 504 every morning on the way to work, accompanying your cheerful face and entertaining company.

    My support is with you and your family. Let me know if I can do anything to help.

    Now go rest and kick this cancer’s butt!

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