So Much To Tell You!

Dear Friends and Supporters and supportive friends and friendly supporters,

Paul and I have been very busy, over the past three days, preparing for the start of treatment on August 29.  It seems as if all we do is drive back and forth between Watertown and Boston.  I think we’ve had the chance to meet each of the parking valets at the Dana Farber.

On Monday, I was fitted for my radiation mask.  The experience put me in mind of the pioneering facial treatments developed in Transylvania back in the 1800’s.  Turns out that the three million dollar haircut I got four weeks ago was just the start of the many beauty treatments I’ll be receiving.  After the facial, those wonderful folks gave me a bunch of CT scans; that’s so they’ll be able to set me up with ‘scalp tatoos’ to show them how to get the radiation to where it needs to be.  I wonder when I get my pedicure?  

On Tuesday, we headed into the Brigham and Women’s for my MRI.  If you’ve had an MRI you know how much fun it is.  It’s like someone opening a manhole cover, sticking you in, replacing the cover and then running a couple of thousand trucks over you.  The noise is horrible.  I played every mnemonic game I know. I counted, counted backwards, counted by fives and sixes and sevens (Mrs. Alexander, if you’re reading, I want you to know that I’m finally ready for your third grade test on the times tables.)  As bad as the noise was, though, staying perfectly still was even worse.  My beleaguered technician had to put up with my unending pleas, “Tell me, please, is it almost over?  Almost?  Soon?  Tell me it will be soon!”.  Even if that poor fellow doesn’t have kids, he’s got a pretty good idea now of what it’s like to travel with a carload of them.  I plead guilty to the charge of acting like a seven year old.

After the ordeal, I insisted that he call my husband into the treatment room for emotional support.  Paul, as always, was terrific!  He’s constantly ready to supply an empathetic heart, an understanding mind and a reassuring word.  If any of you are planning on getting a brain tumor soon you might want to inquire about his services.

While we were driving back home I realized that all I wanted to do was eat.  Speaking of eating, I still haven’t gotten over that calzone my niece Laurie brought over a while ago.  It was Thanksgiving in a sandwich!  What did they call it, Laurie?  The Pilgrim Special??  Please repeat for me the name of the place that makes it.  And, just a suggestion, if you ever happen to be driving by there on your way for a visit….

That takes us up to this morning.  We went up to the second floor of the Yawkey Building for labs and then met with my wonderful oncologist Dr. Lee, who gave me more information about treatment and helped me narrow the choice of a clinical trial down to two options.  We’ll settle on one in the next few days.  Hopefully, the trial will enhance the effectiveness of the chemotherapy treatment.

My blogging hasn’t been as frequent as I wish it were (or as frequent as you wish it were based on the complaints I’ve been receiving) but I’ve got two excellent excuses.  First of all, we had a “technical issue” on Friday night.  I’m not naming names, but it involved an enormous glass of cranberry juice, a very clutzy husband, and a soggy modem.  The bottom line is that I’ve got blogs that are hopelessly lost in cyberspace.  It would be sad if it weren’t so funny!

It’s at times like this when I really miss work.  I love you guys!  As you might expect, I’ve been collecting lots and lots of good ‘Captain Catholic’ stories (do any of you recall the story of the leaky pens and the five ruined shirts?) that I’m dying to tell you all.

The other reason for my blogging slow-down is that I haven’t really been getting a lot of downtime to do anything other than to get ready for this battle.  Let me tell you, dear ones, this is a fight I don’t intend to lose.  As they say, “I’m in it to win it!”

I might let myself get behind on my blogging, but I refuse to get behind on gratitude.  My first ‘thank you’ goes to one of the finest research scientist I’m lucky enough to call a friend — she has been my best advisor for treatment issues, she’s been a wonderful mentor for my daughter and a great ally and co-worker to my friend Joan — Thank you Marsha Moses!

More gratitude goes out to all of those wonderful families whose philanthropy has made it possible to develop treatments for cancer.  If it weren’t for all the people, rich and poor, who’ve sacrificed their resources to the never ending war against ignorance and suffering I’d be a goner.  If I’m strong, it’s because of all the people who’ve given me their strength.

Just one more:  I am grateful for your commitment to public education.  Particularly to the education my daughter received in thirteen years with the Belmont School System — to the dedicated administrators, teachers and aids; to the supportive parents; to the voters who had the good sense to support necessary tax overrides; to the janitors ‘Little Bob’ and ‘Big Bob’ at the Butler School; to every single one of you crossing guards.  Because of all of you we have the sure hope that our next generation will be a generation of curious minds, able to synthesize complex information to solve complex problems.  What a marvelous investment education is!  Everything you put in pays you back a thousandfold.

I’m grateful that I got outside this morning — enough to realize what a beautiful, beautiful day we’re having; and I’m looking forward to a beautiful weekend.  Hope you all find ways to enjoy it.  You deserve every good thing!  I’ll never be able to say enough about all the love that you’ve showered on the entire Bradford family.

That’s it.  I’m headed for my nap!

Love, Love, Love

Pam

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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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6 Responses to So Much To Tell You!

  1. razberries says:

    Hi Pammy! Miss you and your wit, but glad to be able to read it in this blog. Keep strong and know we’re all rooting for you. I would like to share a poem that became a mantra for myself and my college buddies- I hope you enjoy it. xo, Lauren

    When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
    When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
    When the funds are low and the debts are high,
    And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
    When care is pressing you down a bit,
    Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

    Life is queer with its twists and turns,
    As every one of us sometimes learns,
    And many a failure turns about,
    When he might have won had he stuck it out;
    Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
    You may succeed with another blow.

    Often the goal is nearer than,
    It seems to a faint and faltering man,
    Often the struggler has given up,
    When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
    And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
    How close he was to the golden crown.

    Success is failure turned inside out–
    The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
    And you never can tell how close you are,
    It may be near when it seems so far,
    So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
    It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

    – Author unknown

  2. joannemessier says:

    HI Pam,
    You are so damned funny. You need to have your own show. I agree that it’s not fair that you are making me laugh!
    Don’t worry if you are too tired to blog, when you do, we will all eat it up and marvel at your strength. Love to the fam~
    Joanne

  3. Kim Donoghue says:

    Miss you Pam! All my love to you! Kim ;o)

  4. Sabby says:

    Pammie, what I love the most is that nothing can get in your way. Thanks for posting on this blog, I hear you speaking the words everytime I read them, I feel like I should be upset with you for making me smile and laugh so hard but that’s who I’ve always known you to be. I wanted to list just a few small things about you that stay ever true in my mind and I’m hoping it is slightly comforting to you as you have made an impact on your friends that cannot be matched.

    Once someone is fortunate enough to have you as a friend in life there’s no turning back
    your loyalty is unwavering
    your spirits are ever-inspiring
    your humor is always just what’s needed…and more
    your friendship and love is pure
    you must be one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met and I just adore having youon my side, I feel protected

    Thinking of you everyday, praying for you and your family just as often.
    Hugs and Kisses to you! Happy Cupcaking!
    Sabby

  5. Julie Lancaster says:

    Pam,
    Your blogging is a great help to me, as I am able to get the updates right from you. As well, I can really understand what you are going through. Your ability to find humor in what you do is pretty amazing.
    I am interested in what Liga is doing. Is she taking off the semester?
    I am enjoying your litany of gratitudes. I feel good to hear your esteem of the people who don’t have a clue as to how much you appreciate them. You are encouraging grattitude in me and others, as I don’t think we can ever say enough of THANK YOU. (Just a special thanks to Paul and Liqa. You are such good people !)
    Muh love, Julie and Ron

  6. Mary Newman says:

    Pam, I know you’re in good hands now because my mom’s birthday is August 29, the start of your treatment….I know she will take good care of you. I hope you got to enjoy at least one of the cupcakes from Crumbs….I love you.
    -Newbie

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