On Wednesday I did what we all hate – the annual appointment to the doctor for “routine” stuff. The only thing I do enjoy about this annual visit is seeing Sheri. Sheri is a mammography tech and I have followed her to several centers. You see, when we women feel comfortable with a medical professional, we like to stick with them. And, Sheri and I have “shared” my mammogram appointment for more than 10 years.
During a visit one year, she saw that I was reading a Bible presented in chronological order; the next year she told me that she had bought the Bible right after my appointment and had really enjoyed the fresh presentation of scripture. Another year, she and I figured out that we had a mutual friend and we prayed together about challenges they were having.
It’s a little odd to have a “one-time-a-year-friendship,” but we do. And, so, when I went in for my annual appointment, I was excited about catching up with Sheri.
I was in the waiting room when Sheri called out, “Hi, Jill.” (She’s the only one in that office who remembers that I go by my middle name.) I went into her room and was surprised. My friend now has very little hair and that that all-too-familiar-look of someone who is dealing with a tough medical problem. I know that my face gave me away and so I quickly said, “What a great haircut.” Sheri shared her story with me and we both teared up. It’s so odd: the one who has helped so many has gotten breast cancer herself. Before my appointment was over, we had hugged and I had prayed for her. And then she gave special instruction to the staff so that I could check on her progress during surgery and recovery.
You and I have both been there; we learn that a friend has a serious disease and we don’t really know how to respond or what to do. A piece of advice given to me years ago was to say, “I love you. I am so sorry.” Easy to say, but much more important to really be there for them – spiritually, emotionally, physically and financially.
Jesus spoke about caring for others. He said: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” He replied, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:35-40)
Sheri will be having a bilateral mastectomy next Tuesday. Please remember her in your prayers. And, if you forget, don’t worry; Sheri is ready. In her words: “I don’t live in fear; I know that I’m in good hands, and I’m in God’s hands. I’ve always said that it’s important to realize that your situation could always be worse, and there’s always someone else worse off than you.”
By the way, Friend, are you up-to-date with routine examinations and tests your doctor and dentist have recommended? Let’s get on the phone and schedule that “stuff” now!!
Want to read Sheri’s story? Go to http://on.pnj.com/1we2dqX
Need some advice about dealing with an employee with cancer? The American Cancer Society has great recommendations for bosses: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/understandingyourdiagnosis/talkingaboutcancer/whensomeoneyouworkwithhascancer/when-someone-you-work-with-has-cancer-what-supervisors-can-do
By the way, my holiday blog, “We Gather Together 14” begins this Saturday. Sign up today at http://wegathertogether14.com See you there!