Michele's Cancer Blog

From Somewhere Up Above

I have been missing my bestie, Laurie, as of late. I always miss her. This however is extra and beyond my usual ache when I think of her. My health has been a little bit sketchy these days. It’s like my long term side effects have all ganged up on me at the same time. They are hard enough to deal with on their own, but when they intersect...well, it’s nothing short of a hopeless feeling. It’s kind of like being face down on the ground with someone who is a lot bigger than you with their knee in the center of your back and they are shoving your face into the ground with one hand and restraining your hands with the other. It feels like you are suffocating. Like you can’t cry out, and worse yet, people are witnessing this and are willing to help, but you have to ask the right person and you have no idea anymore who that is. So, there I was just panicking and not saying what I need because I need so much. For the last few weeks I have been seeing doctors and having tests and checking off who my helper might be and thinking the whole time “Laurie would know what to do. She would know exactly who could help me.” I found myself engulfed in a feeling of abandonment. Like she just left me here and walked on. Then, she didn’t just tap me on the shoulder, she wrapped her love around me. Let me explain.

Laurie was a master of her craft as a Nurse Practitioner, a fierce and loyal friend to many, and she was always helping somebody. As I have traipsed through the last month of my life she really has been beside me, but I was too overwhelmed to see her there. When I started with the orthopedic doctor, he said he wasn’t the one to help. I needed to see my much sought after, amazing neurosurgeon again, his PA said “Let me put a call in for you”. I then went to see my oncologist and he wasn’t sure if he was the one to help me, but he listened and tests were ordered. His nurse helped by putting in a referral to my neurosurgeon as well while we waited for tests and faxed my results to his office even before I knew what they were. Still I was missing Laurie’s presence. I was unsure which direction I should go. All I could think was “Laurie would know what to do? What should I do?!”

My husband went with me to get my MRI results and we were thrilled that cancer was not wreaking all this havoc on my body, it was scar tissue and bulging discs. The neurosurgeon was going to be the person that could help get this knee out of the middle of back to help stop the suffocation. I felt overwhelmed for just minute and told my husband on the drive home that I wished Laurie was here because she would know just what to do. That’s when I felt her beside me like a whisper saying “You know what to do.I left you in the best of hands.” 

When we got home, I poured a glass of wine and opened my Facebook messenger. I reached out to one of Laurie’s other besties. One of her most respected colleagues, the one she had entrusted my care to 9 years ago when my tumor was first discovered, my neurosurgeon’s Nurse Practitioner. It felt kind of forward of me to just send her a message about health, but this was important. This was my health and I felt Laurie telling me to not be afraid, to be bold, like she would be if she were walking still among us. I typed a short message, took a long sip of wine and pressed the send button not knowing what would happen. Within a minute I had a response filled with care and concern and a few questions. I typed back my answers and so it went. In five minutes there was a plan made and she messaged back to me that she would take care of things. Worry drained away and I felt like help was on the way. My bestie’s whispers were right. I did know what to do. She did leave me in the best of hands. She left me all the love from her I could ever need. I just had to open my heart to it and feel her care coming from somewhere up above.

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Michele likes this comment
A really inspiring story Michele, thank you for sharing. Sometimes the answers to our innermost questions come from within us, as Laurie lives on in you. Sending love your way.
I love this, Michele. People do guide us through life, even though their physical presence is gone. Sending big hugs and lots of love to you!
Michele, Carol like this comment
I am sorry that your body has ganged up on you. I am sorry for the loss of your friend, too. When did that happen? I get notifications, pray for people, but, alas, I don't always log in.
That said, God -- and his angels, work in mysterious ways. If we obey that nagging little voice (not always easy), usually, great things will happen. Hope you feel better soon and thank Laurie for her "presence." 😇
Carol P.
Michele likes this comment
What a wonderful story of love and resilience. Nurse Practitioners are special. Don't know where I'd be without mine she's been with me for 8 years, through thick and thin. We are a team. I'm so glad you are getting the help you need via your guardian angel!
Michele likes this comment
She is looking over you all the time!! You are a true inspiration to me. Right now have recurance of anal cancer in my lungs. Who gets butt cancer in their lungs? Just kidding!! I am dealing with so many issues from side effects it’s ridiculous!! But continue to fight the fight!!!
Michele, Lily like this comment
Me...I get butt cancer in my lungs. You and me, me and you, us. Not the greatest club, but that’s ok. Here we are, living our best lives :)
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Isn't That What We Are Here For After All?

Have you ever bumped into someone you know well, but from your distant past at a completely odd place? A place so unexpected that you could hardly call it chance at all and know that you had really caught a glimpse of the higher power’s hand in your life that day? I mean a real, unexpected, full on unanticipated but undeniable that this was anything but a chance kind of experience? (That’s a mouthful.) It happened to me last week.

I was working that day in and out of several different cardiology offices in town checking pacemakers. I was feeling the pain in my back and leg pretty significantly by Friday afternoon and was distracted not only by the constant ache, but my desire to put some ice on it. (More on my rebelling body in a future post.) Back to my story now. I had finished my last check of the afternoon and was making my way down a quiet hall towards the Rep Room to finish the chart work. Most of the doors were shut and the doors that were open remained dark inside as they awaited patients that would be checked in. I noticed the door at the end of the hall had been left half open and the lights were on. As I strolled by at a glance I saw two people, a man in a wheelchair and a woman in the chair beside him. We made eye contact and I noticed there was something familiar about his face but couldn’t place him. I said “hi” so as not to be rude and kept walking. Then I heard his voice respond “Hi Michele.” I did a 180 because I instantly recognized the voice. I peered around the corner. “John Coslett!” I said. There sat the man that had been my manager some 25 years ago when I worked at one of the local hospitals in the heart labs. We had since moved to other professions, me to the pacemaker industry and he on to leadership at one of the spine hospitals in town. I was delighted to see both him and his wife and he embraced me in a warm, friendly hug. “What are you doing here?!” I asked. We spent the next 15 minutes catching up on each other’s lives and our health struggles as well. He’d been having back issues and I explained to him my ongoing long term side effects from my treatments over the years and my current need to re-enter into neuro care. That being his domain he offered some knowledgable advice to me and I felt some of my anxiety that I had been holding on to melt away.

We sat in camaraderie for a minute reflecting on our broken human frame and our gratitude for the excellent care we had both been afforded for what ails us. John told me what an inspiration I was to him as he followed my blog and my life on social media. He told me to contact him if I needed him in any way as I navigated back into the “neuro-world”.  I told him that just seeing him and talking to him had lifted my spirits and he said I had done the same for him. I told him God had a hand in this and there was nothing “chance” about it. Just then an MA poked her head in to speak with John about his medical care. That was my cue to leave, so we embraced again and said our goodbyes, wishing each other well. I walked past the confounded staff member as she knew he didn’t have a cardiac device. I smiled at her and assured her we were old friends.  

As I reflected this past weekend at me seeing this particular friend from the past at such an interesting moment I knew several things to be true: We had needed each other that day. We needed some one to lift our souls outside our aching bodies and help them remain in a state of joy and gratitude no matter our circumstance. This encounter, arranged by God, was meant to remind us that we are not alone, that there is hope and purpose to our lives and we are meant to help our brothers and sisters. Isn’t that what we are here for after all?

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There are no coincidences- only "God incidences"
Michele, Julie like this comment
Wow that brought tears to my eyes.
Michele likes this comment
Another God wink!
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That says it all!
Michele likes this comment
Amen sister. As they used to say on the TV show 'The A-Team', "I love it when a plan comes together". It certainly appears that was the case for you that day and for him as well. I wish there were more occurrences like this in our lives or, perhaps we overlooked them sometimes.
PaPa John
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Such an amazing ‘coincidence’. It was orchestrated by a far bigger force to help you both. Right time, right place, right person. I love this post!
Michele likes this comment
My own God incidence is that you’re talking on your « neuro-world » preoccupation. I really need in that matter, both sciatic and pudendal neuralgy have erased quality of life. Please tell us more on your research and findings. Thank you again for being our beacon. The symptoms you described in one of your last posts are exactly the same.
Michele likes this comment
I don't believe in "chance encounters." God puts us where we need to be when we are needed or in need. What a beautiful story!
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Vital Info


October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3


As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp


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