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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sisterhood—In Sickness and in Health

by Lee McKenzie

A year and a half ago I received some scary news. I had developed malignant melanoma in at least one lymph node in my neck—a recurrence following a primary lesion that had been removed in 2001. A close friend—a true sister in every sense of the word—was with me when I received that diagnosis. Throughout the surgery, recovery and a year of chemotherapy, I’ve been surrounded by a large and supportive group of women.

Ever since that dreadful day in the doctor’s office, my family, friends and colleagues—my own personal sisterhood—rallied around, and their unending love and support kept me going when the going was rough.

Christmas—my favorite holiday—fell between the diagnosis and surgery, and my daughter helped made sure the festivities came together beautifully. She was there when I went into surgery and five hours later was there when I came out. She sat with me in the hospital, washed and combed my hair, patiently learned to clean and care for the incisions, and loaded my favorite music on her iPod. At home, she was always there when I needed her, in spite of a full course load at university and a part-time job.

My extended family of “sisters”—my mother, mother-in-law, aunts, and sister-in-law—live in different cities, so their love and support came as phone calls, cards, bouquets, emails and the occasional visit. I’ve been continually buoyed up by their strength and positive energy.

My friends showered me with attention. Meals, flowers, gifts and books were delivered to the door, and my inbox and voice mail were filled with good wishes. They took me to medical appointments, to the physiotherapist and, at my whim, to the local children’s petting zoo and for walks in public gardens. As I began to regain energy, there were coffee dates and lunch dates.

My Noodler sisters, this amazing group of women that I have been so fortunate to connect with, have continually offered support and

My family doctor, the nurses at the hospital, physiotherapist, massage therapist and therapeutic touch practitioner—all women—have offered more comfort and shown more compassion than I ever would have dreamed possible.

My editors have patiently waited for me to recover, and I’m now triumphantly working on my next submission. It’s wonderful to feel well enough to write again.

This is not to say I haven’t received support from the men in my life. My husband was also at my side before and after surgery, sat with me in the chemo room, and, when I was too sick to get out of bed, ran the household while working full-time. My son, who was away at college, called often and visited when he could. My father, who has the biggest heart of any man on the planet, never let go of his belief that I would beat this.

But today is about sisterhood, and I am so lucky to be part of one with such a vigorous embrace. I am now healthy and well, and regaining a little strength and energy every day. I’d like to think I could have done this on my own, but I’m beyond grateful that I didn’t have to. So, my sisters, I’m now hugging back, and this hug’s for you.

With much love,

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At 10:14 AM, Blogger Christine said...

Thank you for sharing your story today. It puts so much into perspective and reminds me to be grateful for the wonderful people in my circle of trusted friends.

I wish you continued health and many more happy writing years!

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thank you, Christine. I'm adding your good wishes to the many I already treasure.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Oh, Lee! ((((hugs)))) I'm so glad you had people there for you, and you've kept a positive attitude. My husband is a radiation therapist and I thank God every day for all like him who chose to spend their lives fighting cancer.

You know I just can't wait for the next book :) and in the meanwhile I've loved the posts on your blog. Keep being good to yourself!

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Lee, I'm so happy that you're doing better. And I'm so glad you've had so many supportive people to help you out during this difficult time.

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks, Gillian! I, too, am so very grateful for the compassionate care I've received.

Working to get the next book into your hands asap!

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks so much, Trish. Every event, no matter how traumatic, has positive outcomes if we're willing to look for them. In my case, it's an even stronger bond with family and friends.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I want to echo Trish's sentiments--so glad you're regaining your strength!

At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Lee doesn't mention is how easy it is to be supportive of her, because she is extraordinary in her support of her family and friends. I'm so glad you are on the mend, my friend.

Lucky to be a friend of Lee's.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Marin Thomas said...

Lee--we should be thanking you because you've shown us what true courage, perseverance and determination is.

I'm glad your back to writing--I can't wait to read your next release!


At 2:39 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thank you, Mo! BTW - in case not everyone is aware of it - Mo is currently the Posse's blog coordinator. I'm sure you'll all agree that she's doing an awesome job!

At 2:41 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

I'm not sure which of my friends is Ms. Anonymous, but she'll know how much I treasure her words.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Marin, thank you for being such a sweetie.

While I'm here, let me tell all of you that Marin's latest Harlequin American Romance - A Cowboy's Promise (Apr '09) - is still available, and I call it a "must read"!

And the Noodler's very Trish Milburn's second American Romance - Her Very Own Family (May '09) will be on shelves tomorrow, if it isn't already. I can't wait to read it, Trish!

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

I can't wait to read all of your books! And Lee, I am SO glad you're doing better and better. Your post got me all choked up.

Hugging you back!

At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Diane St Jacques said...

Aw, Lee, this was enlightening. As I sit here in Palm Springs waiting to head to the airport, I find I have tears in my eyes after reading your touching story. Support is wonderful and you certainly have it. We just found out that Moe's brother has colon cancer, so we're here to support him and his new wife. Think positive, talk to God and you'll be amazed at what He can do for us. Thank you Lee for sharing and, as always, I look forward to your blogs. God Bless.

love diane

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Merrillee said...

We are all blessed to know you and share in your story. I'm so glad to know you are doing better. I look forward to more of your books.

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Lee--I'm delighted you're writing again :-). I adore your books! Here's hoping you stay well and write lots more of them :-).

At 11:45 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

I'm so glad to know you're doing well now, Lee. It's been a long battle for you.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Theresa, Merrillee, Terry, Delle...

Thanks and hugs to all of you. Noodlers are the awesome!

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thank you so much, Diane. Have a safe journey home. I'll keep your brother-in-law in my thoughts and wish him a speedy recover.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by and left such wonderful comments, and to everyone who sent private email messages. Your support makes me feel as though I can fearlessly take on the world!

At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anita Birt said...

Lee, you have a loving family because you have have loved them. Your friends feel the same way. You grace them with your presence and care.

We have friends because we are friendly. Seems so simple but some people never learn how to make friends. How sad.

I enjoy seeing you at meetings and notice the positive changes in how you look. Your energy is coming along nicely. Take good care of yourself, you have a loving network keeping track of you.

At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee, I'm proud to be the friend of such a brave and talented woman. I hope you continue to thrive in health and in your writing.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thank you so much, Anita. I am so honored to have you in my cirle of friends.

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Thank you, Marion. Hugging your right back!


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