#WWBH (My Story) – Fast Spreading Cancer


Mandatory words:

caffeine, reindeer, press, wig, barber

Jenny pressed the cup she held, with the last of the caffeine laden coffee dregs in it, to her lips as she watched the landing gears lower through the window she sat near.  The coffee was now cold and bitter causing Jenny to scrunch up her face in disgust.  There wasn’t even any cream or sugar to add.  But she desperately needed the caffeine to wake up after the sleepless night she’d had, so she decided to just drink it black.  Definitely not her usual, but she’d take what she could get at this point.  When she was able to catch a few winks (between flight transfers)  she would end up dreaming of reindeers of all things.

As the plane slowly descended towards the airport, Jenny thought about the events that brought her to the red-eye flight.

“Cancer”  That was what the word the doctor had used according to Jenny’s sister Rhina.  Their stout hard working mother, who was hardly ever sick a day in her life, had cancer.  They still weren’t entirely sure where exactly the cancer was in her body other than it was originating somewhere in the abdominal region  and that it was, apparently, growing faster than anticipated.  When  Rhina had first gotten the news  she had contacted Jenny right away to inform her promising to keep her up-to-date, but had told her that there wasn’t any need, at that time, for Jenny to spend the money to fly clear across the continent to be there.  Rhina new that finances were tight for Jenny and that a plane ticket would be expensive.

Now, barely two months after the first mention of Cancer,  Jenny found herself on a red-eye flight flying into Portland International.  It had been the only flight she could get on such short notice  and even then there had been a couple transfers involved.  Not to mention she had maxed out her credit card buying the plane ticket.

Jenny could still hear the tears in Rhina’s voice when she had called to tell Jenny that she needed to get home to Harbor as soon as possible.  Apparently mom had collapsed during a visit to the local barber (the only one in town) who also specialized in wigs.  She had been taken by ambulance to the hospital where the doctor had given the news that the cancer had spread rapidly despite attempts at a cure.  The prognosis was bad and the doctor wasn’t giving much hope.  Rhina had pretty much decided that the best thing to do was to stop treatment and let their mom die peacefully (or as peacefully as possible), but she had said she would wait till Jenny got there to make any final decisions.
Jenny tossed the coffee cup into the trash bag that the flight attendant was carrying down the aisle to collect last minute trash before final descent  and tightened her seat belt.  One last flight, this time aboard an even smaller Cessna 182 and she’d be home in Harbor.
This story is dedicated to my Mother-In-Law Leta Mae (spelling?)  who died of fast spreading abdominal cancer in 2007.  She was a wonderful women and I treasure the times I got to spend with her getting to know her.  Most of the events of this story are fictional but much is also based on actual events.



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