Monday, December 21, 2009

How has your life been touched or changed by cancer?

I had posed this question in my post titled Wishing for a Kure.  I asked my Mother if I could share her response.  I didn't want to post it as a reply as I felt it deserved it's own post.  It is a compelling  and frightening story of the impact of cancer that my Mother has experienced just within her family. 

How has your life been touched or changed by cancer?

In 1937 my grandmother Helena Trotzig Johnson died of stomach cancer when I was 8 years old. She was such a warm, loving grandmother who made sugar cookies every time she came to visit us. She stayed at the homes of her children a month or two at a time during the year. She was 5'2" and a bit on the plump order. She also gave us lemon drops to suck on.

Next came the passing of my Mother , Rose Helana Johnson Nugent, after a two year fight with breast cancer in July, 1947 when I was 18 years old ( having just finished my freshman year of college). There was not much to do for breast cancer patients at that time. Daddy called all over the country to no avail. Some people said to drink grape juice and that would help. Some of our kind neighbors brought in jar after jar, but after much suffering and with June giving her hypos, she passed away. She looked so much younger when the pain was no longer there. Mother had trained us from childhood to do cooking, baking, cleaning and sewing. So we were equiped to help Daddy and Jim when we would come home for week-ends. She was our 4-H club leader and continued being a leader when all her daughters were no longer in the club..Our club was called "Little Women". She was always helping families in need. We took in her favorite niece, Marlys Mae after she had given birth to her fourth son and I was the baby sitter for the three other little boys.

My favorite little cousin Joyce Richter died of Leukemia the first year that I taught school in Fairmont, 1951. She was ten years old. When she would fuss when a youngster in church I was the one who volunteered to take her outside. She became ill that summer...we thought she had the mumps, but after weeks went on, and the mumps didn't go away it was determined that she had leukemia. She just wanted to go home as nothing the drs. in Minneapolis could do for her and she was gone in September. This was a really hard death to come to terms with for our family. Marlene and I have often talked about how our lives might have been different if Joyce had lived.

In July, 1955 my Father, Franklin Alfred Nugent, died of pancreatic cancer. The doctors had performed surgery on him in Dec. of 1954 and just closed the incision back up as nothing they could do for him. Baby Jan and I had flown home that Christmas to be with him and snuck her into the hospital room to see him. Grandma Mooge Mooge as you called her kept Daddy alive months after the doctors had thought he'd live.You still hear of people dying of panacreatic cancer yet today with no cure found for it. SAD!!! Daddy was the one who had me milking cows, feeding pigs, chickens, cleaning the chicken coop, etc. Each year he let me choose a pig that he would then sell for me to put the money in the bank for my college fund. My pig each year was called Alexander. They were orange and white pigs. All Aunt Joy got for doing chores she told me was a pen and pencil set. I will always remember the twinkle in Daddy's large blue eyes,his playing the violin with Mother at the piano and all of us singing The Little Brown Jug, Red River Valley and many Christmas carols. Two farm chores that we had to do were picking up rocks and pulling weeds. The weed pulling would come after a nice rain and I thought it fun to see them come out of the dirt with their roots dangling. These two chores were always done EARLY in the morning before it was too HOT.

Aunt Joy has survived her bladder cancer as so far she is cancer free after her chemo/ radiation treatments. I called to wish Jack a happy 91st birthday yesterday. He doesn't hear well at all so basically Joy had to tell him for me. He doesn't walk much and has a cane when he does she told me.

Trista is still fighting her shoulder cancer, but looks good right now.

This is how my life as been touched and changed by cancer.

1 comment:

  1. I bet you never really knew what your fight for the cancer cure has meant to your mother! I am sure she is very proud and grateful that you have made this your stand! Love you!