Coping with Cancer - Peg's Story

Uploaded by NebraskaMedCenter on 28.11.2012

My name is Peg Ricketts and I had non-hodgkins lymphoma.
in August of that year I found a lump in my breast and had it removed
The surgeonís office called and said he wants to see you within an hour. My husband came
home and got me. We went it and he said we think itís lymphoma.
she put her hand on my knee and said, ìYou are very ill. We need to get going on this
today.î I was like, ìTHANK YOU!î for her to tell me I was very ill but that
she could help me, I was like, OK Iím going to throw myself in your lap and you can do
whatever you want with me. (Renie) And the support system. The support
they gave you, and weíre blessed with a large family. So one of us was up there all the
time with her. Iíd pick her up if she had a blood draw and see the doctor in an hour.
So weíd have lunch and then her husband would come. (Peg): Heíd come because heíd want
to be there. And on the way home from chemo treatments, heíd stop at Goodrich and buy
me vanilla malts because he knew Iíd get nauseated and that was the one thing that
would sit nicely. you have to be their support. You have to
be in their balcony. You have to cheer them on. Thereís nothing you can do for them physically,
but you have to cheer them on and say go for it. Find out all the info you can to help
them make good decisions. when sheíd want to give up, Iíd be ìyouíre
not going to give up. Youíre not going to quit fighting. Itís not going to be easy
but youíll do it.î I think thatís what family needs to do.
I think the support I had was truly phenomenal. My church would bring meals.
people offered to do things it was hard to let them come in and do itÖ to say, yes,
come over and vacuum because Iím sitting here looking at this and I donít have the
energy to do it. people are thrilled to do something for you.
Itís hard for women because weíre the caregivers. To take the other side of that role and do
something for youÖ I think thatís been critically important. Theyíre your backbone when you
feel like youíre turning to mush.
four years later it came back in my brain. my second journey began with more treatments.
I ended up in March of 2005 having a stem cell transplant. And that turned everything
around. Itís a long haul long recovery but oh my goodness itís a great investment in
your future. that was the most difficult decision to say
yes to that stem cell transplant. (Renie) I remember that, and we said, ìIf it gives
you 7 or 10 more years of good health, why notÖî or 7 months, thatís what I was thinking
at the time. our son would call home from Iraq that whole
winter, he was in convoys and was being shot at all the time. Heíd call home when he could
and say, ìmom, you keep your head up and Iíll keep mine down. Weíre both fighting
we just have our own wars.î That was great encouragement to me. Our daughter was pregnant
with our first grandchild. So I had that to look forward to.
(fade out fade in) the journey has been something that I wouldnít
have signed up for. If youíd asked me I would have said, ëyeah right.í In retrospect if
the good lord could take me back there, Iíd say in a heartbeat. Because of the people
Iíve met the encouragement Iím able to give, my view of life and view of doctors and the
med center. Itís been enhanced so much. So yeah, Iíd do it again. How fortunate can
you be to get a second and third chance at life.
I encourage them to let people help them who want to help them. I guess as a caregiver
I want to jump in and care for them myself. I was a caregiver for a girl who was 23 who
decided she wanted to go to hospice because she had battled this since she was 7 years
old. So the last year of her life I spent a couple days a week staying with her. And
when she went to hospice house I still went. Death isnít the worst thing that can happen
to you. If you believe in eternal life you know where youíre going. Weíre here for
a time and a season. Our mother used to say, ìthere ainít one of us here getting out
alive.î (laughs). But itís well worth the fight. But for some who are really ill and
itís just taking them downÖ I feel badly for the ones who wonít make a decision and
just dwindle down hill and drag themselves through this and not let go. Itís a blessing
to make this decision and get your family and everybody ready that itís now my turn
to quit the fight and change my perspective to heading home. /5:14/ Iím not anywhere
near ready to do that. But for those who are, there are people in place whoíll help you
through that journey. Caregivers to walk along with you to finish your days here. Because
there ainít one of us getting out alive. Thatís for sure.
I have talked to a lot of people whoÖ my impression is: they donít have cancer, the
cancer has them. They canít find their blessings or any joy and they are totally consumed by
having cancer. You just say, there are so many blessings. Just the blessing of getting
to be treated. Of all the billions in the world, how many get to be treated?
itís been an amazing journey much of itís been a godsend.