Where The Popsicles Are-55

“Don’t worry about a thing…”

After the July clinic meeting and the colonoscopy, we spent the rest of the summer just going about the business of living. We weren’t scheduled to go back down to Minneapolis until the day after Labor Day.

Joanie was busy at work. She was having no problem with the Miami Pouch, and it had become a routine part of her life. The ileostomy was still something she was putting up with, in the hope she would be rid of it come September.

I continued to change it for her when it needed to be changed, and I didn’t mind. Every time I did, and she would say something about being rid of it, I would simple agree with her, and in my mind be hoping for what would amount to a miracle to make that happen.

The rest of the summer flew by, with only fleeting thoughts about cancer or ileostomies or clinic appointments.  Our fenced, backyard was a rather large one for a city lot, had a pool, and we spent as much time enjoying it as we could. On Labor Day, we hosted a party for a large group of friends. A bunch played golf, and then came over to the house for a good old fashioned American barbecue in the back yard. Lots of beer and burgers and music and laughs.

For that afternoon and early evening, cancer didn’t exist, ileostomies didn’t exist and clinics didn’t exist. It was the perfect end of summer party. Joanie was a great hostess, and had someone seen her in action who didn’t know her, they would have had no idea of what she had been through, or was living with at the time. She never did wear her problems on her sleeve. It was a good day.

As daylight started to fade, and the last of the guests had left, and the dishes had been washed, there was little evidence there had been a party here at all. The garbage had been bagged, the grill was covered up and Muffin and Peaches had now come out of hiding. The commotion and strangers had driven them to the deep, dark places only they knew, the places they went to when they didn’t want to be found. Places where they felt safe.

Joanie and I grabbed a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses and went back out on the deck. I had been playing music all day on the CD player, and one of my favorites was a Bob Marley CD. I put it back on and turned it up.

Joanie was tired, but I think it was a good tired. She had put in a long day, making sure there was enough food to go around, making her pumpernickel porkies, which were always a hit, and worrying to much about everything . She was busy enough that I had to remind her at one point to tend to her Miami Pouch.

I poured her a glass of wine, and as the first sounds of Marley’s music began to wash over us, the wine made her cheeks immediately turn red. All it ever took was one drink of wine and they would flush. We just sat there for a while, listening to the music and then we began to talk about tomorrow.

We would be leaving for Minneapolis, and she was scheduled for surgery on Thursday. That would be the day when we would know the answer to the question we had lived with since that night in March, which seemed so long ago now.

I told her that tomorrow was just a traveling day, so there was no hurry to get going. We had a room at the Radisson, and just wanted to be there around six or so. I knew she was worried, and asked her how she was feeling about this whole deal now. All she would say was she wanted the ileostomy to be gone, but she did tell me she wondered if that was what was going to happen. She also told me that’s what all of her prayers were about, but she wasn’t sure they were going to be answered.

As we were talking, the Marley tune, “Three Little Birds” came on the CD, and part of the lyrics got our attention when we heard him singing….”Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little things gonna be all right…”

We both stopped talking and as we listened, a smile came to her face, and she held out her glass for some more wine.

We sat there in the twilight of the evening, hoping Marley was right.


About Bob Kallberg

Retired reporter. Concentrating now on recounting Joanie's 12 year battle with cancer, a battle she waged with extreme courage, determination and an indomitable spirit, that, for me, serves as an example.
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