I’m home after a long day of travel. Colleen and I spent the weekend in Florida. It was a company event for the top sales people in the firm. I am one of them. You are supposed to bring your spouse to these events but I brought my sister Colleen. It annoyed a few people. “I think these things are couples events.” a coworker said. He barely knew the woman he brought. I smiled and said nothing. Colleen deserved the weekend and so did I. It was Colleen who took care of me the weekend I had my spacer removed and my remaining breast reduced. It was just as she was about to drive to the city that she learned my brother was in the hospital with heart problems. We weren’t sure if Colleen should come to my home or his. Lisa said,” Come to New York.” Colleen’s eye twitched the entire drive down 95 and somewhere near Stamford she had her first hot flash. My brother had a stint put in and it was my father who stayed with him. Colleen barked orders from my living room. “Call us later with details. We want details!” My brother Rob likes to keep everything to himself.
June 25th is my father’s birthday and it will be the first anniversary of my hysterectomy. Colleen and Lisa were in the waiting room all day as I was operated on. The hospital released me at 10:30 at night. Lisa, Colleen and my friend Donna loaded me into Colleen’s car. I wasn’t a pretty sight. My hair was a tangled mess and I wore sweat pants, a loose shirt and the blue socks the hospital gives you when you are a patient. In my arms, I clutched a pillow for dear life. It steadied me after all of the pain killers and kept my insides from getting too jarred as we drove home on the city streets. You’d be amazed how bumpy the smoothest road is. Colleen slept on a cot next to my bed the entire weekend. She lifted me in and out of my bed as I needed to go to the bathroom nearly hourly. It was Colleen, Lisa and her girls who cheered me on when 10 days later I had to give a lecture in front of 10 people in a meeting. I wanted to keep the hysterectomy a secret from my coworkers and this meeting couldn’t be changed. I told everyone I had pulled my back… and they believed me. Colleen and her girls waited by the phone for my call to say I was home.
That’s why when I was awarded this trip I knew one of my sister’s were coming. Lisa had a vacation planned already and so it was an easy choice. Colleen and I needed a break. We had two massages and just laid by the sea. It’s one of our better weekends in years. No hospitals, no medications to administrate and there was no pain. My coworkers still wanted to know why there was no date, no husband. Both of us remained vague. The road I’ve been on hasn’t been easy and romance didn’t fit between operations. Somehow though, I managed to hit my quota in sales and beyond.
“Mae is tenacious.” my boss said to the crowd. “There is nothing that will stop her.” He was talking about customers but when I accepted the award I really knew it was about life. Colleen knew it too and later that night she confessed she had all to do to not stand up and tell the crowd. “They don’t know all that you’ve been through. Just the fact you were able to earn this award at all. You’re amazing,” she said with a shake of her head and we both toasted the future.