A to Z Challenge: Mandy

Character sketches that are fictional, but based on real people, like us.

Mandy covered her auburn hair with a scarf and stepped out into the sunny spring day. She had just gotten a color that really suited her and she wasn’t about to let it fade with sun exposure. Looking good was worth what it cost in routine hair appointments. It was a way of letting the world know she cared.

The cancer diagnosis a year ago had sideswiped her. She had almost gotten back on her feet after the death of her husband, all the trauma, the loneliness, getting used to a different life without him in it. Facing off with cancer was like being asked to do it all over again, only it was her own life she had to worry about this time.

As if chemo hadn’t been bad enough, the toxic treatment gave her kidney failure so now she was going to dialysis three times a week. And because she had a cancer that was treatable but not curable, she was not a candidate for a kidney transplant. At times it seemed as if the world was against her, but she presented a whole different image to that world. It wasn’t going to see her go down. She was waging war against every negative aspect of her life. Her attitude was her number one weapon.

Her first step was to more closely match her energy level with her living environment. She sold her two story home and moved into a condo on the edge of town. No one there did their own yard work. There were no steps to climb. Her condo had windows with gorgeous views and the light streamed in and lifted her soul every morning.

She accepted her thrice weekly trips to dialysis as part of her life, like showering and eating. She decided they would be rest days, for reading, napping and whatever else she could manage. She was tired on those days but recovered by the following morning. Her in between days were full of times with friends, her grandsons, and getting to know her new neighbors.

The project of “feathering her new nest” had been so fun. She and a friend had searched the furniture stores until they found exactly the pieces that fit her rooms, matched the vibe she wanted and were comfortable and practical. Their efforts had created spaces that were inviting and filled with warmth, and pleased her. She chased happiness and peace, and all who walked into her living room felt she had caught a great deal of both.

In the name of hanging on to things loved, she had stayed with the church of her childhood. It was 30 miles away but it was worth it to her because she had purpose there. She was a musician and loved playing for the weekly services. It was there she felt comfortably challenged and appreciated.

At this stage of her game, she was making good choices, and she knew it. There were no guarantees for her longevity but her strategy was to hope for medical advances. Just last week she had heard of a medical trial for her diagnosis that made her pulse quicken. If she could get accepted for that she would really be in the fight with a new weapon, and that sounded good, really good…

Talk (write) to me.

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