Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Nice Story

Back when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, some of the other school secretaries pitched in and bought me a large, creamy white orchid, which was delivered to my home with a card signed by them all.

This was impressive because school secretaries don't actually work together - there is only one per school, and we see each other once a year at district meetings, if that. We do email each other occasionally - where do you buy this, how did you solve that?  We are in an exclusive club, but all alone in the clubhouse. So, somebody really went out of their way to do this, which was very thoughtful.
It was also crazy how fast word about my cancer traveled through the district.  Stories like mine jump from school to school faster than Charlie Sheen can appear on a new radio show.  I'd just been diagnosed when the plant arrived at my doorstep.

Anyway, my lovely orchid earned a spot in the center of my coffee table.  The blooms lasted through my mastectomy and recovery, and I got many hours of enjoyment out of them.

Now one thing you need to know about me is I'm a plant killer.  My thumb is so black that light disappears around it.  So, when the blooms fell off and died, I figured that was it for the plant.  It still had some green on it so it wasn't ready for the garbage yet, but I knew it wouldn't be long. I moved it into the kitchen and forgot about it. I went back to work, finished my chemo, continued on with my year's worth of infusions.

December 2nd was my last day of herceptin, and I felt great relief, as you can imagine.  I went home, loaded some dishes in the dishwasher and looked up.

I saw buds on my orchid. One almost bursting open.

Not only had I not killed it, but it seemed to be thriving.

As I reached out to touch a fresh petal, I realized that I was given the plant immediately after diagnosis and it bloomed again on my very last day of treatment. It was a nice symbol: the orchid was beginning fresh, and so was I.

Sometimes, life throws some neat coincidences your way. All you have to do is pay attention.



  1. love this! I've noticed that I'm better at noticing things since my diagnosis.

  2. This is indeed a nice story :)

    Orchids are sooo pretty....

  3. personally i do not believe in coincidences. life are too complicated and mysterious for things to "just happen". anyway, it's a great story, and I hope you will enjoy your orchid for many years to come.

  4. I used to believe that things just happened randomly -- like coincidences. No longer do I believe that. Your plant was truly a gift that spoke of new life. What a lovely story to share with those of use who are still in the midst of this craziness of nausea and chemo -- doubting it will ever end at all. Thank you. -Megan-

  5. Great story, but very odd coincidence! When I was first diagnosed I received several very nice floral arrangements, none of which was an orchid. Then, just yesterday afternoon, one of my fellow teachers brought me a big beautiful white orchid. I love live plants, but have always been a bit afraid of orchids and thus have never owned one for fear of killing the thing. Your post gives me hope (of more than one kind). Thanks!

  6. A lovely post. Weather it's a coincidence or simply a message that you found on your own, it gave you something.

  7. Hi Ann!

    Great story...I'm sitting at work looking at a beautful purple orchid that was given to me by a great friend. I hope mine keeps blooming. My last chemo is tomorrow then 35 radiation treatments! I can now see the light at the end of the cancer tunnel!

    Keep on writing! I love your blog!
    Thanks! Suzanne

  8. Great story. I too, received an orchid right after diagnosis.....I keep watching as the gorgeous blooms fall....

  9. Lovely story. I also received 2 orchid plants after diagnosis. One has done nothing since the blooms fell off (what I expected) but the other actually bloomed right after my treatment ended and it's going wild now!


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