Friday, December 29, 2006


Today prior to radiation, I met a older man (Joe) & a married couple from Illinois.

The conversation all started out by Joe stating he liked my peacoat. He was in the Army and always wanted a peacoat like the Navy. Both he and the couple continued to tell me that they live together. I said "Oh, are you related?" They said they live in the Hope House which is housing for out of town Siteman patients. Joe told the couple he is losing weight. The husband said he is going to start fixing Joe some eggs & bacon for breakfast.

I wanted to know Joe's grocery needs after finding out about his weight issue. "I want to buy you food. What do you like? What are you craving?" His response "A snickers bar". I said in good conscience I couldn't buy that due to the sugar content. (I had previously told them about the flax diet & sugar info.) "Is there anything else you would like?" Joe stated he likes braunschweiger. "Anything else? What about fruit or veggies?" He said he also likes oranges. I told him about clementines. He agreed. Lastly he wanted some Boost. I said I would buy that although it also has ALOT of sugar.

It was time for me to have my treatment. I told the therapist to wait for I was having an important converstation. She said for me to come back when I was finished.

Quickly I told Joe that I will see him on Tuesday with his clementines, braunschweiger & boost. He asked "Why are you doing this?" My response "Because you are loved."

After my radiation Joe was still in the waiting room. I was intrigued by the man I was buying groceries for. I decided to sit and get to know him a little further. I am so glad I did.

After sitting I asked Joe if he added to the grocery list while I was gone. He smiled and said no. So here is what I found out about my new friend Joe. He is 80 years old and had surgery on his left side of his face due to cancer close to his ear drum. Skin was grafted from his leg for his face. While in surgery on December 2 his wife, Gwenevive passed away in her sleep. He resides in southern Missouri near Popular Bluff. I was crying at this point & so was he. He said his first wife passed away at the age of 28 with cancer. They had a 4 & 6 year old at the time. He currently has 6 children. He is so grateful for his kids. They are so supportive. His son even came up the other night to take him out for a good steak dinner.

It was time for Joe to have his therapy. I then departed with a heavy heart yet, thankful that I was able to hear his life story. I am confirmed that all of us have a story. We are broken in some way. I told Joe I would love to attend his wifes memorial. He will have it after his treatment is finished - sometime in mid February or later.

As for me - I threw up on the drive home. I am glad I have my empty 2 lb. yogurt container in my cancer bag. It came in handy today. My stomach is still not feeling well. After speaking to JoAnn, my oncologist nurse she said it is uncommon to have nausea that late after taking the chemo. It usually occurs after the first hour of taking it. Pray I can eat some light lunch.

*Note: Normally it is chemo/Temador that causes the vomitting not radiation. I will have chemo EVERY day for the next 6 weeks. Radiation is only M - F unless there is a holiday.

Thinking of Joe.


The Endraskes said...

We're praying for Joe, too.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

God is with you wherever you go.


Anonymous said...

Tears flow down my cheeks as I can see you taking time out for this fellow (treatment) friend. I have to say you are one Godly self-less girl!! God is really using you to touch lives. How sweet of you to take time for Joe and buy him some of his favorite things..... does sugar-free snickers go against the diet?!?!? You are a hoot!

I have to also say you were an encouragement to me today when I read the, "Pelican brief" and saw you were going to volunteer to serve hot lunch at Covenant. I read your name and walked out to the car thinking "all she is going through and she is still trucking on doing her normal mommy duties." Then I kept thinking, "well ofcourse she should keep on doing what she loves." Take care of you and I hope we are as big of encouragers as you are to us. Keep doing what you love!!

Marilyn McDonald said...

Saw this quote today and thought of you:
"Relying on God has to begin all over again every day. As if nothing had yet been done..."--CS Lewis

You are learning what it means, in all new ways, to rely on God daily, beginning again every day, as if nothing had yet been done.

Vomit happens. Now you have three days off and your stomach will settle down again.

What a blessing you are to Joe--and will be to the other patients you are determined to meet.

You go, girl!

Laura Joback said...

Way to go, Joe! Nothin' like someone else's story to get our mind off our own woes, huh...though your own woes are enough to cripple most. Yuck about the barfing in the car. I'll pray for your daily, er, um, "constitutions" AND for increased upper esophageal sphincter tone (i.e.: that if you're nauseated that it'll stay down)...especially while en route. It took me DAYS to get the 'eau de vomitus odor out of the van from Isaac's rather untimely contribution. Know what finally worked? Oven cleaner! It penetrated the fabric, bubbled and foamed, and, "poof" it was gone! Just a helpful hint, in case there was any overflow from the yogurt container. Rooting for you each and every day! The Joback Clan

Anonymous said...

God knows that Joe's heart needs Kate's enveloping love that only comes from the Lord!!! How timely that God has set Joe with Kate. I know your smile and your courageousness and your ability to know Joe's needs are all that makes up Kate. See, God will let you plan and organize:) even in preparing a food bag of goodies for Joe:)

My dear Kate, I Pray for you EACH and every day. The craziness of my days seems so small to the HUGENESS of yours:)

Loving and praying each and every day

Anonymous said...

Dear Kate,
I cried reading your story about Joe. Your response to him, "because you are loved," was PERFECT! I'm praying for Joe too, and my heart aches for him in his loss and pain.

Kate, a couple days ago one of your requests was about what your ministry is now. I've been me, it's obvious that you are already doing your ministry---LOVING OTHERS and being and encourager to the people you meet at Siteman. There is no greater ministry than that!

Know that I pray often each day for you, and I love knowing what's on your heart & mind so I can continue to pray specifically.
Hope your weekend is peaceful, fun, and vomit-free!

Love, Tiffani Gibbs

Anonymous said...


We are praying for you, and for Joe. My girls hearts were really moved at the idea of someone being old, and lonely, and sick, and out-of-town. (It goes without saying that they wouldn't even be able to sleep if they knew the reason for YOUR treatments! They haven't connected the treatments to cancer. I just can't tell them.)

We've had a lot of sleepless nights lately between the girls and their illnesses. I am constantly lifting you up in those middle-of-the-night moments.

Erika, for us all

june shinners said...

I am the Director of the Hope Lodge Center. I just met Kate a few minutes ago while she was delivering a peacoat to Joe. Kate just left, Joe is in the kitchen with his new peacoat, in tears by the way, and I am barely able to type this note. I am so touched by Kate's kindness and the love of all who walk through our doors.
June Shinners