Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor


Last evening, I had received news, that a fellow long term Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor had unexpectedly passed. If you have followed my blog, I have written about the many health issues that we face, that for normal healthy people to overcome is not as risky, but because of our complicated exposure to extreme levels of toxicity of treatments decades ago, there are times when the body just cannot take anymore.

I have been blessed over my survivorship to have met so many others in similar situations like me, whether it be in person, or on-line. Some I connect with more often than others, a lot of that having to do with similarities of symptoms and diagnosis.

Besides our similarities of Hodgkin’s and long term health issues, she also resided near where I used to live. This served as a common “ice breaker” to open conversation about any health struggle we were having. MaryAnn was a loving parent and grandparent, something I am half-way through my journey currently (and am hoping to wait on the second part for a bit longer). As a friend on social media, I saw all the wonderful doting on her grandchildren. She was a very proud and happy grandmother.

She loved to travel. And if there was a second most favorite topic for her after her children and grandchildren, according to her social pages, it was animals. MaryAnn loved animals, a lot.

But as long term survivors, we deal with a lot of serious moments at times. And we all have our own defense mechanisms to get us through each of those situations. And honestly, that is what I am going to remember most about MaryAnn.

She very rarely posted her actual photo as a profile picture. But seemingly every day, she would post some sort of characature, often reminding me of claymation, of doll-appearing characters, in various display. Some would be comical, serious, and honestly, some a bit twisted. But I often looked forward to the frequent notification of the profile picture change. It was always entertaining.

As I said, this was not something that was expected to happen, yet is something that survivors have learned to expect. And when one of our survivors passes in this manner, it is a stark reminder to us, to make sure that we take advantage of every day that we have. Her mother had just passed away less than two weeks ago, and prior to that, she was experiencing some common symptoms (to survivors anyway), that would be addressed. There had been no indication that she was in dire trouble with her health. Only in the past few days did it appear it was going to be much more serious.

MaryAnn will be missed in our “family” of survivors. And I will miss the anticipation of the “profile picture of the day” from her. She will me missed.

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