I heard a quote recently that said "Coincidences are God's way of manifesting." After the year we have had I couldn't agree more. It seems like we are always meeting new people, who speak just the right words to us, at the very time that we need them the most. Then sometimes you meet someone who is a part of your life for a fleeting moment-but forever changes you. Alex Jackson was that person to us recently. Last week I was sitting in a lobby at MD Anderson. Joel was drinking his disgusting barium drink to prepare for his CT scan & I was playing on the internet. A guy came & sat down beside me. "Hello" he said "I am Alex Jackson." I smiled & gave him my name. His next question was what type of cancer did Joel have? MD Anderson is the cancer battlefield. You are all there for the same reason-fighting for your life. You can look across the room into the eyes of a person & know exactly the kind of feelings they are feeling. Consequently many times all pretenses go out the window & you end up having random conversations with strangers where their second question is "what type of cancer does your husband have?" I answered him that Joel had kidney cancer. Hmmmmmm-he pondered for a minute "Well, it's gonna be great!" Ok, so I just told him that Joel had kidney cancer & his response was it's gonna be great? Interesting. He goes on to ask me the entire story of how we found out Joel had cancer & how that story got us to Houston. He is smiling the whole time as I recall the details. I wasn't getting the normal look of shock, horror, or pity that I many times receive. In fact he looked nearly giddy. At the end of my story he smiled, nodded & said those words again "Well it's going to be great!" At this time I was starting to seriously wonder if this guy was a little off. Why did he keep smiling & why in the world did he keep telling me the same thing over & over again? That's when he delved into his story. He had been battling cancer since 1992. That is 19 years!! He had it in his colon-his liver-& even in both lungs. He & his brother (who has also battled with Leukemia) were actually one of his doctor's very first patients at MD Anderson-that's how long this has been going on. He is now in remission & was having a CT scan that very day to make sure that he stayed that way. He went on to tell me he knew how difficult of a battle cancer was. He said he knew how emotionally hard it was on people-especially the caretaker. Even through all of the difficulty though he made sure to enjoy every moment of every day that he had on this earth with an outlook for the future that "It's going to be great". He had the most positive outlook of any person I have ever met. Here I was wallowing in the fact that we had been through 9 months of this illness with 6 whole months left to go & he is 19 years in with a smile on his face & a spring to his step. Talk about challenging me! My goodness did he ever. I sat & talked to Alex for over an hour & many times had tears welling in my eyes as we talked about all the common feelings & battles that we have both faced. I shared more in an hour with this 70 year old man with gray hair galore, then I share with people that I have known for years. It was almost like it was his mission to slap me upside the head & make me realize that no matter what I was going through I am still here & Joel is alive & it's a good day-no matter what we are facing. And what about tomorrow? Well it's gonna be great of course!!!
Joel & Alex went in for their CT scans around the same time. Alex came out first. "I found your husband & gave him a hug" he told me "And I told him........it's gonna be great!!!!" He gave me a smile & a wink & off he went. I watched him walk off astonished at this person that had spent the last hour of my life encouraging, challenging me, making me laugh & making me cry. Coincidence? I think not. God is good. And life? Well....."it's gonna be great!"