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I must stray a bit to tell you why part of the dedication is from people that have faced cancer. Those that have beaten it and are in remission Those that have sadly lost the battle to cancer and those that are still fighting. In November of 2005 my Sister called me to tell she was told she had cancer again. She had chosen not to start treatments until after Christmas. She ask me to go for the colonoscopy I told her I would think about it. Throughout the holidays I passed blood each time I had a B.M. THe pain was horrible. I figured it was my IBS or the stress from Katrina. I blamed it on everything. Deep in my heart I knew I had a problem.

I went to see Dr. Wansley he talked me into having the test again. On the twelfth of January Dr. Dillon did the colonoscopy. I was told I had a tumor growing in my colon from there I went to Dr. Petri. Dr Petri said he needed to open me up to see what was going on. DR. Petri thought I would be in 4 to 7 days.

The night before the surgery I had to drink a gallon of Go- Lightly. ( NASTY STUFF) I told my husband, sister, her husband and granny something was growing in my left side. It hurt so badly I was I could hardly sit down. I knew something was in the right side but the problem was in the left side. The left side hurt so badly I was sick to my stomach.

On the 18th of January I went into surgery I woke up in ICU. The pain I was in can't be described.

A nurse came in each night and put me on a Bi-Pap machine. I was terrified of the machine, it felt like I was being smothered. I would get very angry at the nurse each time she put it on me. She tried to tell me I needed the machine. I was very confused so confused I had no idea how sick I really was.

I didn't understand the machine was keeping me alive. Without it I would have not made it through the first few days.

I didn't notice the look of concern on my son John, my daughter Lauria my sister Jessie, her husband Pat and one of my dear friend Micky faces. I didn't see the worried look in the eyes of the staff of ICU nor the sadden look my doctors had.

Every morning Buster came into ICU and didn't leave until late at night. He sat there all day long yet I didn't know it. I was being giving strong medicine for the pain I had lost track of time and how many days I had been in ICU.

After a few days my pain medicine was changed to Morphine. I became more alert, I knew I was very sick.

Just before I was moved to my room I started having pain, really horrible pain. It was so horrible that I didn't not want to live. I remember nurses and one of my doctors standing by my bed working on me. I started drifting away I was giving up.

I looked and standing at the foot of my bed was a tiny little girl. She looked at me and said "NO NO NO !! You can't do this! STOP DOING THIS!" I was crying telling her had bad I was hurting. She was not paying any attention to me. She repeated over and over "NO NO NO!"

A few days later I was moved to my room I was thrilled to be in my own room. Physical therapy came to walk me, I only walked thirty or forty feet when my O2 level bottomed out. I thought I was weak from the surgery. Later that day Dr. Barbar came into the room he looked very solemn. He said to us " Mrs. Oakes your O2 level is on 7 liters. You can't go home with the level that high. When Dr. Barbar left the room I looked up at the ceiling and started praying the prayer of death. I had given up all hope.

Then once again there the little girl stood " NO NO NO!!" You have to fight" I'm not sure how I knew what to do, but I started breathing only through my nose. I would not talk to anyone unless it was absolutely necessary.Then I started praying for God to help me out of this dilemma I was in. I was not afraid to die, but not just yet. I could not leave Buster, the kids, my family and friends.

One of the therapist named Terry came into my room she is an adorable lady. She hung me upside down in the bed and beat up and down my back. Every time junk came out she danced around the room. I had others giving me treatment but Terry was the only one I allowed to stand me on my head.

The next time I walked almost 2000 feet.A special Hello to Mike for walking me and beliving I could get better. I hope you and your family are doing good. God Bless you and keep helping people to have hope. Dr. Barbar came in later that night. He was beaming " You are on 2 litters of O2. The lungs have inflated." I gave him my cigarettes. Dr. Babar is one of the sweetest people I've ever met. He cares about people, he really does. I know Terry hanging me upside down helped a lot, but God guided her hands. I want to thank all of my family, friends and the fine people of Ocean Springs Hospital.

A few days later we went home. I was to be on O2 24-7 with only a few breaks a day. Dr. Barbour ordered the equipment to be set up at the cottage. One of the items was a pulse-ox. I take my pulse-ox, if it shows low I use the O2.However I sleep under O2 every night.

The test result from the mass on the left side were not back. We went to see Dr. Petri a few days later.

Dr. Petri told me he did not completely understand the terminology so I needed to see an Oncologist. I almost broke down I was terrified the words "you need to see an Oncologist" are words I will never forget.

Buster and I had about a week until we could see Dr. Latour. As I sat in our cottage I knew I was at home. My home was with Buster no matter what we faced we faced it as one.

As we sat in Dr. Latour's office I was not worried, things would be fine. Then she came in I liked her right away. She explained that the tumor on the right side was not cancer. I knew that already. When she said " It looks like Dr. Petri got all the cancer on the left. I went numb " Cancer, what cancer?" DR. Latour explained everything to us. I didn't hear a word. She wanted a CT scan to make sure the cancer was no where else. " CANCER?? Oh my God NO!! Cancer" She set up the CT scan a few days later.

Buster and I made it through some how waiting on the day we went for the scan.

We went and got the CT scan done. Now that was a lot of fun!! NOT! We got the results a few days later. The test showed I have a problem in my neck, it could be cancer.

We made an appointment with Dr. Latour to find out what we had to do next. Then the waiting started again. Buster was so worried he rarely slept. I watched him he looked so upset, he loved me.

One of his favorite songs is by Elvis its called " Good Luck Charm". He is the most wonderful man I've ever known. After thirty six years I'm still his good luck charm and he is my sweet, adorable husband.

I prayed everyday that the cancer was not back. I'm not afraid to die, but not yet PLEASE DEAR GOD not yet. I want to be with my Buster. I don't want to leave my family and friends.

Today is April the eleventh 2006. Today I am truly a miracle I am cancer free. No matter what comes our way Buster and I will be just fine. Together we will face whatever we must face. Buster and I started out with very little we loved each other and that was all that counted. Now we are starting over and we still have that special once in a life time love.

Now I must tell you of a very special lady, a friend and cares about all her patients,Dr. Eva Magiros.Eva took care of my mom Dimple Hill, mom really loved her.

I remember one time Eva came into the room smiling as she always does. " HI Dimple how are you?" After Eva had left the room mom asked " Is she always that happy?" Mom meant no harm I just thought it was cute the way mom ask that question.

Eva was my doctor when I was in the hospital. When she came into my room to see me we would sometimes talk about Mom. Eva had a big smile on her face when she talked about " Dimple". You know I think she really cared about mom and will always have a place in her heart for mom.

I was in room 275 for 7 days at the Ocean Springs Hospital. I wish I could remember everyones name. There has never been a a kinder staff. To all of you again thank you so very much. I will never forget how you treated me and my husband Buster.

Ann, Victoria, Willa, Nora and Micky thank you for the flowers. To all of you thank you for calling Buster, thank you for loving me.

The grants for rebuilding our home will help us to start over. As long as we have each other we will be fine.

Will I be concerned when hurricane seasons starts again in June? You betcha, I will never look into the GULF OF MEXICO and not remember Katrina.

God Bless you all & Take care.

Your friend; Johnnie Oakes

Reaching out

Reaching out from the depths of my soul trying to understand,

How a small word an strike horror to the biggest man. áá

It makes no difference who you are woman, man, boy or girl,

The six letter word call cancer will upset your entire world.

I have had a family member or friend that has Cancer it was hard to take,

When I was told " you have Cancer" my entire world started to shake.

I think of all the people I had known with Cancer throughout the years,

As I sit tonight I know how it feels to be consumed with fear.

I went through the painful surgery and now I am Cancer free,

I am so glad to be alive I thank God for helping me.

There are so many people fighting cancer man, woman, boy and girl,

God please help these dear people all around the world.

ęcopyright 4/11/2006

Johnnie Oakes