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My First Grandbaby

by Dianne Ralston

Finally, they let us bring him home. He was only five weeks old. Kevin proudly announced that he was a Dad and I, a grandma. The lady assured us he could eat and drink from a bowl. Oh, he was so tiny. I was skeptical that he would survive without a mother. Kevin had waited so long to get him and now he was here, this fluffy white kitty with markings of red to his ears, paws and his tail as if God lovingly stroked him there. How could any creature be so beautiful!

As a new parent, Kevin's first duty was to name his son. Being a child of twelve, Kevin related everything to his favorite food--cheese. Kevin named his kitten Swiss cheese because his coat was a creamy white. We all called him 'Swissy' right away because we soon tired of the never-ending question of 'Why did you name him that'?

We fell in love with him at once. His soft meows to remind us he wanted something, the unassuming way he knew that he belonged to us by following us around and the never-ending purring that cheered us up.

He came to us at the right time in my life. I was having stomachaches and chronic constipation. I was like any typical 45 year old female that thought this was all caused by stress working as a surgical nurse and caring for a home with young children, the inability to go to the restroom without someone needing something or starting a fight while I was in there and thinking about my health last. I finally decided I needed to go in for a procedure called a Colonoscopy. Believe me you don't want one if you don't have to have one. I jokingly told a guy a work 'well, if everything is okay I'll be back to work tomorrow: if not I probably have cancer.'

When I awoke after the procedure, the doctor showed me a set of glossy pictures that he took that showed several views of a huge tumor that was advanced Colon cancer. I had surgery later that same day and everything went well. The good news was no lymph node metastasis and I did not need to have a colostomy.

I then had six long months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation. I spent a lot of time in bed, weak and not feeling so hot. Everything in our lives, on the surface went on as usual. To work, to school except for me, I lay alone day after day. Swissy would jump up on the bed and curl up on my chest. He would immediately begin to purr. At that time in my life, nothing in the world gave me more comfort and pure joy to my heart.

I felt God had given him to me to bring a little light into my life when the path seemed so dark and to remind me He was present. I have gone through a milestone of cat scans, colonoscopies, lab tests and check-ups and God continues to bless me. I had my annual check-up with my oncologist and my fifth annual scans came back negative. The doctor declared me cancer free. Time has marched on and my children have grown but, I can't help but remember my son and my first grandson Swissy.

Dianne Ralston of Pharr, Texas, is a 5 year survivor of Stage III colorectal cancer.