Maggie Byrd lived with or near my family for most of my life. She will turn 71 on Nov. 18. Without her, I would not have been able to keep my late life partner, Margaret, at home with me instead of in a nursing home after she became paralyzed due to multiple sclerosis in 1992. Maggie took care of my parents until my mother died in April 2006. I moved back home so she could move to Kentucky to take care of her father. Maggie is a 15-year survivor of breast cancer. But on Friday evening, one of her sisters called to tell me that Maggie was in the hospital and was about to start chemotherapy for lymphoma.
This morning Maggie admitted that when the doctors first discussed this with her last week, they told her she had about three weeks to live. A couple of hours later I got an e-mail from her sister that the doctors are happy with her progress because the tumor is shrinking. Maggie is a fighter and optimistic. I have her permission to tell my dear gentle readers about her and ask for your prayers for her healing. I have told Maggie and her sister that if Maggie needs more care than her family can manage after she’s discharged, she can come here and I will care for her, either back to health or to the end.
By the way, I took the photo above in November 2004 when Margaret was dying. Maggie is sitting next to Margaret’s bed holding a cup of juice and water thickened so that Margaret could swallow it. It’s characteristic of Maggie that she’s caring for someone and would not hold still for a good photo. I cropped the photo so that for once in her life, the spotlight is on her.