Please Send Hamburgers

Just a quick update to explain why I haven’t updated lately despite the fact that I do have a culinary success to share with you.  You see, my beautiful, young and very beloved Aunt Angela lost her battle with cancer May 1 after fighting for 8 years.  We are all crushed beyond what I can express in words.  And for any of you that have had the horror of dealing with the death of a loved one, you know that my last several days have been packed full between greeting guests offering condolences, buying funeral clothes (since I came straight from a business trip without having time to swing back through Atlanta), running errands, and because all that is not enough of a task – I’m also battling my own illness – it must be Ebola. 

When I arrived in Raleigh, I was sick with a “cold” and “possible strep throat.”  I went to the urgent care where they told me that since my rapid strep test was negative, just go home and rest.  I begged them to do a blood test to see if my white blood cell count was high because I was SURE I was incubating a bacterial infection but it was denied by my 12-year-old doctor as “unnecessary.”  I left…I incubated…I worsened.  When I had to go back to urgent care a second time, the doctor (not the same one) agreed that I was definitely harboring some bacterial armies in the form of some kind of lung and sinus infection and although he declined to do another rapid strep test he did agree that those white patches on my throat are pretty obvious and so he decided to give me an antibiotic that will kill just about anything:  strep, sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infections, small rodents, and nearby annoying children. 

But the bacterial armies had a really good foothold and the antibiotics just seemed to piss them off.  So, I now have ear infections in BOTH ears, sinusitis, and bronchitis.  However, they do appear to have killed a few small rodents and the strep throat.  Anyway, I can’t fly home with ear infections…and I feel about as energetic as a slug on quaaludes.  Plus, through visitation and a funeral, I’ve spent most of my time explaining to people that by hugging me, they might be risking their lives. 

I am now on a cocktail of pain medications for my poor ears that hurt more than I can even begin to explain, Tylenol for the fever I’ve now been running for 6 days, antibiotics so strong that my family should probably keep a safe distance, prescription cough medication that includes a narcotic so it gives the pain meds for my ears a little boost, and decongestants.   

And for those of you that have never been to a funeral in North Carolina, you may  not know that as a result, my diet over the past few days has consisted of fried chicken and chicken that’s fried.  Because if you go to someone’s house after a family member dies in the south, you bring food.  And if you’re in Eastern North Carolina, you bring food from a barbecue joint if you don’t make something home-made.  So, since I don’t eat North Carolina style barbecue which is pulled pork with a vinegar sauce, I have only fried chicken to choose from.  When one of my uncle’s friends showed up with chicken in soup form (Chicken Pastry) I nearly fell to his feet weeping in joy.  But my sinuses hurt too bad to bend over so I had to resort to coughing thanks at him from a safe distance. 

If one of you will bring over some burgers, I’ll share my pain medication with you.  Please, if we don’t get red meat soon, we might all grow feathers.

But in all seriousness, I have to close this blog post with a sincere request.  Breast cancer is a terrible and heartbreaking disease and while I salute each and every woman who has beat the disease, I know first hand the heartbreak and agony that goes along with watching your loved one lose her battle with the disease.  It is not eradicated and even as I was sitting here helping write Angela’s obituary, someone mentioned a new therapy that’s being tested.  I couldn’t help but wonder if more funding might have sped up that research in time to save my beautiful Aunt.  She was 47 years old.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 8 years ago to the day that she passed away.  She was diagnosed only 2 years after she got married.  I am including my favorite picture of Angela as it was sitting next to her casket at her funeral.  One of Angela’s final wishes (besides being buried in fuzzy pink socks) was for more funding for breast cancer research so another young wife doesn’t have to spend the better part of her marriage fighting for her life.  So, if you can spare the money in these hard times, I encourage you to make a donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Angela Yvette Pike Johnson, 1964 - 2011



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3 responses to “Please Send Hamburgers

  1. Jackie Bass

    You make me laugh and cry all at once. I’m so sorry you and your family are going through this terrible loss. I do understand the pain. I hope you feel better and can fly home soon (on an airplane, not via your own wings…). And this Saturday when I’m running the RFTC I’ll add your aunt to my list of prayers.

    Love you,

  2. I am so, so sorry to hear this. You have my hamburgers, and my love.


  3. I’m so sorry! Seriously, you’re having the worst year (not necessarily calendar year, but 12 months year) ever, which means this next one coming up is going to be awesome and roses are going to rain on you everyday and you’re going to discover the cure for cancer even though you’re like some crazy brilliant fire scientist. Hang in there, with everything. Thinking of you.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I know the crushing hopelessness of losing a loved one and you’ll make it through.

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