Providing care and comfort to Mary


Providing care and comfort to Mary

“When Covid-19 hit, Food Outreach kicked into high gear, ensuring we did not fall through the cracks!”

My name is Mary “Robin” Reese. I am fighting breast cancer. I am the one who wears a camo hat, pink ribbon, and big earrings with Victory Red lipstick. Mine is a war fought on several fronts. While this is not a club I would ever want to join, cancer is a tribe I recognize. My life is changed forever, and I am grateful for who I am becoming because of it. The people at Food Outreach fight this battle with me with love and might.

I crossed paths with Food Outreach during a challenging time in my life.

Some people run to the fire, and some people run away. When I discovered my cancer, I witnessed both kinds of people. The brave people at Food Outreach run to you.

I was embarrassed to be sick. Having people offer help and accepting it isn’t easy. Try it. Hopefully, your experience will be like mine. A group associated with Siteman Cancer Center, which helps women with breast cancer, sent me to Food Outreach. The web of support is incredible.

At Food Outreach, I experienced compassion.

They smile and inquire with grace and listen with endearing latitude. They laugh easily and offer hope when that’s what you need in your bowl. They scoop you up, surrounding you with unconditional love and support. They make it easy, which is a skill set many do not have.

You might have thought this was all about the food.

News flash, folks! It became clear that this was also my community; they were my people. They offered food, truth, presence, and knowledge, and I love the informational handouts! I remember the luncheons, and they were spectacular! When Covid-19 hit, Food Outreach kicked into high gear, ensuring we did not fall through the cracks!

Farmington, Missouri, was where I was born, but the South was where I lived. I worked with the Red Cross during and after Hurricane Katrina destroyed much along the Gulf Coast in 2005. After losing my home and livelihood, I returned to Missouri to start over.

I went back to school, and after years of study, I became an Integrative Therapist specializing in cranial sacral therapy using visual imagery and dialog and SomatoEmotional Release. Lymphatic Drainage was my second specialty. I worked within the holistic community for many years, helping people diagnosed with various types of cancer, which led to working with Siteman. How funny to be walking on the same floor where I was not long ago with someone I was helping.

I have been diagnosed with a hormone-driven cancer.

Siteman made sense to me when I found my lump. I had an immediate double mastectomy, and 14 lymph nodes were removed. I have a gene mutation called Check2. Have you heard of BRACA? It’s like that, but NOT. It’s hereditary but different. Learning and understanding the labyrinth of cancers is daunting. My particular mutant is a party crasher. The fellas at the door who keep the riff-raff out are gone. Ckeck2 affects other organs as well. Currently, I have lesions in my lungs, liver, and thyroid. I get a colonoscopy every two years. This diligence is pretty standard for a person with a Check2 mutation. I have a 40-percent chance of reoccurrence, and I am under excellent care and under the microscope of highly experienced physicians. I will never get to ring that bell. I have a relationship with my mutation. I am a mutant! Who knew! Now I’m trying to figure out my superpower!

I am living my life and fighting the fight.

I love big and plan to live long! I am in love, spring is here, and I am planning my herb garden. I have two huge Huskies that are my constant companions. You may notice, I MIGHT NEED A LINT ROLLER. Here is a secret, I love the canned sardines! I put them on crackers. I did that with my father when I was a little girl. Currently, I am writing about my experience with breast cancer. It is called “Acquired Absence.”

My dream is to be able to volunteer at Food Outreach. Hopefully, you can see how these people touched my life. I want to help others again, and I believe in what they do. Be blessed and thank you for your support of this amazing group of people. I came not just for the food but for the kindness.

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