At age 45, most of us think about life, seeing our grandchildren in the future, running errands, etc. However, life does not always stream along like the perfect script from a Leave It To Beaver show. At 45, many are worried about what to wear to dinner or what to cook. Again, that is something that some don't have the good fortune to think about. In other words, some question if they will survive today or tonight.
Tanya lives in a small motel room located in Nashville. Outside of her room a man was shot several days ago. Down the street, a similar incident unfolded in a restaurant parking lot. Drug dealers and pimps knock on her motel door almost nightly thinking they have the right room, but they don’t. The rent is high and rings in at close to $350 per week. During a four week month she pays over $1,400.
Looking back she told me about her childhood in Nashville. Opryland was once a vibrant part of Nashville life and every child dreamed of being a country singer while walking through the heavily treed park with paths lined with over-sized guitars. Tanya was one of those kids.
As a six year old in 1977, Tanya had her first chance to perform at Opryland. She sang on the stage and that event led her to many other singing and even acting engagements throughout her life.
At 16, she was asked to be on Hee Haw. For those who are not from the South, Hee Haw was a popular TV series that first started in 1969. However, after filming an episode with her in it, the episode was cut because she was pregnant at the time. The producer told her it was a “Family” show and that a pregnant teen would not fit in. Life went on.
Tanya has been an extra in several movies, sang with Carl Tipton from Murfreesboro and even raised several children. She doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke and does not use drugs. She simply suffers from a complicated disease that is taking over her 45 year old body. Unable to work, she eventually found herself living in a motel.
Several years ago a visit to a Dickson, Tennessee medical facility led to doctors finding what appeared to be stage four breast cancer. Shortly after the discovery, a biopsy was performed during which the surgeon accidentally punctured a lung. However, that was not confirmed until about 12 hours later. Tanya told me that she told the doctor she was not feeling good prior to being discharged, but they sent her home anyway.
Soon after being rushed back to the hospital and undergoing surgery, she learned that she had lung cancer in addition to breast cancer. Fights with TNCare insurance soon followed as she sought help to battle her disease.
Tanya is a fighter and has the drive to survive. She has turned down help from Hospice as she talked to me about her future in her small and crowded motel room on Sunday night.
Tanya stated, “We found that there is a great facility in Columbia, Tennessee and they work well with my current insurance. It is called the Maury Regional Medical Center, but I have problems getting rides there to seek help. Rides that are set up through the states medical office fall through too often, which means I miss appointments.”
Tanya wants to move to the Columbia or Spring Hill area where it will be easier for her to get her needed treatment at the Cancer Center in Maury County. Between the incomes of both her and her boyfriend who suffers from numerous heart conditions, they could afford a small one bedroom unit in that area. But, help will be needed to find such a place, move them in and then help with groceries on a regular basis.
In a past conversation, she told me about her teeth... She has had problems with her teeth due to some of the cancer treatments. That being said, a dentist could also help her with some of the dental issues that many of those who fight cancer face on a daily basis.
Currently, Tanya is in need of making the big move to the Maury County area. She is in need of food. She is in need of gift cards to Walgreens or Kroger to purchase her medication that is not available at the Hope Clinic in Nashville.
Some of the food items that are easy for her to digest include: Rice, Salmon (sold in pouches similar to the StarKist Tuna), Instant Potato Cups, Sprite, DeCaffe Sweet Tea and more. Tanya no longer drinks anything with caffeine in it. She has a small refrigerator and a microwave in her motel room.
If you would like to help, contact me. If you have a small group at church that could conquer her needs of finding her a one bedroom apartment near the Maury Reginal Medical Center, life would be much easier. Tanya and her significant other can afford $500 per month, which would be very reasonable in Columbia, TN. But, they will still need that small group to walk with her in the future journey. This would be a commitment, but a good one.
Olivia Newton-John once stated, “My family and friends were definitely the key to my recovery. One thing that I do suggest is that anyone dealing with a life-threatening illness like cancer choose a point person for people to call to find out how you are doing - a sister, brother, mother, father, daughter, son, or close friend.” Tanya does not have that point person. Most of her family deserted her after a bitter divorce, that was like a cancer as she described it.