Georgia, Specifically Sweet Savanna, On My Mind

On Monday, my chemo sister Shelly and I had our 3-month check ups with our fanfreakingtastic cancer-ass-kicking oncologist, Dr. Lower. Shelly and I schedule our appointments together because we hardly ever get to see each other since she practically lives in Egypt, over the river and through the blue grass… but thankfully, near a Starbucks, because she brings me coffee to our appointments. In case you’re wondering, we do not get a two for one discount by booking together. Yep, we tried;) I think the reason Dr. Lower puts up with this arrangement, is to keep us contained, because when the two of us get together, things have been known to get a little out of control at the chemo cocktail lounge. So far no lampshades have ever been involved. But Santa hats, maybe. But as I was saying, it’s either this containment theory, or the old two birds with one stone theory. Though the latter theory seems to have a few holes in it, since, I don’t mean to brag, but I was pretty awesome at dodgeball in elementary school. Anyway, while Shelly and I were sipping on Starbucks in our fabulous paper gowns, she told me a super sweet story about her daughter Savanna.

Savanna is 8-years-old and is a little kindred writing soul of mine. She’s working on her own book about her mum’s breast cancer, to help other little girls like her, who’ve have to deal with learning about breast cancer by watching their mums go through it. (There’s probably nothing that makes me madder at cancer than when it picks on children, or mother’s of small children.) Sometimes Savanna carries my book to school in her back pack. Her mum told me Savanna’s teacher often catches her reading another book hidden behind her math book—at which point she calls on Savanna to answer the next question—at which point Savanna always has the answer ready and waiting. She’s kinda brilliant that way. And what’s a teacher to do with that kind of an innocent check-mate… besides nurture such a child and give her space to grow?

In that spirit, instead of writing a blog about Savanna’s story, I asked Savanna if she would like to write a guest post for me, and tell her story in her own words. So without further ado, I’d like to introduce my chemo sister Shelly’s sweet Savanna:

So, one day, I was at school, reading Shaken Not Stirred. Mrs.Wells had just looked at it, complimenting it “nice”. I was looking it over, too. I was also talking to Cole, my ” desk neighbor”. I told him proudly,” My mom, sister, and I are in here. My mom is even in a picture.” I leafed through the pages, until I found my mom’s picture. This is her.”

Note to avoid confusion and/or annoyance: Shelly is the one on the right withOUT a Santa hat.

Cole pointed to Joules. ” Is that your mom?” “No,” I answered, annoyed a little. I pointed to my mom.” That’s her.” Alexandra, another classmate, passed by on her way to the water fountain in our classroom. My seat was the closest to it. Alex saw who I was pointing to.” Who is that?” She asked. I replied,” My mom.” ” Wow! That is so cool!” By now, most of our class had gathered round. ” Who is that? Who is that?” floated around me. I replied calmly,” Mom.” to every one. At last, Mrs.Wells came over, to see and fix all the commotion. I showed her my mom and Joules. I was pleased that breast cancer, of all things, attracted this much attention. This case of breast cancer did something good; I was finally someone famous for something that wasn’t smartness. Mrs.Wells liked it, everyone else was amazed.

Wow. Just wow. How’s that for a 3rd grader who, unfortunately, already knows the ugly truth about breast cancer, and yet she is somehow able to see beauty in the ashes, and extract the goodness, which she articulate with such eloquence, passion, and wit?  Makes me hopeful and happy for the future with sweet peeps like Savanna in the world.

Savanna Racing for the Cure with her mum's name, and mine, on the her back

Btw, Shelly and I both got the initial thumbs up from Dr. Lower at our check-up the other day. We still have to wait a few days for tumor markers and lung and kidney function, but there’s no reason to think we’ll get anything but more thumbs up. So cheers to that!


  1. Thanks, for putting my passage on your blog! I didn’t really belive my mom, whom kinda usually sorta lies to me. It’s annoying sometimes. She kinda kept it a secret about her big C buisness. I am the kind of kid who is half-nosy, half no-secrets, I-need-to-be-prepared kind. Common trait in my family, exept for Audrey who is a need-to-know-everything girl. I really admire how you admire me. I finally feel important in my house, and all over.

    Thanks (for everything),
    Savanna G. Emrick ( Shelly L. C. Emrick’s kid )

  2. Angi Lampkin says:

    From the mouth of babes…LOVE IT and I Love the fact that you both and many other strong women are BEATING THE BIG C in soooo many ways!! Continue to encourage and motivate others :-)!!! Angi Lampkin

    PS- Great Job Ms. Savanna!

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