Barbara York gives thanks for every day

Friday, November 24, 2006
Barbara York of Monette is looking forward to the holidays. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Town Crier News Staff

Thanksgiving Day is a time to count blessings, and Barbara York of Monette said she is thankful for each and every day of life. She is not only thankful for the days ahead, she gives thanks for the days she has shared with her husband of 43 years, Jim, her three daughters, four granddaughters, parents, grandparents, brother and friends.

York, a retired licensed practical nurse (LPN), has always been a caregiver. She admits she is having a little trouble adjusting to being the one cared for.

York started a career in education and taught for several years before going to nursing school when her daughters were young.

"I loved nursing and the training helped me care for my mother during her last days," York said.

She also cared for her husband during his recovery from heart surgery.

York went to the doctor in May because she was having problems with her stomach. There was nothing wrong with her stomach but through the tests doctors discovered spots on her lower left lung. She went to MD Anderson in Houston where she was diagnosed with stage 4 adenocarcinoma (cancer of the lungs) in June. Cancer was also found under her breast bone. She was given about five months to live.

On Aug. 7 she took her first chemotherapy treatment.

"I had a devastating reaction to the treatment," York said. "I almost died. My hair fell out overnight; I lost the feelings in my hands and feet. Chemo and radiation were ruled out. It was not a good time for my family.

Mr. and Mrs. York were staying with their daughter, Lisa Ballard. Lisa and her family live in Friendswood, Texas, near Houston.

"We decided to go to the movies one night," York said. "At that time I was always cold and I was naturally worried. I took my blanket so I could wrap up during the movie. All of a sudden I started getting warm, just like I was sitting near a fireplace. I got toasty warm from the top of my head to my toes. I heard a voice that said, 'Don't worry; I'm going to take care of this.' From that point on I quit worrying and I am doing better. I went back to the hospital in October and everything was the same. My cancer had not gotten worse.

"Some people may say I am crazy and will not believe, but I know what happened," York said. "Two days after we arrived home I received notice I had been approved for cancer medication. The medicine does not cure cancer but it can sometimes slow it down. At first I debated if I should take it or not and then I decided the Lord's voice had told me He would take care of me and I decided the medication was in his plan. I have had very mild side effects from the medicine."

York said once in awhile she feels sorry for herself and even cries a little.

"I call those my human days," she said.

Her immune system is low and she stays home a lot with her husband and dog, Bailey.

"Jim has been wonderful," she said. "He does the cooking and takes care of everything."

Mrs. York loves her home with its family history. She lives on the lot she was born on 64 years ago. She is the daughter of the late Dan E. Hurst and Vivian Faye Wallace Hurst. Her stepmother, Dorothy Hurst, lives in Black Oak. She has one brother, Bob Oliver Hurst, Sr., who lives in Monette.

Her grandparents, C.A. and Betty Wallace and Oliver H. and Myrtle Hurst, were all early pioneers of Monette. Mrs. York's mother built the house on the family lot in 1970. Her mother died in 1982 and left the home to her.

York said she loves to read and spends a lot of time with her books.

"I got my love of reading from my Grandma Hurst," she said. "She would have tea parties in front of the fire and she would read to us children. To this day I still enjoy reading and hot tea. From my Grandma Wallace I learned how to share and love unconditionally."

In addition to reading York is doing a little writing of the family history and her memories of growing up in Monette. She wants to pass this information down to her grandchildren.

After being diagnosed with cancer, Mrs. York started thinking about things she had wanted to do and making plans to do them.

"We were at my daughter's house in Texas and a young man across the street had a Harley Davidson motorcycle," she said. "I had always wanted to ride one so I went over and told him. He had lost both his parents to cancer. He set a time the next morning to take me for a ride when the weather was cool. I loved it. I know now why people love riding. I also wanted to walk in the rain. It is funny, but I had never just gotten out and walked in the rain. I did it but I didn't like it, so I would not want to do it again. I would take another motorcycle ride. I also always wanted to go deep sea fishing. My son-in-law is going to arrange for me to go on a fishing trip in the spring when the weather is nice. I am looking forward to it. Two years ago I met Jama in London and we went to plays and museums. It was a wonderful trip and I would like to go back one more time.

Mr. York is retired from Missco Implement in Monette where he worked as parts manager for years.

Their daughters are, Lisa Ballard, Jama Michealides, and Dana McKuin. Jama and her husband have a home in Nicosia Cypress (an island right off Greece). Jama is marketing manager for Reuters Company in eastern Africa and middle Europe. Dana and her family live in Holcomb, Mo, where she works as a bank teller. Lisa and her family live near Houston and she is a librarian.

The Yorks have four granddaughters, Mallory Ballard, 11, Lanie Ballard, 5, both of Texas; Taylor McKuin, 10, and Rachel McKuin, 9, both of Holcomb.

"I am proud of my family," Ms. York said. "I have great sons-in-law and we are all looking forward to Christmas when everyone will be home. This will be the first Christmas I will not be doing the cooking, but the girls have it all planned out and I will just sit and enjoy the holiday."

Mrs. York also praised her church family. She is a member of the Methodist Church in Monette.

"I have had a wonderful life, but one thing I regret is the years I wasted not being in church," she said. "My girls always went but I made excuses. I worked or had too much to do. I got back in church several years ago and they are truly my family and we appreciate them. They are great people."

York said she will not give up and will fight for every day.

"I feel good and take one day at a time," she said. "The fear was taken away but I still want to stay with my family and friends as long as I can. We should never give up. I feel lucky to have God speak to me. When it's God's will for me to come home I want Him to take me from my home to His home."

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