When I First Understood The True Meaning Of Love

Shared Stories
on September 28, 2011



Vicki Jo Johnson

102 Arrowood Drive

Nashville, NC  27856

(252) 467-7127

[email protected]

Price:  $9000.00 – To Print




“When I First Understood the True Meaning of Love”



     Love is strong affection for or attachment to someone.  Love is setting your affections

on a person of significance.  Sometimes we use the word love too loosely. We oftentimes love what a person do for us or what a person give us and we call it love.  But true love really has to be tested for authenticity.  True love takes quality time, effort, and patience.

     I have known my friend Lorene for 34 years.  About two years ago she was diagnosed with stomach cancer.   Initially, she did not tell me about her diagnosis. Now the day before her call, I lost my new red 2008 Ford Escape.  The man loaded my truck on the trailer as I watched my mobility back out of the drive way.  Already in shock and disillusioned about my loss, the phone rang the next day and Lorene announced that she underwent stomach surgery for the removal of malignant cancer cells.  After convalescing for a few weeks, the doctor decided that she needed chemotherapy to remove the remaining cells.  Slowly she began to ask me to travel with her to the Cancer Treatment Center for five weeks Monday through Thursday to undergo chemotherapy.  I asked her when the treatments would begin.  She said,” immediately on Monday morning at about 7:00 a. m.”

     So Monday morning at the crack of dawn we drove off into the heavy fog equipped to handle those “dirty cells” as the doctor would describe them later. Lorene and I talked about the doctor’s discussion concerning the process.  Nervous and jittery about the day ahead we both remained silent and listened to music.  We arrived at the Treatment Center at about 7:15 a.m.  I dropped her off at the front of the building.  I parked the car so she would not be late for her first appointment.  The appointment started with an initial consultation with the psychologist, lab work and then the first cancer treatment.  I read more than ten magazines and watched NFL early morning team updates.  Things appeared to be running rather smooth when she asked me to accompany her upstairs to the pharmacy to pickup some medicine.  We talked with the pharmacist and he calculated the cost of the medication she would need for five weeks of treatment.  Insurmountable stress unveiled itself concerning the dollar amount for the treatment medication.  So the pharmacist referred her to the social worker. His financial assistance with the medication gave her some relief.  Following that meeting, the pharmacist totaled the bottom line amounts for the chemotherapy medication.  We conversed for a moment when all of a sudden, I looked into her face and saw death.  Frightened at this moment, I now knew this ordeal was a life threatening situation.  I knew I had to help handle this problem at once.  So I told her that I could loan her some money to get the medication.  At that moment as I gazed into her eyes I realized for the first time that I really loved her and I did not want to lose her.  That painstaking day drew us much closer.  Committed to her getting well, we made it through five vigorous weeks of chemotherapy, agonizing pain, and daily mood swings.

     Love demands quality time for the nurturing process to take place.  Dealing with someone you love in sickness really draws you closer to the person.  More importantly it strengthens the bond that ties your love together.  Chemotherapy tested our love.  We spent quality time while overcoming a traumatic disease.  We now know that our love is authentic. 

     Love requires effort on the part of the individuals involved.  When you love a person you will go the extra mile to do the things that are important to their well-being.  Because chemotherapy lasted five long weeks, it required full commitment.  We drove one hour away to another city every day.  Rising up early every morning to beat the heavy traffic took its toll on her while taking heavy dosages of the chemo pills.  As the weeks progressed, she dragged more and more every morning.  Her aggressive driving plagued us every morning.  Calmly, I would always tell her “Lorene you are getting too aggressive – stop following the cars so close”.   She always responded positively.

     Love commands patience.  Love is patient.  Love is kind.  When you truly love a person you will endure pain, trouble or whatever calmly and without complaining.  While battling stomach cancer Lorene encountered much pain and suffering.  Troubled and perturbed with the chemo, her attitude and disposition grew unpleasant and some days even unbearable.  One day she began to tell me the song she wanted sung at her funeral.  I got upset and dropped tears of despair.  I stayed silent.  I knew that she put her best foot forward to overcome this “monster” nevertheless; negative thoughts massacred us that day.  I patiently, calmly, and mildly endured this life changing occurrence that interrupted our lives. 

     The “monster” died.  We overcame stomach cancer.   We survived.    I now understand the true meaning of love.  Love conquers all.     


Vicki Jo Johnson is a freelance writer.  She is a native of Nashville, North Carolina.        


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