My mother, Elaine, was kind of a hypochondriac. Back in the 1970s, she experienced what, at most, could be called an episode of angina. She forever more referred to that as her “heart attack.”

My friends, Pete and Wanda, used to have written on their calendar, right next to my mother’s phone number: “Don’t ask Elaine how she is unless you really, really want to know.”

We used to laugh at that. Elaine loved to talk  about what ailed her, that’s for sure.

Recently, however, my Closest Companion tells me I have become Elaine. I insist on telling everyone I run into about my three major surgeries since June: stomach surgery, open-heart surgery and cancer surgery.

I tell people about all this because I am proud to be a survivor of all three surgeries. I didn’t think I was being Elaine by relating the details. I thought I might be inspirational to others. But my Closest Companion is usually right about things like this, so I guess I need to reel it in a little.

I loved my mother, but I certainly don’t want to be her. Yikes!

Elaine died in April, 2002. She died, I believe, because she just didn’t want to live anymore.

I survived those three surgeries. I am cancer-free and consider myself quite healthy. If only the pain in my lower back and hip would ease up I’d be a healthy and happy guy.