Friday, December 14, 2007

On the topic of Tupperware

Thank you so much for the generous dinners that you brought to our house. We felt cared for catered to and well-fed. Now we are inundated with all manner of tupperware and casseroles. Please don't be shy about picking up your wares.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Thanksgiving "Run" of Faith

I read this at our Thanksgiving meal, had meant to post it in thanks and appreciation and because it speaks to the element of faith that I feel I needed to take in the decision of my treatment and the way I need to live.

It is an excerpt from "Run" by one of my favorite authors, Ann Patchett (thanks and appreciation to Nick for the book). In this excerpt, an aging Catholic priest grapples with faith, even as he has "mistakenly" been identified as a miraculous healer:

Night after day, Father Sullivan was awake with his thoughts. The visit of the two women and all of the subsequent visitors that followed had shaken him. It made him realize how helpless he was to do anything of substance for anyone. It would be incorrect in every sense to say that so near the end of his life he had lost his faith, when in fact God seemed more abundant to him in the Regini Cleri home than any place he had been before. God was in the folds of his bathrobe, the ache of his knees. God saturated the hallways n the form of a pale electrical light. But now that his heart had become so shiftless and unreliable, now that he should be sensing the afterlife like a sweet scent drifting in from the garden, he had started to wonder if there was in fact no afterlife at all. Look at all these true believers who wanted only to live, look at himself, clinging onto this life like a squirrel scrambling up the icy pitch of a roof. In suggesting that there may be nothing ahead of them, he in no way meant to diminish the future; instead, Father Sullivan hoped to elevate the present to a state of the divine. It seemed from this moment of repose that God may well have been life itself. God may have been the baseball games, the beautiful cigarette he smoked alone after checking to see that the bats had been put back behind the closet door. God could have been the masses in which he told people how best to prepare for the glorious life everlasting, the one they couldn’t see as opposed to the one they were living at that exact moment in the pews of the church hall, washed over in the stained glass light. How wrongheaded it seemed now to think that the thrill of heartbeat and breath were just a stepping stone to something greater. What could be greater than the armchair, the window, the snow? Life itself had been holy. We had been brought forth from nothing to see the face of God and in his life Father Sullivan seen it miraculously for eighty-eight years. Why wouldn’t it stand to reason that this had been the whole of existence and now he would retreat back to the nothingness he had come from in order to let someone else have their turn at the view? This was not the working of disbelief. It would be possible to overlook just about anything if you were trained to constantly strain forward to see the power and the glory that was waiting up ahead. What a shame it would have been to miss God while waiting for him.

p. 131, Chapter 6
Ann Patchett
Harper Collins
New York

Decision To Go Chemo

I wanted to finally explain, as promised - and since many keep asking, the difficult decision to do chemotherapy. I was very borderline as to the need for this and in fact had differing opinions from doctors. One held that the cancer had all been removed, the markers were all very favorable - slow growing, early, etc. and no reason to blast myself with such a harsh sentence. The other held that the characteristics of mine were still unusual - presenting in many locations despite the good markers and therefore unknowable. The idea that the smallest seeds of cancerous cells could be lurking, unfindable was daunting, but plausible since the original "suspect areas" had been tracked for a while before they were deemed malignant. The regimen this doctor recommended seemed slightly less harsh than most and very short and after careful consideration, I decided that I would not live comfortably without trying everything I could to eradicate even the smallest risk. I did not want to make this decision further down the road and did not believe the choice itself would've been very much different.

The oncologist recommending it was the one who had originally halted my initial planned surgery - a simple lumpectomy - in favor of doing more tests, including an MRI, which I had been insisting upon, unheeded by the surgeon. Without that MRI, I might gone forward with continued cancerous growth, more surgeries, more danger, etc. I found that oncologist to be thorough, dedicated, willing to answer my questions and totally on board that the decision was ultimately mine. Having birthed both of my children at home, this major medical intervention did not come easy to me, yet from that experience, I know there are risks involved in every approach. Eventually, I had to place my trust somewhere and decided to do it. And, in the process of coming to this decision, I realized that I am very lucky to even have a decision to make, lucky indeed to even be able to have chemo at a time when there are women in the world who are untreatable, or worse - untreated. I take this risk with an eye and a will to do everything else I can naturally and nutritionally to build back up.
- amp

Chemo #2

Ok - so, first the real news - of course, I won at Scrabble - swear I'm not cheating. In fact - I couldn't - there was an elderly Asian lady across the room from me that stared like a hawk every time it was my turn to pick letters from the little velvet bag (who I am sure my husband hired as a plant). When her "husband" came in to pick her up, she spoke in rapid Chinese or Korean or . . . whatever, every so often flashing a look in my direction with the word "amp" clearly sprinkled throughout the otherwise foreign conversation while nodding to the spot on the floor where the tiles kept falling out of the bag due to the IV on my right hand.

That said - the side effects are blessedly minimal once again and I am doing fine - in fact I won at Scrabble again while writing these last couple blog entries.

Shave + a Haircut - 2 bits

Dec 2: It began innocently enough, as the first flurries of follicles fell from my head one early winter day in the City of Angels

when a benevolent friend and neighbor with experience, the right tools and a keen aesthetic stepped up to the plate

Barry "Skywalker" Jacobson

Of course, even a light-saber barber needs proper supervision

Next - a lightly whipped chardonnay-laced scalp infusion

Actually, come to think of it - probably shouldn't try this at home

A job well done - may the Force be with you

And a good time was had by all . . .

No animals were harmed, maimed, teased or even slightly intimidated during this process

Not even this one

Now I'll have to consider Photoshop to erase dark circles - or learn to use make-up