Friday, January 23, 2009

This too shall pass

Things are looking brighter today. The chemo went much better. The benedryl dose was cut in half, and diluted with saline, and injected slowly over the course of a couple minutes. There was no headrush, no plummeting blood pressure, no sudden inability to make rational conversation. (poor Mary...I just kept on talking). I'm a little nervous about the reaction to the taxol itself which should start setting in tomorrow and last for a couple uncomfortable days, but I have a new painkiller. So we'll see what happens.
This morning, I am sitting in front of my window, watching my birds. I have not bought birdseed this winter, because we were buying for Christmas, and worried about insurance and $100 pills. We made it through those days, and amazingly, it's worked itself out. We've still got things to sort out, but it does give you some confidence in the future when you see that the most dire consequences are not going to come to pass. So in a fit of faith, I went out and spent $16.85 on myself and the birds. I bought 25 pounds of sunflower seed and 3 suet cakes. In no time at all, our backyard has become a popular place for the birds. This has made me more cheerful.
I had a good talk on the phone with an old friend the day before yesterday. Trevor's sending me a button. "Cancer Sucks!" it says. He doesn't need them any more. His wife passed away. This is the thing that amazes me about cancer. Everyone is touched by it. I haven't met anyone who has not had a relative affected by it, or dealt with it themselves, or had a friend...Not one person. I'm part of the Relay for Life in June. They asked me, and it seemed very ungrateful to say no. I see a lot of sick people, really sick people, a lot sicker than me. I can do my part to help, and the best thing is that when I help, I feel productive, when I feel productive, I feel better about everything.
I've been kind of bleak lately. My life has become very narrowly focused. I don't like it. That is why I need my friends and family so desperately. Cara's phone calls from Washington as she waved goodbye to George Bush's helicopter making its last circle around the mall, her excitement at meeting Colin Powell face to face. Her breathless excitement at being frisked in order to watch the parade. The little American flags that they had been given earlier in the day had to be ripped off the sticks, and the sticks were confiscated. Cara's hysterical laughter at the thought of what could have happened had thousands of adoring fans been armed with little sticks when they caught a glimpse of their hero. That was a day brightener. A long talk with my friend, as for the first time, the scrabble game lay unfinished between us. Honest talk about life and regrets and wonderings. Mary's had some great losses this year, and it was reassuring to me that I could still find words of wisdom for her. Sometimes I feel as dumb as a box of rocks. But underneath all that rubble, it appears that the old me is still there. Emboldened by that, I told her the secret that I've been holding in my heart about this whole cancer thing. She listened, and she disputed. What I've been seeing as God's judgement, as a backhanded answer to my own prayers, she sees as something else. She gave me something to think about. I am. And when we left the cancer center, she firmly said, "Do not think that I'm done talking to you about this." She isn't. After 40 years, I know that she will have her say, and I value her counsel. My friends come and my friends call, and all of this shifts my focus from dark narrow path that I'm on. We've discovered that we are about to become an aunt and uncle. Tim's brother, the confirmed bachelor waited a long time to find the perfect woman. Now he and Dawn expect a baby in May. That made me smile big. I've been praying for them for a long time. My sister and brother-in-law are coming to visit this evening. Little windows open, and even in the dead of winter, I am refreshed.
Life has been a roller coaster lately. What I have found is that the little things mean a lot. Now, if I could simply keep my eye on these things, it would probably make a more cheerful blog.
Sorry, everyone.
This too shall pass.


Kelly said...

I would much rather read an honest entry than a cheerful entry. You never know what strength someone might find in your words.

You're right about EVERYone being touched by SOMEone who has/had cancer. I've known countless folks, not to mention both of my parents who died of cancer when I was young.

This too shall pass. I have a plaque with that saying. It hangs above the window in my office (from which I watch the birds on my feeder). I hung it there when I was going through a particularly rough time with one of my kids a couple of years ago. It's true, so hang in there! (and never stop praying!)

Pencil Writer said...

It's comforting to know that even after the darkest nights, the sun will rise in the morning. If you feel like having a good chuckle drop in at, Thursday's post "The Scribbit Mailbag Second Edition." Tears came to my eyes from laughing so hard. Hope today is a warm and meaningful one for you and your family.

Bob said...

When I prayed for you this morning (before I read your post) I asked God to continue to give you strength and encouragement. Then I thanked Him that,in the midst of some dark days, you continue to use the gift He gave you (writing,communication) to encourage me and so many others.

PaintedPromise said...

oh no you don't, NO apologizing!!!! your honesty is an inspiration to TONS of bloggers, don't you dare stop!!!

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you. Hang in there.
The Bach

Anonymous said...

Debby not Debbie... :-) The Bach

Portia said...

It's wonderful that you spent money on the birds. $16.85 fed them and cheered you up, that is a great investment.

That is so cool that Cara could have that experience, she'll remember that her whole life.

Enjoy your weekend.

jeanie said...

Oh Debby - I am so glad that it went smoother today - and I am especially glad you have a friend like Mary right there with you.

I laughed about Cara and her little sticks. You have to find the pieces of joy to make up a bright day on some days - I think you have that knack and you have passed that on to your beautiful daughter.

And I am so glad your birds are sharing your delight.

Lori said...

I actually thought this was a very uplifting entry. You're looking forward to your new niece or nephew. You have a wonderful friend who is helping you to a new perspective. You aren't alone in your fight. And you spent $16.85 on a backyard of cheerfulness. I thought it was a wonderful entry! I'll be back soon.

Caroline said...

I am glad to hear things went better with chemo. I found taxol to be a million times easier than my other chemo. You can do it!

quid said...

Debby... in my last geographically cold weather incarnation, my birdfeeder and seed investment brought in a dictator blue jay whose continual squawking drove most of the others away. Glad that didn't happen to you. Thankfully, the "artful dodger"... a group of black and gray squirrels that we got very friendly with, took over from the jay, and we had endless hours of delight just watching them all be busy from our breakfast nook. I picture this when I read of what has uplifted your spirits this day, and smile, and I'm right there with you.

Stay rational, stay positive, stay strong.


Hal Johnson said...

I agree with the previous comments: you have nothing to apologize for, and your honesty is inspiring. As Bob said, you've continued during your dark days to offer a God-given gift to your readers. Yep, I'm inspired, and I'm thankful. Thank you, Debby, and God bless you.

steviewren said...

I'm glad you have those long talks with Mary. She sounds a lot like you.

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm sorry that you're struggling with cancer. But I'm really glad that you have shared your struggle with it.

I'm also glad that you found it within you to get bird seed. Part of dealing with cancer is taking good care of yourself emotionally.....that means finding the time to do the things you love. If you love feeding those birds and watching them in your yard, make them a priority. It will help you in your battle. It will heal your heart.

And look for other things that you might be able to manage as well that are important to you. Don't give them up because you are dealing with cancer.

Believe me those little things like feeding your birds are what's important. They will help keep your life balanced so the cancer isn't so overwhelming. It is even more important now that you hang onto them. Don't let cancer dictate your life. It will consume you if you allow it.

I know it's easy to get caught in that narrow tunnel that is this disease but finding your way out of it and holding onto living will help with the heaviness you are feeling.

I wish you all the luck.....

Anonymous said...

I do appreciate and applaud your honesty. I am counting down with you Deb.