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.
This too shall pass.