Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I keep studying my calendar. The picture of South Molle Island is nice, but even nicer are the carefully inked words in the box labeled February 19th: Final chemo. Only two words, but it makes me glad every time I read them.

The first chemo seems so long ago, like staring back through a long dark tunnel at the pinpoint of light that marks the entrance. It was an exhausting time. It was emotional. My drug clouded mind often meant that it was hard to think straight. The changes in my appearance were hard to take. I often felt lonely and isolated, but at the same time, hesitated to call people because I was ashamed and fearful that I would sound like a whiner. The last four months have not been a good time. I read the words on the calendar each time I pass. February 19th: Final chemo.

Friday morning, when I wake up early, instead of lying in bed trying not to wake up Tim as my mind whirls off on this tangent and that, I will simply get up and drive to Allentown to have five days with Dylan. While I am there, I will get to see my friend Dixie who lives 29 miles away from him. I have raised a hilarious son, and Dixie is drop dead funny. We will drink wine and celebrate, and we will tell funny stories. We will laugh until we cry, I imagine. We always do. She will regale me with stories of her cousin Florrie, and Boom-Boom the cat, of her job adventures. We will laugh until we are gasping for breath. I'm no slouch in the funny stories department either, so I will add my own, and we will laugh some more. Before it is said and done, I imagine that I'll be telling some chemo stories. The first treatment of the second half of chemo, when the benedryl affected me so badly, and my blood pressure dropped, and I was trying so hard to be stoic. The day in the ER with the excruciating headache and the cheerful doctor with the booming voice who whistled while he worked. I explained to him, repeatedly, that the whistling had to stop. After three shots of morphine, I wearily and tearfully told Tim that if he walked in the room whistling one more time, I would rise from the table and rip his ****** lips off. None of these events were particularly funny at the time, but as I tell them, in hindsight, I will see enormous humor in them. Dixie will add her two cents, and before you know it, tears will be falling and hands will be slapping on the table as we howl with laughter in the most undignified manner. As good storytelling does, one story will lead to another, and to another. I expect that by the time we've put a bottle or two of wine away, we will have found a great deal of humor in these last months.

On September 26th I found a lump. It was cancer, and cancer was a frightening monster to face. This weekend, I will laugh in the face of it, and I can guarantee you that I will laugh as hard as I've ever laughed about anything in this life. When I come home from Allentown, a monster will have been whittled down to size. I will take a deep breath and begin radiation.


Kelly said...

I hope you have a WONDERFUL time with your son and your friend this weekend!!

You richly deserve the time away.

Bob said...

And you can be assured that many of us, collectively, will be raising a virtual glass with you and laughing our fool heads off as we celebrate too. Seize the day!

Hal Johnson said...

Here's to you continuing to kick cancer's ass, Debby.

Dave said...

Another very positive and interesting blog Debbie. I'm sure that we are all with you in our thoughts and wish you every success! - All the best, Dave

Redlefty said...

Have fun on your trip!

While reading this blog today I could sorta hear a black church chorus in the background:

"Aaaaamen. Aaaaaamen. AaaaAAmen. Aaaamen. Aamen."

Usually I only hear hard rock music in my head throughout the day, so I'm taking this as a sign that God is with you. And that He loves to funk out now and then.

nanatrish said...

I am so happy for you getting to go where you know you will be laughing and having fun. I did that last August with my cousins. They kept me laughing and when I came back home my stomach muscles were sore from all the laughing. Debby, you are such an inspiration to me. I pray you guys have tons of fun!!!

corymbia said...

What an inspiration - You are AWESOME!

Laura Jane said...

Oh Debby, I am so happy for you - I tuned in today to wish you a happy Feb 19th cos I had it in my head. HAPPY FEB 19th !!!

Congratulations on the end of this phase of the endurance race. Have a wonderful time-out and recharge your batteries for the radiation.

We're all very proud to be by your side.

Kick that Cancer's butt. HARD.

Stuart Peel said...

So so happy for you. You have, as we like to say over here, 'un par de cojones'.


Danielle Michelle said...

Debby - I ran across your blog from Bush Babe. You go girl! You're posts have been refreshing to read! I love your integrity!

And HAPPY 19th!!!

Debby said...

Stu - Actually, no I don't but Tim has always been good about sharing. :^D

Thanks everybody. I'm pretty happy.

jeanie said...

Hallelujah!!!! It is a beautiful February 19 here, just perfect for waving goodbye to the chemo department.

Laugh heaps over the next week, Debby - because we all know that Laughter IS the best medicine!

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

I'm raising a glass of Muse's bubblies to say Congratulations, Debby! :))

Stuart Peel said...

Nice. Actually I've shared a ball or two myself over the years.


Kim said...

I'm so happy for you! I'm glad you stopped by my blog and shared because now I can share your joyful celebration. I will raise my glass high to you tonight.