The hubby's begun to travel again, thus the crack-of-dawn airport jaunts. I actually tried to go back to sleep after dropping him off. It was a lovely idea. Alas, the brain was already grinding away, despite the lack of coffee. Now I'm listening to KCRW (techno-I don't know why but it sounds good), listening to the construction drone from the next street, drinking coffee on the back deck. There's a crazy breeze, the sky's blue, another warm day. The garden is on steroids, lots of corn and an heirloom yellow pear tomato plant that's taller than me. I can't wait for the eggplants to mature! I've been using the herbs, but they should've gone into a long pot on their own.
My friend Betsy's death occupies my mind. I feel an onslaught of feelings I can't define—-feelings not fully formed, flashes of memories, a sense of urgency to make my final instructions, and at the same time, a renewed feeling of wanting to be mindful. It's like Elizabeth Perkins says in the movie The Doctor—"I don't want to just rush through things anymore. I don't have the time." But now my house is a giant mess, turned upside down by my desire to organize and clean up before guests come, before we move, before I die…
I'm not being cynical. I need to be realistic. I've enjoyed a quality of life that's been amazing, by all accounts, and not one enjoyed by many late stage cancer survivors (I still don't know the right word, not wanting to use "patient", "victim", etc). It's more difficult now, to imagine a decline that could happen any day. It's harder to hold on to hope in the face of death. I don't have many options if/when I progress—I'm allergic to many available treatments. Then there's just the prospect of exhausting all possibilities. I wring my hands for my friend Naomi. I'm a worrywart, I can't help it. Our futures are bound by this hateful disease. (She has to put up with, "Would you like to donate to Breast/Prostate Cancer?" at the grocery store too)
Financial reality curtails my impulse to travel. I didn't attend Betsy's Celebration of Life service because I couldn't afford to go. I haven't felt like this since college years, when I had to decide between laundry or splurging on a burrito. But then, what am I saving for? How much longer am I going to live? Why should I bother ? So we can buy a house…and it better happen soon, because I feel that familiar twinge in my hip (the one that says maybe things are moving around in my bones and there's not a damn thing I can do about it).
I'm remembering Betsy with a luminaria at the ACS Relay for Life. She made such a difference in my life and outlook. The important thing was what we shared when she was alive. Which really is the crux of the matter. Yeah, you feel rushed to do stuff with everyone, to do all the meaningful things, big and small. At the end of each day, that's all you can do. I suppose I could utilize my days better than cleaning the house, but I do get to survey the territory of my life. I see the things I've collected (that I should put on Ebay now or figure out what to do with), the books I've read (Friends of the Library), the clothes I loved (hard to part with the vintage stuff), but truly, my favorite things are reminders of specific times of my life. And, some of the most potent times have no relics.
Since we're on about clothing…the past two years have been spent in sweats, t-shirts and jeans, otherwise unattractive clothes. I've gained lots of weight, my hair's a mess, my skin's a drag, and in many ways, I can't see spending money on clothes (more like, I just want to be comfortable and not self-conscious). Which is the antithesis of my previous attitude. Perhaps I need to try to look better, fat or not. At least for my husband's sake (but psychologists would tell me I need to do it for myself, even if I die tomorrow). Maybe I can also find something to make the nausea go away (it's been happening after treatment lately).
Last night I had a full-blown dream about Bruno. I actually think and dream of him quite often. I could joke that he's my daemon, that's how close we were.
As regards my health status: CT scan of 6/02 is stable (or at least, they can't tell what's going on in my bones). It's confusing—sometimes they say I have 2 tumors in my left lung, other times they mention one. This time it was one, and it was 4.1cm in April, and now 3.7cm. Watch, next time there'll be two. I had my 19th cycle of Alimta on the 4th, with Aredia (biphosphonate), which was changed to every six weeks instead of three. Apparently my kidneys are not happy. My chest feels sort of congested, and my bones do hurt, which is worrisome. And there's nausea, which makes me think toxicity is increasing rapidly. Sigh. But I'm still here, and planning to post more cheerful fare at some point.
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