Friday, January 11, 2008

The Big C Rains


I ran from the shower to answer the phone, pressing my left breast firmly against me so it wouldn’t jiggle. I was in the process of changing the band-aid.

It was charming Dr. Mize with the news that the blip was a tiny cancerous tumor. She immediately included the positive - we can fix this. It can be cut out - an out-patient maneuver. Probably without any chemical follow up. That’s what bothers me. I don’t want to be killed by the cure. She named a surgeon and confirmed that Pam, the new friend nurse assigned to walk me through all this strange world of breast cancer, would be calling in a breath. Don’t worry. You’ll be able to do the trek to Everest. Then, the conversation was over.

I immediately began to shiver. My teeth chattered. I don’t know why. I don’t feel worried or scared or cold. I expected a negative report, for some reason. So I dressed in my comfortable workout clothes (although I cannot exercise until Friday) and went down to get the newspaper in the cold morning air. My teeth continued to chatter. My body was warm. Then I noticed the Mississippi was blanketed in a low pastel fog, the M bridge hardly visible, but a fresh sunlight painted leafless winter trees golden. Day was moving in. Rain storms had evaporated.

Up at the usual 5:30 to let Brandy my half lab-half Husky out, I was being lazy today since I am prohibited from much physical activity. I worked on writing yesterday’s blog, repairing earlier blogs and adding photos, reading encouraging emails from friends, and responding to them while sitting in my favorite upholstered chair with ottoman watching the river roll on by as barges pushed uphill. I never stay in a nightgown past seven a.m. I start each day with granola and a shower. But today, I loosened my standards to accommodate the fact exercise was not on the menu. When I walked into the shower late, I noticed my sports bra showed a spot of blood, remnant of the biopsy. The band-aid was bloody, too, so I aggh pulled it off and found a fresh one. Nothing hurt intolerably nor looked red.

On TV the Today Show was obsessed with the election results in New Hampshire. There had been resurrections of sort. Hope is never lost.

After hearing the results, I tried to get in touch with my three children. No one was reachable. They are doing their lives, and for that I’m blessed. I don’t want them or anyone to stop everything or worry for me. I left messages to call Nana. Then I called my heart friend in Uruguay. He fell apart. Don’t despair, I told him. This is life at its strongest. I’ve gotten under the wire too often. My time has come. It’s OK. I can’t ask for much more since I’ve had so much. God knows me. I trust him.

Even a thistle is beautiful if you observe it closely. It's all how you look at things. Think artichoke flower. Major thistle. A lovely lavender blue. And all those artichokes growing in Castro, California where there's even a fast food artichoke place. These thistles are called "caldo" in Spanish and become the horses favorite snacks, if left in fields in Uruguay. All sorts of thistles are used in the finest of English gardens because of their texture and color. The English know how to turn a weed into a show piece. But there’s something rewarding about every flower. Every speck of bad news has something good about it. Maybe it’s the "apoyo" of friends and family. They are the stems that hold me up.


So now I wait for a meeting Monday with the surgeon. (I keep calling him the "sculptor." I don’t know why). The first doctor suggested wasn’t able to help me out because of other health problems. So an equally skilled specialist in breast cancer tumors signed me up right away. Now the original surgeon has changed his heart an will take me on. He has saved lives of some of my life-long friends. He is the boob tumor specialist and had graciously removed my gal bladder in his earlier years as a doctor (I was a resident in Uruguay then and flew up to Memphis for the removal about 12 years ago.) I had been able to walk a mile the day after surgery and traveled to a flower design seminar in Florida.

After I meet with him, I can finally re-structure my calendar. I’m not an "if" person. I don’t like not knowing what I’m doing. I’m best running for the prize, the goal, the top of the mountain so I can start another ascent. Sometimes you have to change horses mid-stream when one isn't working out. But one way or the other, I need to know.

On looking around my bedroom-office I really need to clean off a table stacked with papers, pages I tear out of the NY Times and New Yorker, books (I invest in books big time), magazines, DVDs, mail - two months worth of unclaimed information. Also start my spiritual journey writing project, sit silent and create poetry, and get the printer fixed. (It keeps saying there’s a paper jam. I can’t find the jam.) Oh, and go to Starbucks, alas. I hear the rain is back, our local weathermen are so thrilled when they can roll out their maps and pointers). It's roaring on my windows. Goodie for gardens.

And the Rains Came

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