Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Day Before

Flying into Memphis last night the city lit up in bright Tennessee orange as the M bridge pointed the way across the Mississippi to the airport, where I waited a half hour to get one bag. At least I got it. I felt relieved to be on home soil so there’d be no hitch in the next two day schedules.
I was up and gone on a fasting stomach by 6:30 today - driving in rush hour traffic to get to the hospital (25 minutes on the freeway) for blood work, which took a minute. And I dashed out of there to get my light coffee frappachino (ten minutes away) - probably the unhealthiest thing I could do - and a light blueberry coffee cake. Yum.
For some reason, I spent the rest of the morning in my kitchen playing with food: cutting up yellow fruits - peaches, mangos, cantaloupe; cooking broccoli; and making 20 baggies of Gorp as Wendy Bazilian, the nutritionist at the Golden Door, had suggested - mixing roasted almonds and pecans, yoghurt covered peanuts, pumpkin seeds, other seeds, various kinds of raisins, cranraisins, and other dried fruits, and dark chocolate chips in big grocery bags, and putting them by cupfuls into each baggy. Then I found cookies I had stored in a corner of the freezer. Oh well. Healthy eating is seasonal. It’s cold here today and bridges have remnants of salt sprinkled over them in a frosty spell last week.

Am I worried about tomorrow? No. I am so up for whatever happens tomorrow, that if they said there was nothing to do, I’d probably be upset. I want to go through it and share it with others who might have the same experience booked. Maybe this is my Job moment. But I have no doubts that whatever happens, God has me in his hands, and I like his hands. They are held by loving friends.

I am really excited that my three children are going to take turns "taking care of" me. I’m not a patient patient, and will revel in the moment and not to be too instructive. Each one has a night or two. I will adore their attention but I really don’t expect to be an invalid or that I won’t be able to do normal things in twenty-four hours. The tumor is in the left boob, so the right side can do it’s normal work. I guess I have to watch out for the nodule they take out to make sure the scene is clean. That takes longer to heal.

I stopped by Calvary Church and my priest Andy anointed and laid hands on me. Then I mailed bills, wrote emails, answered emails, and drove back in town to hug two of my grandchildren - the youngest of my seven, Henry and Caroline. When I walked in the door, Henry grinned around his pacifier and jumped up and down in his entertainment jumper. Caroline curled up in a ball and giggled as I asked her about her day in school. She drew a portrait of the family - round heads, major eyes, and stick legs and arms. She was the biggest form because she is a "big girl." Both of them, as all my grandchildren, put light in my heart.
But the highlight of the day was a phone call on my cell while I was driving back home at dusk. My friend and mountain guide Jim Williams was speaking through a satellite phone at 19,000 feet on a crater edge in Chile or Bolivia (I don’t know which side - this mountain posed in the view from my window when I was in the Atacama Desert in Chile. ) He said his group was summiting tomorrow - and he knew I was climbing an obstacle tomorrow as well and he was holding me up in spirit and would stop by on his way back to Wyoming. I’m most excited about the April-May trek to Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan where I’ll learn new cultures and meet new people as well as see some of the most beautiful places in the world. This is what keeps my energy up - knowing my task is to keep fit through walking, pilates and gym in the days to come, even when the radiation weakens me, I cannot get down and out.

I want to make it clear, I’m not sick. I’m healthier than I have ever been in my life. I have just been invaded by something I don’t know and, through the help of a gentle surgeon and a staff of warm and helpful people, we are going to pull it out like a pearl from an oyster and smash it to bits. Actually, trying to figure out that image, I began wondering, where do removed tumors really go?

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