When I was growing up, the word cancer was a taboo word, spoken in hushed tones, with funereal hangings draped around it. It was a dirty word, as dirty as any four letter words you might be discouraged from using in polite company. More often it was called the "Big C" rather than by its full name which carried the burden of death on its back. These days the taboo doesn't feel quite as strong. I'm sure the television ads for competing cancer centers can take some credit for that. We see images of people who look healthy and grateful for the center they have chosen. See, cancer isn't such a big deal after all! Or maybe that's what they'd like for us to believe. It can be controlled! Treated! Managed! You can live! These many months after my diagnosis it still feels surreal to think … Read More...
Since the beginning of this month I've been teaching a Zentangle® class on Monday evenings, right at the time when I'd normally be cooking dinner. As I mentioned that week, it's required a new strategy to get dinner on the table once I returned home from class feeling tired and hungry, and without the patience or time to cook anything that required much effort or even a recipe, unless it could be prepared entirely in advance. At first point Annie volunteered to make dinner Monday nights since she's home for the summer but, unfortunately (for me at least), she has had work hours on Mondays and needs to decompress for a few hours before working on her summer class. Plus, if preparing dinner is tiring for me after teaching, I wouldn't expect her to have the energy and focus to cook after her work shift. There's always a standing offer from Joe to bring home dinner on the nights that I … Read More...
Are you one of those easy-going people who take life, unquestioning, at face value? If so, I'm jealous. I'm not. I question everything. Like, why do we all drive ourselves crazy in December? Why do we cram in all of the fun activities and merrymaking, and gift giving, and parties, and charity, and special events in this final month of the year? Is this due to our human procrastination flaw? That we realize in the final month of the year that we haven't met our annual quota of the above activities, and we need to make sure we get it all in before it's too late and the calendar flips to the new year? I have a tendency to turn into a real Grinch when I think about what we do to ourselves in these final few weeks, and if it weren't for Louisa who loves Christmas, I would walk around scowling the entire month. Instead, I'm trying hard to accept that's what happens in December, and that we … [Read More...]
Louisa has been studying poetry in her AP English class this year. For a recent assignment she had to write an essay on a poet of her choosing, and she selected Nobel prize winner Elizabeth Bishop. Louisa's completed essay was open on my computer and after satisfying my curiosity by reading it, I became intrigued by one of the poems in particular, because it sums up the experience of going through what's turning into months of chemotherapy. … [Read More...]
Yesterday I received my second chemo treatment and the time was reduced down to 5 hours instead of the 7 spent during my first treatment. I guess I'm taking it well, or as well as chemo can be taken. The side effects are in full force now, including losing my tastebuds and my hair. You know, the ordinary things that we generally think about like what do we want to eat for our next meal and is it a good or bad hair day. But I will elaborate on both of those topics in a future post. For now, I just want to say that I was as busy as a person could possibly be for those five hours. People often think I'll be bored to tears sitting there but not me! I'm now experienced enough (it only takes one treatment to figure out a lot) to come prepared. And yesterday I brought my Kindle with a new book; my lap desk; my Zentangle® supplies and Diva Challenge; as well my iPad to attack my lengthy … [Read More...]