Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yup. Been four months since last post. Along with everything else I've become, add inconsistent, a procrastinator, and an organized person who likes structure and schedules now structure and schedule free (and with nothing to organize!).

1. Rent

 Jon and I went to Portland to see Broadway tour of the musical Rent. It was awe-inspiring and beautiful and sad. We both sat crying through the second act. If you’re not familiar with Rent, it tells the story of an exuberant family of friends and lovers living illegally in an industrial loft in New York City, while AIDS is ravaging their community and the world.

2. Eyes
This might seem like a whine, but my eyes SUCK! I’m told I have “dry eye,” and that my medications cause it. (My nose - another faucet, due to my chemo drug.) They itch, they’re red, they
I picture myself like this.
run like faucets, which doesn’t seem dry but apparently that’s the body trying to compensate. I’ve used every drop known to personkind, I even had my tear ducts “plugged,” which helps some. I think
the situation is as good as it’s going to get. Also, I wear prescription glasses for the first time in my life, at age 53. When I was little I wished I wore glasses.  

In the scheme of things, I’m super “healthy:” no radiologic evidence of disease in my body; the ability to practice yoga, and
And this
Me and my eyes in tree pose.
go running if I feel like it; no pain. But the annoyance of the eyes can be indescribable. Living daily and nightly with this and for many, much worse annoyances - knowing we
And this.
are not going to heal, knowing that overflowing facial orifices and/or coughing, shortness of breath, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, headaches, diarrhea, and worse - is how metsters live in the minutia  of day to day life. Oh, and the two pesky little brain mets I’m carrying around right now - no biggie, we’re just going to keep an eye on them. It’s all relative, which brings me to my next chapter.

3. Relative

If, five years ago, you’d told me “...two tiny brain tumors; we’ll watch them and see what they do…,” the drama and terror I felt might have exploded said brain. I was told this right before Christmas and frankly it felt like pretty good news.  It’s crazy how tolerance changes. It’s surreal - the changing definitions of good news and bad. At least my body is clear of visible cancer; at least the tumors aren’t making me sick right now. The scale of things in my weak and tired brain has literally and figuratively changed. My cognitive issues from radiation to my brain beginning in June of 2015 (and probably not ending) have worsened. Even Jon notices how out there and incapable of certain things I am. I don’t drive out of town any more; I veer around while walking on sidewalks; I can’t remember what you just told me, or what I said I was going to do; and maybe most sadly I have trouble reading and concentrating. As I wrote in one morning’s “5-minute journaling sessions” (a habit I was trying to cultivate at which I am currently failing), IS THIS SUPPOSED TO TEACH ME SOMETHING I REALLY NEEDED TO KNOW?

4. Voldemort

I’m scared, as are many of my metster friends, about the election of He Who Shall Not Be Named. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act may include putting lifetime spending caps on all of our insurance plans, whether ACA plans or not. Everyone may also not qualify for insurance with pre-existing conditions. I and many more have already passed lifetime spending caps by getting cancer, and duh, incurable cancer is kind of a pre-existing condition. Add just these two items, to the fact that my family’s awesome insurance (I’m one very lucky cancer patient - all relative, right?) comes from a federally funded U.S. Department of Education grant. My husband runs our county’s federal program, which helps kids in poverty get to college and beyond. If programs in Dept. of Ed. are eliminated, or hell, if the Dept. of Ed. is eliminated, our family and many others would be screwed, not to mention all the students that have been helped and inspired by this War on Poverty program.

5. Poem


a sand dune
disappearing grain
by grain in wind
and pounding waves

wet leaves transforming into slick mulch
thickening the ground
unrecognizable now as the life giving force
they were
(though mulch gives life in its own way)

a cliffside receding as rocks fall
roots unearthed by a raging storm

i too am disappearing 
in my way