Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hope and Chocolate

On my desk.

I will just come out and say it, without shame: I amaze myself.

Less than a year after cancer treatment, I am feeling energetic although it is bedtime after a day that included over four hours of exercise - a 3000-yard swim, a 36-mile bike ride, and a 6-mile run. Not all in a row. But still.

Okay, maybe this is partly due to the chocolate I ate an hour ago. But — though I think we can all agree, chocolate has magical powers — those powers have their limits.

If you are in the midst of it, feeling the worst of it, or know someone who is, I hope this gives you hope.

 Of course, nothing is guaranteed. But the potential to amaze yourself exists. Go for it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Canine Love

In this video, Millie licks me nearly to death, mounting an art show, and some Ironman posturing. And puppies. More of my videos here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Time for Living

More of my videos here.
Today I listened to a message from the cancer center - no red flags in the blood tests they did last week, save for one: they forgot to do the liver function panel. Now I'm supposed to go to one of their labs (at least 45 minute drive, plus another 45 home again) for another needle stick. Because my veins are so chewed up from chemo, they stick me in weird, sensitive places - the back of my hand, the side of my wrist. I am not eager for the drive, the chore, the pain.

My first thought was rebellious. NO. Not gonna do it. They don't get any more of my blood until September. Not my fault, not my problem.

But then again, it's my life on the line, not the lab technician's.

So I will compromise. I'm not going to do anything about it today.

Next week, I'll think about it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spoiler Alert

Today I made the hour-long trek to the cancer center in order to receive my tri-monthly once-over by Dr. R, oncologist to the stars.

Okay maybe not the stars.

Just the same, the excitement of this happening traditionally causes me a certain numb-panic that perhaps only other cancer patients understand. Everything seems fine yet underneath stress brews so subtly it is barely recognizable. That is, until it breaks through the surface in the form of an angry outburst or a sudden unquenchable craving for peanut butter and banana sandwiches with a side order of chocolate bar, or whatever happens to be your go-to substance/behavior.

This time, however, for the first time yet, I wasn't up for hours in the middle of the night panicking and inspecting my body for new and suspicious lumps. This time I only lay awake for about forty-five minutes, enough of an improvement to convince me that I wasn't thrown emotionally at all. After all, I lie awake convinced the cancer is coming back and probing myself for lumps all the time.

Jim met me at the hospital for the festivities, which were uneventful except for the needle stick, which had to be done in my hand as the usual veins are too damned scarred. After, Jim drove his car while I drove mine to Whole Foods, where we planned to have lunch together from the salad bar. I suppose it should have tipped me off to find myself crying as I drove while listening to Jane Lynch's memoir on CD. As Jane recounted her experience landing the part of Sue Sylvester on the hit show Glee, I did fleetingly occur to me that though this was a lovely anecdote, it was not exactly a tearjerker.

It wasn't until after I said goodbye to Jim, picked up some groceries, and drove home while consuming several comfort food treats along the way, tears welling, that I finally realized and accepted that I was swamped.

I have a good life. As much as I love it, or perhaps because I love it, it is particularly distracting to be reminded at regular intervals that this dear life just might be on the line.

It seems like the emotional weight of this reality is too much to bear, that if I stand still and pay attention, it will break over me in as many waves as contained in the ocean and that there will be no room whatsoever to actually live in the spaces in between.

But then again, one person can only consume so much chocolate and peanut butter.

And also, as much as I hate to break it to myself, it's going to happen eventually. In this glorious story of life, we all die in the end.

Finally home and sprawled on the couch with Millie licking my hands, and then my feet, I called a friend and cried. And then I called Jim and cried some more.

And lo and behold. I'm functioning again.

Life goes on.

For another three months at least.

Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Hypnotize a Dog

Wait for it...

Wild horse, geese, dogs, tax returns, snow, good food, good music, cancer update, and the color red.

Millie versus Uggs. More of my videos here.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Why Not?

I love how Millie is literally sitting on the couch in this picture!

What were we staring at? I don't remember. But we both need a haircut.

I recently watched a talk given by filmmaker Kevin Smith in which he encouraged people to follow their dreams, whether it be opening a cupcake shop or making a movie. He says that there will always be people saying, Why? Why do this? Why do you want to do that? Why do you think you can do that? But we need to surround ourselves with Why not? And go ahead and do the things that thrill us and scare us.

So okay I did it. I signed up for the FirmMan half-ironman race in Narragansett on September 9th. I said in my last post that I was holding off until sure its something I want to do. I'm still not sure. But I am convinced that attempting things that we're not entirely sure we can pull off is good, especially if the idea of pulling it off is at least a little bit thrilling.

And besides, why not?