Saturday, April 28, 2018

Temporary Final Post

I have decided to take a break from this blog for a while. I need to stop and do research and analysis about my cancer journey. That means I will be recording my daily observations, collecting data, and looking for patters–all boring stuff to write about.

For those of you who would still like to read what I write, I refer you to my other blog. It has interesting stuff.

Thank you for reading. Many blessings.

Curious Hart

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Swedish Death Cleaning

Yes, there is such a thing as de-cluttering before you die. It means going through your possessions before your unhappy relatives do and getting rid of stuff. I began the process three years ago, after my Aunt Helen was put in a care facility. I tell you it is no small chore to completely empty a house.

Getting a cancer diagnosis and undergoing chemotherapy put a halt to the process, as in a complete cabosh (is that the word I want? Is that even a word? Even if it isn't, I want it!) Now that I am feeling better, I have resumed the task. This week my husband and I tackled the garage:part one and the guest bedroom.

(Note: I say garage:part one because I foresee the garage having multiple parts before it is completely cleansed and organized.)

Although it seems daunting at first to going through all of your closets, cupboards, and drawers, once you begin, it's relatively easy. The de-cluttering muse comes upon you, the scales fall from your eyes, and you realize that you did not need to keep that oversize jacket that you never wore after all.

Juxtaposed against this de-cluttering process is a brouhaha, a tempest-in-a-teacup, fomented by a professor at Fresno State University. Apparently this professor posted a tweet denigrating Barbara Bush the day after the former first lady's death. Many people are upset by this; others are supporting the professor right to free speech.

As for me, I think that when a person resorts to name-calling and labeling, they expose themselves as having very little to say. Their ideas and opinions lose credibility with me. On the other hand, I feel sorry for such people because of the baggage they are adding to their character—there are some things that, once they are acquired, cannot be de-cluttered. Name-callers take on baggage that they will carry with them for a lifetime. Good grief! Who wants that? I don't think the name-callers do; I just think they don't realize what they are doing. Poor things.

(Note to self: Take care not to add clutter to your life that you will not be able to get rid of later—and don't leave it to your family members after you are gone. It's not fair.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Destination Becomes Journey

"Delight yourself in the little things, and you will always be delighted, for the world is full of little things."
The Book of Rhino

One the changes I have noticed in my recovery from cancer treatment is I am more of a Journey Girl than a Destination Girl. The Now Girl. I am not so fussed about long term plans for the future as I used to be. I am just happy to get out of bed in the morning and walk into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.

I have shoved in my oar; the little things are rowing the boat.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Masters Golf Tournament

Not all recovery days are alike; some are better than others. Today is a good recovery day because (1) the Masters Golf Tournament is taking place, (2) it's Saturday, and (3) it's raining.

Today I will watch the Masters Tournament in a room where the window shows rain falling from an heavy sky * while working on a needlepoint project. I will also start a new jigsaw puzzle. Life is good.

Rain on a Saturday makes me feel that I do not have to do anything useful or productive. It is my excuse for living as a human being, not a human doing. On the other hand, my hands insist on doing something, like needlepoint or puzzles. Apparently they do not see themselves as part of the human being race. I do not fault my hands for thinking this way; all their lives, they have been doing things. They are used to being active so I accommodate them, and let them have their way with needles, scissors, fabric, and tiny pieces of cardboard.

Today I will watch the Master Tournament in a room where the heavy sky lets in just enough light to keep my hands entertained—they are not big on golf.

* In her book H is for Hawk, Helen MacDonald describes an overcast sky as "the colour of wet cement." I think that is heavy.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Disappointing Expectations

Have you ever experienced this? You are tootling around the house, minding your own business, when WHAM! you get broadsided by disappointment–not that you have a disappointment–you are the disappointment. I hate when that happens. It has happened to me.

Now that I am recovering from cancer and chemo, I am discovering that people have all sorts of expectations what I should be doing and how I should be feeling. My criminy! I'm still working on getting up in the morning; I'm still the Now Girl, but that is not good enough for some people. Plans are being made for Future Girl. Now I don't mind that Future Girl's life is being organized in advance, except when Future Girl is me. It just goes to show that everyone has a plan for your life.

I don't have expectations for people, other than the usual ones. I expect our elected officials to behave like rational beings. I expect our lawmakers and those who enforce the law to be just and equitable. I expect doctors and nurses to be kind to the suffering. These are general expectations that are attached to the office rather than the individual. However, I don't place specific expectations on particular people because I don't wish to burden them. An expectation is a burden; it's an obligation to carry out someone else's agenda.

What is really weird is when you are unaware of the expectation someone has of you, and you don't measure up. Then you are a disappointment–people don't like disappointments, so you have the unique experience of participating in a one-sided fight.

(Note: One-sided fights are not good fights because only one person knows (a) that there is a fight and (b) what the fight is about.)

The only person I have expectations for is me. It's quite enough to deal with my own disappointment in that area.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

What Now?

"What now?"

This is the opening sentence of the second Book of Rhino. It's appropriate that after the first book in which all sorts of things happened that the next book in the series starts with "what now."

I have been writing an account of my journey through cancer in which all sorts of things happened, so it is appropriate that the next series of journal entries should start with "what now."

At the beginning of this journey, I met with my family doctor, who talked with me at length about the disease, its treatment and its prognosis. One of the things that he said which really struck me was that this ordeal would change me. Therefore, in answer to the "what now" question, I must assume that everything I write will be from a changed perspective.

For example, I now view television differently. I notice the ads for drugs that treat various diseases. You know the type—they have a common script.

"Ask you doctor if (insert name of new wonder drug) is right for you."
"Common side effects are (list a plethora of conditions ranging from the sniffles to the ten plagues of Egypt.)

(Note to self: Is plethora the word I want?)

The side effects really get me. I know all about side effects, having experienced a few of them myself. They are not fun. What really gets me is that for one of the drugs advertised, lymphoma is one of the side effects. Lymphoma? Really? What really, really gets me is that lymphoma is casually listed among the other side effects like dizziness and nausea, as if it on par with them. I have experienced both dizziness and nausea, and believe me, they are not the same as lymphoma.

My advice is this: If your doctor thinks (insert name of new wonder drug) is right for you, and a possible side effect is lymphoma, then FLEE! (Or as Junior puts it FLEA!)

How that for change?

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Free at last! No more medi-port!

Yesterday the medi-port that dispensed death to my cells was removed. The oddest part about the procedure was that my entire body was covered with a blanket size piece of paper. One of the nurses lifted one side of the paper by my head and taped it to a metal stand next to the operating table. It made a little opening for air.

It reminded me of when I was a child pulling the covers over my head. I would scrunch up one side into a small tent so I could breathe. It always made me feel protected to have the blankets arranged that way. However, I do not think the nurse's intent was to make me feel protected. I was going to ask why my face had to be covered for the procedure, but the drugs took over and put me to sleep.

Last Tuesday, I got rid of all my cancer drugs; now that was a good feeling. I hope my little cells learned their lesson about going rogue–all it gets them is massive amounts of unnatural chemicals. We–me and my cells–are too old to go rogue anymore. I did enough of that in my foolish youth, and all I learned was that it didn't work for me. It's better being rogueless.

Now that I am also portless, the question to ask is "what now?" That is a great question, a thoughtful question, a curious question, a question that deserves so much respect it will have to be answered in another post.

For today, I am going to revel in my state of deportation.