Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Cancer Journey ~ Five O'Clock Shadow

My eyebrows are returning. Chemotherapy temporarily scattered them to the winds, but now they are regrouping. They are peeking their hopeful little faces out of their tiny dens and asking, "Is it safe yet? Are we there yet?" Almost, little eyebrows, almost!

My eyes have a five o'clock shadow of eyebrows. I assume my head also has a five o'clock shadow that remains hidden by my hat. However, even were my head uncovered, it would not cast a shadow on itself. Therefore, I believe by faith that my head has a five o'clock shadow. (I walk by faith, not by sight.)

Five O'Clock Shadow! According to the dictionary, it is "a dark appearance on a man's chin and face caused by the slight growth of beard that has occurred since he shaved in the morning." Since the area above my eyes is neither a man's face or chin, I am playing somewhat loosely with the idea of a five o'clock shadow. If I wanted to play especially loose, I could call any growth that takes place between the morning and the evening a five o'clock shadow. Interesting idea...Hmm...

Suppose I link the idea of a five o'clock shadow with another five o'clock expression: "It's five o'clock somewhere." My father-in-law used so say that when he wanted a drink. (In 2003, Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet recorded a song with that title. They must have gotten the idea from my father-in-law.) Here's the link: A five o'clock shadow appears at the end of a long working day at–wait for it–five o'clock. Tired, hungry, wilted, the working man wearing the shadow pours himself a stiff drink in an effort to revive himself. His five o'clock shadow is comforted. But suppose the five o'clock shadow appears at four o'clock instead. Should the shadow man have to wait until the clock strikes five to relieve himself? No! In all the wide world, there is a clock striking five somewhere. A stiff drink is justified.

Getting back to my eyebrows. They have a five o'clock shadow. They have been working hard; they are tired, hungry, and wilted. But it is not five o'clock somewhere for them. My taste buds have also been affected by chemotherapy, and one of the consequences is that I do not have a taste for a stiff drink–any alcohol for that matter. It's a shame really. I know that red wine in moderation is good for you, but I cannot abide the smell. Last weekend, I was with family members who brought some bottles of really fine wine, the sight of which made me queasy. 

Oh well. I have some leftover red wine at home. I can always use it when I make marinara if it hasn't turned to vinegar. Don't be discouraged, little eyebrows. Keep growing.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Hello, Rhino!

I wrote in an earlier post (Fatal Associations) that I was setting aside The Book of Rhino #2 because I did not want it to be associated with chemotherapy. Well, now I am back at my writing desk and rejoicing. The thing is, I love Rhino. I missed him.

I missed Amalia. I missed Alanar, Skandar, Wilfred, Elbert, and Trevor. I missed Virgil, Franna, Hosten, and Beatrice. I missed Brother Simon and Master Altman. I missed Rheynold, Lokinvar, Vortimer, William, and Ethelred. I missed Henry William, Margery, and Derwin the miller (the most fortunate of men.) I missed Malcolm the musician and  his sister Merion. I even missed Father Caril.

I missed Hedgehog (in small doses.) But most of all, I missed Skunk, Mole, Rabbit, Mountain Horse, and Dove. I am so glad to be back with them, sharing their adventures and regaling them with tall tales.

(Note to self: My list reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut's list of authors he knows. The world would probably find his list much more impressive than mine. No matter. I would not trade my list for his or anyone else's.)

So glad to be back.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Returning to the World

Hello Universe!
It is so nice to keep company with you again. I have missed you.

Last Sunday, I attended church for the first time in six months – it was wonderful! Our Sunday school teacher played a music video "If You Don't Love Your Neighbor, Then You Don't Love God." It was very fitting. For the past six months, I have been the neighbor, the grateful recipient of countless loving acts of kindness from others. As I have mentioned before in this journal, one of the things I have learned is there are no trivial acts of kindness. They are all huge.

One of my goals is to be healthy enough to pay it forward, to show others in need the care and compassion so liberally bestowed on me. May my eyes and heart be opened to whomever is my neighbor. I am pretty sure the universe will back me up in this. May all of you have a very lovely day.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A Cancer Journey ~ Brain Sympathy

Next Monday will mark three weeks since my last chemo infusion. I wonder if my brain will recognize the date and make me feel  sick. Habits of the flesh, you know. Perhaps I should not even be writing about it just in case I give my brain ideas. Hmm...
"Well, heigh ho," I say, (in case my brain is listening),"I am certainly looking forward to feeling good on Monday." There. That should set her off the track (assuming, of course, that my brain pays any attention to the things I say.)

On the other hand, if my brain decides to make me sick next Monday, I think it will due to misapplied sympathy. My brain decides that I should feel more comfortable feeling sick because that is what I have grown accustomed to it. So it thinks it sympathizes with me, but if it had any empathy at all, it would leave me be.

Brain sympathy: The condition in which the brain imagines it shares your feelings  based on empirical data. The brain–being the rational creature that it is–does not sympathize. It cannot actually feel what my stomach does. It can only empathize in understanding what it feels like.

Note: Sympathy is feeling what another person feels. Empathy is understanding what another person feels without necessarily experiencing the same feeling.

Other than occasional misplaced sympathy, I am very happy with the way my brain functions and am willing to overlook its mistakes. It is allowed to be goofy once in a while; I don't even mind when it is Mickey Mouse or Pluto. I just hope it does not make me sick on Monday.