Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I am worried about y'all

I think the thing that is causing me the most confusion, sadness and difficulty is how much this cancer is affecting and upsetting so many people. You see for me it is almost a lark. It is something new to experience that I have never dealt with before. It is sort of a game to see if I can keep all the balls in the air, work, treatments, my “kids”, friends, and all the other things I want to do, like be in a movie and work with the Opera House on the plays. Yes, I have pain, but I would be willing to bet that there are people out there with sinus infections, migraines, pulled muscles or broken toes that are suffering way more then I am. And for me to get to see in the world of medicine, this very interesting disease, well it is like a treat. I love the big machines that they swing around just barely an inch away from me that shoot electrons or other radiation at my chest and neck. I like my mask and the marks it leaves on my face afterwards. They don’t last that long, but they are kind of cool looking. I love that I am being far braver then I ever thought I would be. I love that I am seeing the best of all of my friends. Their kindness, their love. Their concern. I mean I was supposed to film with Freddy last week, but both he and Marcy experienced cancer with their fathers, so they are very cautious not to let anything happen to me. They were filming outside and they were concerned with the heat index that it might be too much for me. So I was upset about loosing my chance at filming for about 5 minutes, but then I was just so taken by their care and concern how could I stay upset? I still think I would have been fine. But having friends who love you that much, I have to respect their concern and appreciate that I am blessed with so many people who care about me.

But really, I am fine. I am taking a prescription strength Ibuprofen twice a day along with the Tramodal, and that combination seems to be working. Yes, there is still a little pain, but not enough to really even notice unless I stop and think about it. Shoot, other then when I was on the steroids and felt no pain at all, this is less pain then I have had for the last 4 -5 months. And I have energy. Lots of energy. And then at night when I go to sleep, I sleep very well. I am eating well. Maybe not a lot of food, but I think I am eating as much as I normally eat. And my weight is maintaining.

And yes, I am driving Dr. B a little crazy, and he does seem a bit frustrated with me, he listens to what I have to say, and when Judy suggested some drugs that helped her, he gave me the scripts. So really what a great doctor. However, he does seem to be focused on my hair. Every time we talk about the chemo he brings up that by week three it is very likely I will not have any hair. I think he is just trying to prepare me. It probably is a shock, no matter how many times they tell you that you will loose your hair, when you actually get up in the morning with your pillow case covered in hair and your head naked as a jay bird (I just love that saying, although it doesn’t make any sense why a jay bird would be any more naked then any other bird). And I don’t really know how I am going to feel. And I don’t know how it will feel when I am tired and not wanting to eat when I start the chemo. But I do know a few things. That my beloved ones will be there to support and love me. And that I am strong enough to survive being bald and sick and tired. I also know that this is not the only story of my life, that this will just be one more story of a life that has been full and happy.

Some of my other favorite stories include, playing opossum girl on the back of a Paris to Dakar BMW motorcycle driving all over Alaska; travelling to 49 of the 50 states; clowning in Key West; clowning in New Orleans; my first time jumping out of an airplane (and no, I did not think it was a perfectly good plane; it was crowded and they had taken all of the seats out of it); the first time I went up in a hot air balloon; travelling to Spain with my Mother; travelling across Europe with my Dad twice; all the car trips I have taken in my life, like the one to New Foundland and Prince Edward Island or to Vancouver Island, oh and so many many more car trips; My Labradors (lots of wonderful stories there for Wester, Windy, Spray, Meme, Maggie, Seward, Harry, Lily and Bob); my 20+years of raising chickens; watching my nieces and nephews grow up, including my adopted ones! Working at a flower shop; working as a caterer; volunteering at the library; working at a stained glass studio and then at Wildchild Art Gallery; working as a nanny; working in research facilities for the USDA; working for the Florida Department of Ag; working as a Special Education Agriculture Teacher in Key West; working as a social worker; as a park ranger; for the opportunity to have owned my own plant business; my first husband’s and my Italian Restaurant; teaching clowning; being on the Department’s training team, being on the EPA’s training team; all the boat trips that my family took and then my second husband and I took; getting to be a part of the Opera House, acting, stage managing and directing; getting to pee in Alice’s restaurant with Susan and Linda and then watching Linda get to spin in the field as she sang the Sound of Music at the Family Von Trapp Lodge in Stowe, VT; growing up along the gulf with Vicki; surviving Hurricane Charlie with windes documented at 168 mph; dressing up in Chinese clothing and eating at a Chinese restaurant; dressing in traditional Indian clothing and going to a dance festival with Geeta; getting to sit on stage with BB King; getting to see Mandy Patinkin in Concert and hearing him say, “My name is Indigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die”; seeing sun rises and sun sets all over the world; crafting, gardening, oh, so many many more stories of just living life to the fullest, and I have tried to grab as many opportunities as I could in this life; And I am so very very grateful for all my beloved ones. Oh, so many many many wonderful beloveds. In this country and others around the world. I am just so blessed in more ways then anyone should be.

And why am I so blessed? I think that it is because I had great parents and a very supportive family and that I reached out and grabbed these blessings, these gifts, these opportunities. And because I try to live each moment in the moment as possible, which gives you all the wonderful stories. The smiles, the guffaws, the tears. And I truly appreciate each gift even if at times it is hard to see the gift.

So, if you don’t mind, please do not feel sorry for me, or worry about me. I know that is a lot to ask of you. But hey, I have cancer, and I don’t think asking you to be happy with and for me is asking you to do anything harder then I have to deal with here. I do understand that you feel helpless standing there watching me go through this. You want to help, to do something, to take away the cancer, the pain. But I don’t want you to. I want to experience this journey.  I don’t want a lot of hats or scarves or wigs, unless of course they are purple and yellow with the Sainted Mother on it. Ok, I have that one already, and really if you want to give me a hat or scarf, it should be as um, ok, tacky as the one Ms Moon gave me. Because I don’t know if I will ever be able to wear it around my bald head, mostly because I have never been any good at tying those things, but it made me smile and it is in my purse as we speak and when I look at it again I think of Ms Moon and I smile again. So please don’t feel obligated to do anything for me. But if you are here and I need something, I promise to call and ask. And if I don’t call, it is because I am fine or someone else already jumped in and did for me. But right now, if you smile and think about how crazy I am for not being afraid of this cancer, this little c, this interesting hic cup along my wonderful and amazing life’s journey, then you have given me the greatest gift ever. The belief in me that I can be strong and can survive this, and after the story of this adventure is over, regardless of how it eventually plays out, you believe that I am so very grateful for this gift, this journey, and that you have rode along with me on this journey and really isn’t that the most wonderful and amazing part of life. The gift of friends and an adventure, the thing that dreams are made of!


  1. I have a good friend who had breast cancer and did not impose her discomfort on anyone. She was a bit too stoic in some ways but it was what she wanted. I think that people can be concerned but as you so eloquently pointed out, it isn't their journey but yours. Take care.

  2. Every post you write is a gift to us who are reading. You have such joy that it just radiates out over the web!
    Take care,

  3. I agree, this post is a gift. Your attitude, your gratitude, your acceptance, your heart and your intelligence just shine through. I believe that no matter what, you will be just fine.

  4. And this is why I love you so.
    You have enriched my life in the few years I've known you more than I ever could have imagined that anyone could.
    I love you, Kathleen.