Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Friday, October 1, 2010

Still digesting everything

I have made phone calls and talked to beloveds that I have not spoken to in a while.  There are a few others I would like to talk to still.  Perspective.  I need to get my perspective back and talking to people and laughing over so many funny stories, shared experiences, presents given openly between human beings.  Mij said that the Royal Poinciana I gave the year before I moved here has grown into a beautiful tree with a 14 foot span shading the porch of the front of her yellow house.  She said it bloomed this year in a mass of deep reddish orange flowers covering the entire tree that has a purple bougainvillea below and the petals mixing together just filled her front yard with Tropical color.  Mij lives just down the street from where I used to live in Bokeelia, on Pine Island near Ft. Myers.  Mij and I have had so much fun together.  She is a dear sweet old hippie woman like Ms Moon and I, a gloriously talented potter and creative genius and funny and sweet and married to the engineer Jim.  They are a wonderful couple, still very much in love with each other.  Yes, perspective talking to Mij.

I spent most of yesterday crying.  I tried hard to be analytical as I sat in my red chair and wept.  Why was I crying?  Was I sad?  No, not really, Overwhelmed?  Yes, most definitely.  Scared, no, shocked by the possibility of how unprepared I am to leave this life.  What about my dogs?  Maggie will be 15 December 7, I mean how much moving will she be up to?  She has very bad arthritis in her front right leg.  And Harry.  Harry.  This is probably the largest registered Labrador retriever you would ever see.  I can wear his collar as a belt.  He is massive, but mostly he is just a giant heart covered with a milk chocolate fur coat.  He has epilepsy and it has worn out his body.  He will be 13 on Valentine's day.  Isn't that the perfect day for a giant heart disguised as a massive dog to be born on?  And then my baby, my boy, my Bob.  I love Maggie and Harry as much as I have loved any child of mine and I love Bob that much too.  Bob will  be 3 in April.  So that is a huge age difference to determine homes for the dogs.  And then the 4 cats, I mean, what do we do with Marina?  She can be so sweet, but 90% of the time she is capable and willing to rip a major appendage off of you with out giving a blink.  What am I going to do with her?  She is only 8 years old.  Granted she is so raggedy and mangy that she looks twice that age, but I can't even get her to the vet, let alone move her to someone else.  I think Ms Moon would help found homes for the chickens.  I am overwhelmed.

And I didn't cry because I was dying of cancer, no, I was crying because I was releasing.  Releasing the word, "Incurable"; releasing "less then one year"; releasing anger from my ex-husband and him changing and going in a different direction then we had worked so hard on for so many year.  Releasing the bone tired of having just done everything I could cram in a day for the last 3 years.  I have focused on experiencing, doing, learning, working, volunteering, staying  busy.  Yes, I am bone tired and some of the tears were releasing some of that tired.  I cried because I could and I wanted to.  And it was good.  

Today, the nausea is sneaking in.  I have taken my pill, and eaten a salad for lunch and a LaCroix, trying to keep the nausea in perspective.  I feel a little tired, but all in all, not bad. 

I did have good news today.  Susan is working to get me a second opinion at Archibald's New Oncology Department.  Dr. Susan is Rich's sister who lives in Thomasville.  She is absolutely delightful, and so kind and considerate, and right now, I am so blessed to her in my corner.  Once I know when we will be doing the follow up work, Susan will then get me into Archibald.  That has helped immensely with the perspective.  There is a particular doctor there that Susan would like to get me in with.  Her name is Kathleen Killearn.  Steps forward.

I don't think I feel like I am dying any more.  I mean no more then I was before.  I am confused by how much longer I will be here.  Everyone wants me to live until 80, 90, 100 years.  But that is more then I can focus on right now.  My focus at this moment is to live maybe 5-10 years.  To live, and have quality of life.  The length is not the focus right now, but to live.   And if I am gifted to have many more years, that is great, but the focus is on the life.

Labrun.  Where I have my chicken coop and barn, my orchard and vineyards, my gardens.  I have shade from the trees in the front yard, mostly pine, but also magnolia and oak, maple, camellia, tea olive, crape myrtle, with an understory of azaleas.  The back yard, cleared so that I have room for wide long runs of perennials and then the veggie gardens, one to grow in, one to lay fallow.  Each big enough to constantly rotate the crops.  No, I don't want to loose focus on what is important.  Is it important that I live for as long as possible?  I think I can safely say that is in the mix, but more importantly to me is to be here, my home.  

And I have to laugh.  I have lots so much perspective, I started wondering, will I ever need to buy any more clothes?  Do I have enough right now?  How about plants.  I love plants, but I can't keep up with all of it, so no need to buy any more plants.  Books.  I have plenty to ready right now, and so many friends who loan me books, and of course the library.  There are so many things to consider when you have a hint about how long you may be here.  I need to find my perspective, and it is coming back.  I just need to give it time.  I still have time.  Really, last week I had no idea how long I was going to live.  Funny, I really don't know any better how long I am going to live right this moment.  And that is good perspective.


  1. Thank you for sharing this, for letting us in.

  2. I may have a crying day coming up soon, too. I need to release and I need to let some things go and I need to let some things in. Heart-leakings. Today Owen was tired and couldn't get his nap and he cried- oh, how he cried! Just desperate tears of frustration and I know how he feels and I think how wonderful it is to be a baby and let all of that out. And he, like you, doesn't really cry that often.
    I hate to think of you crying but I am glad you can because it may turn out that although we think we humans are special in so many ways, it may only be our gift of tears which sets us apart in any way from the other creatures of this planet.
    Yes, I am babbling because I want you to know that however and whatever you need to feel, do, think, talk about- that is what you need to do and I want you to be able to do all of it.
    I love you.

  3. It broke our hearts to hear this, but we know you're strong, and have the most amazing friends to support you. I'm at a loss for words because I know nothing I say can change anything, and I'm terrible at making people feel better. Just know that Steph, Little Colin and myself all love you very much, and we're here if you need us. I can't speak for Big Colin though. I could, it just wouldn't sound nearly as charming.
    We're having Little Colin's first birthday party on the 24th around 6:30 at the new house, and we'd love to have you there.

  4. I just wanted you to know that I am reading and thinking of you and loving you.

  5. I am reading. I feel like a voyeur. I don't know you. But I feel your sadness and your strength. And we are all a part of the human condition, aren't we? So I will be here to offer my hand if you need it. I will listen and I will let you know that I am here.

  6. I am listening, too. And I am glad that you cried. I think it's true -- what Ms. Moon said about tears and being human. Keep writing and sharing and crying and drying your tears. And we'll keep listening. For five years or a hundred.

  7. I am glad that you are getting another opinion. You are welcome to come to Hollings Cancer Center here and stay with us or at the Hope Lodge which is right across the street from the Cancer Center. It is a well reknowned facility. But keep fighting and keep getting more opinions. There are new drugs that are being tried every day.

  8. I am awed when I read words like yours, stories that happen to 'everyday' people but that are handled with a true uncommon grace. I mean you are crying and shocked and all these things but it's amazing when you think about it how we can hear the most mind boggling unacceptable news and not walk around banging a pot on our head.


    so here's to you and your spirit, your tears, your search, your living, your presence, honesty and to really really good second opinions.

  9. Hugs and kisses and a cup of tea in bone china.

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  11. Good for you for getting in a good weep. Those really good ones can be so exhausting and cleansing. I hope it was like that for you.

    I'm so amped to hear about your friend getting you into Archibald!!!!!!! THAT IS AWESOME! This does put a whole new spin on things doesn't it? I have a really good feeling about this!
    I'm a rootin' for ya!
    xoxo m

  12. Dear Kathleen,
    I am behind a day from when you posted this and am floored. I want to hug you, hold you, be your friend like Ms. Moon and yet I am clear across the country. Keep your writing, open your thoughts and always know you have friends far and near who have you in their thoughts. Time...something we mostly think little of in the scope of life yet you posed such thoughts to yourself and wisely your words flowed. Tears do release the deeply pent up emotions...hold tight of good thoughts...healing thoughts...hope.

  13. I've nervously wandered over here from Ms Moon's blog.... nervously because my Mum passed away from terminal cancer earlier this year and it's all still very raw.

    However, reading your post today reminded me very much of the early days of my Mum's diagnosis, when she was given slightly lesser time indications than you received. I remember those tearful days shortly afterwards so vividly - both for my Mum and for everyone around her. I also remember the paralysis that encased those days. I used to feel that I was blindfolded and kept walking into walls every time I thought about what would happen "afterwards". And then with time, I came to realise I could only help my mother if we took everything one day at a time and lived for what happened that day. There were so many people around us focusing on the "what ifs" - I found it best to leave those people to focus on that and asked them to come talk to us if a decision was needed (e.g. on a will or pets or whatever). Focusing on one day at a time allowed us all to breath again, rather the hyperventilation of "what if".

    I think of you a lot Kathleen and wish you continued courage and grace.