Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Monday, February 28, 2011

Learning to say goodbye

I spent most of yesterday, Sunday at the Opera House.  I got there at 11:00, helped to finish setting up tables, which didn't take much because Jack and Jan had got there @ 10 and done most everything.  So Ms Moon and Marcy and I did the last little bit and then ran over to Subway for lunch in my new ride with the top down.  As much fun as it is to drive, it is even more fun to drive it with friends along.  Back at the Opera House I mixed mimosas and then took them around to give out to our lunch crowd there to see the show.  We had a great crowd for lunch, but we had a record number of people for a matinee.  And it was a great show.

After the show, Ron had bought pizzas and we had mimosas left over after I miscalculated the amount of mimosas needed.  Then Mary, Michelle, Judy and I headed over to Ms Moon's house for martinis.  This was Michelle, our newest adopted member into the stage company, first trip to the Moon casa.  We took a tour around the yard and then through the house.  I love the tours and try to never miss one.  There is always something amazing to see at the Moon's.

I finally got home last night after 7, and I was exhausted.  I called Dad and spoke to him for a couple of minutes.  He was worried about me wearing myself out, so got off the phone in a record amount of time for one of Dad's and my phone calls.  I am so fortunate to have my Dad.  He is terribly politically incorrect and says things that can often hurt someones feelings.  But as Mary, Marcy, Jack and I were talking, it appears that it is common with people their age and experience.  Things that they never would have said 40 years ago, they don't seem to even hear.  Dad has been so supportive of me, not just now, but throughout my entire life.  This is very hard for him to have to watch me go through this.  And I am grateful to have him in my corner.  I miss my Mother, but I still have a piece of her with me, and with Dad, so it helps.

Then I talked to Larry's cousin Bonnie.  Bonnie is Larry's favorite cousin, shoot, Bonnie is one of Larry's favorite people in the entire world, and she loves Larry with equal admiration.  We talked about where Larry is and how he is doing.  It is so hard to watch him slowly fade away, it is even harder to tell someone who loves Larry so much about what to expect when she sees him.  She is trying to get there today.  She asked me if she should wait.  I said no.  He has good days and bad days, and no one can tell her which she will find.  We both held back tears as we talked, but it was so special to talk to someone who knows Larry as well as I do, knows about his history and loves him.  I know that he will be so happy to see her.  

Visiting with Larry last week was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Our history goes back 25 years.  Twenty five years filled with love and adventure and heartache and fights.  It was a complicated life together.  We shared so much, and yet, there are times in that time where we were so different and so far apart in so many ways.  But doesn't that sound like a typical marriage?  I am sure that is why you say, "for better or worse, rich or poor, in sickness and in health".  And yes, we did get divorced, but that didn't seem to matter.  And now that he is so sick, none of the bad matters any more. It is hard to clip someones toe nails, to give him a partial sponge bath, to feed him each bite and encourage him to eat, to drink.  I spent time talking to the volunteers telling them that his favorite thing to drink is Welch's grape juice.  His favorite thing to eat is vanilla ice cream, mushed up with a little milk to make it like soft serve.  How can you hold a grudge, how can you not forgive when you are sharing this kind of intimacy with someone.  

And every once in a while he is able to form a sentence.  A full clear sentence.  And each time it takes me by surprise and leaves me at a lost.  On Saturday morning  I sat there with him, holding his hand.  I got up in the bed and laid next to him and held him tight.  I told him that everything would be fine, that I loved him.  He could whisper back each time, "I love you."  But then he asked me if I believed in heaven.  I stared at him wordlessly.  The moment passed and I never answered him.  I wasn't sure if I had heard him correctly.  Had he really been able to ask me that, so clearly, when he can not even ask for a glass of water?!?!

I spent every minute I could with him.  I ate very little,  I was exhausted at night, but did not sleep well, restless and worried.  I was wearing myself out, using reserves I need for myself to keep myself healthy.  But it did not matter, I went there because I knew he needed me.  There was no going back.  Saturday as I tore myself away, crying, I drove back home.  

I called Ms Moon and told her how things had gone.  I remembered two of the three questions he had asked me on Saturday, but I could not remember the third question.  After I hung up with her and continued my drive I forgot the other two questions, but it hit me hard that he had asked me did I believe in heaven.  

What do you say?  He obviously did not want a deep theological discussion.  He wanted reassurance.  I have strong feelings about my beliefs of the afterlife.  He does not want to hear that, he wants reassurance that he is a good person.  And I lost that opportunity to reassure him that he is a good person.  And yes, I do think he has a good heart.  The Larry I first met was one of the kindest, sweetest people I had ever met.  His heart is good and kind.  The drugs and alcohol affected that and pushed the sweet, kind, loving person back into a corner.  But even at his worst in his addictions he would be taken of advantage of because of his kindness.  

Don't get me wrong, if you had asked me any of this a year ago, I would have struggled to find anything kind to say about him, but a lot has happened in this past year.  To both of us.  Does he still have that addictive personality?  Oh yes, if you leave drugs out that he can get his hands on, he is going to take them.  I am sure that if you offered him a rock of crack, he would snatch it up immediately, well, emotionally, not physically, because he can not snatch anything right now.  He is not perfect.  I am not perfect.  We are an accumulation of our entire lives.  The good, the bad, the sweet, the kind, the awful, the mean, the bad choices, the smart choices.  

When I got home I called Richard and asked him when he went up to visit Larry that afternoon, to call me so that I could talk to Larry on the phone.  I laid down to take a nap and to rest before the long night of the play.  No sleep or rest came to me.  

Richard called and put the phone up to Larry's ear.  I told him that I wasn't sure if he had asked me if I believed in heaven, but I was going to tell him what I thought anyway.  I told him that I believe that everyone with a good heart goes to heaven.  And that Larry has a good heart.  I told him that I thought it was a place where everyone you loved and has gone before you is waiting for you, and all they want to do is love you.  That I knew he would be waiting for me when my time comes.  And that everything would be fine.  Not to worry about anything, to relax and know that he was going to heaven and that everything was going to be OK.  I told his cousin Bonnie about this discussion and she said that she would also talk to him and tell him that he was a good person and would be going to heaven to be with his Mother and Father, his grandparents, his friends that have died before him.  That he would be surrounded by love, and that everything will be OK.  I am so glad that I took the moment to tell him that.  I am so relieved for him that Bonnie is going to talk to him about it.  We all want to be reassured that we are good people.  We all want to be loved.  Basic needs.  And at the end of his life, Larry has been reduced to his basic needs.  He is not capable of much anything beyond basic needs.  He is able to sleep.  He needs help eating, cleaning himself, communicating, thinking.  Basic needs.

I seriously had thought I had put myself aside to focus on Larry.  To be there for him, for his needs.  And yet, I have been given another wonderful gift.  I have a new perspective on my life with Larry.  I remember the good and the bad, and it all is part of who we are, and what our lives were.  But the good is starting to outweigh the bad.  

I was given the gift to feel needed, to be able to do for someone else.  I rely on so many people now to help me in just about every aspect of my life.  I need their support, their love.  I am able to take this journey because of my friends and family.  I wanted to give that to Larry.  

And he gave back to me.  A smile every time I walked into the room.  A "I love you" every time I said it to him.  I was able to lay next to him and feel that closeness we had once taken for granted, what a gift.  To feel close, to feel an intimacy of closeness of love.  Sex is not a part of this relationship.  It has been a long time since the trust was there to have that part of our relationship.  But what we have gotten back is so much more important, and will last so much longer.  

And when I die, do I believe in what I told him?  Not exactly, but in certain ways, it is exactly the same.  I do believe that we are all made up of energy.  I do believe that energy can not be created or destroyed.  I do believe that strong emotions are strong energy, and if we all return to being pure energy, then really it is just semantics.  Maybe that is why people see a "light" when they die.  After all, light is a form of energy.  

I know that I will go see Larry again if he is still alive after the play is over.  I will not stay as long.  I will make a run down one evening and probably come back home the next day.  After all, I have a lot to do at work.  And we still have one more weekend of Steele.  And then we have the cast party at Marcy and Fred's on Sunday, and auditions for the Murder Mystery.  Then the second weekend is the garden circle meeting.  Yes, my plate is full.  And yes, it does wear me out sometimes, but I love being a part of the Stage Company.  And I love the garden circle.  And I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to give someone the gift of caring and need and attention that one day I will need to ask from others.  

I am learning more about myself, I am anxious to get started on this new drug I am supposed to take.  I thought I would be on it by now.  I called and left a message with the Bobbie, Dr. M's nurse asking about it.  It will come.  And I have had an email from a dear friend who is a doctor who gave me a little more insight on the drug and possible treatments for my cancer.  Thank you Michael.  

And as always, I am grateful for all these opportunities.  To love and be needed, to have those who love me, and take care of me, so that I can take care of others.  Our energy is connected and our love circles around and around capturing in the people around us.  Giving us gifts that we never knew existed, that we never knew we would be grateful for.  And I am grateful for this opportunity to go through this process of dying with Larry.  Is this how it will be for me?  I don't think so.  I understand better each time I loose someone I love, that each death is unique, but I am learning.  And I am so very grateful for all of these gifts.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Until Later

It has been quite a week. Last weekend Harry, my 13 year old lab, started this choking, vomiting, coughing thing.  Sometimes it lasts for a few minutes, sometimes more then half an hour.  It looks like he is trying to pull his toe nails up through his digestive system and out his mouth.  It worries me, but it is also irritating trying to sleep at night and he is having his little spasm.  Then I feel so guilty that I am irritated, because of lack of sleep, but he is suffering.  So Tuesday I took him and Henry, who had the swollen back foot, along with Bob to the Vet.  The new vet is gorgeous.  I mean like as gorgeous as Dr. M.  They checked for heart worm with both dogs, and the tests came back negative, thank heaven.

Tuesday Richard and Colleen had to put Larry in a Hospice facility.  He was pretty much unresponsive.  I changed my schedule to head to Brooksville Wednesday after work.  I went directly to the facility.  Larry did respond for me.  He squeezed my hand, he ate ice cream, after I mushed it up the way he liked.  I stayed there until Saturday and then headed back home.  I am a wreck.  I am exhausted, stressed out as emotionally and physically as I think I have ever been.  I had to leave Larry there, obviously fading, but who knows how long he can hold on, he is a pretty determined man.

I got home yesterday and tried to take a nap.  No way.  I had to talk to Larry on the phone, and then got changed and went to the Opera House for Steele.  I didn't want to bring any one down, or distract from their work in the play, but these are my dearest friends here and I needed to be with them.  I needed not to stay at home alone crying.

Now I am going to head up to the Opera House to set tables and then pour mimosas for the lunch before our matinee show.  When I get home, I will come back here, and add in the information  I need to get off my heart.  To release some of this past week and let the words carry some of the pain away from me.  Just touching the keys just now has helped.  This 15 minutes of typing has already lightened my heart, now to the Opera House.  To work, to put my hands to tasks, to put my mind on the duties in front of me, and to move all the stress and concern and pain into the background for now.  Just being in that building, where Colin now lives in my mind and heart.  And to listen in my dark corner waiting for my cues to bring the lights up or down, to show the actors in their best light.  To run in between scenes to make sure they have what they need.  It is Sunday, it feels like spring, and my gardens, even unkempt and uncared for are pushing new green out of the soil, out of what appears to be dead limbs.  Put the top down, feel that warmth, and spend my day at the Opera House, and then back here to pour out the rest of the story.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A day of rest

Yesterday I spent the day in bed.  The entire day in bed.  I dozed and napped and read a little and rested.  I feel so much better today.  I still need to get more rest but I have until Friday to try and get as much rest as I can so that I can handle this weekend better.

I was told that one of the reasons my friends did not want me to come and set tables was because they want me to rest so that I can do the "big" things.  But it is more important for me to be able to do the little things then even the big ones.  I know I am like a 2 year old, "let me do it myself" attitude, but one of the things that is most important to me is to be able to take care of myself.  To be a part of things, to be useful.  I know that my friends only want the best for me.  But the best is letting me do, not making me feel welcome that I want to do the small things.  That I want to be a part of things.  That I want to feel useful and to be helpful.  Fixing my own meals, cleaning my own house, taking care of my own kids, being a part of my community, being a useful human being.  So, do not use the excuse to tell me what to do because you think you know which activity is more important to me then others.  This is my life, and I want to live the big moments, and those everyday little things that we all must do. 

So if you want to tell me what to do, fine, but be nice about it, and don't keep pushing if I say I stop.  And if you can not live with that, then maybe it is time for you to let me go.  Because when I stop doing, then why am I here.

It is as frustrating as people who want to push a fairy tale on me about living forever.  I know that the best way to live is to live in the moment.  And I am working on that, but for now, one of the best ways for me to live for the moment is to have parameters.  Yes, that is opposite of what you are supposed to do.  But for me to know that I have a limited time left.  And to wake up each morning knowing that I am alive, and that I have another day.  And that my days are numbered, I am able to appreciate the day so much better.  For some people maybe that would take away from their day, but it gives me one of the things that I have found to be the most important part of what I am going through.  Gratefulness.  Grateful for those who love me enough to try and tell me what to do, but also love me enough to let me be me.  Grateful for a new day, another day, a day full of potential.  So knowing that my time is limited  helps me to feel grateful.  Somehow makes it real, makes each day seem more special, no matter how it is spent, whether sleeping the whole day so that I can do the light board for Steele Magnolias another weekend, or so that I can co-direct the Murder Mystery, or so that I can go to work and feel that I am still a service to the people of the state of Florida.

I hope that when I retire and I do not have to get up and go to work each day and use some of my precious energy just to make 5 hours, that I will be able to do more of the little and big things that I want to do.  That I will feel grateful for that added time for myself.  To do as I see fit.  And if that means setting tables or running light boards, or taking my dad to Europe, or pulling weeds in my garden, then I will be happy and grateful for every day.

I talked to Derrick today, he is home from the hospital and anxious to get back to work.  I suggested that after a heart attack, maybe he would want to give himself a little time.  He said he will be back on Wednesday.  Well after all he has been coming to work for weeks suffering mini heart attacks that were destroying part of his heart, almost a quarter of his heart to be exact.  I don't want to be told what to do, so I am being careful to give him my advice, and then let him do what he knows is right for him.  I think he would like to take the time off, but does not have any leave.  And he is welcome to come back as he knows is best for him.

I also tried to get Larry's truck situation dealt with, but that looks like it is going to be several hundred dollars since no one can find the title, which Larry had last.  Sigh.

Then I called the vet and got an appointment for Harry and his cough, and Henry with his swollen foot.

And now I will finish the renewals, I still have a few to get done, and then I can take them into work tomorrow.  Then to bed early.  To rest, to sleep, to dream, to prepare for another day.  I am feeling good and strong, yes, I get tired, but who wouldn't get tired with everything that I do?!?!?!!  and it is so worth it all.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

We are all tired

I am tired, but we all are.  I have been more tired before, that would have been when I was in Fiddler on the Roof.  We had like 10 rehearsals in a row from like 6:00pm - 10:30pm and that was after I worked a full day or more each day, and I was so tired that I tried to scan some papers set to be shredded, no big deal.  But I almost shredded the documents I was so supposed to scan.  That would have been bad, very bad.  I don't think I have ever been as tired as I was then.  But this is close.   I don't know about you, but I get over sensitive when I am tired.  And last night one of my dear friends told me not to come to the set up today.  I have cancer, so I do not have to do the work others do.  I took it personally.  It felt like I was being rejected.  

I have been rejected before by my friends.  And this felt like it again.  I wasn't doing anything wrong.  Just working my light board, being a part of the show.  Doing things with my friends, and they are telling me they don't want me there.  She kept talking, I kept trying to explain why I wanted to help, and it was a small, but overly dramatic mess with me feeling like I was being criticized, yelled at and rejected.  And then everyone seemed to side with her.  That is because she was showing concern, it did not matter that it had hurt my feelings.  That again, is like the last time.  I was moving away from my friends then.  I think  I had made them feel rejected by me.  I felt rejected by them, and everyone was hurt.  I have since gotten to spend time with those friends from that time, who thought about things, and realized that I had never said I did not love them or that I could easily replace them.  I had not said that.  Shoot, I was 50 years old and moving away from friends who had been so dear to me for 20 years, and I was terrified that I would not know how to make new friends.  Yes, I had a few friends up here that I loved dearly, they are work related.  Nothing wrong with friends from work, but I knew I would need to make friends that had things in common with me outside of work. 

And now it felt like that all over.  I will take my portion of the blame because I know now that I was just being oversensitive, and really she was only trying to show concern, but who likes to be told what to do, and we are all tired, so I have to think she might have been a little oversensitive also. She does not usually push me so hard to do what she wants me to do.

Don't get me wrong, I know that when people are telling me what to do it is because they care.  Because they worry over me, because they love me.  And I love them dearly for it, and if they could just tell me what to do once, and then let it go and let me at 55 run my own life, then we would all be happy.  I am not sure we woman are made that way though.  I just hope that it is over, and as soon as I can get some rest, i am sure that I will be able to let this go.  Right now, it still hurts.

The play is going well.  The ladies are wonderful, and each night it is a joy to sit in my dark little spot and listen to them.  Thursday night was the Altrusia show and it is always fun, filled with people who have come to have a good time, to laugh and see a show and drink wine and cheer us on.  Friday night's audience was fine, but they always seem a little flat after the incredible audience we have on Thursday.   Tonight I am sure we will have an amazing group.  For one thing most of the extended Moon clan will be there.  That always makes Mary nervous, naturally.  But I have no doubt that she will be as amazing as always.

It is a lot of fun to work with a cast of woman.  We have Jack, one of the Directors and Caleb who is in the crew, but other then that everyone with the show are woman.  And Jack and Caleb are in touch with their feminine side, so they work well with us.

This morning I had hoped to sleep in, but I did sleep well even if it was not long enough.  I ran a few errands, went up to the Opera House and helped to set tables, and it was good that I was there, because all the people who said they would be there, were not, so as always every hand was appreciated.  Ms Pat went upstairs and walked the seating area picking up drink glasses, candy wrapper, programs and other assorted trash.  I had down it the night before, but it wasn't bad.  Our Thursday night group is much more considerate then our regular audiences, who tend to be slobs.  

McMurray.  I wanted the rainbow collection, but I think if I buy a mixture of the 4 varieties I should end up with a rainbow basket of eggs.  That is great.   I hate torturing those poor little things being shipped a day after they hatch from McMurray.  Plus I really like buying local, and I do not need 25 chicks, which is the minimum you can buy from McMurray.  I am so excited about new babies.  The only bad thing is that you take what they have, they are not sexed, so you can end up with more roosters then you need , or want.

Then into town.  I drove the scenic Hwy 90 which this summer will be flanked by every color of crape Myrtle you can imagine.  Each color and plant location affects when and how long it blooms, so it is an ever changing palette of white, pinks, purples, magenta's and reds.  I missed the heirloom rose collection sale last weekend, but they always have plenty, even at the April sale, I just wanted to make it there before they closed at noon.  And I did with time to share to find that they had had a record setting sale the week before.  They had never in the history of the sale sold so many roses in one weekend.  That left some slim pickings.  To be exact 4.  And I don't mean 4 varieties I mean 4 pots of rose.  There was one there that had a name longer then a winner of the Westminster Dog Show with petite in it somewhere.  A small bush that produces clusters of deep magenta simple 5 petals flowers with a white center, unscented.  Not what I had imagined but it will do fine in that corner where I lost the Comtessa.  I have another Comtessa on the other side of the garden, and I think this smaller rose bush will balance the garden out just fine.

So that did not take any time so on to Lowe's to pick up the potting mix to plant my seeds.

After Lowe's I stopped by Esposito's to see what they had there.  I bought some yard long been seeds.  They are my favorite variety of green beans.  Tasty and fun and they can grow up to 24 inches long.  Then a quick trip to Fresh Market to get some treats, veggie chips, the olive bar, special chocolate, sunflower bread, giant asparagus.  Oh yeah, good things.  And enough to make it through tomorrow.  Oh, and shortbread cookies.  I love short bread.  Then as I was coming out of Fresh Market, there were girl scout cookies, so I bought a box of thin mint, of course and do-si-does, which are the peanut butter ones.  I love girl scout cookies. 

The drive was amazing, sunny, cool, a beautiful day for a ride with the top down.  

So we have almost made it through our first weekend.  Now a week where we can all rest, and do it again next weekend.  And then the next weekend, then auditions for the Spring Murder Mystery.

And hopefully I can have a quiet week.  Three weeks ago I was dealing with the loss of Colin, the week after that, I had my Ex here.  This past week, no chemo, but good news and it was looking good.  Then on Thursday when I went into the office, I discovered that I had one employee.  One had scheduled a vacation, another had said they would probably be out of the office most of the week while his significant other had knee surgery.  But that would still leave 2 employees.  One had gotten sick Tuesday, missed coming in on Wednesday, which had left Ms Rachel by herself.  Then Thursday morning we got the call that Derrick was in route to the hospital with a heart attack.  He is in his early 30s.  Now we know that his left ventricle upper was 100% blocked but they could go in and clear most of it.  The lower half was a different story, and is too damaged for them to do anything.  I have no idea when he will be back.  I know that he will be "OK" but I don't know what that will mean. 

So this week ended up stressful, and with long nights of rehearsals and shows.  We are all tired. But we are there, each of us doing our best.  Each of us playing the dance of words and movements, lights and sounds, together working as one to entertain our neighbors, family and friends.  The Stage Manager cheering us on, cuing us and making sure that everyone is where they should be, guiding the dance.  The props Manager trying to find all the things that keep getting moved and lost.  Playing.  Playing with some of the people I love most in this world.  And when I am there, and we are all tired, I am normal.  I am not the one with cancer, I am just another one of the crew.  I get to dress all in black and sit in the dark and join the Stage Manager, cheering the amazing people I am getting to play with.

But now to nap, to rest, to recharge.  So hopefully tonight I will be less sensitive, and hopefully my friends will accept me for who I am, and worry, but a little less, and remember Shelby's line, if I may paraphrase, "I would rather have 15 minutes of wonderful then a lifetime of normal."  That is me.  I would rather get to live my life now and do the things that I want, even if it means that I live a little shorter time.  I want to have a life that is full and rich and worth being here for.  I want no regrets, I want to have whatever time I have, and live it.  Really live it.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No Chemo this week

Ms Moon and Ms Judy were at my house at 9:00 am yesterday morning.  This is after not getting home until after 10 last night from rehearsal.  Ms Moon has been taking care of Owen and we all understand how exhausting that is to chase around a 16 month old.  Ms Judy had been building the set all day.  And yet, at 9:00 am yesterday, there they were, exhausted, smiling and giving their support and love to me.  To be willing to sit in the Oncology office for who knows how long just to spend about 15 minutes with Bobbie, Dr. M's nurse.  And then spend about the same length of time with the doctor.  That is true friends.  That is kind and loving people.  We are all exhausted.  But we drive up to Thomasville and make our tea and sit and yarn and talk.  

Then Betty Ann came over and explained that there has been a scheduling error.  Actually they had scheduled chemo for Tuesday and the doctor/nurse visit for Wednesday.  That is backwards.  I had not noticed.  I spend so much time focused on the dates, I didn't notice what I was supposed to do with the appointment.  I let the doctors/nurses etc take care of that, and I show up and do what I need.  Betty Ann said that the doctor was upset, but she had fixed it and he wanted to see us.  We would just have to wait a little longer.  That is a lot to ask of these dear friends, but they did not think twice.  They just waited with me.

Finally our little beeper thing went off.  This is new the beeper thing, like they give you at busy restaurants, only when the beeper goes off, you don't get food.  But we paraded back to the office and Ms Bobbie asked me the questions and then we waited for the doctor.  

He came in and smiled his beautiful smile and said that he had good news.  He had finally gotten the genome testing on the lymph node.  It was positive for the mutation.  This is the mutation of lung cancer that responds to Tarceva.  The mutation occurs in woman over 50 who do not have a history of smoking.  And Tarceva is a pill you take once a day instead of having to do IV Chemo for a whole day once a month or so.  This is very good news.  

Good news!

We all hugged and maybe a few tears even spilled, good news.  Then Dr. M got down to business.  The first 2 months you are on Tarceva are pretty rough.  He didn't go into a lot of details but he did go over a few things to watch for.  First is the rash.  This is an acne looking rash that spreads across the face starting across the nose.  They have a cream for it.  OK, rash.  Not something I am looking forward to, but rash is better then loosing your hair.  I think.  He said that the people who respond the best to the drug get the rash quicker.  All I can say is bring on the rash!

Then he reminded us that this is not a curable cancer.  That this is not a permanent thing.  We will stay on the pill for as long as it is effective.  That could be a couple of years, if we are lucky.  Then we will go back to the chemo.  And when that chemo doesn't work any longer, or if my body  can't take the chemo, then we will do another chemo, for as long as possible.  A long term plan.  A doctor who is like the sweet Antonio Banderas version of House.  He does not give up until he has done everything he can to give me as long and healthy a life as possible.  

Now there is an important part that I have not brought up yet.  I was not going to have chemo yesterday regardless of the genetic testing.  My platelets were at 69K they need to be over 96K to do the IV chemo.  My body is not handling the chemo.  I am not saying it is not working.  It is, but it is taking a hard toll on me.  The pill, once my body adjusts to it, should not be that hard on my body as the chemo is.  

I guess that is the way cancer is, good news and bad news all mixed up together.  A step towards a normal life, with side affects.  

So, should I still retire now?  Yes, I think I should.  They are getting ready to take away the few perks state employees got for putting in years of hard work, at low salaries, few raises.  But we were told when we started that if we were good employees, and work hard, do the extra, put in the hours, serve the citizens of Florida, that we would get a regular pay check, albeit less then could be obtained in the private sector.  And then when we retired we would get retirement benefits.  But now they are threatening those benefits.  I can't afford after 30+ years of working hard for the state to loose my retirement benefits, or have them cut.  So I am going to retire.  I am going to stick with my plan to retire the end of May, beginning of June.  

After our good news, and we had all hugged, then Dr. M came over and gave me a big hug.  he asked for one.  I wanted to give him a hug to say, thanks, but he asked first, and I was careful not to mess up his perfect hair.  And then the three of us went to George and Louie's for Greek food.  But it turns out that they only have a couple of Greek specialities on their regular menu.  Once in a while they will add a few other Greek dishes, but not today.  So we each had Greek salads, one with shrimp, one with salmon and one with fried oysters.  And it was wonderful.  George came over and talked.  He is the owner and brings food out to people and talks to his customers and seems like a nice man.  He explained that Louie was his father, his first name was George, but his middle name is Louie and his friends call him Louie, and he asked us to do so.  

Then it was the long drive to Tallahassee and Ms Judy drove me and the Malibu back to my house.  We were both exhausted, as was Ms Moon, but we headed home, hopefully for naps all around.  And I did.  As soon as I got home I laid down for a 2 1/2 hour nap.  I woke up feeling so much better.  Not great, but a hundred times better then I had felt.  One little nap is not going to fix the exhaustion we all feel right now.  But it did help.

I got up, and drove to the Opera House and for our last rehearsal before our show on Thursday night for Altrusia.  There will be an audience. Friday night is opening night, but Thursday is like our big dress rehearsal.  Rehearsal went much better, and we have the confidence to do the show now.  And it will be a fine show.  We have sold so many tickets that they added a Saturday matinee on the last day of the show.  Two shows for the last one.  Wow!  That is a long day.  It is a long show, like 2 1/2 hours.  But the ladies are doing wonderful, and the show is going to be filled with laughter through tears.  I am doing the lighting and backup dresser.

After rehearsal, Pat called us into the back dressing room and read an email from Catherine.  Colin had always said that he had never been in love.  But those of us who knew and loved him, disagree.  He loved his first wife, you could tell by how he talked about her.  And he loved Catherine.  You could tell how he looked at her, how happy he was when she coming for a visit.  And how lucky he was to have loved two such special women.  And we all loved Catherine, not having had the chance to have met his first wife.

Pat and Ron had emailed Catherine and Pat read the response.  It was so beautiful, so Catherine, so Colin.  And somehow it gave me a little bit of closure.  Catherine was in the room with us, suffering like us, actually more.  After all she was as close to Colin as anyone could be.  And having her with us, even if just in an email, seemed to make things better.  She is a special person, and that was so special of Pat to share that with us.  It did make a difference for me.

So I have had good news.  I qualify for the pill.  It might give me a little more time.  It should give me after the first two months, a more normal life.  it might give my body time to get strong enough so when I have to go back on the IV chemo, my body will be strong enough.  All good stuff.

But the hard part for me, is that whenever we get good news, so many people start in with the you will out live all of us.  Well, probably not.  And to pretend that I do not have cancer, or that I will live forever, does not help me.  Why can't we just be happy with the good news for what it is.  Why do I have to be stressed out with fairy tales and happily ever afters.  I want what Colin had.  I want to accept this disease, learn from it, even suffer with it.  Because it makes me appreciate my life so much more.  Knowing the reality of what I have to face is so much easier to deal with by accepting it.  I don't mind knowing that I have less then 10 years to live.  Yes, yes, the Pollyanna's say, they could find a cure between now and then.  That is true, but not likely.  Dr. M is using the latest proven technologies and chemicals.  We are not doing experiential drugs or practices, but proven ones with statistics behind them.  Accept it.  Let me accept it.  Let me live each day actively balancing life and death.  I don't want the princess version where I miss things because I am so busy pretending everything will be fine and I will live forever.  

I am happy to have the life I have right now.  And right now I am exhausted, trying to recover from the stomach bug.  Trying to do the best job I can at work, and be the best lighting person for the Directors and the Stage Manager so that the actors can look their best, and our audience will have a wonderful theatrical experience.  So they will want to come back and participate in the Spring Murder Mystery, that Ms Judy and I will co-direct.  It will be a challenge.

But maybe that is what I am looking for.  A challenge.  I am ready to retire after 30+ years.  I have a few things I want to do, but mostly I want to dig in the dirt and grow veggies and flowers, and throw the ball for Bob, and hug on Maggie and Harry.  To scratch Henry behind the ears, hold Stella, run my hands down Luna's back and try to give Marina love whenever she is willing to accept it.  I want to watch and feel and see the changes that my body is going through.  I want to support my friends as long as I am here, because they have given me so much.  I want to slow my life down, and allow the cancer to slowly do its thing.  To experience a full death after a life that was so wonderful and amazing.  

Please do not deny me that by refusing to accept what I have.  Don't push me into the grave, but let it come as it will.  Love me knowing that I am only here for a while longer.  Help me to live each day as fully as I can at that moment.  Whether that is resting or directing a play.  Whether gardening or working part time for a catering company.  I think in America we want so much, and sometimes we can loose the greatest gifts we have been given by wanting things to be different.

Colin knew what was happening to him.  He faced it his way.  Let me face my disease my way, and when the time comes, celebrate with me for all the opportunities I have been given, including this cancer.  

We were talking last night about how much we hated cancer.  And I do hate the cancer that has taken my friends from me.  But I do not hate my cancer.  That would be to hate part of myself.  These are my cells that have gone insane and have spread.  I don't mind the doctors doing what they can to slow this disease and make a change in my prognosis, but maybe because Dr. M has been honest, all along.  This is incurable.  And I appreciate knowing that.  Because the greatest gift given to me is to have these next how many years to live a new way.  A way with cancer.  But I know that somehow in the next how many years I will lay down because of this disease and will have the chance to be the best person I could ever be, and to die a death, with no regrets, no fairy tales, facing head on my life, my death.  

 But for now, the pill.  I am ready.  Hopefully we start this new adventure within the next couple of weeks.  And it is another opportunity for me to try and be the best I can be.  To try and make this work, to hopefully gain a few years of a more normal life.  A life with a pill a day, instead of days missing as I sit in the infusion room.  The sun is shining, I have so much to do, but I am going to go lay down and rest.  And depending on how I feel, I might even go to work for a couple of hours tomorrow, and then come home and rest and get ready for the show.  Dress all in black, I will sit at the light board and follow the directions on my script.  And I will help the ladies change, and we will perform.  The actors will take their bows.  I will stand back stage and cheer them on.  That is my favorite part of plays and life in general, cheering them on.  Please cheer me on, with realistic hopes, not fairy tales.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Sun will come out

And the sun has come out.  Richard got here yesterday and finished working on the wheels and the trailer where Ms Judy had left off.  He got everything working, and considering it has not been moved in more then 2 years, it pulled out from its spot smoothly and was led from the yard with Richard's dully.  I didn't do much.  I am still dealing with the stomach thing.  I think the fever has broke.  But it is hard to tell for sure.  I went to bed early last night and this morning got up to make coffee and blueberry pancakes only to discover that I had no milk.  My pancakes need milk.  So I gathered the two men up in the Toyota and he ran over to the Huddle House for cold bacon and eggs, half the toast cold, when we got it, and no biscuits.  I don't know why I ever go there.  It is close, and Larry was anxious.  I guess that is why.

Of course he is anxious, he does not have any Ativans.  He took them all.  I did give Richard some of mine and told him to hold on to them until Larry really needed them.  And to make sure that when his next prescription comes in, to hide the Ativan, and not let Larry get anywhere near them.  He was starting to act sort of normal today, but still weepy.  

This was absolutely the most stressful 2 weeks I may have ever had.  Projects are coming do at work, and I am working on them, but it involves meetings, and I am not a good meeting person.  Don't get me wrong I think face to face meetings are very important, it is just hard to know when to start and when to quit.  And therefore they keep going on and on and on.  And with all the obligations outside of work this week, it has been hard to get what needs to get done and in time to get out and get home or wherever I had to be.

Then taking care of a person with brain cancer is a challenge.  I tried to get him out of the house once a day.  I didn't want him to fill like a prisoner.  He did some positive things at the house, but hard to say that they were worth the stress.  He does not sleep at night, so about 3 he would get up and wander around for a while before lying down again and sleeping for an hour and then back up.  He tried, he really did try, but he is who he is, and that is a challenge.  At times he was so charming and sweet and funny and kind.  Others he was difficult, didn't make any sense, and would get more and more confused until he would weep.  

On some levels we still love each other.  It is hard to throw away 25 years, but fortunately each time I started to let my guard down, he would be the out of control Larry and I would come back to my senses.  Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate Larry, and everything he tried to do for me, but between Colin and work and then the ups and downs with Larry and then throw in rehearsal, I am sick and exhausted.

But they pulled out this morning, everything looked under control, and they are gone.  Gone.  I am sitting at home all alone with my kids.  My yard, which I should be planting my potatoes and peas, but that will have to wait.  Not today.  Today I have to do my best to get to rehearsal at 2:30.  I will not make the entire rehearsal, but I will do my best, and try to stay away for everyone else.  And then I will come home and go to bed.  I have to feel better soon.

Tomorrow is work, and then I will go to have my blood taken, and then rehearsal.  We have our dress rehearsal, which is the Altrusia Show on Thursday, and then we open on Friday.

I am so tired and worn out, I can't believe I am even doing this.  But I said I would, and then after this is the Murder Mystery.  I don't know how that is going to work out.  I really don't.  We will take it one day at a time, but I have made commitments and I am going to try and do my best.

And next week is chemo, so really other then the play, there is nothing I have to do.  I will have some work to do at home.  Just stuffing envelopes, I can manage that.

But the sun is shining and really it would be a great day to dig potatoes if I was feeling better.  

I am sure that I will feel better by tomorrow, I feel better today then yesterday and definitely better then the day before.  I feel quite confident that I will have my chemo, and then rest for the rest of the week, except for the show.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oh my, What a week!

What a terribly long week it has been.  I went to work on Tuesday and stayed a little longer then I intended.  Then I went by Wal-mart for gas and CostCo for flowers, they have wonderful flowers. .   and by the time I got home I was tired and sad.  I went to the Steele Rehearsal and read the sound effects.  I yelled, "BANG!" and "Arf arf arf arf", I sounded like a telephone phone and pretended to be a disc jokey on the radio.  And the play ends with Hawaii 50.  I was as loud as I could be to try and give the impression of the actual sound effects.  Between Act 1 and 2 Mary came over and looked at me and tried gently to tell me to go home.  I was exhausted.  Work is a lot right now, and then even with Larry helping, he brings his own set of stress and problems.  And then to go to rehearsal at 6:30 and get home around 10:00.  That used to whip my butt when I was well.  I hugged her and told her that she was perfect just the way she is, and I appreciated her concern.  She is so sweet, and I really do listen to her, but if I am going to help with the sound and lighting, I need to learn what I need to do and to build up the stamina to be able to stay up through the show.  

Wednesday I had planned on going to work for a couple of hours and then heading over to the Opera House around 11:30 to take the flowers.  They needed me at 10.  I was exhausted, physically, emotionally and mentally.  Every part of me all the way to my DNA was exhausted.  I got up Wednesday and arranged the 3 vases of flowers for the table.   I ran a little late but I was there a little after 10 and helped Jack and Jan and Colin's family to get things set up.  We needed more flowers, so I picked them up so each table had flowers.  There were also flowers delivered by Gellings, beautiful sprays and plants to cluster around the podium and the sign in book.  I baked a cake because as a southern women, this is what I do.  Unfortunately I rushed it out of the pan, and as I drove to the Opera House, it imploded, making this farting noise as it went down.  I took it in the kitchen, and they said it wasn't that bad.  Ok, it tasted wonderful, but it was ugly, really ugly.

 We had no idea maw many might show up so we had seating for about 80.  I swear there were 150.  Colin had worked for Burroughs Co. in Tallahassee for like 25 years, so he had friends from there and before.  It was a badge of honor to say how long you had known Colin before you started telling stories about our Colin.  And there were lots and lots of people with Colin stories.  They were not sugar coated, and focused around his life as a charming playboy, pilot, golfer, loving father and brother, rebel, chef, data sheet maker, obsessive, adorable, sweet, kind, bawdy, irreverent, bungee jumper, jumper out of a perfectly good plane; loyal friend.  The room was filled with laughter through the tears and we celebrated our Colin.  Yes, we did.  And it was wonderful, except that it seemed so odd to be at the Opera House, our play place with our Colin, and here were these other hundred people.  I loved the stories and the room completely filled with love for our Colin.  

But I got no closure.  I talked to some of the others in the Stage Company, they said the same.  We understand Colin doing it his way, but it was selfish.  He deprived us to show him one last time how much he was adored.  I know he knew it, and I know he did want any fuss, but we needed it.  Colin is gone.  We are all still at a loss.  Trying to move on through our lives, but impacted more then we could have ever imagined. 

Colin drove down from Aucilla to Melbourne to be with his 3 kids, 2 sisters, his ex wife, a nephew/god son and a niece two days before he died.  That is how it should have been.  We did not get to see him, be with him, prepare for this loss.  And we don't know what to do.

We were all wiped out Wednesday, and everyone at rehearsal on Thursday said they went home and went to bed, barely able to put one foot in front of another.  I was so exhausted from Larry, Colin, work, rehearsals.  That is a lot of stress for anyone.  And each of us is going through this kind of stress, too much, sorrow, loss, time, everything ganging up on us and knocking the wind out of us.

After work on Thursday, I hurried home and took Larry to the lawyers to try and get some paperwork straightened out, and then to the bank that he has an account to try and cash a check.  We did not get the check cashed, it was extremely stressful and a lot of time of driving and dealing with difficult things, and it was one more thing to wear me down and I started to feel sick, like flu symptoms sick.

I walked in the door, and there he was.  Like so many times before.  Larry had obviously gotten into something and was passed out hard on the couch.  When I could finally get him to wake up, he made no sense at all. He was like drugged and drunk and mean.  I thought, maybe he needs his pills.  The Ativan were missing.  I asked him where they were.  He sneered at me and told me that he had taken them all.  Sure enough, I found the empty bottle in his room.  I went ballistic.  It was more then I could handle.  I screamed like a banshee.  All the horrible memories from the last few years engulfed me, with the additional fear of what this would do to his cancer and the side effects.  How dare he go into my room and go through things.  We had agreed that he would stay away from the drugs and let me get them for him.  No confusion on what to take when.  And then he does this.

Today he was completely out of it.  No wonder after all the ativans.  I went to work and it was all I could do to attend a meeting and not get sick.  I left at noon and drove to the house, put on my Harry Potter flannel Jammie's piled the quilts up on me and lay in bed shivering and trying not to get sick.

Ms Judy came over and helped Larry work on the trailer.  She did all the work, he just sort of floated around through the process getting in the way.  I laid in bed and tried to sleep.

The highlight of the day was a box from FTD with a dozen roses.  I love receiving flowers in a box.  It has always been my favorite way to get flowers.  These are from Sioux and it is 12 roses in shades of yellow, orange, pink and red and the flowers are gorgeous and in wonderful condition.  Truly beautiful and how sweet for Valentine's day to get roses like that.  She is so very thoughtful and wonderful.  She always has been, and I love her dearly for this.  

I finally realized that I had not eaten, so I got up and ate a blueberry yogurt muffin top, toasted crispy and warm on the outside, soft and cakey on the inside.  It made me feel better.  I drank water, I ate some nuts for the protein.  I am keeping it all down, but it is an effort, and I will go to bed now.  it is probably a touch of a stomach bug.  There are a couple going around.  And I am worn down from this week, no wonder I got it.  So now, rest, drink plenty of fluids, take the meds, and rest.  I am sure that I will feel better in no time.  Maybe it is a 24 hour bug.  

I was supposed to go give my blood to see if I can take the chemo next week, but I thought I might be running a fever, and there was no way I could drive up there, and I really did not want to go into a cancer treatment center sick.  They rescheduled me for Monday.  I will be well by then.  I will.

Tomorrow Richard is coming up with a duly and will work with Larry to get the trailer down to his house on Long Lake.  Larry will love it there.  His dog Sami lives with Richard and his wife Colleen.  Their house is right on the lake, and Larry loves to sit and drink coffee and watch the fog rise up off the lake.  I will be happy to have him there.,  I will be happy to have my life back.  This is just too much stress.  I thought I had begun to get over the anger I held against him.  But after last night, that anger is back.  With a vengeance.  But I am in a better place because I recognize what is going on.  And when he is gone, I will work on releasing that anger again.  Forgive myself for allowing this stress and insanity back in my house, forgive him for his failings. They are his, not mine.  He recognizes them, and honestly doesn't give a damn, so why should I. Let him be him, just not at my house.  

Sunday they will pull out of here and drive away.  Away with the stress and tension, the lying, the drug abuse, the constant anger about his brother.  I will go to rehearsal and learn the lights and the sound and I will try and let this go.  I will survive the best I can the longer schedule and I will  work as a crew on this show.  Surrounded by my friends.  On the stage that our Colin adored.  Playing and thinking of Colin at every laugh, giggle and sweet moment. 

And next week, I will do the chemo, and take good care of myself, and do the play, and I will be tired, but I can do this.  I need to try.  I need to be back in my Opera House.  I need Mr. Perkins looking over me.  Laughing with Jack and Jan, Judy and Denise, Mary, Pat and Marcy, and our new friends, Victoria, Michelle and Anita.  Playing together, working together, bringing joy to others.  That will help heal me.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

How does life keep going?!?!

I woke up this morning thinking of Colin.  Our Colin.  Our funny, dear, sweet, gentleman, ladies man, wacky, lovable Colin.  I think yesterday post and todays post on Bless Our Hearts, says everything that is in my heart about our Colin.  Go to: to read about our dear Colin and see some photos of our Colin.  

Is it time to let Colin rest and quit going on an don about him?  I don't know if I will ever be able to stop talking about our Colin.  Wednesday is his memorial service, maybe that will help.  Something has to help my heart from leaking tears.

I managed to get Larry's suitcase with little difficulties from the US Airways people.  I got work done, I got home and found that Larry had swept the front porch and vacuumed and then carpet cleaned the living room carpet.  No, really, he did.  I was amazed, thrilled.  I was very humble and nice to him, and thanked him for all his work.  I do appreciate it.  And I am happy to have him here when he is being helpful and pleasant.  No drugs, well, except for the prescribed meds.  No alcohol.  You know I can actually remember why I married him 25 years ago.

So, a short post because Ms Moon has said what is in my heart.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Sunday Morning

I love my Sunday morning rituals:  feed the "kids", finish up the week's laundry, watch the local news and fix a special Sunday breakfast, this morning was blueberry pancakes with fresh blueberries, and then enjoy breakfast while watching Charles Osgood in his bow tie.  My favorite segment is the moment of nature, or as I like to call it, "the quiet minute", even though it lasts between 15 and 30 seconds.  Today the moment was at least 30 seconds, it was California's sand dunes.  Don't get me wrong, it was beautiful, but honestly 30 seconds for sand dunes and 15 seconds in a swamp filled with the Ghost Orchid? 

So Larry did not make it in to Tallahassee Friday night.  They could not get any planes into Charlotte to fly them out.  So to US Airways credit, they did find Larry at the Airport and put him in a wheelchair, had him checked out by the EMT who then felt obligated to call me.  So I explained that he had brain cancer, and that I had lung cancer, and that I could not fly so that is why he was being flown alone here.  I explained to them that we had made arrangements with US Air to meet him at the plane in Charlotte and get him to his next flight.  

There was no other flight Saturday night.  And US Airways did make sure that he got to a hotel  and back, on their dime and got him on a plane.  I had asked him to call me when he got up in the morning so I would know that he was getting back to the airport, no call.  I had also asked him to call me with the flight arrival times and flight number so I could be at the airport and he would not wait, no call.  So a little after 11 he does call and tells me he is walking down the aisle.  I said, oh good you are getting on a plane?  He said, no, he was in Tallahassee.  OK then.  I race to get out of the door and drive to the airport without taking a chance on a ticket and as I pull into the hourly parking area I look up at the terminal.  Oh no, there is an ambulance and a fire truck with their flashing lights.  I run through the parking lot, up the stairs, across the drive and into the terminal arms waving, yelling out, "I am here!  He's with me!"  And as I ran in screaming like a banshee 12 men I have never seen before turn to face me.  There are fireman, EMTs, TSA and Tallahassee Police all staring at me.  Their eyes go immediately to my head, I have on my Bokeelia baseball cap.  I take it off, showing my still growing in hair.  And sitting there amongst all these men is my EX husband looking every bit like a Buddha or a serial killer.  The steroids have made him puffy, the inactivity and excess food at the nursing home has put 50 pounds on him.  He has for some unknown reason shaved all the hair on his head and face.  He looks a lot like the killed in Arizona.  His shirt is not buttoned correctly, his clothes could use a good wash after 2 days of travel, he is blurring and confused trying to explain to the men standing around him that his wife is coming to pick him up to take him to Bokeelia.  Of course, none of these 12 angry men have ever heard of Bokeelia and they are still not convinced that they are not dealing with someone on serious drugs.  Well, OK, he is, but that is not the kind of drugs they are assuming.  They had noticeably relaxed when I got there, but I figured that was because a sane person had just walked into a very confusing situation.  I realized after Larry points to me and says, "See, she is here to take me to Bokeelia." That I realize that the baseball cap was what calmed them down.  Running into another person with cancer is not what they had started work that morning anticipating.  And isn't funny that I should wear that baseball cap of all my caps that morning.  

So after I signed off on the paperwork with the men in charge I put Larry in my brand new car and drove him home.  Well first we stopped at KFC, that man does love fried chicken and mashed potatoes.  I bought a bucket, but he needed to sit down and eat some before we took another step.  

We got home and he was so happy to see the dogs and cats.  I set up a plan to get him all his pills close to the schedule that they had sent me.  And then as I watched him rapidly decline because of the trip, I called Richard and Colleen and asked if they could pick him up next weekend.  That, and I can't believe still that I said this, he needed to stay in one place and get back on his meds and eat and rest before the confusion of moving the trailer south and getting him settled there.  sigh, I will have him for the week.  So far I can not complain, things are going fine.  He is complimentary and is trying hard to be nice and pull his weight by helping with the dishes.  My biggest complaint is I don't like having someone in my house.  I like my privacy, my alone

Oh great, he just told me that he had come with 2 suitcases.  When I picked him up at the airport he had a suitcase with him and with all of the confusion, I never thought to ask him if he had any other suitcases.  So I guess tomorrow on my way home from work I will go to the airport and pick up his other suitcase.  

And today I will go to the grocery and to rehearsal for Steele.  Tonight I will make some Super Bowl food and we will watch it.  Well, I will watch some of it, I won't make it until the end of the game.  Unless it is a great game.    

But right now I am going to make lunch.  The weather is crisp and coldish, but bright and sunny with an endless blue sky.  I should be out in my garden but I am a little worn and stressed out.  I think I will knit and cook and look forward to the bowl tonight.    Life is always interesting here.  I feel fine other then tired and stressed out.  No bloody noses in the last several days.  That helps me mentally  deal with things.  I still feel lucky, I don't look like I have cancer, I am at a good weight, even if I feel fat.  No symptoms of the disease and since I have not had any chemo in 3+ weeks, no real side effects, and the antibiotics might be helping with the sinus infection, it is hard to tell, but I am sure that it.  Sunday morning.  Beautiful weather and the super bowl tonight, not a bad way to start the new week.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another Friday

It is Friday and I am home.  I worked this morning and now I am home waiting until I will drive back into town tonight to pick up my EX-husband, Larry at the airport.  Yes, this time he is really coming.  I know because I have had phone call after phone call today.  Then Larry called from the Charlotte Airport and wanted to know where I was.  I explained, patiently as possible where he was.  Fortunately I have been to the Charlotte Airport so I could prove to him that I really did know where he was.  I said,  "Are there lots of rocking chairs?" "Yes", he responded.  "If you look at the departures and arrivals, somewhere near there it will tell you where you are."  

Ms Denise has graciously volunteered to go with  me to the airport.  I hope she will also help me to bring both of my cars home.  But it is not the most important thing to get accomplished, it would be nice though.

The most important thing I told Larry was to find someone at the airport who could tell him what gate to go to.  Oh Lord, I hope he can do this.  And to think he wanted to come by bus.  I have called Richard and Colleen and let them know he is on his way.  I do hope they can pick him up this weekend.  If not, we will get to have a nice visit for the week while we wait for Richard and Colleen to pick him up.

I have given lots of thoughts to cancer and lungs since finding out about Colin.   I don't mean to be morbid, but what will it be like at the end?  Will I have to struggle to breathe?  My Mother died of a sudden asthma attack.  She spent her last bit on this earth struggling to breathe.  Is that how it goes for us?  I will be lucky.  I will have hospice with me.  I understand Colin's desire for privacy.  Is this because he is struggling for breath?  My biggest concern and obsession with this is because I don't want my friends to see me suffer and struggle.  I will not hide from them or deny their comfort, love and support, but I don't want them to suffer.  I am sure that when this time finally comes hospice will help them not to suffer.

As I say often, I am not looking forward to my death, and yet, it is with me each day like life is.  There is a constant swing up and down balancing life and death with me.  I appreciate everyone's wishes for me to live forever.  But yet I don't.  I have accepted that this little "c" will play a part in my death, just like the hepatitis C is.  I hope to beat the odds and live for as much as maybe 10 years, but I will be happy with whatever I have.  And looking at me and telling me to pretend that everything will be OK, that I will be the one to beat all odds, does not help me to deal with each challenge along this journey.  I suppose there is a one in a billion chance that I could live forever, but I think those odds are actually far greater then I mentioned.  And why would anyone want to live forever?  To everything there is a season.  I like that.  I like to think that I will live for as long as my life is worth living.  And then it will be time to lay down and go on the next journey, if there is one, wherever it may be.  And if there is nothing after death?  That would be fine too, after all I will be dead, I will be part of the nothing.  But I think that energy can not be made or destroyed and I am energy, so I think that I will be part of the energy that exists in all things.  And that would be just fine.  

So, thank you to those of you who understand that the greatest gift I have received from this journey is the acceptance that I may have a little influence on how long I live because I have a good attitude, I rest and try to eat well, that is not the deciding factor.  I let Dr. M fight a battle in my body with corrosive WMDs, that is not enough.  Maybe I could travel the world hunting for a cure, some people choose that option.  I thought I would have been more like that.  Always hoping, never say "die", fight the good fight.  But what I found was that I would rather be me, and hope for the best, but accept the science, and then the rest is up to what?  Some might say God.  Others might say Goddess or gods or luck or me.  That it is up to me to make my own universe and therefore make myself free of cancer.

I would not do that even if I could.  I have found so much more in the life I have right now.  The opportunities that where my life is right this moment gives me.  The opportunity to have no regrets.  To have lived a life full of love and adventure, books and plants and rocks and animals of all kinds and people from all over the world, and maybe even some of them might have been aliens.  If anything is possible...  And I have danced to music in the sunshine and the moonlight and even in the dark.  I have laughed fully and deeply.  I have forgiven myself for many things that I had no reason to hold against myself.  I hold no grudge against anyone, my heart feels sheer joy over so many things.  And even when I mourn I appreciate that I had what I now mourn.

That is what cancer has given me, it has freed me from fear of death.  Oh, I may not feel the way as the time actually comes.  But until then, I have every day to learn how to live life fully and face death openly and willing.  

Things I think about.  Not worry about, think about.  I think about a lot of things, and life an death seems to take up more time.  And today I was able to get by with fewer tears for Colin because I understand.  But I still catch myself thinking of him during all the quiet moments.  Wishing him a safe passage to his next journey.  I do wish I could be there for him.  To whisper sweet murmurs as he rests, to touch his arm and cover it with a blanket.  To fluff his pillows, bring him a glass of water.  To fuss over him.  I know he would not want that, that is my desire, not his.  How will I be when that time comes?  I think I will be more worried about my loved ones that I will be able to let them do what they need to do to comfort and express their love.  And again, I am so grateful for this knowledge and for the people and animal and plants in my life.  Each giving me more then I would have ever asked for.  But that which I need and I am grateful for.  So grateful.