We are on the other side of New Year’s day, and I have been thinking over what the last four months have offered me, and what I would find gratifying to write about. During the fall I unintentionally left the blog, and my esteemed readers, in the lurch, which is exactly what I did not want to do with this experience. Writing this way was about creating a deeper connection to myself and to others, which cannot happen with an on again, off again attention and presence. I apologize for the interruption in my entries, and I deeply appreciate your willingness to read further entries, although I don’t blame anyone for losing their trust in me as a blog writer.
I wrestle with what it means to establish a blog about my life with metastatic breast cancer during the occasional times when I can barely believe I have that condition. In November, I actually asked the oncology team if I REALLY had advanced cancer. They assured me, with a tone that suggested they did not see much humor in this question, that I certainly did. A look went between them as this was clarified, a look that communicated a great deal. I would rather be somewhat aloft on an updraft of denial than be tethered beneath a canopy of fear and forboding. Maybe my whole hearted engagement in this fall’s activities had something to do with that.
As these things sometimes happen, though, I fell into a serious struggle a few weeks ago, triggered by a week of unshakable fatigue, episodes of faint nausea, sensitive skin, and depressed mood. Xeloda can build up in one’s system and create side effects that hamper daily living in a big way, although I had, to date, been remarkably free of those. Feeling so affected by the medicine I needed, I was struck by how clearly I could see the line that delineates the land of autonomy and mastery and self sufficiency, to the land of increasing dependency on others for help with most everything. It was frightening. When I felt so feeble, I had no desire to write. I felt ashamed. Something about being unable to find my perspective really got to me. I have gained a far deeper understanding of how ill health hampers self expression, occludes self awareness and weakens the bonds of connection. I am forewarned!
The fall was rich with activities, each of which I appreciated more than I have in the past. We spent a long October weekend at Katahdin Lake Camps with friends Ivan and Lynn. Our former cancer support group was disbanded, but the friends I made there have remained available for phone chats, lunch dates and the like. Visitors from away came to call, and we also hosted very old friends from a summer camp we worked at in our twenties.
Sadly, our darling cat, Carson, ran off and did not come home one evening this fall. Predators in the area had been reported, and many area cats had disappeared. We usually brought him in for the night by 5:00pm, but he was left out till after dark one night and that was all it took. I visited area shelters to make sure he had not been brought in, and in so doing came home with a buff colored female who goes by Buff Kitty. She is learning how to make the most of human contact here, and is very slowly warming up and letting some love in.
And, what we were all waiting for has indeed, happened! The three hens are now laying some lovely extra large brown eggs and they generously provide us with about a dozen a week. We moved their coop into the back of our garage last month, and Tom cut a hole in the back wall and installed an automatic coop door.
He also had a fellow come and build us a 6 x 8 attached greenhouse, which gives the hens a draft free, pleasant space to be in during the worst of the snow and cold. I throw some straw in every few days, and we change the water daily. So far, so good!