Monday, September 26, 2011

It Feels Kind Of Like....

My grand watermelon adventure of 2011 did not succeed. I had blooms and fruit, but the fruit did not yield solid watermelon flesh throughout. There was a spoonful of edible melon flesh in the fruits that were produced, but not the way I hoped they would turn out. Seems I may have planted them too late and in the heat of the summer, their growth was stunted. But, what I needed to know is what I know now. Next year, I know when I need to plant them and how to care for them so that they yield what I hope for.

Tomorrow morning, a friend that I made in the previous year will be admitted to the Bone Marrow Unit at MCV  here in Richmond. Wondering how her evening is going tonight, brought back some of my anxiety of my "Bone Marrow Eve," but I also remember the specifics of that evening included a great dinner with some friends, a drop off of a patented "bag of fun" to take to the hospital with me and shopping to get one more shirt to wear while in the hospital.

The next day was a big day. Probably the most significant day of the whole adventure. One of the thoughts in my mind was, "Here goes. This will either work or it won't." The only other day that was similar was the first day of chemo. Coincidentally, the same person gave me a ride to both events.

As the weather turns to be more like the days before my diagnosis and as the college football team I follow turned in a performance on Saturday very similar to a performance I witnessed from them a few weeks prior to being diagnosed in 2008, sometimes the head remembers how those days felt. However, since I now have a healthy appetite and it isn't painful to digest food at this point, it's all good.

The other week, I was talking to another person who is being treated for lung cancer. He's about my age and his diagnosis has a time frame associated with it. As we talked, I told him, "None of us do know when we will die. However, all of us can live every day until then."

I told him that my feeling is that a cancer patient has to deal with two cancers. The physical cancer is the one that is being attended to by doctors and nurses and the patient makes decisions based on the information being presented to them. That cancer may or may not be cured.

The other cancer is the one that goes on in the mind.

"That one," I told him, "is curable. You are, and will be, surrounded by a host of angels in this world that can and will help you with that."

It's not necessary that you  know the names of the people I write about in this blog post, but it would be cool if you could think about them and send a few "Godspeeds" their way.

Maybe then, someday when they look back on the seeds that were planted for them, they will be able to share the fruits of their harvest.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Irene And The Mercy Rule

Last Saturday, August 27, I was sitting in the kayak pictured above on the Cheat River, just south of Rowlesburg WV. I was checking off an item on my "bucket list." I wanted to float the river between Seven Islands (look it up on Google Maps, it's there) and Rowlesburg. When I contacted my cousins about it, they suggested we put our kayaks in the water at Seven Islands and go to the bridge where Route 50 crosses over the Cheat. That is what we did. Less than 10 minutes after putting our kayaks in the water, all 6 of us on the trip were saying to each other, "This is cool! What took us so long to finally do this?" Our trip was further enhanced by the appearance of a bald eagle and a blue heron flying ahead and over us.

At the same time that we were in the water, Hurricane Irene was pummeling North Carolina and Virginia. Frankly, I wouldn't have left town had I known what was really going to happen in Richmond, but when I got back, everything was fine except for being without electricity and some tree branches that I need to clean out of my yard. Neighbors in the back of me had trees fall on their house. 

But, the serenity of kayaking on the Cheat River was where I was placed that day. 

When I returned to Richmond on Monday, some traffic lights were out and as a result, the intersections became 4 way stops. That's the rule. Except for the ignorant. I mean that in the way that describes lack of knowledge and a little bit that describes those who are self-centered. Ultimately, it falls to the knowledgeable driver to be the one responsible for not causing an accident, when in that situation, someone proceeds through the intersection out of turn. That's the way it has to work, no matter how fierce a glare I shoot in the direction of the person not following the rules.

Tuesday evening, I cleaned up some of the debris in my yard and emptied my refrigerator. I then decided to purchase some batteries to use in the battery operated lamps at my house. As I left the neighborhood, I noticed that the heroes of the hurricane had arrived in our neighborhood to restore our electricity. In spite of that, I still decided to continue on the battery purchasing mission. On the way back, I stopped at a local convenience store and purchased a well earned treat - a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich - paying the same for it that I paid for an amazing steak and cheese sub at Mike's Pizza in Arbutus MD during my first semester of college. In spite of the chronological price shock, I proceeded to the counter to wait my place in line; the coveted #2 position. Until.....a gentleman walked in and created a new #2 position. I unsealed "the glare" and failed to catch his eye. He kept his head turned away from mine. I turned and looked at the person behind to see if they saw what I saw. They too were looking in another direction. I concluded that the person in the new #2 position most certainly failed to follow the rule of the 4 way stop on his way to the store. I created other scenarios. In my mind, I placed him in an income bracket. I chose his automobile. I chose his college (they wear neckties to their football games). 

Then, when the opening presented itself, he took his place at the counter. When he shifted his position, his face turned towards mine I was able to make a revised assessment of his background. He had physical features that could suggest he may have some form of intellectual disability. Geez.

Somewhere in my blog is a story about making sure I know the story behind another person's actions before I make any assessments.

The serenity of a normally calm river winding through a wooded mountain ridge; the raging power of a hurricane unleashing furious winds, while dropping rain to quench a forest fire; and another human, placed in a location to catch the eye and soul of another human; are what keep this home we call earth (and someday, Heaven) in motion.

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."