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Archive for March, 2009

Something Old, Something New

So, at this point I’ve been blogging lumpy’s diary for nine months. Cassie and I have published more than 160 posts and you’ve entertained us with 150 comments. I’ve now been in remission for 4 months and I wouldn’t say that this is the end of this story… but for now the lumpy story is going to get more sporadic. I promise to post anything relevant to Hodgkins, my treatment, follow-on symptoms or side-effects of my treatment.

This battle is, if not won, at the very least fought to a good conclusion for the time being.  As Jim Morrison brooded, “Nobody gets out of here alive”. But today is not my day to get out.

“And in the end, the love we take will be equal to the love we make.” Lennon – McCartney

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It is the springtime of my loving – the second season I am to know
You are the sunlight in my growing – so little warmth I’ve felt before.
It isn’t hard to feel me glowing – I watched the fire that grew so low.

It is the summer of my smiles – flee from me Keepers of the Gloom.
Speak to me only with your eyes. It is to you I give this tune.
Ain’t so hard to recognize – These things are clear to all from
time to time.

Talk Talk – I’ve felt the coldness of my winter
I never thought it would ever go. I cursed the gloom that set upon us…
But I know that I love you so

These are the seasons of emotion and like the winds they rise and fall
This is the wonder of devotion – I seek the torch we all must hold.
This is the mystery of the quotient – Upon us all a little rain must fall…It’s just a little rain…

The Rain Song
by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin

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Well, so far so good. The doctor says my blood tests are acceptable though my lymphocytes are still low compared to normal. That is understandable because of the illness that I had. She poked and prodded me and couldn’t find anything that shouldn’t be there.

So, I would say that I can now call myself a survivor… no longer a patient. I have been free of any evidence of disease for 4 months so I think I come by that title honestly. It doesn’t mean that there will not be problems in the future but for now I live on.

We also stopped by the chemo infusion room and donated all of my leftover anti-nausea medication…Cass finally felt ready to give them up. (And she claims that she’s not superstitious!) Some of the medications cost more than $20 per pill and there are many patients that don’t have the luxury and fortune of the medical plans that Cass and I have.

“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” Bill Cosby

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Checkup Anxiety

I have my first “post remission” checkup with my oncologist in a few hours. I’ll post when I get back how I made out.

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When I was a young teenager I remember the year that self-awareness occurred. It was a relatively rapid change in my consciousness from perceiving myself to being the centre of the world (child-like) to perceiving myself as a speck that existed in the context of a much larger world of people, places and situations (adult). I recall the day this occurred. I woke up before my parents on a school day and went for a walk in the dawn light on a late spring day in my hometown. As the sun broke the horizon I felt a depth of emotion. That day that year and in that moment, the world and my life was full of so many beautiful, amazing, curious and puzzling future possibilities. I have to say that it has not disappointed me.

On that day I thought that every sunrise would feel like that. But now, after I have seen hundreds, and now 10s of thousands of sunrises, I find that the feeling has diminished through repetition. Even though the sunrise is as beautiful, whether in clear skies or overcast, the emotion is diminished from familiarity. “Yes… there it is again… the sun. Ho hum.”

HL has given me a level set. This morning I have that strong anticipatory emotion with intensity during my walk with Otis at dawn. The feeling of curious and wonderful possibilities is there again.. but it is sweetened and salted with the knowledge of an ending that I didn’t perceive when I was 12. Now, in middle age and after serious illness, it is flavoured with an urgency that wasn’t there years ago. There will be an ending… but it will not be today or tomorrow or in my immediately foreseeable future. Yes, somehow I have regained my view to a future… whatever it may hold.

“Love comes to you and then after, dream on, on to the heart of the sunrise.”
Jon Anderson, Chris Squire & Bill Bruford of Yes

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March Arrives

So, life goes on here in lumpy’s world.

We’re less than 5 weeks away from our vacation to Mexico… and we’re starting to really look forward to it.

The spring weather is coming on sporadically. Next weekend is the time change so there will be more daylight in the evenings for horseback riding, sailing and yardwork. Guess which one of those three is least appreciated?

I’ve had my bicycle in to the shop for a check and tune up. I’m hoping to get back to commuting a few times a week by bike. There’s a good lock up at the office downtown.

I wanted to say a few words about “the news”. We usually read the local daily paper at the breakfast table… the Victoria Times-Colonist (TC). It’s a mix of local, regional, national and world news. I would say that the emphasis is on local stories or other news with a local spin. However, most important world news gets covered. We used to get the National Post delivered up until a few years ago. I have been missing the Post’s more detailed coverage of national politics and world events. So, I picked up a copy of the Post last week to read over my lunch. I have to say that I was shocked by how intensely pessimistic the tone of the Post was compared to the TC. Most of the stories that the Post was covering that day were already familiar to me from the morning’s read through the TC: companies reporting losses, layoffs, bankruptcies, giant pension funding shortfalls etc. However, I was unprepared for the relentlessly apocalyptic approach that the Post took towards the same news stories. I got through the front section and then tossed the rest of it in the recycling bin unread, feeling hopeless and upset.

I’m not saying the Post might not be right. The sky may be falling. Economic life as we know it may be about to cease. It might be best to dig a hole in your backyard and bury yourself. However, there is nothing constructive I can do to affect these outcomes. Feeling terrible about these macro-disasters will only affect the micro-health of my brain and body.

So, we’re going to continue to read the TC.  We’re doing our best to keep our personal finances as healthy as we possibly can. We’re doing our best to be relevant and productive at our occupations. We’re doing our best to stay positive about whatever there is to be positive about. And there is lots to be positive about.

“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.” Sir Winston Churchill

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