I'm bored and need some good cheer, so I'm rereading my gratitude journal from last year. I found this entry from April 2008:
Today I'm grateful for flowering weeds, a gossamer cloud of delicate white flowers bursting from the brown earth on thread-thin stems, like lacy pins on a cushion. Tiny points of beauty, so breathtaking, so easy to miss.
I smile when stepping over goose, fox and deer droppings as I walk the field lane. How lovely to be reminded I share this space with living creatures fed and nourished by the abundance of this place!
I love God surprises! This morning, when rounding a curve in the field, I saw thousands of tall white flowers lined up along the path, waving as if anticipating my arrival! I waved back, loving them, blessed by their greeting and joy in being alive. I forget plants speak and move every day from dawn to dusk following the path of the sun. I'm grateful the breeze gave the flowers 'words' to shout so I could hear.
I'm intrigued with my husband's excited face as he beckons me out the door. "Hear that? I think it's a chipping sparrow! And, did you see the two new daffodils blooming in the garden?" For a delightful moment he was more 'little boy full of wonder' than grown man; how precious!
I'm grateful for my body, for its ability to lament; I'm sorry it took so long for me to pay attention. Once again I stop and befriend this fragile shell in which my spirit dwells; I work on embracing, rather than wanting it to be less sensitive. I'm grateful for the acupressurist and chiropractor that have helped me this year and for the nutritionist and the medical doctor with whom I have coming appointments.
I’m surprised how things have changed. I'm glad to be on this side of lymphoma diagnosis and treatment. Yet, I dread Tuesday, the last round of chemo. I'm so close to the end, but impatient for it to be over already!
I want my life back. I'm tired of being on hold, traveling this detour. I don't even smell like myself, I smell like a science lab. No one tells you this in Cancer Patient 101, that the little details matter more than the big ones. Who notices their own smell, or feels
disoriented when it becomes unfamiliar? Books, magazines, cancer centers instruct on attractive ways to cover up a bald head or a medi-port, apply make-up, dress with color and jewelry, but who addresses whether your hubby finds your altered pheromones attractive? I've never doubted Jay's devotion, but I confess fearing my toddler grand daughter would be hesitant to be with me since I look and smell different.
I wonder what will change back and what will remain as is. I wonder if I will worry about cancer screenings in the future. I wonder if I'll be tired for a month after the last chemo. Could the tiredness go on longer? Do I still have fibromyalgia and mixed connective tissue disease, or did I move from illness to health in the last six months? What was healed? How will I be in all the questions? I'm no different than anyone else, healthy or ill. There just are no guarantees, no sure answers. There are only questions, and along with the questions, there is love. Love is the constant.
I have extra time to contemplate the meaning of life, and I'm not referring to cancer recovery. This morning (my good week, even!), I fell down the stairs and bent my foot backwards. I'm forced to sit here with my swollen left ankle elevated, ice-packed. I'm so mad at Vincristine, the chemo drug that causes numb fingers and toes. I'm mad at myself for concentrating so much on gripping the laundry basket that I forgot to be careful how I move my numb feet. I'm mad at Jay for being mad at me for trying to carry the basket downstairs. As I write, I laugh at all the madness.
I've had some wonderful visitors today; my sister dropped off groceries, my neighbors come to see me and we talked about their loved one's recent death from lung cancer. I feel so privileged to be loved, and to love in return, and to simply be present to others.
Cancer or not, swollen ankle or agile foot, good week or chemo week, nothing matters as much as love. Life's meaning is measured by how well I give and receive love.