A breath of fresh air

Yesterday evening we attended the most amazing chamber concert at Peter’s school.  The performing group was The Tempest Trio, with Ilya Kaler on violin, Alon Goldstein on piano and Amit Peled on cello.  All three  are world renowned musicians, and the instruments they were playing were exceptional as well:  a 1900 Steinway, a 1735 “Sennhauser” Guiseppe Guarneri del Gesu violin, and a 1689 Andrea Guarneri cello.  And then there was the venue.  The Sant Bani School that Peter attends is not your typical private school.  It is at the end of a dirt road, and although the education is first rate, the buildings are humble and perhaps a wee bit shabby.  The auditorium has a stage, but is really a small multi-purpose room.  However, the acoustics are incredible.  Because the space is so intimate in scale, we were close enough that I could make out the individual strands on the bows.  What a rare and special treat.

This evening we will head south to Ipswich, to attend a good friend’s 50th birthday party.  Ipswich was our home for 11 years, and tonight we will have a chance to mingle with a number of our old friends. We will be sleeping over at another friend’s home, and we are looking forward to catching up with her as well.

These entertaining pursuits are a nice break from the pre-Christmas preparations.  Not that I am into baking, sending greeting cards or decorating.  I am, in fact, the anti-Martha Stewart.  I do love setting up the Christmas tree and I adore giving presents.  I have a big family (actual and extended) and I try to make each gift really special.  The treasure hunting that I engage in comes in quite handy at this time of year.  Not only are thrift shops a good antidote to a tough economy, they pretty much guarantee that the selections I make will be one of a kind.  Case in point:  This year my brother John (I can post this because he already knows) is getting a vintage 1960’s leather motorcycle jacket.  I had found one for myself that he adores, and eventually one in his size materialized.  It’s just what he wanted and I think even Santa would have been hard pressed to find one.    

While on the subject of treasures and unexpected delights, I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to everyone who makes the effort to tune in to this blog.  I know you are all out there because my “dashboard” allows me to see the number of views each day.  As well, some of you submit comments. I just think that is so cool, when you decide to reach out to me.  Your responses to what I have written make this a conversation, and about us, rather than just the musings of one person.  I don’t even know how to express how connected I feel to each of you, and how important some of these relationships have become to me. I just visualize each of us holding hands as we walk through this sometimes scary place, and it makes me feel stronger and more confident.

Fine music, celebrations and family, and the gifts of time and friendship.  In this busy season, I must remind myself to step back and take a breath:  as my good friend Jose says, “it’s all good”.

6 responses to “A breath of fresh air

  1. Hi Linnea, Thanks for being so diligent with your blog. It’s one thing to start a blog and an entirely different story to keep one going. I’ve been coughing way too much lately because, as you, I’m always worried the cancer is progressing. But, after three rounds of antibiotics I’m down to just 5 or 6 coughing fits a day and my last CT scan shows stable. After much persuasion, and if I continue to feel well, my doctor is giving me three months until my next scan! This afternoon we went to the mantinee Blind Side – what a wonderful movie. It is snowing outside and we just decorated our tree, I could sit and look at it all night. Take care of yourself and get that HINI vaccine. Cheers, Melanie

  2. Thanks Melanie, for being the first person to join in this conversation! I’m having a difficult time getting all this crap out of my chest as well and yes, it is way hard not to be anxious about it. Of course, I know a lot of people without lung cancer who are in the same situation, but I just can’t take the health of my lungs for granted anymore. I will call again today regarding the vaccine–one of these days, the answer will be yes, come on in! I’ll have to check out that movie and we are getting our tree today…Happy Holidays! Linnea ( and congrats on the three months until scans part)

  3. Hi Linnea, I had a physician friend suggest calling my OB/GYN doctor to see if they had extra H1N1 vaccine. I am on the list at my primary care doctor’s office and they tell me I should hear soon so I haven’t had to call my OB/GYN, but if you’re not having any luck it may be worth trying if you haven’t already.
    I went to DFCI on Friday to learn about the Pfizer trial and my oncologist told me that after reviewing the scans, my disease looks about the same as it did in July when I first went on Alimta. He called it stable disease and told me I was not eligible for the trial. What I did not understand before the visit was that progression of disease is determined from the time one starts a new treatment and that it has to be at least 20%. I had started Alimta in July after being on Avastin maintenance since completing chemo last November. My disease has been growing slowly since the beginning of this year but the fact that the largest tumor in my RLL has grown back to the size it was when I first did chemo is worrisome for me. Of course there are other eligibility criteria for the study too, including evidence of new disease, worsening symptoms or significant toxicity to current treatment. Somehow it just doesn’t seem fair that you have to get “sicker” before you can go on the study. And since my disease is confined to my chest, why wait til it possibly metastasizes outside my chest. Doesn’t the battle become even more difficult at that point? So it was a bit disappointing in some respects, especially because the trial is showing response rates that are pretty amazing when it comes to treating lung cancer. I know even though the tumor has grown, the fact that it is stable since July is a good thing. The Alimta has been tolerable. And I’m here for another Xmas that I wasn’t so sure I’d see. So back to focusing on family and friends and enjoying all the traditions that the holiday brings.
    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  4. Sharon–I finally was able to get the H1N1 today at my primary care office, but thanks for the suggestions. I can’t say I understand the criteria for trials and from a patient’s perspective I agree: why wait until you are sicker. That’s the tricky part of a trial though, you become a subject rather than a patient and in that respect lose some autonomy. Perhaps the Pfizer trial is yet a possibility should your disease progress a “sufficient” amount. Let’s hope it doesn’t though. Thanks for checking in and letting me know what you found out. Take care and Happy Holidays to you as well. Linnea

  5. awwwww……
    That is so sweet; now I just have to day hi. Hi!

  6. Katherine! I have missed you and it is so good to hear your “voice”. Love, L

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