Trying not to miss the boat

I recently received this greeting card from my stepmother Carolyn. The message inside is “A bad day is all about perspective”. I find it hilarious and awfully apropos.

A new day is a good day. Upon first awakening, I wiggle my toes and sing my little ‘I’m alive’ ditty, roll over on my stomach into the cat and then the child pose, and after a glance at the word ‘Gift’ (framed on my bedside table), seize the day.

Or, rather, grapple with it. I would be less than truthful to imply that there have been any sustained passages of time where everything ran smoothly. I crave order but court chaos.

In possession of a dreadfully short attention span, I am interested in so much. Shy but outgoing, clean but messy, in love with simplicity but also acquisitive. My husband said to me not long ago, “Linnea, you can’t have everything you love”.

Before you misinterpret that statement, David is not talking diamonds, but rather something broader : experiences, people, places and yes, sometimes objects…I am greedy in my desire to take it all in.

Lacking focus, I am not just open minded; my mind gapes. Much falls in, more tumbles out. My retention is spotty and often short on supporting details. Many years ago, as a student in France, I had a poetry teacher whom I adored, Gustaf Sobin. In response to one of my poems he said: “It is like a sandwich. You have the meat, but where is the bread?”.

Ah…the  bread, or substratum which supports the yummy part. How to build a sandwich, and perhaps a sustainable life as well.

I’m trying to attend to all the niggly details of getting our new home in order while yet honoring the competing  demands of summer’s child (Peter), and my progressing symptoms. This past week Peter spent two days with Mary and Raleigh, as their granddaughter Sarah, who is Pete’s age, was visiting. The kids had a grand time swimming, playing scrabble, frogging, and toading as well.

When I picked Pete up on Wednesday, we were flagged down by our good friend Amy. She handed us a container of grape sized blueberries that she had just picked.  No doubt part of our hearts will always reside on Blueberry Hill, as I don’t believe we will ever encounter such a concentration of fine and friendly neighbors again.

But life moves on. I love our new home and the fact that Boston is so much more accessible now. I remain quite active (yesterday I cleaned the pool, bathed and groomed the dog, took him on a walk, did laundry, fielded several phone calls and emails, tided the house, went to the post office and shopped for groceries before preparing dinner), but I am hitting a wall much sooner in the evening. I sleep longer and cough more. My next scan is more than a month away, but should my physical symptoms continue progressing at this rate, I may request a change of treatment sooner.

On an inspirational note: check out this video about the Aquadettes on a blog called California is a Place. It is lovely and poignant, contains a plug for medicinal marijuana (not my drug of choice, but works for some), and, well, will just make you smile.

12 responses to “Trying not to miss the boat

  1. Hi Linnea..
    The Aquadettes video really moved me…mostly because I was a synchronized swimmer in college! I would love to find an older group of swimmers like these women!
    Her story about how marijuana has helped her was interesting too. I haven’t tried that yet to alleviate my chemo side effects, but it’s nice to know it’s an option…
    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. linnea,
    Just what I needed today. I found the Aquadettes clip interesting on several levels. I was a synchronized swimmer in college and I would love to find or start such a group here in Memphis. And I am a proponent of medical marijuana. Three cheers for Margo and for you!

  3. Thanks for allowing us to vicariously experience some of the lovely qualities of a Massachusetts summer. Despite the ever-evolving symptoms, you’re doing great and are my inspiration.

  4. I love the card!.We have a lot of toads here,littlle to whoppers.My dog follows them around.I have 2 toad houses but I don’t think they use them.Glad Boston is more accessible .Not just because of treatment but also on good days,you can enjoy something.Hope your next scan will be better than you seem to think,AndiB

    • Andi–always good to hear from you. Our pup is fond of the amphibians as well; he got one in his mouth once and I believe they (the toads) are able to secrete something vile in defense. At any rate, the toad was spit out quickly and lived to hop some more.


  5. Very touching video. Thanks !

  6. Hi Linnea,
    We met at the advocacy summit in Denver. It was great to read y bour blog and catch up with all of your activities. You have been a busy woman. My brother continues to well after 10 months on crizonitib, but we will know on Aug. 16 if a questionable area on the last scans has grown. What a journey this cancer is—
    Jean Kamla

    • Hi Jean, I’m glad your brother is doing well. Let’s hope that questionable area is not growth. But know that they are hard at work on the next generation of ALK inhibitors!


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