Tag Archives: the will to live

What the hey

I don’t know if it was the Captain Marvel movie (love me some scrappy heroine), the hot water with lemon that my friend Peter prescribed to start my day, or Jenny Ro’s bone broth soup. It couldn’t be the chemo, could it?

This girl has turned a corner. As of Monday evening, after a nine hour day of physical labor (I am crazy, but I needed to get the rest of my art stuff out of my old apartment), I have felt not good but GREAT.

Physically strong, almost zero wheeze (what’s up with that?), I am now of the mindset that I am going to live.

Powerful, powerful feeling, that. And just the boost of confidence I needed.

This weekend I am going to spend a couple of days in my new studio space. Making art. I could cry just writing that sentence.

This means I am likely to go another round of chemo prior to starting the clinical trial. As long as I wasn’t feeling any improvement, that was a dismal prospect. However, there is nothing I won’t do if I believe it is capable of knocking down my cancer.

Absolutely Nothing.


The force of life

Two weeks ago I was cleaning the pool when a brilliant flash of blue caught my eye. A tiny butterfly was floating in a tangle of flotsam. After scooping it from the water, I could see that one wing was badly deformed and the other mostly torn away. Surprisingly, the little fellow was still alive.

After taking several photos, I left the butterfly perched on a table and finished skimming the pool. When I went to check, the butterfly had tumbled from the table to the ground. Clearly, it was unable to fly and stood no chance against the sharp eyed birds or the many frogs in the surrounding grasses.

I carried the tattered insect inside and placed it on a china plate, covering it with the inverted insert from a salad spinner. After snipping a variety of flowers from the gardens, I placed them in a small glass of water beneath the dome; a bottle cap filled with sugar water provided an alternative source of nourishment.

I’ve been checking on the butterfly every day since. Once, I found it floating on the surface of the water in the glass (not content with one near drowning, it must have fallen off a stem and gone for another swim). I removed the glass of water and instead have replaced the wilted flowers each day with fresh ones.

It has been more than two weeks since I first plucked this little blue jewel from the pool. My intention was to prevent a violent end to a life that already hung in the balance. I expected the butterfly might last for a day or two. However, judging by the colorful stains on the interior of the dome, it is eating and defecating both. Every morning I am surprised to find it yet alive, its normal life expectancy likely exceeded. Under better circumstances, the butterfly would have spent these days aloft.

If there is a lesson here, it is simply this: death may pull, but life pushes back. Hard. A mangled little butterfly, born with a handicap that precluded flight, has somehow adapted to unlikely circumstances and prevailed: it has lived.


“We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.”

Ray Bradbury