Letters From Second Peninsula
Greetings from Second Peninsula
I’ve embraced a disconnect throughout my life between a tall, willowy woman who can wear long, flowing clothes with panache and the vertically challenged body that I inhabit and now struggles to reach its historic height of five feet.
This past week I’ve experienced another kind of disconnect with my body. Following my treatment on Wednesday, I had the typical sleepless night from steroids and a surge on Thursday where the drug allowed me to complete a long list of household chores. Bathrooms were cleaned, closets and drawers were organized, bags of books and clothes were filled for donation, and by the end of the day, our house looked as though Marie Kondo had intervened personally to remove whatever didn’t “spark joy” on that particular day.
Fortunately for my husband Tony, his studio is both his sanctuary and a repository for the millions of things he holds dear to his heart. One of his many amazing talents is the ability to build furniture. He built wall units with bookshelves and drawers that wrap around his studio. As fast as I empty drawers and bookshelves, he fills them. Not one empty drawer to be found in his studio. It seems that everything in his lair sparks joy. So be it.
Back to the disconnect. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I was in a state of fatigue and weakness that was unsettling. Combined with the holiday weekend, or “Eastover” as my grandchildren call their combination of an Easter Egg hunt in the afternoon followed by a Seder at night, the isolation and the exhaustion were a dispiriting combination.
Self-pity? You bet! I wallowed for hours and realized I have yet to fully accept or internalize the fact that I have cancer and that the weekly chemo treatments are catching up with me. I’m reminded of Tony's advice when we first started cycling together, and I felt defeated whenever I had to peddle uphill.
“Don’t look ahead,” he cautioned, “just keep your head down and adjust your gears.”
It worked. The same technique is one I need to use to keep going through chemotherapy. If I look ahead I am overwhelmed. Head down, one day at a time, embrace the good moments and sleep or rest through the tough ones.
Speaking of good moments, the signs of spring continue to emerge.
I was thrilled to see the shoots of garlic that Tony planted last fall. And the rhubarb is also thriving.
We planted heather about seven years ago. It begins to bloom in February and hasn’t stopped. It will go dormant as soon as the warmer weather begins, but it’s a source of colour and joy throughout the long winter months and the harder-to-find spring season in Nova Scotia.
The beauty of our location is a much-needed balm for my spirits. I know how fortunate I am to be living in this magnificent part of the world.
Until next time,