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Letters From Second Peninsula
A photo collage of the things that are finally popping up in my garden. The eggs are from a friend who lives on Second Peninsula and who has the world's cleanest and most beautiful henhouse for her collection of rare breed chickens. She calls them her “girls.”
When I struggle to find the emotional strength to endure the difficult days, which seem to be coming regularly and lasting longer than at the start of treatment, I find myself thinking about the fact that Multiple Myeloma is "incurable" and that monitoring will always be part of my future. I know, I know, I need to stay present and optimistic that I am already halfway through the weekly chemo treatments.
It's not that easy. Despair sets in at various moments during the day and night. Crying, according to my sister-in-law, the ophthalmologist, can aggravate my already swollen and painful tear ducts. What's a girl to do?? How unfair is that? Crying is my specialty. It's never a prolonged affair, but a few good howling sobs and a cascade of tears are such a cathartic experience for me. It's been my emotional response to sadness or moments of despair throughout my life.
It never ceases to amaze Tony that I can rebound within minutes to a joyful and optimistic spirit after these brief but intense outbursts. He reacts to my emotional state a bit like Eyore, and a cloud of sadness hangs over his head. I'm keenly aware of this, and I try very hard to spare him some of the outbursts. Fortunately, he is blissfully unaware of the nighttime tears as he sleeps in the bedroom at the other end of the house. As I've said before, the role of the caregiver is far more difficult than that of the patient. To see a life partner so sick is a heartbreaking experience.
The legendary kindness and generosity of the Maritime provinces has been showcased throughout my illness. It seems as though every day this past week someone has arrived at our door with food. We've had fish chowder, a haddock casserole, a bag full of the biggest and plumpest mussels harvested the same day, a meal of butter chicken with all the fixings, a container full of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, another filled with light as air blueberry muffins, and squash soup for our freezer.
I dream about one day being well enough to host a huge party to say thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout these many months.
The decision to have a maskless outdoor visit with my friend Tracy last Saturday morning was inspired by my new family doctor. I asked her whether or not I might be able to kiss and hug my kids and grandkids when they come to visit in July. She told me to "live your life" and to kiss and hug them. The truth is I remain terrified of adding any other infection to the already long list of challenges my body is enduring.
It felt wonderful to have a normal social interaction, if only for a couple of brief hours. Unfortunately, the exhilaration was short-lived as the styes and exhaustion began to overwhelm me shortly thereafter. The remainder of the weekend and until Tuesday were largely spent in bed with painful eyes and exhaustion.
I did, however, use the brief moments of respite to prepare filling for vegetarian samosas and to fill and fry them the next day. Yes, any chance I have to do a bit of cooking brings me joy. They are now tucked away in the freezer.
Come to think of it, this ricochet pattern of sorrow to joy is not new for me. It's been the pattern of my entire life. In the course of any day, I bounce around these emotional peaks. Cooking and reading are two activities that bring me sustained periods of calm and focus.
After being bird phobic for most of my life - a trait that I believe I inherited from my mother’s side of my family, I have had many moments of pleasure observing the beautiful variety of birds that devour the seeds at the two bird feeders Tony placed near our front door. On the ocean side of the house, we have a hummingbird feeder and I think I must make the best nectar on the south shore. The hummers are back and it seems I only have to wait a few minutes to spot one enjoying a long, luxurious sip.
I can now boast that I recognize the call of the cardinals. Still not a fan of the Bluejays as they seem to terrorize the smaller birds and eat an excessive amount of the seed. Their massive size makes the bird feeders swing precariously when they perch or leave, but we have no idea how to deter them. Not overly fond of doves either. I like the small, colourful birds. The thought of coming across a dead bird still panics me.
Until next time,