Letters From Second Peninsula
A gorgeous sunrise I captured at 6:00 a.m
The drop in temperature these last few days has been matched by the drop in my hemoglobin. I’m at one with nature.
It’s also been an easier post-treatment week for me. Yes, there’s fatigue and a seemingly never-ending emergence of styes. Number five just appeared yesterday.
The difference is in my improved ability to maintain emotional equilibrium. I attribute this in large part to the meditation app, Headspace, that I use daily. It not only helps to relax and calm me, but it reminds me that while I can’t get rid of anxiety and fear, I can simply acknowledge and identify those feelings and thoughts as they arise and then they don’t overwhelm me.
“The amygdalae, a pair of small almond-shaped regions deep in the brain, help regulate emotion and encode memories—especially when it comes to more emotional remembrances.”
I’ve often joked that if I were ever to write an autobiography, (I won’t), its title would be, “The Girl Who Wore Her Amygdalae on Her Sleeve.” At various times in my life, I’ve tried to assume a more emotionally discreet personality. I’ve been able to maintain that charade for up to an hour. I guess my face is also a bit of a giveaway when it comes to my emotions. Mask wearing has helped hide those emotions, but my eyes still manage to convey some of them. What can I say, I’m a work in progress.
My father would listen to me complaining about what I felt were my weaknesses and deficits and he would inevitably reply, “It’s never too late to change.” And then there was my mother’s refrain, “The only thing that will ever kill your father is terminal optimism.” I didn’t inherit that optimism, but I know I’m resilient.
It seems as though each week some new pill, potion, or drop is added to my daily regimen. To think that I used to gag when I attempted to swallow a pill. Those days are long gone. My father had to swallow a large number of pills every morning. He would always ask, “What are these for?” The reply that he loved the most was when I would say, “birth control.” My morning pill-popping routine and the newly necessary eye drops follow the same routine my father had. It just feels awfully premature for me. When he was seventy-one he was still in good health and working full-time. Those inevitable “why me” questions are never helpful, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit to having them.
When someone you love dies and you are overwhelmed with grief there are those moments when you lift your eyes and notice that the world has not stopped even though your world has changed forever. The same is true for me with illness. So many aspects of my life have stopped, or rather been suspended. That still feels surreal.
Tulips from Tony. Folk art painting by Bradford Naugler
Until next time,