domingo, octubre 15, 2006

Origami Swans

Way back when, in chemo cycle one, Luz made origami swans to welcome back the spirits of the night. I've been promising you a picture since then. Here it is at last.

Did I tell you all the story of the spirits of the night? For the past four years or so, as L* drifts off to sleep, she wanders in that twilight between wakefulness and dreaming, punctuated with comments like "I feel like there's all these other people here with us..." Sometimes they would be watching us. One time I think they were making us dessert :)

This summer, after L*s brother died, as she was falling asleep she said "all the people have gone. It was too sad."

So after that is when we started the origami. L* also hung beads and crystals, and bought a heavenly toad which is suspended above her pillow.

Anyway, last week, the people returned. We rejoiced and sang a song of welcome.

This little light of mine...

It’s been four weeks since L*’s last chemo, and life is dramatically better!

I feel like her themesong is

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, Let it shine,
Let it shine

A light has switched on inside, and she’s fully herself again.

In retrospect, the third chemo was the hardest: the end of treatment was so far away, and she was so tired and miserable and drained.

Once the end was in sight again, every day was a new day, a day closer to being better, a day with sunshine.

On Tuesday she had her first follow up with Dra. MM the oncologist. She who seemed to mock L*’s fears last time, saying, “what, you think if I send you home, you’re gonna die?” (see week 2, cycle 3) Yes, the comment still rankles--how foolish we were to worry about something like death over something as small as chemotherapy! the very idea!

But we’re determined to be nice with Dra. MM the oncologist. We can’t face a struggle every single time, and while L*’s chemotherapy treatment is over, she’s by no means done with this oncologist. So we paste bright smiles on our faces.

Actually, L* is in a very good mood: she just came from acupuncture, where she’s working on the post-chemo plan with her practitioner. Ktrion taught a class Tuesday morning and from campus takes a muni streetcar and then a bus to get to Major University Medical Center. So we’re reunited in the examination room, with Dr. M nowhere in sight, so the two of us are trading stories about our day and fooling around and giggling. Ktrion is wearing the suit, and L* is joking about the fact that she “dressed up” for this appointment but is nevertheless dressed only in a hideous exam gown.

We are once again lamenting that we never bought an exam gown, so at least she could close it and it would fit. We came up with several good solutions (safety pins, stick-on velcro dots) but never followed through. I swear, even those paper things would be better.

Dra. MM arrives and proclaims “Well, you didn’t die! I wanna say I told you so!”

Aside: No doubt this counts as banter for those with too much power and too few social skills. I’m reminded of the scene between Hurley and Jack on LOST:

Hurley: What’s that thing where doctors make you feel better just by talking to you?
Jack: Bedside manner.
Hurley: Yeah, that. Yours sucks, dude.

Hers sucks. Our smiles become a little pained our cheerfulness a bit more forced. We try not to make eye contact with one another.

In spite of that awkward beginning, Dra. MM answers all of L*’s questions. L* will start taking tamoxifen within a week, and will take it for five years.

And with that, we feel we've used up all our words about cancer and are now trying to shift gears back into life, or as we're learning to call it, "The New Normal"