Friday, May 30, 2008

Catching up on the medical stuff

Yesterday was both my regular Thursday meeting with the radiation oncologist and the scheduled chemo. The radiation doctor said that the increasing side effects, not just the flu-like symptoms last week, but also the sudden attacks of exhaustion, the occasional diarrhea, and the low-grade nausea, were all "the side effects catching up with you," but that nothing seemed heavy enough to stop the radiation. I don't want them to stop the radiation! And I can certainly put up with far worse side effects. However, he said that the flu symptoms weren't caused by the radiation.
On the other hand, the nurse upstairs in the chemo room said that chemo probably didn't cause them, and it might have been something else entirely. No one wants to take the credit. Who knows? Maybe it really was the power of suggestion.
Meanwhile, the little drama of the day was that my platelet count was still lower than they'll accept for me to continue the chemo. I pleaded and begged, and the nurse said that it's a balancing act, the danger of my platelet count not being able to bounce back against my needing the chemo in regular doses for it to be most effective. She checked with the oncologist, and he told her to go ahead, to my great relief.
While I sat there getting the gencitabine, I watched the other patients. Crazy Lady was there, repeating again and again, "So what did the Bard have for breakfast? Hamlet and eggs," to anyone who made the mistake of coming near her.
The blind lady and her patient dog and equally patient husband sat near me, no one saying anything.
And the woman with lung cancer is doing worse. Her color is bad, and she just lay back in the recliner, not interacting with anyone. I heard the nurse ordering supplemental oxygen for her at home.
The high point, though, was a man who came in with a big smile on his face and a basket of fruit for the nurses. It was his last day, and he'd been declared cancer-free. One of the nurses said, "You should be dancing," and he turned his back, did the cutest little butt-wiggle, and strutted out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Me, whining

Yesterday was discouraging. First of all, when I went in for the chemo, after the radiation, it turned out that my platelets are low. The nurse had to fax the oncologist, who works in Brattleboro on Tuesdays, to find out if she could go ahead and give me the gencitabine, and he faxed back that she couldn't. So after spending as much time as I would have if I'd gotten the chemo, I came home. This isn't anything to worry about, by the way; I'd been warned that glitches like this happen as a matter of course during chemotherapy. The whole thing is a balancing act, and I just need rebalancing. However, that doesn't make me feel better about the situation.
I asked the nurse if there was anything I could do or take to bring the platelets up, but it turns out there isn't. I asked if this counted as do-it-yourself hemophilia, and she got rather technical on the differences. Her only advice was to go home and rest and try not to cut myself. So I did, feeling rather as though I'd failed Platelets 101.

Then I called the Orthopedics people about my brace, which after many adjustments still doesn't work. They decided that they should send the brace to the home office for major adjusting, which means that I'll be without it for about two weeks. Unfortunately, the pain of wearing the brace is nothing compared to the pain of not wearing it.
I just wrote and deleted several whimpery sentences about how unfair life is. But we knew that.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I have the day off from radiation and chemo, and it's a bit like being a kid and having a snow day -- no need to do the stuff that I usually have to do, that I know is good for me, that I don't mind --but I don't need to do it!

Memorial Day is a different kind of a holiday in New England from what it is in Utah. Living overseas (and with pacifist parents), I don't remember celebrating it as a child. It wasn't like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even the Fourth of July, when the American expats would get together and try to recreate a real American holiday. It slipped through the cracks.

So when I got to Utah and we went to our first Memorial Day, I had no mental pattern for it. It turned out, in any case, that a Germer Memorial Day was its own unique experience.

In Utah, everyone's graves got decorated, not just military ones. We went to Deweyville, to the little cemetery on the hillside, and put flowers on the family graves. Then to Jerry's cousin's house for a wonderful potluck dinner (wonderful except for Aunt Bertha's beet salad, bless her heart), followed by music, a glorious jam session during which that bunch of church-going Mormons gave the best imitation I've ever seen of a happily drunken brawl. The picture, by the way, dates from 1978 or '79, as far as I can tell. The guys haven't changed a bit.

Things are quieter here. In New England, no one never loses sight of the fact that it's a patriotic holiday. The only decorations are flags on the military graves, and the music is martial, played in parades by high school bands. We stay home and take it easy. I'd add a picture showing Max or Cinda as kids marching in the Marlborough band, but I think they'd disown me. It wasn't their finest musical moment. So instead here is our view of the pond across the street, with Canada geese, ducks, and some ducklings.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Side effects

I actually had some side effects last evening. They're worth mentioning just because I've had so few.
Yesterday was both chemo and radiation. When I met with the doctor, he asked the usual questions about pain, nausea, flu-like symptoms, and I brushed them away.
In the evening, during yoga class, I suddenly felt nausea, which I thought at first was due to the backbends; but it was a Restorative class, which meant that the backbends were very gentle, and besides, I usually don't have trouble with my back. Then I started feeling cold and I spent the rest of the class shivering under two blankets. By the time I got home I had all the rest of the symptoms the doctor had asked me about. Clearly they were due to the combination of therapies.
Jerry took care of me, bringing me pills and blankets, and by this morning I was feeling much better. Now I'm fine again, with two main reactions:
First, of course, is that I'm more appreciative of how well I've been doing so far.
The other is almost relief. If I got sick, the cancer must really be in bad shape. There's a medication for pancreatic cancer that I've read about on a pc forum. A common side effect of it, and indication that it's working, is major acne. A woman wrote in despairingly that she'd been on this medication for two weeks and her skin was still clear. Everyone else wrote back to say that the side effects weren't absolutely necessary. The medication could still be working fine, but she said that she couldn't believe it. She needed the skin breakouts to convince herself that she was getting the full benefit of the chemo. When I read it, my first reaction was that she should consider herself lucky to have missed out on yet one more misery, but after last night I understand her better.
If I feel too well, something is wrong? That's just plain weird. I need to think about this some more.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

So far, so good

Despite my rather dark post yesterday, I was really having a good birthday, which started with presents from Jerry (three pairs of earrings and a gift certificate to our local indie bookstore -- how well the man knows me!), and continued with special birthday greetings from the Top of the Hill Knitters, calls from family and flowers from Cinda and Rob, and ending with beer-butt chicken, grilled asparagus, and potato salad (Jerry cooked), and a less-successful rhubarb pie. Damn it, I still can't do a decent pie crust. Ro-o-o-b, help!
So I'm now officially 65, and very glad to have made it so far. I continue to feel well and strong, and if the radiation means I need a nap in the afternoon, well, I'm enjoying that, too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Natural disasters

All of us who've faced the diagnosis know what Senator Kennedy and his family have been going through the past few days. We know the feeling of utter disbelief, the realization that from now on nothing we planned on can be expected to happen but that something worse undoubtedly will, the loss of control, the dozens of questions that we don't even know how to prioritize. It's as though a cyclone, or an earthquake, sweeps away every certainty.

I forgot to mention in the previous post, my parents' two strongest ways of coping with disaster. My father went into Control Mode. I remember him on a gurney in the ER, telling me exactly what to bring him for his hospital stay, where everything was, and not to forget to water his plants.
Mother specialized in black humor. During her last illness, a doctor checked her mental powers by asking her who the president was. She blanked out on the name but said grandly, "I prefer not to speak of him.... That idiot."

I use both coping mechanisms, and when I was diagnosed, my Control Mode took the form of lists: who to contact, questions for the insurance company, what to google, and questions for the doctors. (The last was two pages, single-spaced.) I'm sure that Teddy Kennedy and his family, have their own form of Control Mode, probably with lists.

Those facing the aftermath of earthquake and cyclone are dealing with disbelief turning to horror and, perhaps, hope; with loss of control and too many questions.
How are they coping? What is on their lists? (Tent, something to put water in, food, firewood, and always, especially, ways of contacting loved ones)

My heart goes out to the Kennedys, but also to the tens of thousands of people who like him, like me, woke up one morning thinking that their lives were going in one direction. And then their lives were tossed up in the air to fall into a different pattern. I wish them strength, people to love and support them, and a sense of humor.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Knitting Interlude -- Finishing the Endless Sweater

The Endless Sweater started as Cinda's project -- a beautiful wrap sweater with a long sash tie, which she made in an alpaca-silk blend. She worked forever (knit, frog [=rip it, rip it, rip it], knit again) to make the cables and lace come out. (Her picture to the left.)When she got it done and blocked, it didn't fit. Much too small.

Since I'm (ahem) less busty than she is, she sent it to me, but when I tried it, it turned out too small for me, too. I tried creating a wide collar that was going to wrap over the bits of me that hung out, but I couldn't manage it.

So I frogged the whole thing. I think she was crying on the phone when I told her about it. I tried the same pattern. Didn't work.

I tried a different pattern from the same book, and after two tries managed something like the new pattern. But it took forever. Today it is officially done, and I'm happy with it, though I would have preferred the wrap. The color is still gorgeous, and the yarn, while there isn't an inch of it that hasn't been knit at least three times, is still wonderfully soft.
But I think the whole thing is more a tribute to stubbornness than anything else.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I've been thinking about how reactions to illness are shaped by how our parents reacted to our -- and their own -- illnesses. My father's family downplayed and denied sickness, something carried to an extreme by my uncle, who, in the hospital dying of heart disease, told me that he was all right except for this cold he couldn't shake. My father was a bit more realistic, but when I'd ask him how he was doing, he'd always say, "Can't complain," and he wouldn't, even when I told him to go ahead.

My mother's side of the family was more complicated. Grandma did her share of denial, if that's what it was. There she'd be, apparently at death's door, and when we took her in to the doctor and he asked how she was, she immediately brightened up and chirped, "Fine, fine!"
Maybe it was like taking the car in because of that funny sound in the engine which disappears the minute you get to the garage. Or maybe she just liked seeing doctors; we never figured it out.

I think she must have spent a lot of time denying my mother's feelings when my mother was a child, because she always worried that we would think she was malingering. "I really am feeling bad," she'd say, "Even though it may not look like it." She managed to combine that with her own style of denial ("No, of course I don't have a headache. I never get headaches,") which sometimes led to strange self-contradictions.

Because of her own background, she was sensitive to my brother's and my illnesses, perhaps even over-sensitive. I know that there was one year in which I stayed home from school whenever I said that I felt bad or when she decided the glands under my jaw were swollen. I had fun those days at home until boredom sent me back to school again. (Yes, Max and Cinda, that probably explains why you were never allowed to watch TV when you were home sick. I didn't want you to enjoy it, the way I had.)

So where does that leave me now? With a certain amount, at least, from all of them. I remember when I had breast cancer and had to fill out a form which asked if my ailment was minor, moderate, or serious. I spent a lot of time trying to decide if it was minor or moderate. I wonder if people see me walking around, apparently healthy, and think I'm malingering. And worst of all, the last time the doctor asked how I was, to my horror I heard myself chirping, "Fine, fine!"

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"I have cancer," she said baldly.

How do you break the news? I am thankful to have this blog, because for family and friends who read it, I don't have to start from the beginning each time we talk. I can assume that everyone knows what's going on, and when we see each other or chat your questions or comments start from where I am now. In fact, one friend began the conversation yesterday with, "So, are your curtains up yet?" (Nope.)

It's much harder with acquaintances or people I haven't seen for a while. It's obvious, to look at me, that something's going on, but do I pile the whole thing on them right off?
"How are you?"
"Well, I have pancreatic cancer." Long silence, while I think, Yeah, Germer, you sure know how to stop a conversation.

A problem is that I've had several months to get used to the idea (more or less), and here's a friend suddenly having to deal with the whole concept with no time to prepare. Most people do well with it, but I feel as though I've dumped, if not the elephant, a whole pile of elephant poop right on them.

I've also tried the low-key approach.
"Well, as you can see, things aren't going the way I'd planned."
"You have....?"
"Cancer, yes."
And we continue, in a coy form of Twenty Questions until the friends have asked questions either up to their comfort level or else their level of politeness. No one is sure what is appropriate to ask. And then, what?
"But enough about me. What's new with you these days?" And I can see them thinking that whatever they're going through isn't as earth-shaking as this. What they can't appreciate is that I really want to know. Yes, there's a world out there where people are dealing with other problems, or have other joys, or even a bit of boredom. I'm hungry to hear about it all -- once we get past the uncomfortable beginnings.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Feeling good (mostly)

Actually, yesterday's D-H visit took up the whole morning, because it turned out that I had a meeting with the nurse and the radiation oncologist. The nurse was really encouraging, said that if I hadn't felt any nausea yet I probably won't, and explained that the nausea usually hits within an hour of the radiation. Since I forgot to take the Compazine one day this week, with no nausea, I seem to have lucked out.
The radiation oncologist said that I seem to be tolerating the radiation extremely well and asked if I had any questions. Couldn't think of any.
Then upstairs for the chemo. I actually got a brief general conversation going with the other patients, but we're all in our own little areas, so everyone got quickly tired of shouting across the room at each other. I continued talking with my neighbors for a bit: a man with aplastic anemia who was only in for blood work and rehydration, and a woman whose ovarian cancer had returned with metasteses and who was starting a different type of chemo. She showed me her half inch of hair and hoped that the new chemo wouldn't take it. A blind woman, accompanied by guide dog and husband, came in. The dog settled quietly at her feet. The husband sat beside her, not speaking. Another woman, who I recognized from back when we volunteered at the Community Kitchen, made up for their silence, talking to the nurses, and when they were busy, to herself. It seemed to be a conversation that she enjoyed. The couple who was there on Monday were back, this time waiting for him to get a blood transfusion as well as the chemo.
The trouble is, I still don't feel that I belong there. Those people are sick. They're getting terrible side effects from the poisons that they pray will cure them, and at the same time the disease itself is destroying them.
And then there's me. I feel good most of the time and not bad the rest of it. I have the word of two doctors that I'm doing a good job of managing the chemo and radiation. It's easy to pretend that I'm some kind of Super Sickie, flying across Metropolis with my cape flowing behind me, landing on the precarious rooftops and balancing on impossibly high heels, and then in the next panel there are jagged lightning strikes and POW! as I take on (and out) the cancer, which slinks off, shaking a futile fist at me....
But probably the other people in the chemo lab felt strong, once, too. They couldn't understand how they could feel this good and be this sick. They and their long-suffering care givers clung to every shred of hope. Where is the tipping point between them and me?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bedroom catch-up

Here's how it looks. The curtains aren't up yet, mostly because the material hasn't been ordered. Today I'll get to it. It's a paisley with the dark burgundy background, some greens and off-white. More pictures when the curtains are done and finally up.
Today I have the radiation/chemo combo, so I go in at 8:45, and should be back by 10:30. Not bad.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Second phase starting up

It's funny. A few weeks ago when I parked in front of this sign, I could barely bring myself to get out of the car. All I could think was, I don't want to go through all this again.

Now I'm just glad to get a good parking space. How one's perceptions change.

I started the chemo/radiation mix yesterday, and because it was a longer session than will be usual and Jerry had work, I spent the time on my own.

Radiation is a lot easier to go through than chemo. I lie on that black table, head on the towel and hands reached back to grab the little bars, and the two techs position me precisely. Then the table slides back under the thing that looks like half of an old-fashioned telephone receiver. It rotates first to the right, then middle, then left, pausing while the machine hits my middle with its charge of radiation with a sound like a bass bug-zapper. Then I'm done. I don't even have to dress in a johnny for it. The hardest part is lying there without helping the techs push me into position. They are very anxious for me to be comfortable, so we had a few disjointed conversations in which I said, "Well, what does that do?" and they said, "It won't hurt a bit," and I said, "I know it won't hurt a bit, but what does it do?" They finally understood that comfort for me comes from knowledge, not reassurances, and we're fine now. They explain stuff.
After the radiation I went upstairs to the oncology department, where I met with the doctor. His manner isn't exactly hail-fellow-well-met, but he even cracked a couple of smiles as he told me that I had "tolerated the induction phase extremely well." Because I've been on a fairly high dose of gemcitabine, he had expected a lot more side effects than I've had. He says that any side effects I have now will probably be due to the radiation because I'm on a fairly low dose of gemcitabine (and no taxotere. Maybe I can start growing hair again?), just to help target the radiation.
And the chemo treatment itself, once they've checked my blood counts and gotten the stuff from the lab, will only take a half an hour.
So we're off to a good start.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wonderful weekend, now back on track

We needed to get away for a bit, so we spent the weekend at our favorite inn in Vermont, Abbott's Glen. The proprietors, Amy and Lindy, do a great job of combining luxury and hominess, and after delicious food, massages, a sauna, and hanging out with the other pampered guests, we came back ready to face the next few weeks. I couldn't recommend Abbott's Glen more highly, though should mention if you plan to visit, that it's clothing optional.
Among the other guests were most notably a vivacious woman who works in the operating rooms at D-H Lebanon, where I hope to have my surgery. She gave me some background on my surgeon which made me even more confident in his abilities -- it's always good to hear another point of view, especially when it makes you feel even better.
Another guest, a retired heating/cooling system installer, decided that Jerry needed to learn all about the advantages of solar heating. It wasn't exactly preaching to the choir, more like teaching the ABC song to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Jerry listened politely.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love; Sick Girl -- Books

I had strong negative initial reactions to these memoirs, but after a week or so I've changed my mind about both.
When I tried to explain the premise of Eat, Pray, Love to Jerry, I said, "Elizabeth Gilbert recovered from a bad divorce and spiritual depression by going to Italy, India, and Indonesia to find herself."
"Not bad. How could she afford it?"
"Well, she had a successful career, but she quit it, so I think she wasn't worried about money, and I think she got the book contract before she went."
"And I assume she was healthy."
"Healthy, young, and beautiful."
"Yeah, she had a lot to recover from."
I agreed. Sometimes it's hard to empathize with someone's angst when that's all they have to worry about.
However, despite the fuzzy underpinnings of the book, I enjoyed it. Who wouldn't want to go to Italy and eat gelato and real pizza, to India and do asanas in an ashram, to Indonesia and find romance? Should I sneer just because she's young, healthy, rich, healthy, able to get a book contract, and did I mention healthy?

Sick Girl is very different. Amy Silverstein was not healthy. At the age of 25, she received a heart transplant after a virus and cardiomyopathy destroyed her own already damaged heart. She has lived longer than any other person with a heart transplant, but she shows that "recovery" is a sliding scale: they don't just pop in the new heart and you walk off healthy. Her well-being, such as it is, depends on her taking constant meds that keep her immune system from functioning and leave her prey to any germ around. She's constantly exhausted.
And she fights. In the book she traces how she fought the medical system, at first by screaming at it, then by a kind of passive-aggressive hostility, and finally by standing up for herself in a way that the doctors could understand. She fights to act "normal" all the time, even when she's obviously overtaxing her body. She doesn't sound like an easy person to be around, and at first I wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up, for heaven's sake. She's alive, even if she isn't comfortable. She has lived to see her son grow up, to get ten years more than they expected with her husband, to see her book published.

But as my negative reactions circled around in my head, I kept thinking of Rita Mae Brown's comment that there is no Olympics for pain. We're not in a contest to see who can suffer the most, whose tragedy is the greatest, or who can put on the perkiest smiley face. It's easy for me to sneer at Liz Gilbert's misery, because I've never had a divorce or spent much time dealing with a need for greater spiritual awakening; it's almost as easy to complain that Amy Silverstein was ungrateful and childish because she pulled IV needles out and screamed at her doctors (though I can relate to the desire if not the performance).

Let's face it: no matter what any of us are dealing with, it's the same. We do what we have to do, on the basis of incomplete information about a situation that we didn't choose in the first place. That's true of Gilbert, of Silverstein, of me, of you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Catch-up Week Continues

At the DMV: As I stood in the long line (everyone has May birthdays) I practiced saying "Do you make an exception for the bald?"
The female Volgon at the desk must have the most boring job on earth. "Next!... Look into the machine and read line 5.... Stand against the wall.... Smile.... Next!" in a mechanical bark.
Finally it was my turn. We got up through "stand against the wall" and she gestured at my scarf, at which point I had an attack of chemo brain and couldn't remember the word 'exception.' I just stared at her. In a completely different voice she said, "Do you have any hair at all?" I shook my head, and she said gently, "It's okay. Go ahead," took my picture, and then, without missing a beat, she barked, "Next!"
So I'm wearing a scarf on my license.

At the orthopedic doctor's (appointment changed from Friday to Tuesday):
The first doctor had called my foot "deranged." The new one explained, "Think of it as an Adult Onset Clubfoot." These guys have a way with words. However, they're also the only doctors at DH-Keene who routinely give me hugs. The other departments could learn from them.

At the vet's:
Yeltsi is healthy, and maybe she yowls at night because of elimination issues, or maybe it's kitty senility. Jerry has the job of disecting her poops to see if she's passing uncomfortable hairballs. Meanwhile, in revenge or for some reason known only to cats, Yeltsi yowled all last night. She's asleep now, resting up.

The well? Apparently all taken care of. Cushing and Sons appeared yesterday, worked on the line between well and house, and the pump has been quiet ever since.

Actually, I'm really enjoying this week of normal hassles.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Continuing saga

I knew I'd get sympathy and appreciation from everyone who knows Jerry.... He's almost done with the painting. It's going to be gorgeous. Pictures as soon as we get the carpet in.
Somehow, this week, which was going to involve a lot of Doing Nothing, has gotten crowded. Let's see:
Today I go in to get my driver's license renewed, which I suddenly realized involves a picture. Will they let me wear a headwrap? If not, am I going to go through the next five years with a bald driver's license picture? Will that mean I'm stopped at airports as a clearly dangerous, if not deranged, alien? The only wig I own is a classy Halloween number made of foil. Would they let me wear that?
Tomorrow we take the cat in to the vet to find out why she yowls between 1:30 and 4:00 am every night. We thought she'd get over it, but Luther said that his cat, Thexis, who lived to almost 22, yowled every night. For ten years. Maybe there's kitty ambien.
Tomorrow is also the day that the well people come back again for their third try at fixing what's wrong. The water is now clear and tasty, but the pump cycles on at strange times, sometimes making a very modern-sounding duet with the cat.
Wednesday we get the carpet, which arrives at the same time that the Top of Frost Hill knitting group meets at our house. There are four of us at the moment and only two of us knit, but we've taken a good stab at solving all the problems of the world over the past few weeks. I'm sure that we won't be distracted by the curses of the men trying to get a long, straight carpet up the zigzaggy stairs and through the narrow hall into the bedroom.
Thursday I meet with the radiation people, and I hope get to yoga, which I missed last week because of ankle problems.
Friday I see the orthopedic doctor for those ankle problems. Briefly, probably because I'm double-jointed, my ankles have always gone in weird directions, and finally the tendon which holds the arch up pretty much gave out (the posterior tibialis, to be technical). That's why I wear the brace, but it doesn't seem to be working as well as it did.
So life is full. But the main thing is that these days I have energy and appetite and am actually looking forward to some of this week's challenges (except for the vet visit).

Friday, May 2, 2008

Life goes on -- Jerry's at it again

I've been struggling with a minor blog question today: what do I do for this week when (I truly hope) there won't be much cancer news to share. I don't want to lose the momentum of writing regularly, but some people have told me that they check in just to make sure I'm well.
So I'm well, barring the usual stuff, the latest of which is that my stubble is now falling out, which means that the Taxotere is doing its job (Go, Taxotere. Get all those fast-growing cells. Zap 'em.)
If you want, you have my permission to go away and come back maybe on the 8th or the 12th when I'll have more cancer news.
But in the mean time, Jerry hasn't had a house project going for some time, and the itch got too much for him. The first picture is of our bedroom at 9:00 am today. The second is what it looked like at 3:30 this afternoon. If you look really carefully you can see one of the cats in the second picture.
We have a family story about our first house and my horrified reaction as Jerry walked through with a sledge hammer and started on the wall of the living room. He said defensively, "I told you I didn't like that arch."
Yesterday, in far less time than it would have taken him to buy a pair of shoes, he bought the new carpet and we negotiated the new curtains and chose the color scheme. Today he stripped the bedroom and took up the old carpet.
It feels so good to have him working on a project around the house. This is what life is supposed to be like.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Maudlin post about wonderful family

While the experience of having cancer has made me appreciate my extended family and my musical, writing, yoga and other "families", I've just finished a week with Cinda and Rob which included chances to see Max and Anya (and Miles) and Luther and Miriam -- my side of the "real" family. That pretty well takes care of it, too; the Barber line is not exactly contributing to overpopulation.
What they miss out on in quantity they more than make up for in quality. Getting together with them is always a joy, but never have I been so cherished and spoiled.
In other words, no one let me lift a finger. Jerry cooked two meals and Rob and Cinda another two, all delicious. This was one week in which I didn't have to worry about losing weight: highlights included a pasta dish that involved a variety of fresh and dried mushrooms as well as asparagus, together with a pear-walnut-blue cheese salad. And then there was the peach pie with a crust that almost floated away from the table....
Add to that the wonderful conversations which ranged from Miles's telling a story (it even began with "once upon a time") through books, music, and movies to politics and the future of technology -- all as stimulating to the mind as the food was to the palate. Creative show-and-tells involving knitting and pottery. (Try and imagine a planter with feet. Bare feet.)
I napped when necessary, but all of the good company and love gave me more energy than I usually have just after chemo, and today I'm feeling good.
But the time went by too fast.