I am an unabashed early bird, happiest in the early morning hours, especially if I'm the first one up in a quiet house. It's even more fun than usual since our boy, who's been living with us (on the couch) since October, is away on a much-deserved post-graduation vacation, so I can make a regular amount of noise, no tip-toeing around.
Since I opened my eyes at 4:55, I've been having a great time. Not to brag, but just to jump around and say I'm really happy about all the following crap I got done in the 2 1/2 hours before I left my house:
- read the news according to NY Times and SF Chronicle on-line;
- did a little housework, emptied the dishwasher, folded *and* put away a load of laundry;
- enjoyed the sound of the roomba cleaning the floors (love you, robot!);
- talked to my adorable husband at full volume;
- kissed my dog all over;
- read Gurumayi;
- watered half the orchids (there are a lot of them);
- took a shower, got dressed and ready for a loooong day at work today (and missing favorite yoga class, boo on that);
- had time to reflect, curse my laptop a bit, write this post by hand.
In that reflection time, I got to remembering that today marks the 21st anniversary of the first time I laid eyes on Joe. Oh darling Katherine Powell Cohen, what wonders cigarettes and lighters can work!
And then, wow, on the way to work, coming to a complete stop because the President's in town, not minding the traffic at all, warbling like a bird indeed inside my car, loving everything on the radio.
So it's a great day, I'm singing my early bird heart out, taking it all in, feeling good.
This May has been so weird. It's been raining pretty much every week, and cold. On May 17th last year, San Francisco had a high of 84, this year 60. I know you can do the math, but I feel the need to remark: that's an astounding 24 degrees lower.
A year ago this weekend it was something like 100 at my house. I remember because that was the weekend of Panoche Valley Road Race at which Joe crashed and broke his humerus. I drove an hour and a half to go get him in Hollister where it was 110. Hollister is bad enough, but Hollister when it's 110? Ridiculous.
As someone who grew up in San Francisco, albeit in a relatively sunny and warm neighborhood, I revel in the warmer summer temperatures in central Marin where I have lived since 1991. I do not miss the fog. I love the heat. I love those nights when it's so hot that it's hard to sleep, those days when going outside feels like stepping into an oven. I love the quality of the light on a really hot day, how unbearably hot the sidewalk gets, how great it is to eat outside in the garden when it's dark but still 80. I love not needing a sweater in August. I love, most of all, how easy it is to grow things, how plants soak up the sunlight and warmth and visibly change every single day.
So this year, with this weird weather, I am experiencing some strangely-timed seasonal affective disorder. Along with hay fever, a given in these windy early summer days, I'm cold. Cold! Today, while gardening, I was in jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt. Reminder: this time last year it was 100! OK, that was abnormally scorching, but generally 80 is the norm around these parts as we approach the end of May.
I'm thinking about those devices they sell in that Gaiam catalog for people who get sad in the winter, to generate more light, to bring them out of their wintertime, shorter-days funk. I'm thinking about that as I lie here on the couch, at 7pm, fuzzy with allergies and irritated by a day of cold wind, wondering how the vegetables will do this year if things don't turn around pretty quickly. I feel strangely hopeless, worn out, which I know is the stupid hay fever, but it's also, I think, a product of my weather-based discombobulation. I am craving the heat this year and can't wait until it's back.
Until then maybe I'll just stay in this exact spot with my computer on my stomach, keeping me warm, and wait it out.
I got the call this morning that I've been bracing for. Unfortunately, every time Joe calls me lately, I am instantly in a panic, wondering if this is The Call -- the call that contains the final information on the PET scan, which is really the final word on his lymphoma (oh jesus, please let there not be something else, not more chemo and suffering and pain). It's a drag because instead of feeling my usual total joy at hearing my sweetheart's voice, there's also this spike of nausea and anxiety.
But I think I can be done with that for a while.
The ENT doctor (Dr. Chien, love his name) called to say that he had indeed spoken with the radiologist about Joe's last PET scan. For those readers just joining the saga, we needed to make sure that the little Something on Joe's right tonsil wasn't some residual uber-lymphoma, power cancer, that survived the chemo scorched earth treatment.
The radiologist said that the Something was nothing to worry about. In a regular person, one who hadn't had lymphoma, he wouldn't even mention something like this when reviewing the results of a PET scan. In a normal person, not even worth mentioning. It's nothing to worry about, he said.
So Joe's not having his tonsils out, and we're trying to get comfortable. We both wanted news that would make us jump around and shout and laugh and cry and schedule a big party, but I think we're still a little stunned - not feeling exactly elated, not feeling exactly devastated, either. Perhaps just another aspect of our shared Post Cancer Stress Disorder which I assure you is very real and present in us both.
But really, even though we're stunned and not sure what or how to feel, I know that it really and truly IS good news. Once cancer has invaded your life, it's hard to feel safe, get comfortable. But I know this is good news. I just can't quite exhale yet, even though I know it's coming.
We will have a party. We will jump around and shout and laugh and cry. It might just take a little while.
BIG LOVE TO ALL.
Taking the kid and his buddy to SFO this morning at 6am was an experience of swimming through thick memory, while the two of them snoozed in the car.
I suppose this is what it is to get old living in the same basic place, seeing through what is there now to what was there before: oh yeah, long before Starbucks that used to be the Gap, oh yeah, when did Larson pool become Charlie Sava Pool and where did the airplane go, and here's where I lived in exile like Hester Prynne when you were a baby, in the boonies four blocks from SF State where I was a graduate student and it just goes on and on, the constant narration. Taking 101 back I looked for the Planter's Peanut man. And thought about the time when I was 6 that a truck rammed and took down a pedestrian overpass right near the Vermont exit on 101, so that its replacement looks completely different from the others.
So, wow, coming up Larkin and seeing this blew my mind. Something completely new, occupying a space where nothing was before. Wow.
I can't wait to go look at it again, maybe tomorrow, from the sidewalk rather than from the window of my car, this time with my own camera in hand.