Thursday, June 23, 2005

On the Road Again

Tomorrow morning, early, I leave for North Carolina for a reading at Malaprops and then the week long writer's workshop, Sycamore Hill. Shingles are responding to medication. Now all I have to do is laundry, getting copies of the story, getting the dog's prescription for thyroid meds refilled, etc. etc.

I glanced in the mirror yesterday morning and thought I had not gotten my make-up all off the night before. Specifically, my eyebrow pencil. My eyebrows had that Richard Nixon, 5:00 o'clock shadow look. Then I peered closely and realized, it's hair! My eyebrows are coming back! And my eyelashes!

The dogs and I did a bit of a happy dance. They didn't know why we were happy, but dogs are almost always willing to be happy.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


I think I have shingles again. Started anti-virals yesterday and if it is shingles, caught it early, but damn this is annoying.

I've had shingles three times since I was forty. It's not all that uncommon in chemo patients, but I really hoped that having gotten through the chemo, I'd dodged it.

At least I have all the meds.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

14 Miles

Rehab continues. 14 miles on the bikes today and it was great. Cool early morning, a good breakfast, and outside the restaurant people we watched a group of half a dozen people collect around Bob's recumbent and discuss it. They looked at my bike for a minute, too, and admired the seat. (I have a Townie.) But mostly they were really interested in Bob's.

Here's my bike, only mine is blue/

It's called a flat foot because a rider can sit on the seat and put their foot flat on the ground. The pedals are moved forward, not under the seat. And the seat is big and plushy. It's built for comfort, not for speed, but it's a nice bike to ride.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Why I Love Bob (reason #8352)

I was talking about going to more cons than I have in awhile, partly because I had such a good time at Wiscon. Bob started calling it 'the tour.' I started calling it the 'I'm Not Dead Tour'.

So today, Bob designed this. We're going to look into getting it made.

Is he not the coolest guy ever?

(Thanks for the correction, Walt. That was my fault, not Bob's.)

Sunday, June 12, 2005


The older I get, and the more that happens to me, the more sentimental I become. When I was nineteen, I was tough as nails. Now I cry at commercials.

We went out to dinner tonight and on our way, we saw a turtle in the middle of the road, crossing. We didn't stop, but I fretted. (And as it turned out, so did Bob.) When we were driving home again, it was at the side of the road, but had apparently turned around and was considering coming back across. This was an hour, hour-and-a-half after we'd first seen it, and I was astonished and relieved it was still alive. "Turn around!" I said. "We've got to turn around!"

"Oh good," Bob said. "I hope it isn't hit. I hope we don't get hit." Two cars had passed in the time it took us to find a place to turn around. There was something on the road, and for a moment both of us thought we were too late, but there, a little farther up, was our turtle, head stretched up as it tried to peer over the curb.

"Grab it and throw it in the pond," Bob said.

"Just throw it?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, halting the car and putting on the flashers. It's an industrial area and there is no shoulder. Here, between buildings was just open land and a small pond and green. I hesitated a moment, wondering if it was a snapping turtle. The turtle, far more frightened of me, had decided to flee and finally climbed the curb. I picked it up by both sides, it was only about eight inches from front of shell to back, and flung it in the pond, then leapt back in the car.

We were both inordinately pleased with ourselves. For all I know, it will crawl out of the pond and head for the road again. But at least we did something to try to keep i t from harm. The world is a big place. I eat meat. Much suffering will happen, some of it I will bear some responsibility for. But hopefully, not for this turtle.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Maybe We Overdid It...

We got up at 6:30 and had coffee and what not and headed down to the Ohio & Erie Canal Tow Path. We set south from Lock 35 headed for Penninsula, OH, about six miles away. There were places at the two mile and four mile mark where, if we felt as if we'd had enough, we could turn around. The Tow Path park is beautiful. The path itself is hard pack gravel, and it runs next to what used to be the canal. The canal was fed by the Cuyahoga river, which is west of the tow path and we saw a heron and lots of birds and chipmunks. Bob saw a snapping turtle with a shell the size of a garbage can lid in one of the few sections of canal that still has water in it. (A pond rather than a waterway, with fallen logs and duckweed.)

When we got to Boston, four miles down, we were still feeling game, so we pushed on. The last couple of miles seemed rather long, and then longer, and longer...and when we finally got to a road and a town, we found we'd overshot Penninsula and breakfast by four miles. (We'd thought the trail ran through the town rather than skirting the edge of it, from which the town was screened by trees.)

So we road ten miles out and ten miles back. I'm pretty much slaughtered, but goddamn, a twenty mile bike ride! I feel tough! Hey, I'm certainly not dead, not if I can ride twenty miles!

Tomorrow I'll feel crippled, I suspect.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Have a Good Weekend!

Dr. Schnur just called to say my PET Scan showed no disease. "Have a good weekend!" he said.

I think I shall.

The Sword of Damocles

So far, the threat of relapse doesn't seem t be dominating my life, but its there. I had PET and CAT scans this week. Haven't heard any results yet. I assume that's good.

I have this fear of planning anything.

When Bob and I were laid off, the year we got married, we had just bought a house we really liked. It was mildly unconventional. Not majorly, but not the traditional four bedroom center stairwell colonial. When we got laid off, Bob got a job outside of Cleveland. (We were living in Cincinnati.) He was on probation for three months. Then I moved up to Cleveland, we rented an apartment and I started looking for a house. Having already bought and sold a house in a year, we were gun shy about the whole house thing. We finally bought the most conventional house we could, thinking that if we had to sell again, it would be easy. And houses similar to ours have sold very well in our neighborhood. We didn't buy much furniture at first. We didn't get real attached. It could all disappear in an instant. We, of course, have lived here for twelve years.

I have that same provisional sense about my life now. I know it's just processing the whole Hodgkins experience. One day I was healthy, the next day I had a life-threatening illness that required months of treatment. Abstractly we all know that life can change in a minute, realistically, we have to assume that we can pick up the drycleaning on Thursday, and make that plane reservation for next month. I have made the decision to trust the future, but that's a decision made with my head. Sometimes my heart is not so sure.

Tomorrow morning, Bob and I are getting up early and going down to the towpath to bike before it gets hot. I exercised today and I'm still getting stronger and stronger every week. It's a great feeling. And it makes it easier to feel positive when I feel good. Which I do.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Rehabilitation Program

Bob has decided as part of my rehab program and his program to actually get exercise, we should ride bikes. I've had a bike for years. But for him, a regular bike won't do. He says that the bike has to be cool, different, interesting in an engineering sort of way. So here's the bike he's picking up from the bike shop tomorrow.

There are trails near us that run along the old Erie-Ohio Canal towpath. Since they follow a canal they have the distinct advantage of being perfectly flat. I am so out of shape that the idea of perfectly flat perfectly appeals to me. There is a place we can park, ride our bikes on a Saturday morning to a place where we can have breakfast, and then ride back. I'm thinking next weekend we're there.

I started exercising at Curves again. Well, exercise is a process. I'll get to the point where I can actually do stuff again without my heartrate soaring, I'm sure. And I did have that smug, satisfied 'I exercised!' feeling afterwards.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Something Is Weird With the Blog

Marjorie and Walt Farrell--Marjorie was a Clarion student--are driving home from Wiscon and they will be passing my place tonight. So Bob and I are going to take them out to dinner. It will be a little bit of Wiscon for an evening.

Something weird is going on with the blog. I'm going to back up all my posts after I post this. I'm hoping this post will bring it back to life.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

What to Post

I'm delighted to say that I have nothing really to post. I talked to my doctor yesterday and told him I'd talked it over with Bob and had decided not to have radiation. The doctor gave me a study ('I remembered you like to read,' he said.) The study indicates I have about an 85% chance of being completely done with Hodgkins. And a 93% chance that even if I'm not done with Hodgkins, I'll still be fine.

And I feel better every day.

Life has come back with a vengence. I have a ton of stuff to do this weekend. Scheduled for Friday night (Sarah Willis' book Some Things That Stay has been adapted to be an independent movie. I'm in her writer's group, so we're all going.) Saturday morning (book club, we're discussing A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell, and she's going to come.) Saturday afternoon (my niece's graduation party.) Sunday afternoon (the OTHER writer's group.) But it's great to be busy. And more importantly, it's great to feel good enough to do all this stuff.

Oh, man, life is good.