Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Different View of the News

While current events are swirling in a gloomy way, I have a powerful sense right now of how many truly good, kind, honorable and constructive people there are out there in the world. Yesterday’s frustrations brought me feedback that was wise, loving, supportive, nice and funny. Thank you so much. On top of that, it reinforced what a powerful force for the good you are as a collective group and what a cheering thought THAT is about the state of the world when it is so easy otherwise to be overcome with gloom. I have images of you loving, strong, smart and powerful personalities each in your orbit doing your thing and moving life forward. Now there’s a nice world to think about.

All that has me reflecting on an experience we had years ago—before internet newspapers were common, even—when we were in France one summer during a stock market meltdown. Black Thursday, or something like that? Since we didn’t have any media there at all (no TV, no radio), our connection to the outside world was via the International Herald Tribune. At the time, it was a pretty short newspaper and the net effect was that although we knew they were out there, the events of moment mostly passed us by. We were as affected as was the rest of the world, but the news was so muted in our daily existence, it didn’t feel quite real. I’m in one of those time burps again now, because even though I have access to plenty of media (and isn’t electronic communication a gift in so many ways?!), everything going on in the “real world” feels somewhat removed due to my cognitive patchiness. I know significant events are unfolding out there, they just don’t carry their usual immediacy for me right now. It’s a strange feeling, as I’ve been a voracious consumer of current events, reading at least three daily newspapers front to back for decades. Since that simply isn’t in my current repertoire—although I can and do turn the pages and look at the headlines and pictures—I feel more like an observer of the world than I have in some time. Some days, it’s peaceful, and other days it’s frustrating. Today, I’m working on peaceful.

During yesterday’s frustrations, Michael (who knows me pretty well), chivvied me into putting on real clothes (a remarkably a good idea in terms of making me feel more human) and walking downstairs. It’s the first time I’ve been down there since we got home from the hospital, and it felt good to reoccupy my own house. He didn’t stop there, though: he shooshed me into the back yard, setting me up for a bit in a chair in the sunshine. It was a beautiful day, and the sun therapy was magical. I still had the same limitations and frustrations, but I was able to reset my attitude. The situation I’m in is amazing, and the reality of it is that even if I don’t much recover from this point (not expected or likely), there isn’t much of my regular life that I won’t be able to re-assume with some adjustments and compensations. In any event, we believe there’s every reason to hope and expect for big improvements from here, so that’s our course.

One especially helpful aspect of my first real moving about is that we have the calmest, happiest dogs you could ever want to see due to the company and exercise they’re getting from Wonder Friend, who has been showing up every day to run and keep them company. Yesterday, he picked them up in the morning and they hung out together for a large chunk of the day. That meant that there wasn’t any danger of these enthusiastic and loving creatures swirling around or upsetting my balance as I was working on regaining my sea legs. Knowing that they’re getting attention while we’re all so distracted has been a real gift to us. Others are offering to help, as well, so we don’t have to keep imposing on him daily, and that, too, is another of the incredible gifts of support we are receiving.

We’re set up for a follow-up visit with the surgeon on Friday, though we don’t know whether the staples will come out then or not. Aggregating our collective information, we find that we’ve heard the staples come out in “a week,” “ten days,” and “two weeks.” Thus, we’re not sure what to expect on that front. During the surgery, they did tests on frozen sections (I think) of the tumor, all of which confirmed the original thinking that it was benign. We think, though, that we were told (some of this does get fuzzy, as a lot was going on pretty quickly) was that a section would also sent out to a pathology lab in addition. We believe the results from that should be available on Friday, as well, which if we’re correct, will be the final word and close all possibilities. That will be nice. We’re in the midst of setting up all the therapy on order, and today is the first step-down of the steroid dose. I’m going to try to take a short stroll on the treadmill today as going up and down the stairs worked pretty well yesterday. Kearney and I are working on our counting results and other observations, which will come along in due course.

It looks like another glorious day here, so backyard, here I come this afternoon. I hope each of you knows how much your support means. I feel limited in my ability to express how powerful a healing force it is for me. It truly is sustaining all of us and we thank you so very much for all you’re doing for us.


  1. Speaking as a Nebraskan transplanted to famously elitist Cambridge, Mass-- you (singular and plural) remind me of all the things there are to admire about Midwesterners. It's no wonder that people who are as thoughtful, astute, warm, and non-entitled have so many friends who are happy to have the chance to help out. Sure, they're busy, but I am 100% sure that they are DELIGHTED to have the chance to do for you what you have done for them, or for others like them, over the years. Don't feel guilty or self-conscious. Sit with your face in the sun and eat ice cream with chocolate sauce and get well.


  2. Hey just wanted to let you know that all went well today and made it home just in time to pick up S from school. Am sore and will be for a little while yet, but I keep telling myself "It wasn't brain surgery" (but you sure make brain surgery look amazing!).
    I've discovered a new warning that they ought put on those pain drugs though besides "no driving"; they need to add "no shopping" I'm finding an incredible urge to shop online and spend $. ha ha
    Thanks for your good thoughts amidst your own recovery. I look forward to talking to you soon!