A great Portland band I once was fortunate enoug to hear play was called “Plans vs. The Sea.” (They were almost as good as Doctor Moss! But I’m a teensy bit biased…) What a wonderful name, when you think of it. The sea bends to no human will, nor do the sun, the moon, or the stars. They are the very definition of inexorability. My dear Irish friend, Susan, prefers to look at it another way. She used to say (and probably still does!), “We make plans and God laughs.”
These examples are my way, I suppose, of explaining my blogging absence these last couple of weeks. When I began this venture, my intention was to have a single source for interested friends and family to keep up to date on my health issues. What I forgot to include in my plans was the provision for those times I was unable to write the blog. Hence this blog’s title, “Plans vs. the ‘C.'” When the effects of the “C”—whether fatigue or pain—take over, the disease seems as inexorable as the sea itself.
Yes. In spite of my repairing most of the leaks, having a wonderful crew, and storing plenty of healthful provisions on board (along with the daily ration of beer, of course), this vessel is in danger of capsizing. In danger of running aground, even, when in sight of safe harbor. Perhaps I should have taken better heed of Scylla and Charybdis, of subtle changes in wind speed and wave length; perhaps I should have headed toward safe port and not tasty porter; perhaps I should have had the poison of chemotherapy, instead of challenging Poseidon head on.
For those of you unfamiliar with the details of Poseidon, let me tell just one story. Poseidon, wrathful because Odysseus had put out his son’s eye with a burning poker, found the resourceful fellow on a raft, within sight of land. The sea and the wind rose at Poseidon’s command. With his trident, he churned the sea and let loose storms against Odysseus and his tiny craft. Before it (and brave Ulysses, which is the Latin name for this king) were smashed to splinters, a sea goddess (can’t remember her name) saw Odysseus and gave him her veil as protection from drowning. Odysseus, however, was afraid that this was just another one of Poseidon’s tricks. He waited until the raft sank before he accepted help, and then swam (for three days, thank you very much) to a foreign shore. Satisfied that harm but no death had befallen Odysseus, Poseidon turned and made his way to his palace.
How like Odysseus I am, in some respects. Not accepting help; enjoying cheating death—or, I should say, trying to cheat death. Of all things, it is the most inexorable of all. For example, I smoked for years, but seemed to have given that up just in time. I used to dye my hair; I used to use fluoride; I used to eat meat; I slathered on the sun cream; I consumed high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats with the best of them; white, bleached flour? but of course!; I used to wear makeup; I used to use plastic stuff in which to store and microwave my food (indeed, I used to have a microwave); I used to have an IUD; I used to take the NSAIDs Celebrex and Vioxx. I didn’t stop using or eating these things because of what I’d read. I just got a weird feeling about them (or they made my physically ill), and stopped. Just in time. In each case, the preponderance of “official” evidence now shows I was wise to do so. (Although I admit to having a cell phone, I use it sparingly. I’ve never, ever thought they were good for us. The mercury in this laptop isn’t very good for me, either. Again, as you know, I use it sparingly.)
My brave and faithful crew, who signed on for this perilous voyage in spite of its almost certain outcome, worries about me, specifically about my drinking of beer, if recent conversations are anything to go by, that is. I love that they care about me so much, and I wish I could say, “At ease!” I know, however, that their natural compassion overrides their ability to relax their vigilance. And it is true that, years ago, I thought I was an alcoholic. I stopped drinking; got my AA chips. (And nearly cashed them in, I might add.) After my tour in Ireland, though, I must say that I really don’t think beer is what’s going to kill me now (especially because, as per the Anticancer book, I don’t have it on an empty stomach). I kinda think the “C” doesn’t care if I have a beer or three. It’s got its eye on the overall picture. What causes this “C” to recede are positive situations, happy places, waves of positive support. When I do the one thing that isn’t on the Official Diet, it’s only a drop in the ocean. It’s the overall lifestyle and attitude, which in my case is life-affirming, that is the most important at this point. Doesn’t mean the ship won’t capsize, just that the wave that sinks it will be softer and smaller.
And what is this point? Well, to be honest, it has been the lowest, physically, at which I’ve ever been. Emotionally, it’s near the lowest. I find I’m recalling a lot of memories; I find I’m wishing for things that are most unlikely now, like a boyfriend. Gosh, I wish I had someone by my side. I’m so so so so grateful that my children have found their soulmates; it makes me very happy. I just wish I had found the right one, too. I did not expect to end life alone like this. Ah, well.
It feels like the end. I hope I’m wrong, but I sure was right about hydrogenated fats and sun cream. And I can’t say that I haven’t enjoyed myself along the way. Really, my only regret is that, unwittingly, I’ll bring my crew down with me—my faithful, brave crew that have given me all. Again, a contingency unprovided for. Personally, I’d rather give them the boat and I’ll chance swimming to shore. It’s so darn close.
Thank you so much for following my blog. Your feedback is only inspiring, believe me. I feel so blessed.
I’m going to leave you now for a while. I’ve got to rest up for that swim. If or when I get to that shore, I’ll be back. I’d like to leave you with this little video of the Mickey Mouse Club closing theme before I go. Priceless! One of my earliest memories is of watching the Mouseketeers; I couldn’t have been more than two or three years old. My mom said I used to sing along, changing the lyrics (how early it starts!), however. Instead of “M-I-C/K-E-Y/M-O-U-S-E,” I would sing, “M-I-C / Takey-Y / M-O-U-S-E.”
Takey care of yourself. Why? Because I love you! Aye, aye, I do.
Oh, and if you ever wonder where I got my ability to bypass reality, check this out! Imagine watching this at age two…old Walt probably thought he was recruiting good capitalists. What a major disappointment I turned out to be!