Friday, June 28, 2013

Cancer Diva Adventures: Let It Flow

As Eric Clapton sings--

Let it grow, let it grow  . . .let it blossom, let it flow  . . . in the sun, the rain, the snow  . . .love is lovely . . .  let it grow . . .

Let me now analyze this.

Flowing can be good.  Love flows, yoga flows, music flows, skirts flow in the breeze . .  (unless, of course, they are J Crew pencil skirts, which are straight and not intended to flow.)  Water flows, and can be calming and beautiful or exciting and dangerous.

Fallingwater, June 1988
The very weekend Perfect Husband (Ph) and I met, in June 1988, included white water rafting on the Upper Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania (Upper Yough, pronouced "Yak")  as well as a visit to Frank Llloyd Wright's Fallingwater.

Ph, lovely baby daughter, CDiva, 1994
It was perhaps a rebound relationship for me--we met within days of a sad final breakup with my final last boyfriend before marriage (FLBBM)--and things began to flow. Thus far, my rebound has lasted 25 years.
Sometimes couples get closer when dealing with a traumatic event, like cancer. Sometimes they don't.

An overflow can be a fiasco, even disastrous.  Think Hurricane Sandy.  That combined with Sandy Hook, as well as my own Sandi Cancer recurrence made me think that Sand(y)(i) was a doomed name last year, a perfect storm of aggression, grit, and Sandiness.

Growing is good: for children, for plants, for minds, but NOT for cancer.  Perfect Husband (Ph) has often used the phrase "It'll grow back", in response to various bumps and bruises and ouchies, both in lovely daughter (LD)'s chlldhood playing days, and in my continuing less than graceful bumping into things, often combined with an exclamation of an expletive.  Ph never ever said that about my cancer, but in fact, it did grow.  

Back to love.  It has been flowing and surrounding me of late in so many ways, from my cousins, friends, neighbors, and especially, my siblings (pictured here, in 1960, I am the baby),

North Carolina:  Just before the start of my participation in the JH a clinical trial last week, Big Brother (BB) accompanied me on a road rip to Chapel Hill for an appointment with uber breast cancer doctor C (UBC).  This was essentially for a second opinion on which path to take--I had scheduled the appointment before my clinical trial acceptance at JH. 

The trip was worthwhile, in that UBC confirmed that the treatment path I'm on is a good one and that I'm not missing anything.  Whew.  She recommended a possible course of treatment for after the clinical trial ends.  I also queried as to what would happen if the 20% (of my original cancer that is still with me) does not disappear, and she said that if the cancer does not progress, I could be just fine.  I could walk around with that amount of cancer in me forever (well, my version of forever).  I am asymptomatic (except for lymphedema in my arm) and the cancer is not in any vital organs.  What we must avert is progression.  Wow.  Good to knowI'm sure Dr S could have told me this; I just never asked. 

In addition to getting sage advice from one of the top breast cancer docs in the country (also an expert in triple negative breast cancer, the aggressive kind that I have), the road trip with BB was fun.  We talked nonstop for most of the five-hour drive south.  We had a very nice dinner on the main drag in Chapel Hill, and found a cozy local pizza place to wait out the storm/tornado on the way home (no power, but pizza oven was still hot!) ADD PIC  Perhaps my favorite moment though was when I was driving while listening to a conference call (yes, safety experts, on speaker phone) and BB took notes for me. The guy who teased me from birth through age 12, then pretty much ignored me for a few decades was now my personal assistant!  :)

Silver Spring:  BFF D and I had not spent time together in many moons, but she had recently emailed:  "Love you.  Pool is open for your leisure.  Heart is open for whatever you need. XXO".  On the weekend just before the clinical trial, we got together for an evening where the prosecco and wine flowed freely, and then for a swim in her pool the next day--something I will not be able to indulge in for awhile, as swimming, baths, hot tubs, any water immersion is off-limts for much of the clinical trial. 

  Beautiful Older Sister (BOS) flew up and stayed with me for my first week in the clinical trial.  BOS was caring and attentive and anxious to fulfill my every need.  We stayed at a cute hotel the first night (yes, with special Hopkins patient rate!  Another Diva deal!) and during breakfast in the courtyard we watched a Mama duck attempt to keep a watch on eight little two-week old ducklings.

BOS was essentially a Mama Duck to me all week, and while I enjoyed most of it, I did tell her that I am not fragile, and that at my house (or anywhere) she does not have to jump up constantly to ask: "Are you thirsty do you want water are you cold do you want a blanket are you hot do we need to rub some cream on those spots do you want me to change the bandages . .  ."  Fortunately, she laughed at my teasing, and even at my warning that Mama Duck could turn into Motherducker.  BOS and I had our fill of crabcakes, fish tacos, pancakes & omelettes (no, not all in one meal!) at various Fells Point taverns and diners, including a lovely lunch with cousins S & P.  (not to be confused with the financial index). 

DC: Back in DC, we had an extraordinary celebratory dinner with cousins M, J & J.  This was the night of the 12 vaccine injections, and Angel Clinical trial Nurse M (AM) had warned that i might not feel so good.  I was not worried one bit--as both Js are MDs; M is a nurse; and BOS is a Mama duck.  One J traveled  down from NYC and the other traveled up from Virgina Beach. 

We were five Moskowitz girls, reminiscent of the five Moskowitz sisters--one was my Mom; one was the Mom of M & J.  The NY cuz J is more distant in the family tree . . .  her great garndmother was my grandfather's sister, or something like that.  Despite the distancwe on the family tree, in real life we are intertwined.  In honor of the Hungarian family connection, I brought BOS and each cuz a bottle of my favorite nail polish of this season OPI "You're Such a BudaPest",

from the Eastern European collection, of course.  The wine (and vodka) again flowed; the trendy upscale Indian food was delicious, and I loved being with my girl cousins.  I had also requested a round table, as BOS recalled that the five Moskowitz sisters at times had lunch togheter in the Crystal tea Room at Wannamker's Depasrtment Store in Philadelphia.  BOS once joined them--qnd either for lack of room, or non-sister status, she had to sit slightly outside of the sister circle.  They were tough women, those Moskowitz sisters.  Our boy cousins tell us that none of them was ever brave enough to cross them.

After days of much love, BOS ran upstairs one morning to tell me that the handle broke off of the guest room (ok, it's actually the basement/former nanny suite) shower and the water was overflowing. 

BOS (aka Mama duck) bailed shower water in buckets into the sink while I did my best to call Ph, have him paged, and ask where a turnoff valve might be located.  Ph dashed home and arrived just after I found the valve and stopped the flow.  Too much water can definitely be problematic.

I ask you, my friends:  is there ever too much love?

Let it flow, let it flow  . . . in the sun, the rain, the snow  . . .love is lovely . . .



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