Every other Friday the cleaners come to our house. Last Fall, when I was convalescing they often found me asleep in bed. (I need a lot of sleep–don’t judge). Anyway, Tim has been home the last few times that they have come now that he is retired and I have returned to work. Last Friday the head guy quietly asked Tim if “she had passed away?” WHAT!? Tim of course was totally lost and asked “who”? “Your wife, did she pass away? Her bedside table is cleaned up and her books are gone.”
I most definitely can reassure you that I have not passed away!
As I mentioned last time, we took a trip to Maine—weather not so great but the time away was definitely needed to recharge. We ate lots of lobstah and chowdah, window shopped, walked the ocean and went sailing on a 55 foot schooner. I felt very far away from home, work, cancer land. One day we happened upon a Zen shop–everything you need to get your Buddha on. Tim spent a lot of time picking out a singing bowl (don’t ask). I foraged for incense and lastly we found boxes and boxes of polished rocks. We lingered over them, touching and feeling their weightiness. The 2 adorable sales girls joined us to help us select a few. They asked what I was looking for and I told them something healing, I have cancer. They set out on this mission with gusto and Tim and I choose zebra jasper for him (he needs peace and harmony) and amazonite (a water element ) for me and several snowflake obsidian rocks, the cancer companion. We all oohed and aahed over them and then we were off! About 15 minutes later the girl came running up the street after us. They had found the perfect snowflake obsidian, one with a straight line running through it, and they wanted me to have it. We tearfully hugged her and thanked her. Tender mercies–they find you when you are not looking for them.
Back to reality and a day at Dana Farber for poking and prodding. I almost fell off the examination table when Dr. Rachel announced she was having a baby! I felt so excited for her, immediately followed by absolute fear–was she going to leave me? I couldn’t take that, I need her too much. She reassured me she wasn’t leaving for long. Back to me—I am still out of treatment, for how long? No one can say. I am in “unchartered territory” so they can’t speculate on my prognosis at the moment, which is kinda amazing since I am at the epicenter of cancer world. Anyway, I am holding off on my next scans until after we return from Ireland. Why ruin the summer?
My cortisol production is still zero so my endocrinologist finally conceded the damage was permanent and I would need steroids and a medical bracelet for the rest of my life, yippee.
A few random thoughts: we can never drop our guard or our humanity when teenage girls and mothers are targeted and murdered. I worry we are becoming desensitized to brutality. The criticism of Ariana Grande’s decision to go home was unfounded. She is barely out of being a teenager herself. Of course she wanted her mother and her home. Wouldn’t you? I still want my parents at times.
I think it really worked against Kathy Griffin’s tasteless stunt timing wise, but I found it horrible that she would do anything that had to do with beheading anyone after what has happened to James Foley and others. We cannot forget these atrocities. It is not funny on any level. Maybe she has become desensitized after all these murders of innocent people. She needs to find her humanity again and go back to being funny about fashion and celebrities we don’t care about.
The news that Olivia Newton John’s breast cancer has metastasized to her spine galvanized the MBC community, especially after such a long remission. I hope she is able to find her voice and speak on behalf of MBC in a meaningful way. My fear is that she will be on the cover of People magazine with a media pink wash that she is going to beat this and that understanding of the terminal and incurable nature of MBC will be pushed again to the back seat. Not her fault, it’s the media misrepresentation that I blame. I think she will need more than a minute to figure out her stuff.
Graduation tomorrow after a lovely dinner cruise of Boston Harbor with the seniors, one last time together. I hate to see them go, it’s always such an ending even when they return and visit. Life is a series of beginnings and endings no? A new batch of fresh faces will join us in September ready to take on the complicated world of adolescence. I for one, cannot wait for summer vacation, I am ready to do some serious contemplation in our back yard. Oh yeah, Tim bought a stone Buddha for our garden on the way back from Maine. I expect to find Tim sitting next to him with his singing bowl every afternoon after work!
Only 21 more days until our biggest fund-raiser of the year for Metavivor. This year the kids wanted to establish the ” Barbara Bigelow Award” for courage in the face of MBC. I wanted it to be called the Badass Award but got over ruled. Anyway, it took a hot minute to select our beloved Beth Fairchild, newly elected president of Metavivor as our first recipient for her fierce advocacy for MBC. She has done so much to put a face on MBC at the national level, we are beyond thrilled. We are hoping Governor Baker will be there to present it to her (unless state business steals him away) and of course we will have my favorite Patriot’s running back, Dion Lewis on hand. June 24th at the Seaport Hotel at 12:30. What’s better than cancer, football, athletic wear, exercise, music and cocktails? See you there!
It’s not over until it’s over!
Love, Barb and crew
Barb, love your blog. I’m also a badass and newly diagnosed with MBC. I am SO hoping that Olivia Newton-John works to bring lots of money and awareness to our disease. I work in the the Pharma world, and nothing motivates these companies like recurring revenue. I love your sarcasm. Keep it up. We need someone like you to tell it like it is.
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