Thursday, June 16, 2011

The big P

 me and my daughter Gaby at the Arboretum at Golden Gate Park
June 7th, 2011

Well here I am writing in my blog when I should be taking pictures of my new work and posting them on Etsy and Facebook.I've got some great new jewelry I created during my last hospital visit. Gosh I wish I had someone that could do the rest of the steps for me and I could just continue creating. Anyone out ever feel this way? After writing that I realize I've been away from the studio for too long. Part of doing your art is completing all the grunt work to get it out in the world. Anyway, since I'm now at home, I could also be washing dishes, making the bed and on and on. The truth is I don't feel like any of it. I am doing the big P: I'M PROCRASTINATING! I'm also looking out the windows of my house at the blue skies and admiring the birds flying by and the sound of the wind. Oh boy, I've got it bad.

My last hospital visit was just 6 days which was the shortest I've had in my 7 months of treatment so far. It wasn't necessarily easy but it was fast. The longer I stay, the better I get to know the nurses on the Oncology floor of UCSF. What an incredible group they are. We are talking hard working women and men too. They have to do lots of hands on, sometimes icky work. Working with people who are ill has its merits but also can be quite difficult. I am in total of awe of many of them. Each time they work with me, doing whatever task is necessary at the time, I find myself thanking them. I have this great desire to let them know I appreciate the work they do.

As my stays in the hospital get closer to an end (I have 3 short visits left of one week each) I have discovered that I am feeling better and stronger as I complete each visit. These feelings have just sort of sneaked up on me.  In feeling better I have begun to notice my surroundings at the hospital and the extreme level of illness on the Oncology Floor. It has been eye opening and a bit frightening too. Just last week I was walking the halls to get my daily exercise when I saw some workers wheeling a patient out of his room. I couldn't help but notice him as they wheeled him by. He was young (its all relative) - in his early thirties, with a head of curly, dark  hair and a nice face. It was his skin that was so frightening. He was terribly jaundiced, yellow. He was not moving at all. I thought initially that he could be deceased. I found instead that he was incredibly ill and no treatment regimen had succeeded  in treating him for his cancer. This was shocking to view such illness of someone so young. It made me long for the end to his suffering. I have also begun to notice the parade of extremely thin and pale people walking by my room. I had never noticed them before. I've had to look at myself. I see a person who looks relatively healthy. I feel strong. I can still laugh. I am hopeful for my future. I am lucky.

What I am learning about cancer at this point is the levels of complications the disease can hold. I don't know the specifics of my disease other than I have ALL Leukemia. I can see that my response to the chemo therapy has been positive. For others who have more complicated cancer diagnosis, their response to various therapies varies. This is obvious in the people I see on the floor. It is difficult for me to see the suffering of some of these patients without feeling concern, sadness and a sense of helplessness. I can only imagine what they must be feeling or their friends and families.I have not figured out the solution to dealing with these feelings.

For now, I believe I have so far weathered the chemo regimen. There are however, no guarantees that the disease won't return. I believe the cure rate without any possibility of return is 66%. My prognosis could be worse All I know for sure is that I must enjoy the present: my family, friends, my art and just a great blue sky. Nothing is forever. Perhaps the big P should actually stand for THE PRESENT because that is how I strive to now live my life.

Have a great weekend, all of you!


p,s, if you'd like to see more photos of me and my familia and some flora and fauna please go to:

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