Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Time of Great Intimacy

Dear Family and Friends,

Sometimes I wonder -- and especially in the last three days -- if I should air before the world the nitty gritty side of a cancer patient's ordeal. How to balance meds to get relief from pain and nausea? Usually one or the other works, and no matter what, side effects are always lurking.

So when a friend wrote this, I was encouraged to continue:
" Sharing this painful journey with friends by E-mail has been a gift to us all. I always go back to a line from Yeats, "A terrible beauty is born." All the very earthy body pains and needs, embraced by loving tenderness.
It is a time of great intimacy. A gift in the midst of anxiety. We all wonder if we will be able to endure as well as you are doing."
The most difficult side effects this week were nausea and constipation, both of which are caused by the meds. The nausea meant Francis hardly ate. And he has already lost 30 - 35 lbs (though he still looks handsome as ever.)

And the constipation !! Thank goodness the VNA Nurse agreed with me we shouldn't wait another day (after 4!) to give an enema (as a nurse at the clinic suggested, when the suppository the night before had not worked!!) So that VNA nurse came right over and showed me how to administer it so I'll know for the future. Even then it didn't work while she was here!

The reason it worked 3 1/2 hours later is due to what Dr. Inhorn explained to me: "reverse peristalsis." What won't go down goes UP! So even though the nurse thought there was "nothing there," thank goodness Francis' primary care physician said -- "Go ahead and do it anyway." And when it worked, we celebrated. We whooped with joy and opened the windows and lit the aromatic candle that our good friend and Francis' chiropractor had given us.

After Francis' third acupuncture appointment today, something amazing happened on our way home. In spite of having heard from Dr. Fern Tsao last week a list of things to avoid, -- like dairy, and by implication, -- wheat, when we passed by Mr. Bagels, Francis, who almost never goes out and buys a bagel, and whose appetite surfaces only on occasion, when he's not nauseous from the meds and radiation, said he wanted to eat a bagel!! So, even though we had passed the shop, -- so glad to hear him desire even this food, -- I assured him we could turn around. So I turned onto the next street to make our way back to the bagel shop. Right there in the car he ate more than half the cinnamon and raisin bagel with cheese in it!! And with gusto!! His clear urge to eat it must have come from some gut place that needed that bagel. And it stayed with him!

Tonight when he ate a small portion of carmelized onions with the cancer killing highly prized maitake mushroom that Tree Tenney culled in the woods for us, -- we celebrated again. He even ate rice and the kale which Penelope gave us from her garden.

So you see, dear friends, it's friends like you that carry us along with your love. That's why, dear Barbara, -- if, as you say, you "wonder if we will be able to endure as well as you are doing," we say, -- make many good friends. As all of you are such good friends!

PS I MADE time (at Francis' insistence) for a nap this afternoon.

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