Saturday, March 17, 2018

When it’s good to have the flu and other stuff

December 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Patricia's Journey

I have the flu.  Hallelujah, I have the flu!  Have I gone mad?  No.  Me having the flu is good news.  Dr. Sandy said “if you’re terminally ill, you don’t get the flu.  Sorry you feel bad, but your immune system is responding and that’s great!”


My friend Nancy from Florida asked me how I was doing in a phone call this week.  I said “do you want the peace that passeth all understanding answer?”  She replied “Hell no, don’t give me the angel wings and kumbuya fluff.  That’s all wonderful and I believe in it, but let’s talk about your favorite biological function/dysfunction moment.”  She calls herself my favorite heathen, although she is certainly cultured and civilized.  The woman makes me laugh from the moment we say hello.  A simple request for her birth date went like this: “It depends on which birthday you’re referring to…The born in Gary Indiana 11-16-56 at 9:57 pm to a sweet, handsome wildly delusional couple or the there I was having a grand time goosing my celestial buddies and playing Star Wars for real when wham here we are.  Is this lifetime like when you have to go back three spaces to go forward in a game? @!!*# Just wait till I get back up there. I am short sheeting everybody!”

What do you write about when you feel joyful?  What do you write about when you feel the hand of God at work in your life in the most amazing and delightful ways?  What do you write about when ”It’s a Wonderful Life” is playing for real and you’re Jimmy Stewart and it’s a happy ending/beginning?  Where’s the juice in ease and grace and peace?  My conclusion is there isn’t any juice in it.  There is nectar-the drink of the Gods.

This week I tried on every piece of clothing in my closet.  Who bought these garments? It’s a veritable What Not To Wear.  Perhaps it stems from the fact that given the option I prefer to be naked, so having to wear any clothing feels like a curse.  It’s never been easy for me to buy clothes.  I go on what I call a clothes jag, kind of like a food jag.  A jag is a period of unrestrained indulgence in an activity.  It’s where you get hooked on something, like mint chocolate chip ice cream, and want to eat it every evening for 11 straight days.  I will pull something out of my closet and want to wear it all the time. Wearing different clothes each day holds zero interest or fascination for me.  I only need about 12 good outfits.  One for each month.

From the top down

I trimmed and colored the remaining bleached out 122 hairs on my head.  Bought the cheapest box of hair color I could find. There were about twelve to choose from at a nearby grocery store and a medium ash brown made the cut.  Anything would be an improvement, yes? Uh, no.  :) That I am talking about being nearly bald,  joking about it and parading around au naturel is an improvement.  The first experience of losing my hair I didn’t do any of those three things. There isn’t a single picture of my scalp. Yesterday, I saw a picture of Demi Moore years ago when she shaved her head for the movie “GI Jane”.  She had a great shaped bald head.  It was perfectly proportioned, perfectly rounded–just like the rest of her.  My head looks like an afterthought sitting on top of my body.  A very small afterthought.  To match my balding head are my thinning eyelashes.  There are still enough to take a little mascara.   Nothing makes you feel more naked than losing your eyelashes.  It gives you that barren look that has never been wildly popular.

Today, as I was sitting on my lanai, a woman who lives in my building stopped by to chat. We have always greeted one another, yet today she wanted to stop and visit and share her story. This is one of those God encounters.  OK, You have my attention.  She knows of my diagnosis and treatment through the grapevine and has been amazed at how I am moving through it.  Last December, one of her twin sons passed on at the age of 36 from lung cancer.  He was a Maui police officer and left behind a young wife and two small children under the age of seven.  He was fit, kind, gentle, healthy, loving.  Flo talked of his chemotherapy and how devastating it was to his body. She talked of his last five days. She talked of their decision not to resuscitate after learning how painful and devastating it is to the body.  In her story it was yesterday, and my heart felt her pain. I do not know her pain, thank you God.  My friends tell me they find themselves complaining and then am reminded of my journey and they are inspired to shift the focus of their attention to gratitude.  In that moment of spiritually listening to Flo, she spoke of a heart breaking grief that feels eternal and insurmountable.  I am touched and moved to shift the focus of my attention.  My experience with cancer is surmountable.  For that, I gives thanks of gratitude.

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