Archive for the ‘Life Matters’ Category

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Cancer & Food

(Dictated by Dru to Art)

 

I like to think that Art and I have had an as-close-as-it-comes to a Perfect Marriage. But that’s not quite true. There are three things I can think of that made it less-than-perfect.

 
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Taking Addictive Drugs as a Recovering Alcoholic

(Dictated by Dru to Art)
 
I was a junior in college the first time I knowingly took a mind-altering drug. Living in a great little apartment on San Salvador Street in San Jose, California, I was carrying a heavy academic load: dual majors in English and Drama. One weekend I escaped to my parents’ home, dragging with me books on costume design, stage lighting, 18th century poetry, and other useful subjects. My intention was to study round-the-clock.
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Cancer and I Have a Short but Serious Conversation

(Dictated by Dru to Art on 10 Aug 2014)

 

Last night I enjoyed a rare, nearly full-night’s sleep. It was bliss. I threw away two of my four sitting-up-to-sleep pillows and slept on my side, which is an under-appreciated experience.


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Inside the Novel

(Dictated by Dru to Art)
 
For most of my life, I’ve known about this distant presence called Death. I’ve also believed we only really “live” in the present moment and I’ve based some of my novels on this view. On the other hand, I’d been operating as if I had an unlimited number of moments in my life. Now suddenly I’m facing both death and the fact I have only a limited number of moments. With these truths now literally “realized,” I’m shocked to see that before I’d only treated them as theories. Now I’m actually inside the novel. For me and the many loved ones who’ve been reaching out to me, these facts are here, now, and real. So, finding myself inside the novel, my guess-what for today is “How do I deal with them?”

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When Cancer Speaks

(Dictated by Dru to Art)
 
This morning Art prepared a scrumptious breakfast (coffee, fresh orange juice, oatmeal, bulging green grapes) and served it on our sun-shiny patio while jazz floated from our den window. But no sooner had I strolled out on the patio than I felt so weak and nauseated I had to stagger back upstairs. After barfing virtually nothing but stomach acid, I fell back into bed and slept for four hours!  When I awoke Art was beside me with his laptop and coffee, determined to master the e-banking procedures I’d shown him last week. When I asked if he was just a little angry with me for spoiling our morning tete-a-tete he smiled and replied, “Not even a tad.  When cancer speaks, I have to listen.”

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Barf

(Dictated by Dru to Art)
 
Directions on the anti-nausea meds aren’t clear—especially for a person whose mind is already fogged by pain-killing drugs.  Second, for some reason my gag reflex has become very strong.  Yesterday Art just suggested I might want the rest of a chocolate milkshake he’d made me— and I had to lurch to the bathroom.

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Breaking My Anonymity

I am a member of a worldwide organization, which has anonymity as one of its central principles. After almost thirty-one years, I’ve decided to break my anonymity.

 

A few days ago, I was scheduled for back-to-back scans, PET and CT; and I’d been anxious because I knew these tests would give me the first big picture of the extent of cancer in my body. There was no way the news would be good. The question was, “How bad would it be?”

 
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Smoking

I suppose my fate was written in the stars from that summer night at the Los Gatos Youth Center when the two big high school car clubs threw a dance to which, for some reason, eighth graders were invited. It was 1953 and I was thirteen. I remember sitting on an iron bench outside the youth center with Eric Magalby on one side and Jimmy Nissen on the other, passing a Pall Mall back and forth. My first cigarette, as I recall. I think it was a year or two before filter tips. After that I was a Marlboro smoker, always.


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4th of July

Wow, it’s noisy in our neighborhood. The neighbors next door are hosting a really big party. Really big. We were invited but I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it so we’re enjoying it vicariously. The band is good and loud and I never get tired of “Hotel California.” Little girls are shrieking as only nine year olds do. Adults are laughing and clapping. Fireworks from Point Loma and Ocean Beach and Sea World. That sweet smoke smell is in the air. Sirens screaming, but none of the cop cars are headed up our hill. This is a usually quiet residential neighborhood full of nice people. Right around ten things will quiet down, and by eleven, I’ll be able to sleep.


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How do you feel?

This morning I listened to a Zen talk. The speaker’s question was “How do you feel?”

 

I start off answering that I feel sad but quickly it gets more complicated.


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