Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chemo status quo; Friendships and Memories

This has been a really great two weeks. My last chemo (two weeks ago) went, well, as chemo goes. Overall pretty smoothly.

My hair has thinned so my head gets cold, One of the women who works there is Muslim, and she taught me how to tie a headscarf. And when I went to MGH for my injection on Friday (I get an injection to help increase my white cell count), the nurse did an amazing Reiki healing. So the staff continues to be really supportive.

I got those awful stomach cramps again this week, but I was able to manage them with meditation. It was pretty amazing. I isolated myself from everyone else and concentrated only on my breathing. At one point, I found that I could separate myself from the pain, and, in that calm, I started to notice things. For example, I started to notice the feelings that would happen immediately after the pain would subside, which I never noticed before. And I noticed that the pain moved, slowly, along the path of my intestines. Yes, I was still out of commission for a few hours, but it was way more manageable than It had been in the past. I would love to be able to replicate this with any other pain -- it was pretty cool.

Other that that, it's been an amazing two weeks. Lots of celebrations and visits with dear friends. I feel so lucky to be able to do that, and to share these experiences together.

Because of that, I started to think about our lifetime of experiences with so many different people, and the subsequent stories we all have about each other. At the risk of letting you know how goofy I was at the age of 12, I share this email from a sixth-grade classmate. He and I haven't been in touch in YEARS, and I haven't thought about this event, oh, probably since it happened, but it was a memory that came right back to him:

We're on a holiday road trip, and I heard a song on the radio that brought back a memory... Remember the song "Billy Don't be a Hero"? Well, I recall that in sixth grade we had to pick a song and make drawings that told the story of the song, then stand in front of the class and flash our drawings cue-card style while the song played. You...chose "Billy Don't be a Hero" and every time the word "Hero" came up, you had a drawing of a sub sandwich, very well drawn with a colored pencil. I don't even remember what song I chose...

If someone asked about sixth grade, I don't think I would have recalled either the assignment or the song on my own. But, through this shared experience, he obviously holds a story of my life and a piece that is truly me from that time. I was really touched by this and suddenly started to notice it everywhere.

I was honored to witness this at a party this weekend, where the host couple had friends from all stages of their lives. I got to watch my three-year-old son at parties with his friends from school, where their comfortable and fluid interactions show how deeply they already know each other. And I marveled as my friend from third grade, who recently returned home after a one-month visit (along with her husband and two daughters - how amazing is that!), randomly recalled shared experiences that are like gold.

I'm grateful for all these friendships and the memories those friends hold, events that I either don't recall or that reside in the dark, dusty corners of my mind and heart. Those are places I don't typically explore without a professional. It's way more fun with a friend.

Thank you for all the memories you hold, even as you might recall one right now! And I hope that, soon or during this summer, you can spontaneously go to some dark dusty spot in your heart with a friend, find a treasure and smile, and barrel ahead to create new memories!

Thank you for all the prayers and good wishes, and keep them coming!

Love to you,

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