From a friend:
I thought you looked well. I know you were troubled by a cough and the blankety blank lymph stuff but you seem to have a sort of peacefulness about you.

Dear you,

You're right. In most ways life seems really easy right now. Wertperch and the imp and I have gotten through the medical mess, and we are in a little calm spot. We moved this fall. The new house feels like a really good fit, and also a haven - we find that we don't want to leave on weekends, we just want to loll around and sit by the fireplace.

As much as I dislike that new-agey thing about cancer being a "growthful experience" (ACK! HAIRBALL!) it did give me a different perspective. (And isn't "growthful" a wonderfully awful word?) I think there's certain ways that I've let go of control - after being dragged arms first into the medical version of a brush shredder, I got to see how little control I really lots of things now just make me shrug and laugh, instead of fighting them. There are still small botherments (the lymph stuff, ongoing kerfluffles with the imp's dad, who is a wee bit narcissistic) but they do seem pretty small. Solveable.

I have to give wertperch a lot of credit, too. In some ways I think being the support person for someone with cancer is harder than being the patient - all I had to do was cope, and I managed to cope with grace most of the time, and cope pretty lousily once in a while. He and the imp had to take care of me, and worry about losing me, which I think is probably worse than being sick, AND forge their own relationship in the midst of all of it. Plus being both a caregiver AND a sweetheart at the same time is hard - there are times I think his compassion got pretty burned out, and with reason. Nobody loves chronic...But now that our stress numbers are not off the charts, we both get to enjoy the calm after the storm.

At one point we added up our numbers for one of those things that's supposed to measure your stress - so many points for divorce, illness, death in the family, etc. - over 150 and it can take a toll, over 300 and it can cause physical illness, over 450 and watch out! you are likely to get in a car wreck or some such...and we were both over 600 points for that year. Cancer, moving, job changes, immigration, death in the family, ill name it, we had it. AND there were stressors that weren't on the list - like the convolutions of going through the immigration process. I'm amazed our heads didn't explode.

We're also both meditating, in this weird little Davis Zen center, and that helps me to slow down to a more normal tempo. I always used to be going 90 miles an hour, rushing through everything. Now I manage to be a little more present for all the pleasant things as they go by. Now is really all we have, in the long run - better enjoy all of it.

Thank you for letting me know, it's fun to know that some of the change I've been feeling is noticeable. Grace is both an external and an internal thing. I just read that the Greek word for grace is charis - only one letter away from my name. Fancy that.

Love, grundoon

Four days—two airplane rides—a rental car ...

My little brother...

Carl is Susan's blood relation, but I call him my brother. I've known him since he was a stubborn and awkward 11-year old. getting married...

After Katrina forced Carl and his delightful girlfriend to flee New Orleans, the two eventually settled in Flagstaff. They announced their engagement soon thereafter.

My little brother is getting married!

It is almost a year until the wedding. Susan and I flew to Phoenix, rented a car and drove to Flagstaff. Her parents drove down from Los Angeles. The six of us had a grand old time, talking, dining ... I even got to see the Grand Canyon for the first time in my life. And we talked. We talked a lot.

My little brother is getting married!!

We are home safe and sound. Tired. Desperately needing a shave. I did a lot of writing and editing. But God it was cool to see Carl and Elizabeth. They seem so happy. Their home is wonderful. Their dogs were delighted to see us. Susan's parents look great.

My little brother is getting married...

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