A Place In The Sun
Like a long lonely stream I keep runnin' towards a dream,
movin' on, movin' on.
Like a branch on a tree I keep reachin' to be free,
movin' on, movin' on.
'Cause there's a place in the sun where there's hope for ev'ry one,
where my poor restless heart's gotta run.
Theres' a place in the sun and before my life is done,
Got to find me a place in the sun.
Like an old dusty road
I get weary from the load,
movin' on, movin' on.
Like this tired troubled earth
I've been rollin' since my birth,
A friend sent me an acoustic cover version of this old Stevie Wonder song. (A Place in the Sun - J R Wyatt ) I don't know if this song is about legacy or journey or maybe it was the catchy tune. The restless heart, the weary, reachin' and runnin' were all words that touched me. I do know that in my painting lately I've been paying a lot more attention to sun. How it affects color. What happens in shadows. How getting it right makes a painting come to life and getting it wrong screams "Bad." Something about it though captured my longing amidst this crazy crisis.
I had a great session with my oncologist (like I own him. Not!) on Wednesday morning. We laughed and laughed. HIs superiors have turned me down again for Tagrisso (osimertinib). Third time for those who are counting. It is far from the end of the world though. Afatinib is still working. As he said it would be better if it wasn't because then I would get Tagrisso as second line treatment. I have made a few people uncomfortable though. He is going to keep applying - snow 'em under with paperwork. He did warn me to be careful, reiterating the information I had already
Oh and I had a look at my CT scan. I know some of you will find it hard to believe. This is the first time since I saw the initial tumour at diagnosis two years ago. He wanted to show me the party balloon in my right lung. Empty space. No explanation. Not a tumour. Not an infection. Just a space. About the size of a small marble. Nothing to biopsy. So we have scheduled a rescan in six weeks. I saw the burned out wreckage of the initial tumour. He pointed out the minuscule tumours in the lower left lobe that are currently held in check by the afatinib.
I've been doing a few other things to keep busy. I participated in the Surrey Homeless Survey taking two - three hour shifts. This involved wandering around the streets of Surrey interviewing people. The survey took about fifteen minutes with folks we suspected of being homeless. Lung Cancer Canada is designing a qualitative survey to measure the levels of anxiety in lung cancer patients so I have helped with that. So I'm falling back into the old community development work that I did for so many years.
Lots of people have been calling and emailing. They ask how I"m making out in this new reality. Maybe I was a little more tuned to it than others because of my cancer. I've been thinking about social distance for a couple of months. Teaching my friends how to fist bump or cough into their elbows.
I saw the looming need for measures to deal with the scarce resources in the health care system. At one point I considered going out and trying to find a way to infect myself. The health care system was going to need people with my skills: training as public information officer; first aid knowledge; and willingness to do whatever needs to be done. I'm not immuno-compromised and thought that my general fitness would carry me through. How absolutely arrogant of me!
After reading one of the first studies to come out of China about lung cancer patients and Covid-19 specifically I saw I was in danger. Thank God for good friends. They pointed out the damage that was done to my lungs with radiation and the various therapies. I have abandoned the idea of self infection.
I had one night a few weeks ago where I was pretty sleepless. I realized that the hysteria that I saw around me reminded me of Panama when the country shut down. Not really PTSD but enough to get me moving making sure that I could hunker down if I needed to. No I didn't rush out and buy toilet paper but I made sure I had lots of protein in my freezer (and ice cream - Baked Alaska if you must know.)
Now life is changing. As I have shared with many of you, once this cat is out of the bag, it will change our interactions forever. Both of my churches have cancelled services though in both cases it was a difficult decision. So I am helping with putting at least our sermons online for folks. I'm exploring other ways of encouraging the virtual gathering together - phone calls, virtual video meetings, and online forums.
My support groups have also had to cancel our get-togethers. With these groups, it has been difficult to encourage virtual get-togethers. HIPAA privacy rules challenge sharing the essential information around it in the cancer world. In AlAnon anonymity makes it equally difficult.
As an introvert, I'm not worried about the isolation stuff. Though I'll miss hugs from folks, my online activities and phone buddies are keeping me occupied. My shared wifi is little bogged down with all the kids off school.
Truth be told I worked more first aid in the last week than the previous three months. Screening patients before treatment, practising good hygiene, respecting social distance, and enjoying fresh air made it doable. It felt more dangerous in the grocery store yesterday than anywhere else (hospital, lab, clinic.) As I told my landlord earlier this morning I'm in pretty good shape from a food perspective. Other than my love of fresh veggies and fruit - I'm good for about a month.
Our Bible Class has been looking at the book of Colossians - Mysterious and Mighty. As I was thinking about how we face crisis in our lives, these verses sprang out at me. From The Message, Colosians 3:12-14 says:
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Words for a crisis indeed. Acceptance, yes, but not passivity. It takes action to display compassion and kindness.
The transition of this email to a "Mailchimp" managed list has gone well. If you notice any problems please let me know.
Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers, your continuing words of encouragement.