"It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubborness of the inorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed." - Albert Einstein

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I aspire to a stubbornly incorrigible nonconformity. The degree to which I have achieved my aspiration I leave in the capable hands of those whose wisdom and humilty exceed my own.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My new storytelling and inspiration blog, Whispering Circles, http://whisperingcircles.blogspot.com/ has been up for just a little over a week and I have gotten such positive feedback from so many people. I am a little surprised, though I don't know why I should be. I have never lacked confidence as a storyteller, even when my career seemed like it was stagnant and I didn't get invited to tell stories at places or events that I thought would be sure to invite me.
Now that I am retired and rethinking this whole professional storyteller thing, because of the gradually increasing difficulty for people to understand what I am saying, I have channeled that energy into writing; including writing these two blogs. I am finding my voice as a writer and it is exciting to discover another way to be a storyteller.

My twenty-two year old daughter Becca amazes me sometimes. She loves Ellen Degeneres and watches the program every day. Becca decided that on our vacation to Southern California in September, it would be fun to get in to see the Ellen Show. So Becca wrote to Ellen about all my health problems and how much fun it would be for all of us to get in to see the Ellen Show and how amazing her parents are and how she would like to do this for her parents. I don't know what, if anything, will come of this. I am sure Ellen gets a lot of requests from people at least as, if not more, deserving than we are, but I am so impressed that Becca came up with an idea and was able to do something about it, all on her own.

This trip that we are planning, in late August and early September, will be my first vacation in over eight years. Our attention has been so focused on doctors and hospitals and insurance and other important medical and/or health related stuff that a true vacation has never even really been considered. Now that I am retired and I no longer have to worry if I have enough annual leave days, we can take a vacation; and I am really looking forward to it.

We are going to stay at one of the time share properties in Oceanside, California. We will be close enough to my favorite niece and nephew who live in the Los Angeles area that we can visit and we have family down there too. My niece and nephew are expecting their second child right about that time so we are hoping to get to be there for the birth of the new one. I am already anticipating that our trip will produce some great stories.

One of things that we plan to do on our trip is to go to Las Vegas for a very special supper. When I was first diagnosed the third person I told was my friend Kathy, who was more like a sister to me. The first person I told was my wife and the second was my friend Chip. Kathy lived with her husband and son in Oceanside California. We had worked together years ago at a homeless shelter in the transitional housing program where families could get the help they need to become independent again. As a matter of fact, I was the one who hired Kathy.

When I called Kathy I told her that I had some news to share with her. She said she needed to tell me something first and told me that she had just recently been diagnosed with non-Hodgekin's lymphoma. That made it easier for me to tell Kathy that I had just been diagnosed with throat cancer.

Kathy and I went through cancer treatment together. We emailed each other almost every day. We shared the miseries of cancer treatment that are hard for anyone who hasn't been through it to appreciate and we talked about grand plans for when we finally got well. One of our grand plans was that when we were finally well, we would meet up in Las Vegas so that we could have supper at Mario Batali's restaurant. Mario is my favorite celebrity chef.

I got better, but Kathy got worse. I managed to go and visit her for a week. When I got there I went straight to the hospital where Kathy was in the process of getting ready for her second bone marrow transplant. I am so thankful that when I walked into the room Kathy was asleep. I had tried to prepare myself so that my face and expression would not betray anything when I saw her, but I don't know how successful I was. Kathy, my dear dear friend, looked worse than I could have imagined. It was a blessing that I got to adjust myself to her appearance before she woke up.

That visit was great. Kathy actually got much better during the course of my visit and was discharged. It was so good for both of us that I got to visit. I hated to leave Kathy, but I was reassured that she was getting better and the bone marrow transplant was going to work this time.

Kathy got her bone marrow transplant after I returned home. Once she got the transplant she couldn't be around anyone except immediate family because of the risk of infection and her own resistance being so low. But we still emailed. Kathy reported to me that her white counts were going up and things looked good, for a while. Then they didn't and one day Lane, Kathy's husband, called and told me that Kathy had died. It was hard on me, especially since my own recovery was going so well.

I thought about making that trip to Las Vegas in memory of and on Kathy's behalf but just couldn't bring myself to do it. Over time though I thought about it and finally just recently decided that this should be something I would do. Of course, now I can't eat or drink anything, but Alice and Becca will get to enjoy the meal and I will get to toast Kathy. I will probably have a glass of wine even though I am not supposed to and it drives my doctors nuts. I never have been all that good with rules.

It is getting sunny around here these days and is warming up. The sun feels good on my skin and I love riding my motorcycle (technically a scooter) in this kind of weather. It is so liberating and exhilerating to ride in nice weather.

I have tasks around the house today. Right now I am doing laundry - the whites. While I am writing this. So, I am multi-tasking. It feels good to me to actually be productivve, which is why I set out this morning to discipline myself to write a new blog entry, even though I didn't think I had anything interesting to say.

The warmer days are just another reminder of my coming vacation. I can't wait. It has been a long time since we, my family and I, have made a trip just for the relaxation and fun of it.

1 comment:

Sarajoy said...

What a difficult thing to go through and write about, full of conflicting emotions. I'm glad you're finding your writing voice and going on vacation and to the restaurant. You'll have to enjoy it twice as much, once for you and once for Kathy.