The uncertainties of life are manifest every day. Some uncertainties are harder than others. My sister has Stage IV lung cancer. But her future is still uncertain, it’s quite possible the chemo will kill her long before the cancer can. She’s been in the hospital for two weeks now as a mold has developed in her lungs, thanks to chemo bringing her white blood cell count down to zero. On Thursday, I learned she has developed VRE, a anti-biotic resistant bacteria similar but much more rare than MRSA, the OMG of countless House episodes. Of course, because when you are going to ER three times a day for 90 minute infusions of antibiotics, you develop anti-biotic resistant bacteria. I think it is time for her to eat a lot of dessert. Ice cream, apple pie, chocolate cake, brownies and coffee nips. Go for it!
But she won’t. She plans to live to 107 despite her lung cancer. It’s not that she’s in denial, she’s just not going to live like she is dying. She’s going to live as she always has, careful, planning ahead, taking care of business, and doing the right thing. She will watch her calories and eat her vegetables. Eating dessert? That would be giving in.
I know she is not in denial because she’s cleaned her closets and gone through her junk drawers so family won’t have to after she is gone. She has given mementoes and pictures, paintings and jewelry and books to those she wants to give. She’s signed all the financial documents, written her obituary and funeral notice, planned and paid for the funeral and arranged for the well-being of her children and grandchildren. She had a list, she’s checked it twice, so she’s ready, but still keeping on, still living. She has so many books to read, she can’t die yet.
She is more sanguine than I. I feel a little lost and a lot angry. She is not. She doesn’t wonder why she is the one with cancer. She knows the science, she knows it’s random and fair does not apply to random or to cancer. There is nothing fair about cancer, ever. She’s calm, matter of fact and shrugs and says “what can you do about it?” while doing all the right things, doing chemo, preparing her family, her house, her finances. But she wants to live and won’t stop trying. If only she did not react so very badly to chemo, swinging between neutropenia and low clotting factor—the treatment worse than the disease in her experience. And the treatment doing nothing, so far, to slow the disease. But there’s always another type of chemo and another set of disease she can add to growing encyclopedia.
I know my blogging has been erratic and intermittent. My mind is elsewhere. I find escape in books, lots of books. I have not even watched Orange Is the New Black yet. Things that let my mind wander like movies or Second Life, that are less fully engaging as reading, I brood. I am not taking this all with the calm equanimity that she has. I am angry and sad. I cry a lot, though I can’t tell her because nothing pisses her off more than someone feeling sorry for her. So whatever you do, smile, don’t feel sad. She has this cosmic view of life, we are all of us tiny specks in the cosmic ocean and ranging against that is not worth her time. She doesn’t have the time to waste on rage, anger or self-pity. I wish I could be so brave.
I hope I haven’t depressed you. I want you to understand how strong and brave my sister is. I don’t want you to feel sorry for her or for me. I am doing quite enough of that on my own, thank you. I am glad I was able to go home to visit her, though, even though I could not give her a hug because she was neutropenic at the time and was supposed to avoid contact with people.
The laundry reminds me of my sister because one of the things I used to do when I would spend a weekend with her and her family was help with laundry. She had a new washer and dryer but used an old-fashioned wringer-washer with a mangle. She thought it got clothes cleaner and it sure made them drier before hanging them out on the line to dry. I was just a kid, so she fed the mangle and I held out my hands and let the clothes fall in them and dropped them in the basket. Then we went outside and I handed her the clothes pins. In the winter, she would pin them and by the time she got done hanging them on the line, the first ones were already dry – freeze dried. Stiff as a board, they stacked up, unable to fit back in the basket, but dry as a bone when we took them inside to thaw out. I thought I was doing so much to help, but I realize that she was just involving me, taking longer to do the work so that I could “learn” along with her. She did that with so many things. gardening, canning, and cooking.
Clothing: -Pixicat- Vintage.Skirt (Maitreya) @ Collabor88
-tres blah- Catby Shrug (Maitreya) – Cream
Shoes: Glamistry : BEGONIA Heels
Jewelry: (Kunglers) Cosmopolitan anniversary gift – bracelet – Golden
(Kunglers) Flora necklace – Golden rose
Donna Flora DANIEL coral flower earring
Skin: Glam Affair ( Lelutka Heads ) Clary – America
Hair: Exile:: Take It Slow @ Collabor88
Appliers: Glam Affair ( Lelutka Heads ) Clary – America @ Collabor88
(NO) Silky Cami Belly Shirt – All Colors – Maitreya Applier @ Collabor88
alaskametro<3 “#onfleek” makeup palette – Lelutka appliers @ Whore Couture
Flair – Fingernails Applier Slink A/E – Set 147
Eyes: [PXL] REFLEX Eyes (M) ~ GreenGold
Mesh Attachments: .LeLutka.Mesh Head-STELLA v1.6
Maitreya Mesh Body – Lara V3.5
Slink Avatar Enhancement Feet Deluxe V1.2.5
Slink Avatar Enhancement Hands V2.1 Elegant1
HUDS: Slink Ankle Lock
AnyPose Expression HUD
Barnesworth Anubis Yosemite A-Frame @ Collabor88
Second Spaces Laundry Ad, dryer sheets, fancy cleaners, old iron, prints, cabinet and shelves, clothes pins, detergents, laundry sign, old-fashioned soaps, pocket stuff, washer and dryer RARE (@ The Arcade)
vespertine Poetic autumn fresh apple pie (@ The Arcade)
Amala Stove Cream – RARE (@ The Arcade)
Amala Vegetable Cutting Board (@ The Arcade)
Amala Waffle Iron – White – (@ The Arcade)
Trompe Loeil – Retro Kitchen Dishwasher, Storage Canisters Cherry Red, Refrigerator, Cabinet Double Tall
Pixel Mode The Kitchen (unjoined & deleted end cabinets)
The Kitchen Canisters,
Apple Fall Au Pain
Sweet Thing Patisserie Salt & Pepper (@ The Arcade)
Fashionably Dead Hanging Herbs (@ The Arcade)
keke road trip oil can with flowers red