Greetings, my friends, new and old! It’s been a while, but…
After another lengthy time off, I’ve returned to good energy, good appetite, and good humor! I am in the first week of Cycle 3 of my treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and at last, I feel pretty fully human again. I have four days to wait to see if I wind up in the hospital for a third time with a fever that has arisen the last two cycles as my white blood cells tank. It’s a scary time, being with no immune system to protect you against any invading bug of any size or shape! But all things worked together for good, and each cycle seems to be its own master. And I am learning more and more about the art of resilience.
Grace has shown up, not surprisingly, in some new ways. It has to recreate itself as life changes, to meet the new need, the unexpected turn, the crash of expectations, the heavy load just strapped to the back.
First cycle, third night, 3:45 am, the emotional crash showed up. Sobbing, begging, throwing in the towel, begging to be “taken home,” it went on and on for an hour. I left no lamentation slip by. Then – quiet and calm and a newly found strength of will and faith and hope showed up. I call it my “come to Jesus moment,” and it sustains me still. Pure grace.
Second cycle, second hospital stay, my marvelous nurse, who called me, “Hey, girl!” picked up on the fact that my hair was starting to fall out. She graciously cut off a lot of it to a short bob so that the falling hairs would be less odious to manage. And she gave me a head start on facing what would become a head full of peach fuzz! I saved what she cut off – and when I look at it now, it is a strange kind of grace – the grace of letting go of things that I cannot prevent. The grace of seeing myself as a newly emerging woman who was ready to create some new looks and to see herself as her own champion.
Third cycle, the graces of energy and appetite and creating head wraps and getting used to my new wigs are giving me great delight. But there is something that tickled my funny bone so much that it’s become my first joke of this strange and ever-changing journey.
One of the advantages of losing your hair, at my age, is – that you also lose all your chin hairs and moustache!!! If you’re over 40 – or if those annoying appendages began after giving birth the first time, as mine did, you have been the prisoner of the plucker forever. (No, waxing was not my thing…) You’ve joined girlfriends at a retreat, perhaps, to stand together in the morning sun, magnifying mirrors in hand, finding companionship and laughter in the finding of every stray hair that would dare to show up in just the right light!
So, my dear readers, my message is perhaps not profound, but it is showing up more and more even in the midst of pandemic, fractious elections, division, discord. Grace does show up!
Courage, resilience, wonky humor can even arrive with a grin! Thank goodness!