What I’ve been reading:
The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
Take perfect pacing, add quirky characters, a tablespoon of revenge, and a pinch of profanity, then feast on this top-notch police procedural.
Afghanistan by Stephen Tanner
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put Afghanistan together again. Its geography defies conquest and cultural cohesion since forever.
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Martel’s rhapsodizing on zoos, by itself, makes the book worthwhile. But it’s also a textbook on survival featuring literature’s most remarkable pas de deux.
Last weekend I scattered wildflower seed in anticipation of spring showers. Thursday night, the rattle of bamboo and the clink of metal stirred me awake. Rain drummed on the skylight in rhythm to the swaying wind chimes outside my window. A storm moved through the valley fulfilling my wish.
In the morning, the sky cleared. The pregnant buds of our lilacs strained to open in the sunshine; scarlet maple leaves emerged like butterflies from the wooden chrysalis of their branches.
Once again, I have no news. Without discernible symptoms, I sometimes wonder about my relevancy as a blogger on multiple myeloma. The adventure of my stem cell transplant seems a distant memory, a fish story that grows larger with each passing month.
The most recent visit with Dr. M. revealed the usual: my disease sleeps. The M-spike, which indicates the cancer’s activity, hovers in the barely detectable range at 0.1 g/dl. Furthermore, the general characteristics of my blood show normal values.
The lengthy remission I’ve enjoyed dispels any rumors of an imminent relapse. Whatever insecurities I fretted about through the winter months vanished when my doc chirped his happy tune. Nonetheless, the cancer, even though indolent, accompanies me wherever I go. It’s like a treacly pop melody I can’t quite get out of my head. But, the success of treatment reduced it to white noise, elevator music on my ascent to the upper floors of my future.
All of us with cancer want a reprieve, or, better, a cure. Often, we can participate in the process by opting for aggressive treatments. Sometimes though, a virulent strain makes its way unimpeded through the body regardless of any effort. Over the course of the winter I lost two friends to cancer, individuals whose diagnosis occurred after mine. For them, remissions didn’t materialize.
At my age, the goal is to live long enough to die of something else. Any of the arduous regimens necessary to attempt curing myeloma seem a bit much. Perhaps if I were younger… for now, quality of life matters most. The comforts of being drug-free these many months are sufficient reward for the transplant’s leap of faith.
So, I joyfully attend to mundane garden and house chores. Today, I prepped and seeded another wildflower bed. The area needed tilling followed by a raking to cover the seeds. Spears of iris plants climbed out of their den of field grass and stood like sentinels on the border.
Though the sun shone, a cool breeze drove me indoors several times before I completed the task. The previous night’s rain showers had fallen as snow on the hills above the valley, chilling the wind currents. Spanky, our newly adopted cat, followed me about the yard like a dog. Periodically, he would disappear like his Cheshire brethren. However, when I retreated to the house he tracked me down at the computer, joining me in composing this post about my unimaginative, precious life.