Constance Ore is a retired Teacher, Choir Director, and Organist. And a formidable cook.

November 29, 2006

Filed under: — Constance at 6:37 pm on Wednesday, November 29, 2006

BlurDeer.jpgWinter truly arrived today. Very cold north winds pushing clouds and carrying geese southward wiped away the unnaturally warm temperatures in a matter of minutes. We had been inhaling deeply and telling one another that it felt like we had gone south though we knew we were just moments away from the reality of Nebraska in November. Charles and I did get some outdoor Christmas lights out and wood logs in for burning just in time. There is no snow or other aspects of “Winter Wonderland” so Sanctuary is dark and hunkering down against the wind. Deer move swiftly from one copse of trees to another as Alphie and I come by, and occasional crows call from the tops of the pines.

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving Charles and I had a Chicago visit including attendance at the Lyric Opera for “Salome” best known for its “Dance of the Seven Veils” which is required for the diva singing the lead role. All transportation went very smoothly, friends, children and grandchildren were a delight, and the entire adventure was lovely. The opera was grand in its full orchestra and wonderful singing, with the most memorable part centering around Salome singing to the head of John the Baptist which she lifts off the platter. “Why won’t you open your eyes and look at me?” she asks. The diva, Deborah Voigt, conveyed the insanity of it all very well, even though she had to arrive at that point via the “Dance” (which was downright tasteful compared to the head on the platter thing), singing in German, and a time frame of less than two hours. We returned home on Thanksgiving Day, avoiding the crowds and finishing off with a dinner at Heidi and Jon’s in Lincoln.

In and about Newell, Iowa, there is a group of cancer survivors who have started the “I Will Not Worry Foundation” with the intent of having community with other people there who have either been through the experience of chemotherapy and are in remission, or those presently in the process of dealing with the illness. They use their funds for a JustCuz gift of $$ to those who might be in need of a boost; my Aunt Noni lives there, and through her information, I was included in their largess. This is a gift intended to be used in a personal way “just because”. The knowledge of a group of people who are walking along through life on parallel roads to my own and who gathered to say, “I Will Not Worry!” has been an ongoing help to me. When the questions about how my body will deal with the recurring chemotherapy or how this strange illness will ultimately determine my future, I think, “I will not worry” because I realize it is a pointless exercise. It helps to remember that others have these thoughts, too, and that the determination to set aside anxiety is a powerful weapon. Knowing that I am in God’s hands is another powerful weapon, but this new life seems to require everything that one can find and awareness of others reaching out to hold and carry is wonderful indeed.

November 19, 2006

Filed under: — Constance at 8:26 pm on Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thus begins the time of respite. For exactly fifty days now I will live life like it was in the “olden days”, with the exception of the weekly blood draw to keep track of how things are going inside of the system.
For all the sunrises and sunsets that have framed my days,
I praise and thank you, Lord.
For the comfort of prayers in the wakeful hours of some of the darker nights,
I praise and thank you, Lord.
For Charles who defines love in all its ways,
I praise and thank you, Lord.
For family health and well being, and busy children taking time
to send love and show concern,
I praise and thank you, Lord.
For angel’s guardianship of grandchildren growing tall and strong,
I praise and thank you, Lord.
For caring friends whose thoughts, prayers and words widen and
brighten my world in countless ways,
I praise and thank you, Lord.
For people’s voices sounding in mundane conversations
in ordinary time and daily peace,
I praise and thank you, Lord.
For a medicine that can reach into my bones and do battle in indefinable ways,
I praise and thank you, Lord.
For giving me moments of perfect happiness and joy,
I praise and thank you, Lord.
And finally, for all blessings, known and unknown, that weave
beauty and balance into the texture of my earthly existence,
I praise and thank you, Lord.

November 15, 2006

Filed under: — Constance at 4:15 pm on Wednesday, November 15, 2006

fridge.jpgOnly three more days of injections now, and life will resume in “normal time”. These treatments always return me to reflections of the mysteries of life, death, creation, and God’s intentions. I told a friend that I wished that I could turn in my body like a used appliance, replacing it with one that is reliable and in good condition and her reply was that she preferred the concept of bionic parts replacement.

possum.jpgIn the two weeks since Alphie has returned home from school, on three different occasions he has emerged from his first moments of the pre-bedtime walk with an opossum clenched in his mouth. He carries it triumphantly all the way around the paths through pasture and wood, laying it down several times and waiting for me to reach for it so that he can then do his favorite “grab and run” maneuver. I walk on by as though there is nothing at all because I know the creature is “playing ‘possum” just as the folk tales I have heard since childhood have reported. Alphie picks it back up, runs on, and finally, at the end of the walk, deposits it at the door as we go back into the house. The opossum will be gone shortly thereafter. At first, I thought perhaps this was a rite of initiation devised by the young and foolhardy marsupials – to take “The Ride” in the jaws of death and survive – proving to all a macho personae not to be trifled with, but when I looked up “opossum” the information said that this is a solitary creature, thus laying to rest my theory. It can only be the same opossum. . . stuffing itself with sunflower seeds at the feeders and bouncing along in supine resignation when it lacks the agility to get away in time. If it happens again, I will need to give it a name to honor its place in our wonderful ecosystem with the misnomer “Sanctuary”.

November 11, 2006

Filed under: — Constance at 4:18 pm on Saturday, November 11, 2006

pears.jpgJust two days ago, all of Sanctuary was bathed in 70 degree weather, and insects were hanging in the sunlight – doubtless called forth by the warm temperatures, but once activated, not knowing how to go on. Flies that had frantically tried to come indoors before the frosts were now clamoring to get back out. This interlude was brief, and now seasonal weather has returned, coming with nights in the 20’s and a leaden sky that had us muttering, “Winter” into our coat collars. All of those same insects have either expired or returned to dormancy, and the land is still and resting once more. We have two pear trees that are giving us the final gift of bright red and yellow colors; their singular show takes the breath away whenever we round the corner of the driveway. When their leaves are gone, Sanctuary settles in to brown and gray hues and we join the people of the neighborhood in stringing up Christmas lights around all sorts of plants, trees, bushes and fences in order to brighten things up a bit.

Nov191.pngSomewhere in the last days I was able to move from the posture of whining about having to go through chemotherapy to one of immense gratitude for the therapy’s existence without which I wouldn’t have the option of a future. With the success of Vidaza for a number of people, there has been some movement toward more research in dealing with MDS, and in one of the latest articles on the subject, the writer stated that Vidaza is at the beginning level of what may be developed. The definition of the illness has moved from a singular perception as a precursor of leukemia to a broader classification of a malignancy of the bone marrow, with its many levels of severity and treatment needs. I am presently in the daily shot of Neupogen phase which is needed to bring my white blood cell count back up again after the chemotherapy hit. This part is finished on the 19th, and then the happy songs start up again.

LeashClip.pngAlphie has been doing well since his stint at school. He has his “beastie” moments, but we have the tools to deal with them, and so far, we are doing well. I was walking him off leash through the pasture and forest yesterday when he spied our neighbor working on his water pump. Alphie took off at a fast clip and immediately leaped up on Joel with all the joy of seeing a wonderful animated toy. As I came running up I said, “Oh dear, I’m so sorry. . . he really does behave when he’s on the leash!” Joel’s dry reply, “Don’t we all” still has me smiling.

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