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

June 26, 2007

Filed under: — Constance at 3:25 pm on Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Alphie may appear to be soundly sleeping in the third floor computer room, but the moment I pick up my purse on the second floor, he comes flying down the stairs and heads onward to place himself in front of the garage door on the ground level. He sits there, facing the door and waiting for me. I open the door and he hurries through and stands in back of the car and awaits the opening of the hatch so he can jump in. We go the mile and a half to the hospital with him hanging his head out of the window, ears and jowls flapping in the wind. When we arrive, I leave all the windows open and tell him I will return shortly; he sits down on the back seat to wait for my return, and to my knowledge, doesn’t bark or get excited about the activity around him. I go in and as a “regular” have my own room for my blood draws and/or injections. This morning’s blood draw was important because we were filled with hope that with the additional neupogen injections, it would indicate a return to reasonable numbers in the white blood cells and the neutrophils. That is what happened, making this a happy day for us. Always, it is a lesson on how to live a proper life; one must have patience and faith and optimism. Of course, it is easier when the darker moments aren’t so extreme, however, the principle is the same. We drive back to Sanctuary in the same manner that we came, and Alphie leaps out seemingly pleased with the adventure.

June 22, 2007

Filed under: — Constance at 7:08 pm on Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer came to Sanctuary with full force. We had pleasant spring temperatures and gentle breezes that celebrated June until nearly the hour of the solstice and then heat and high humidity arrived without any transition. Usually, temperatures creep up and give one time to prepare the mind and body for what is to come, but this year, the season came fully developed as though it had been reading the calendar.

Many of the birds have their fledges at flying school now – this morning the swallows that live in the upper porch entryway had their two little ones sitting on the edges of the herb enclosures in front of the house, urging them on and seemingly very aware of how vulnerable their offspring were. Later, Alphie and I passed a pair of wrens circling a bush and scolding us fiercely as we walked by. Everywhere we go through Sanctuary right now, there are birds sounding warnings and concern; I have learned to identify the catbird’s choice – it is much like the quack of a duck. Since catbirds’ songs are mostly imitative of other birds, perhaps it heard the duck quack, and decided that this was a sound of substance with frightening overtones well worth using to get rid of would-be fledge snatchers.

My MDS continues to keep us on ground that will not remain steady. One walks along, and the earth shifts beneath, making the progress uneven and fearful. After feeling better for a bit, the blood readings have been going down to levels which I have not seen since April and May of 2006. This means that I am once again dealing with a fading immune system, and if the downward spiral isn’t stopped, flying across the waters to New Zealand will not be possible. After today’s sorry numbers, the oncologist immediately placed me back on Neupogen injections to encourage the white blood cells to get with it, and I re-check the blood in five days. Fortunately, there is time for improvement, and we will hope and pray for the best.

June 13, 2007

Filed under: — Constance at 9:14 am on Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rains fall straight down outside the windows this morning and the plants are standing very still and straight accepting the gift. Here, the water is a grand good thing because much of summer is dry and defined by dust-laden winds that blow hot and unrelenting over everything. Alphie and I are still awaiting the moment when it will be prudent to walk – just as I am thinking that we could make a swift pass through Sanctuary, thunder sounds and I decide that I don’t need the companionship of possible lightening strikes. Long ago I had absolute faith in rubber-soled shoes, but alas, once that illusion was removed, I could no longer move through a charged universe feeling securely grounded and impervious to negative energies.

supine2.jpgI feel better! The framework of that simple statement continues to shift; at first, the compromising of my taste buds seemed huge; after experiencing a constant queasiness abetted upon occasion by stomach cramps that folded me over, the absence of sensation seems benign. Perhaps many people take the daily inventory of the physical self as I do in the first morning’s light – is the body going to work a little? A lot?

07June2006Img03.jpgIt’s a very strange lifestyle, moving through time with a series of tunnels to either choose to traverse or avoid. One never knows the length or darkness of the tunnel, but the hope is that the light will be bright at its end. If the experience is avoided the apparent outcome is one in which there are no longer options. . . death comes sooner – such is the word of the doctors and the short histories of those people who have had this disease. Now I am in the bright light at the end of the last tunnel and the gratitude to God for everything is deeper. The miracles of each aspect of life are made new again – eyes and ears perceive more sharply and the creation in which I live is richer than I noted previously. The gifts of family, friends, home and place are wonderful in ways beyond my words to describe them. So it is on this day with the rains still falling straight down and the thunder still telling us to remain indoors.

June 9, 2007

Filed under: — Constance at 4:02 pm on Saturday, June 9, 2007

This week had to be lived through, rather than lived. I sat on the side of the bed several mornings ago and realized that outside of a series of Chemotherapy, the way I felt would mean that I was really, really sick. It has been like a dreadful ongoing flu, complete with head, bone and muscle aches, nausea, stomach cramps, and no energy at all. I have lost about seven pounds so far, and my movements are those of the old, old woman that normally walks in my future rather than within. Now, two days after the seven days of injections, I have had lessening symptoms, and my spirits are beginning to creep up from their totally flattened state. My prayers have taken on the tone of the sorely tried. . . . “Is this really necessary?” and “Please, oh please. . .” Charles has proven to be a cheerleader with skills far above troupes of others; his optimism is unflagging, and his approaches toward carrying me onward are ever creative. Among other things, he has coaxed me into the MGB to ride through the incredible June air with the wind flying past and carrying the present trials away if only for a few moments.

A series of freezing nights this spring set back many flowering plants, including the day lilies that lay yellow and defeated on the ground for many days afterwards. Then, rains came, followed by good sun and now there is triumph shooting upward from new green plants. The bloom stalks are taller and more numerous than they have ever been, and a huge celebration of color is soon to arrive at the front of the house. Meanwhile, tucked under some cone flowers, a winter aster is blooming – it appears that even plants can become confused. Sanctuary flourishes, with wild roses and honeysuckle presently in flower and mulberry trees already covered in fruit. The birds are bringing their fledges to the feeders and all through nature, life appears to be good.

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