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

August 19, 2008

Filed under: My New Life — Constance at 6:40 pm on Tuesday, August 19, 2008

meadowlark by Jeope Wolfe
This morning a heavy mist gave the sunrise a wonderful appearance, and sounds were magnified all around. We heard the rooster that lives several neighbors away crowing into the morning, and Alphie seemed to be listening with extra care. The meadow lark was singing, as was the field sparrow, but otherwise the birds of Sanctuary were mostly silent . . . I was reminded that they really do have a purpose in their song other than providing us with delight, and in this season, territories are not an issue for many species. Now the meadow and forest belong to the spiders with hundreds of webs woven over and between the grasses and appearing unexpectedly across the path between the trees. I carry a small branches which I hold in front of my face or I must deal with spider threads in eyebrows and teeth. As I near the road, I make sure that others do not see me so equipped because I would not wish passersby to conclude that I am going “funny”.

My energy has begun to sag in recent days; moving my body through space feels as though the molecules around me are heavy and there is no lightness in my being. “Up, get up!” instructs the mind, and the physical self reluctantly moves. We meet with the oncologist on Friday of this week. How life proceeds is much on my mind – hopefully information and wisdom will meet and the direction will be clear . . . it seems that there are two options available – more Chemotherapy or let life go on to its conclusion without attempting another intervention.

God who made the earth and heaven, darkness and light:
you the day for work have given, for rest the night.
May your angel guards defend us, slumber sweet your mercy send us,
holy dreams and hopes attend us all through the night.

And when morn again shall call us to run life’s way,
may we still, what-e’er befall us, your will obey.

Guard us waking, guard us sleeping, and, when we die,
may we in your mighty keeping all peaceful lie.

— text: Reginald Heber
— tune: All Through The Night “Ar Hyd Y Nos” (Welsh)

August 12, 2008

Filed under: My New Life — Constance at 1:53 pm on Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In two days, Charles and I will remember our wedding on the 48th anniversary of that summer day at Hanover Church in the Iowa countryside. It is a thing of amazement how life goes so quickly, how it spins out. . . certainly not in a way predicted by anyone here. We smile this year and say we give each other the paint on the front of the house and the roofing repairs along with a few other domestic things.

As the warm days continue, Alphie has become mellow, so his ambition toward catching creatures has waned. Sunday afternoon was an exception. We spotted an otter moving between the stream on the west side of Sanctuary to the pond at our neighbor’s house, and Alphie gave chase at his highest speed. He trapped the otter under a wheelbarrow leaning against the barn and barked loudly while the otter screamed back with its most fervent threatening hisses and warning sounds. I finally convinced Alphie that we should go on, which we did, and the otter presumably decided to return from whence it came. By the time we got to the house, Alphie was panting very loudly and his tongue appeared to nearly touch the floor.

Today I visit the gastroenterologist for a review of my digestive systems. It is timely since spasms of the esophagus returned toward the end of my walk yesterday morning. These mimic heart attacks with pain down the arms and into my back teeth, and there is something about that feeling that tends to scatter my defenses. I told Charles that the last one continued through two recitations of the 23rd Psalm and one extended Kyrie; now all is calm again, but I was very tired for the rest of the day.

August 6, 2008

Filed under: My New Life — Constance at 10:42 am on Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Home again, and Sanctuary stands quiet and overgrown, waiting for its fruits to complete their ripening. There has been no wind or breeze and the heat wave silenced bird and insect alike. This morning, the temperatures were back down a bit, but the humidity remains high, causing Charles to remark that “the orchids are dancing in their pots”. Most of the birds are no longer singing loudly, but appear to be resting up from the trials of raising their fledges. Some have already left on their migrations to other places; the swallows and orioles are gone, many of the red-winged blackbirds have departed, and just a few of the wrens remain. Literally thousands of miles will be covered by our population of avian friends before we see them again next spring.

My blood counts came up again, taking me out of the “critical” levels back to hover just above the numbers that signal great concern about immunities. Heidi says that this improvement came about because of the homemade pastas that we consumed in Estes Park, followed by the operas in Santa Fe – since both were highly enjoyable, I would be pleased to apply the cure all over again, at any time and in any place.

It has been 31 months now since I began “My New Life” and in two weeks, we meet with the oncologist again. I have been thinking about decisions that will need to be made at that time, for we will discuss whether to resume a course of chemotherapy to make a bid for more earth time, or whether we will simply let the days dictate the future. Once again, I am praying for absolute clarity even though I know that it is a rare commodity. To date, body and blood’s condition and the progression of the disease have provided the guideposts, and so it will likely continue. God is good, I still have life, and for today, that is enough.

July 30, 2008

Filed under: My New Life — Constance at 9:26 pm on Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We left Estes Park on Monday morning after having the best of times with the children and granddaughters. A personal moment of triumph was taking the walk from the Trail Ridge Road Visitor’s Center to the very top of that mountain. There was applause from the rest of the clan when I finally arrived, and the view, both externally and inwardly, was grand.

In cool rain showers, Charles and I drove down the center of Colorado, and as we traversed the valley toward Salida, the clouds caught behind the peaks to the west of us, and dramatic thunderclouds moved up and over with occasional lightening flashes and distant thunder rumblings. The mountains were dark and grey and mystical, looking very much like movie sets of fantasy fiction. Salida itself was a pleasant surprise with white water rafters moving in and out of the Arkansas River, and lots of young people in shops and galleries in a refurbished downtown.

Yesterday we continued our drive to Santa Fe, arriving in the afternoon with time for dinner and a nap before going to the Opera which didn’t begin until 8:30 PM. The presentation of “Falstaff” was very good. We are staying in a hotel on the Plaza with a view of the Cathedral out our window. Santa Fe is saturated with artists and fine art galleries without number; the desert air gives a clarity to everything, and the sky is the intense blue often shown in paintings of the southwest. It is easy to understand the attraction to artists of every description.

My health is holding reasonably well. There have been a number of days when I have needed to send others on and out while I sit quietly somewhere, selecting various medications from my pharmacopeia of drugs (it seems that my brain immediately brings forth the Beatles’ singing “I get by with a little help from my friends. . . “) As we have moved about, we haven’t noticed great coughing and sneezing anywhere, and I avoid closely packed groupings, however, the feeling of “living on the edge” continues, particularly when I have to take an elevator and others come into that space for the ride. A great germ laden sneeze in there and I think I would be done in. For now, the adventure continues, and we are ever thankful.