Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Ramblings

How about those Olympics last night? Sure, Michael Phelps is impressive and I am old enough to have had a crush on Mark Spitz back in the day along with every other red blooded American teen age girl. Yes, Phelps is cool and winning all of those gold medals and passing Mark Spitz by one is for the sports history books. But me? I was more thrilled to see Dara Torres win two silver medals in a row, one for an individual competition and one for a relay. The woman is 41, has participated in five Olympics and has 11 Olympic medals. She is a Mom and she is beautiful in addition to everything else. Will Phelps be winning Olympic medals when he is 41? Somehow, I doubt it. Next, I was mesmerized watching the women's marathon and seeing the 38 year old Romanian woman who is a Mom of a teen age boy win the gold medal. She was so far ahead of the rest of the runners that it was mind blowing. Her stamina, her strength and her power were inspiring to me as I watched her struggle to continue on and on.

In a weird sort of way, my cancer journey reminds me of the training athletes must endure to participate in their sport. For example, I was determined to have my normal Sunday morning routine today which includes attending church. It has been difficult for me to get to church because mornings are not my best time of day. On Sundays, I have my coffee in my Canterbury mug. It is the only day of the week I use this particular cup. I purchased it in Canterbury, England in a pottery shop in an area next to Canterbury Cathedral 19 years ago. It has a raised Celtic cross on the side of it and I enjoy the feel of the cross. Furthermore, my grandparents grew up near Canterbury along with my ancestors going way back. When I drink from the mug before attending church, it connects me to my roots and reminds me of why I am an Anglican.

Thinking of the Romanian woman helped me a lot this morning. The colon stent gives me rather severe bowel cramps for about two hours. I know now it is not the tumor because the tumor is now the size of my thumb nail rather than a baseball. My oncologist told me the stent would be uncomfortable. He did not exaggerate. After my shower, my coffee, playing the "doggie biscuit" game with Apolo and my breakfast, I was kind of in agony for a while. But I was determined to finish the marathon and go to church. Well, I made it. My priest brought me in front of the church to explain the chemo was doing its job and I was able to tell my congregation in person, "Thank you for your prayers."

Last night, in the midst of watching the Olympics, I was reading from my "Praying Through Cancer" book. There was a reference in there that when we revere and praise God, it gives Him joy. All of a sudden, one of the messages my former priest had been trying to get across to us clicked with me. Kaley and Dave had been looking at the moon last night and Jupiter. It was a gorgeous night with rare visible stars in this land of cloudiness. I realized that God Almighty who surrounds the entire earth and who fills the enormity of the Universe loves little 'ole me. And when I am grateful to Him, it pleases Him. God desires loving communion with us. While I watched that Romanian woman plod her way toward the finish line, I knew I had to overcome my pain in order to make it to church.

The last couple of days have been good. I had visitors from out of town on Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon. I totally enjoy spending time with friends and engaging in "normal" conversation. I consider these visits wonderful gifts. The weather has been hot so it has been difficult for me to walk but we have still been able to do my "short and sweet" totally uphill in the evenings.

Always, I am trying to look for and figure out the positive aspects of my cancer journey. The good parts of it are around me everyday and I strive to be awake to them. When Dave comes home from the grocery store and tells me he has run into a friend who decided to get that colonoscopy because of me, I am deeply gratified.