Friday, May 09, 2008


My UU ministers are going with me, on this journey. And by “my,” I mean all of you who have podcasts I can find on iTunes. I have a one and a half hour drive, each way, to the medical center. I pop my iPod into its car holder and enjoy the sermon.

Today, Rev. Christine talked to me about happiness. I am fortunate that I happen to be one of the 50% of population who has a high “happiness” set point. That is a stroke of genetic good fortune and I’m grateful for it. I can certainly dip low (what, you haven’t been reading this blog?), but it generally bounces back to a good point.

The Husband is like Obama claims to be – his highs aren’t too high and his lows aren’t too low. It used to drive me crazy – what would it take to make this guy enthusiastically joyful? – but now I think that it’s probably what makes us one of the more functional couples.

After the morning sermon, I turn my iPod to shuffle for some tunes. Most everyone I know with an MP3 player that shuffles has had the experience of “iPod messaging” – receiving guidance from the song choices that come up on one’s iPod. (She says, only slightly tongue in cheek.)

“Keep on the Sunny Side” by Popa Chubby. Oh, come on. I’m taking my 2 year old daughter to her radiation simulation and first chemo. First chemo, again, I mean.

I push the button. “I love to laugh” from Mary Poppins comes on.

Is Rev. Christine controlling my iPod???

I sigh and let the song play. It’s good advice. There are times when I can cry, times when I can wallow, but not during the daytime, not when I’m with Little Warrior, taking her to treatment. She needs to see someone strong, confident, and yes, sunny.

At home, she can see me cry. But not when she needs her courage. Not when she needs her happy place.

It’s all about treading water. No long strokes, no deep breaths. Paddle, paddle, paddle. Quick breaths. Just think about what’s happening today. Radiation at 8, pay valet, get car, drive over to Children’s, get ticket, park, 1 elevator, 2 elevators, up to the clinic, forms to sign, port to be accessed, chemo to get.

Take a deep breath, and your head might slip a bit under the water. And if it does, it feels so good to not be struggling, that you go down a few meters, and then you’re thinking about the long haul and all that you have to do … packing and cleaning and 6 months of all this and what if …

And then you’re slipping farther down, deeper … and what if they do her scans in 2 months, and something has appeared?

And as you sink, you get heavier, you go down faster. And what if something appears and the radiation and chemo aren’t working and you have to go to something stronger harder making her sicker, and what if what if what if what if what if what if.

With all the strength in your body, scissoring your legs, reaching with big strokes of your arms, you break the surface.

And remind yourself … just tread water.

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