Saturday, April 19, 2008

Looking Shocked

I forgot to share an encounter with a stranger earlier this week that struck me. While Dori and I were visiting Dan in the hospital, a lady turned the corner, saw Dori with her mask, and just stared at my wife. She couldn't hide what she was thinking - fear and shame. After Dori and I were out of earshot, I asked if she saw the lady's look. Dori said she hadn't. The stranger's expression was in contrast to the looks from many hospital staff. They looked at Dori and smiled confidently, knowing Dori had been through something significant. They congratulated her with their eyes.

Dori went to Will's ballgame last night, her first trip to see him play since last spring. Will is having a great time out there and playing well - making good defensive plays and getting on base. Last night, he pounded a few balls as hard as I've seen. I asked Dori on the way home if she enjoyed the game and seeing friends like Monica, Lisa and Laura. She smiled and said softly, "Oh, yes."

Where to start this paragraph ... The news about friends battling disease this week has had some lows. Of course, we've posted about Robin's death; her funeral was yesterday morning in California. Then we read about how her husband's car was robbed of her mementos, including her wedding ring that was going to be given to her four-year-old daughter. The whole thing is unreal. My good friend, Beth, is facing the reality her courageous Mom, Becky, has about six months to live. I'm pretty sure my open conversation with my wonderful Mom this week happened because I've been thinking about Beth and Becky a lot. I know my Mom knows how I feel about her - the same way I know Beth feels about her Mom, really. But I know I don't tell her enough. Becky and Rachel have earned our powerful love and tremendous respect. I'm sad for Beth and her family, but bolstered by her open approach and acceptance of the situation. Like my Mom said the other night, the only thing we can control is our own approach to life. The rest is in God's hands.

On a more positive note, I connected with another AML survivor this week - PJ, a Mom living in New England. I posted on her blog this week, and she posted over here. Like most folks who've been through the blood cancer ordeal, she doesn't like the germs. Her impressive dry wit and analysis are only rivaled by her great writing, and most of all, her honesty. Case in point:

"Since being diagnosed with leukemia two years ago, I've thought about death a lot, not as some vague distant event, but a sooner-rather-than-later possibility. Contemplating your own end isn't all bleak, especially if you consider some of the grisly stuff you'll avoid: cleaning out the basement; losing your soul at Wal-mart; blaming illegal aliens for the nation's economic woes; fretting about your carbon footprint; whatever."

I bellowed when I read the Wal-Mart-illegal alien-carbon footprint comment. The whole blog, The Plog, is like that. It's now linked to the left for easy access. PJ, I asked Dori, who reads The Plog regularly, if she's ever posted on your blog and she said no. This morning, I said, "Fellow AML survivor ... makes you laugh ... going through the same things you are ... c'mon, girl!" Keep up your great approach and recovery.

Kathryn is so quick these days. I asked her Tuesday if she knows a little boy any happier than her brother. She said, "John Antony," and then, "but yes, Will is very happy." I was giving her a hard time this morning while she was being a slug on the couch, watching cartoons. She said, "Your problem?" Nuff said. Girl's gotta watch her "Fairly Odd Parents," not have to deal with them.

Dori is on a two-mile walk this morning. Tonight, we go to the kids' school auction, which is one of her favorite events of the year because she is close to many of the parents (and she likes to bid on things ... always a price-value proposition with Dori). My sister's donated painting made the cut for the live auction and we donated some VU baseball tickets. We're staying away from the painting ... we're hearing the bidding could be aggressive and we have several masterpieces in the house at the "family discount." Thanks again, Annie.

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