Monday, August 31, 2009

Salve for My Soul

It's a gorgeous, mostly sunny day in New England this last day of August. It's not hot, high 60s to low 70s is expected today. I sit here on our screen porch in quiet solitude; sounds of nature the only music--the green leaves rustling in the wind gusts and every once in a while a chickadee sounds off, "chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee." My chemo-sensitive olfactory glands pick up the sweet scent of last night's cooler temperature's lingering effects. Somehow everything smells like bed sheets fresh from the clothesline.

This porch, this lovely country home setting we are so blessed to live in, it's salve for my soul. Even as a little girl growing up in the hills of Unity, New Hampshire, I've needed my quiet time amidst the living vegetation out of doors. Life that grows from small seeds, dirt, sun and water. There's something about it, perhaps just the reminder it is of our Creator. No human being can create a tree or a rock or a flower. Human beings can manipulate all those things, genetically alter them, etc., but we can't create them.

Day after tomorrow I will spend another day at the Dana Farber surrounded by white coats, stainless steel, needles, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer and other hairless women wearing little caps or scarves. As I nestle into the infusion chair around 10:00, I will close my eyes and imagine this morning's scene, take a deep breath and know it's one day. It's one day closer to my final treatment.


  1. Hello Donna -- My name is Susan Rasmussen. I live in Salt Lake City. I, too, learned I had breast cancer at the age of 56. It was Stage III and when I finally got the courage to ask my oncologist what "my odds" were, I learned they were 50/50. She upped them a bit because 1) I was relatively young, 2) I was relatively healthy, and 3) I had good family support.

    This was over six years ago. I never expected to be here this long, but here I am. My doc says I will have to live another 14 years before she will consider me cured.

    My year of chemo/radiation therapy was pretty rough. I cried every day. I noticed that whenever I read about a person dying of cancer there was generally a comment about how the person "battled" valiantly. I never thought of battling cancer. I figured it would do with me whatever it wanted.

    If I had known that 6 1/2 years later I would still be alive, I might have avoided a lot of gloom and doom in my life. We're all living moment to moment, but when we're healthy we don't really realize it.

    I sincerely hope for your well-being. Cancer is a rough road; I hope you, too, have good family support.

    May God bless you.

  2. Hi Susan! So nice to hear from you and hear about your experience. Congratulations on 6 1/2 years of winning at the breast cancer war. I have a dear cousin who died after her 21-year long ordeal with breast cancer. Now she "battled valiently" and her legacy will be difficult for me to live up to, but I'm going to try. I've been told I can beat this. I'm going to believe them until something convinces me otherwise! It certainly isn't much fun, I have to say. I just arrived home from our two-hour drive from Boston and my fourth treatment, my third A/C combo. The next two days won't be altogether so bad, it's the five after that when I'm down for the count.

    I pray for you as well that you will get to that 14th year so your doctor can declare you are Cured!