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Posts Tagged ‘good days’

To Missouri this weekend, to visit Joshua’s family. I was nervous about this, as they are strict Pentecostal and, in addition to the usual worries associated with making a good impression on a beau’s family, I had to worry that I would snap under pressure and start shouting “Darn darn darn!” at the dinner table. This didn’t happen, though I did commit one or two worrying lapses, mostly during a poker game, because I was concentrating on poker. I said “shoot” and “heck” when I lost two particularly good hands, and I made reference to having seen R-rated movies. Also, the television was on in the background, and I accidentally giggled at a condom commercial. I should mention that I am not exaggerating at all – these are all, particularly the R-rated movies, things that Josh’s parents strongly disapprove of.

We met his parents on Friday at Lambert’s, a famous Southern restaurant where they throw rolls at you. Josh and I shared some fried catfish and ribs, which was quite tasty. I also tried some of the fried okra, because I don’t like okra and need to learn to. As of this writing I still find the texture off putting. Josh’s parents are very nice, but extremely formidable. I felt much more comfortable with his younger brother, as he is a lot like Josh.

On Saturday, we went to the Strawberry Festival, a fundraiser for the Christian rehab center Joshua’s dad runs. There wasn’t a lot to the festival, really; we had barbecue sandwiches and strawberry shortcake, then went on a hayride, where we saw a mule jump over a fence and listened to one of the drug addicts tell us about his recovery and dedication to Christ. I found this rather moving, as it was clear that this fellow meant to turn his life around.

The next morning, we went to Pentecostal church, something I had never seen before. Joshua’s family are Assemblies of God, the same denomination as Sarah Palin. They don’t handle snakes, but they do speak in tongues, something I was keen to see. First, though, we went to Sunday school, where a missionary to Papa New Guinea spoke to us about the evils of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Because those are all basically the same thing. That wasn’t really the focus of his talk, more of an aside, but the rest involved a very speedy reading of several Bible passages, which I didn’t entirely follow.

Pentecostal church services are really intense – people cry and shout out agreement and murmur eerily. There was indeed some speaking in tongues, which when it actually happened I found terrifying and started to cry. Suddenly this man was spouting what sounded like utter gibberish, and then someone else was filled with the Holy Spirit and interpreted in English. Then there was a sermon about how we are all utterly vile and filled with sin. Then we got to go out for lunch.

We were originally supposed to go golfing after church, but it was raining and Joshua’s mom didn’t want to golf in the rain (nor did I) so the menfolk went out and played a few holes or whatever the unit of golf is, and Josh’s mom and I stayed home and took naps, and in my case read Barbara Pym and wrote in my journal. The next morning Joshua and I took 11 quarts of strawberries (4 for me, 7 for our friends) and headed back to Indiana via St Louis. We got to St Louis around lunchtime and went to the arch, where we rode a tiny elevator – more like a cross between a roller coaster car and a space shuttle, but with no windows – to the top. I thought it would be terrifying but it was merely alarming. There are tiny windows on top, but no glass floor or anything really scary. Then we rode down again, had lunch, and went to the Basilica, which was very beautiful. Also I found the Catholicism of it reassuring after my intense brush with Protestantism the day before.

All in all it was an excellent weekend. Fortunately my body behaved itself and I felt almost completely normal. I had to drink tons of water, though, after going to the IU clinic on Friday and learning that I was, once again, as dry as an ancient raisin. It’s irritating to get so dehydrated AGAIN, after needing IV fluids once already. Today I have my second infusion, so it’s time to get back on the roller coaster of awful. Wish me well.

NOTE: Please don’t comment with disparaging comments about Protestantism or religion in general. I will be held responsible for anything you say. Dad, I am talking to you.

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See Emily Run

I just got back from a run! It’s gorgeous out, in the high 70s, and I felt good and energetic and, if I’m honest, kind of honor-bound to go for a quick jog. I put on sunscreen (including my head) and cued up my “13 Miles of Awesome” playlist, and just went out. I had a route in mind, a two-mile loop around a park near my house, but instead I just went where my feet took me. I don’t know how far I went, but not very far, and not very fast. I’m an endurance athlete; I’ve trained my mind to believe that my body can do whatever I want it to do, and so I figured the running part of my brain might not have gotten the memo about chemotherapy. Dr Levine told me I could exercise as long as I listened to my body; this is not easy when I’ve trained myself to ignore fatigue and pain in my legs. So even though I wanted to keep running, I played it safe and kept it on the short side.

Even though I wanted to run and run indefinitely, I feel really good now, and really proud of myself. Not only did I go out and run, I don’t want to get my hat all sweaty, so I bared my pate to the world. I felt a little self-conscious, but fortunately no one shouted at me (always a possibility in Bloomington). I look forward to the rest of my hair falling out, if only so that people will know I have cancer and hopefully not judge me.

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Five-Dollar Milkshake

When Caroline arrived she brought a box of Ghiardelli brownie mix, which is really nice. She had also asked around and found out how to make pot brownies, in case my chemo had me feeling nauseous or without an appetite, which, happily, it hasn’t. Since I’m not having nausea and I don’t know where to get marijuana, we decided to go with just regular brownies.

When Caroline opened the box, however, she found it was full of maggots. The mix itself was sealed in a plastic bag – the bugs were just inside the cardboard – but she didn’t think we should use it, so she threw the mix away. We had just been to the grocery store and there wasn’t time to go again before dinner. I sent her to the food co-op, but they only had fat free and gluten-free brownies, which we didn’t want. We could have made scratch brownies – I use Katharine Hepburn’s family recipe – but it didn’t occur to me, and anyway I’m not sure we had all the ingredients. So I sent her to the Mercantile, which is a convenience store not too far from my house. It’s really expensive and there aren’t prices on anything, but it’s okay for the occasional emergency roll of toilet paper. Caroline returned, box in hand, and reported that the mix was seven dollars.

SEVEN DOLLARS! I almost had a heart attack. We mixed them up and ate them, but they were as ashes. Seven dollars! We could have all gone down to Jiffy Treat and had ice cream for seven dollars! We could have bought restaurant pie! Seven dollars is seventy percent of ten dollars! That’s so much money! That’s more than the chicken cost!

I fretted about it all night, trying to come up with a plan to earn seven dollars, or to think of a time when I saved seven dollars so that it would be all right. Shortly before bed, Caroline said, “I just realized – I paid for the brownies with a ten, not a twenty. They were three dollars.”

I suspect that she was lying so that I could sleep at night. She’s a good sister that way.

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Better Days, Coming Now

I said the other day that I suspected there would never be any good days, that chemo would be a  nightmare from start to finish. Friday morning I woke up and was fine. Sure, I was still tired – I took three naps on Friday, one of them a good two hours – but I didn’t feel sick, and that’s what matters. I went out to lunch with one of my professors, went grocery shopping, did laundry. Caroline and I made roast chicken, mashed potatoes, spinach salad, and brownies, and after dinner we played board games with Josh and one of his roommates. It was a normal day!

This morning Caroline and I went to the Farmers’ Market, where we wandered around eating kettle corn and looking at the booths. We bought tomatoes, the first of the season, which I’m looking forward to having on my chicken sandwich later. There were strawberries, too, though at $6 a pint they are too expensive; later in the season they’ll probably be a bit cheaper. And rhubarb is at its peak – practically every stand had it, and I need to find a recipe for the rhubarb in my fridge. It’s so pleasant to watch things come into season. This summer may have its bright spots after all!

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Head Shaving Pics!

And now for something a little less depressing, look how cute and bald I am!Bald!

You can see all the pictures from the party at my Flickr page.

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