[This was begun December 2010, but not completed or posted because I’ve been too sick, my right hand paralysed, and in much pain. But having spent 3 weeks out of the last month in hospital, I’m now home and I’m beginning to smell the daisies rather than think of being buried under them (daisies don’t smell, and I’m going to be cremated, so much for reality).]
It is 6 in the morning on the day of my 72nd birthday party. This is the second annual party I have had since the return of my cancer.
At the first party (held at the same time and place with most of the same people), I had good reason to think that I might not be around for a rematch. Last year I had just gotten over three operations, was very tired and had completely lost my voice. Five months of this year was spent in remission and the rest of the year in treatment for my recurring cancer.
December 2010, party number two, I was taking chemotherapy orally, and had just finished my last session of radiation on that day, a birthday present.
The amazing thing was that I felt better this year. I had more energy, I could speak; yet the prognosis for my cancer is still terminal.
So it is 6 in the morning and I’m rifling through files and emails trying to find my sense of humor. I feel seasick, though nowhere does that come up in side effects of oral chemo. This is what happened yesterday which has led to both the tragic sense of humor loss and this terrible woozy feeling: my son called to say that his flight from JFK had been cancelled. I looked up the flight’s status and indeed it had been cancelled. Several hours later I checked again (as mothers and grandmothers do), this time it said in the small print to disregard the prior notice: the flight was not cancelled.
It takes several hours to get to JFK from Long Island so the family (Juno 5, Clara 10, mother and father) had settled into the idea of not coming to London, and made other plans for the day.
My son is writing, producing and directing a low budget independent film, due to start shooting two weeks in to the new year. Not coming to London gave him two extra pre-production weeks, and he wasted no time. He was already in New York City looking at locations when the flight was called on again. I could have shot him rather than the film but never mind. At that point it was impossible for him to get to JFK in time.
He promised he would bring everyone in February, but I did something I wish I hadn’t done. I used the ‘C’ word and said I might not be around in February. I hated myself for doing it, but part of me thinks that way.
This was the bad news: as far as I was concerned, they were the stars of my birthday party, as they had been the year before. But there was good news too - more on the party in the next blog.