Tomorrow is the big day, and 8am is the appointed hour, when my liver gets temporarily smaller and I learn more about my tolerance for anesthesia medications and pain suppressants. We are taking yet another step along the infinite wheel of time and I am glad this continues to move forward.
I have been thinking about a lot of time-dependent things these days. Like knowing when some project is finished enough to be done - brownies and cupcakes have instructions about the length of time to bake, but they are couched in terms of a toothpick inserted and withdrawn "dry" to be the real measure. We all know what underdone cupcakes and brownies are like - really gooey on the inside. Some folks actually that like that kind of treat, but they too know when to stop baking by the toothpick-insertion test. And no, just to be clear, I am not suggesting that anyone poke me with a stick to see if I am done! It is just that sometimes we are not exactly sure when something is done, until we see some evidence.
I am not sure what evidence I need or will receive related to this cancer journey. CT scans were clear and encouraging for three full years, and then we noticed a significant bump in an antigen that marks embryonic cancer activity and the cancer roller coaster fired right back up again (or maybe we were always on it, but in one of the slow spots?). After this liver resection, I know that I have more chemotherapy, and fully expect a routine of follow-ups and scans for the coming years. But I am beginning to appreciate the mental and spiritual aspects of "being done" more and more. Not "being done" as in giving up - "being done" as in finishing with the cancer itself. I am relieved to report that nearly everyone that I know has promised to sending healing energy my way (in some form or another), and I believe that this is immeasurably helpful to me, to our community, and to the world. Perhaps the power of the mind really is our greatest untapped human resource - but that is hardly a remarkable or previously unstated sentiment.
The other night, impromptu, we had a small party at the house to "take Ed's mind off the surgery." At least 50 people showed up, dear friends from all walks of my life in Salem (and beyond). We laughed and mingled, and ate and drank. It became a kind of elaborate dance for me - greeting folks as they arrived with food and drink, trying to have a conversation with as many as possible, looking out for kid-level activities so that they too would have fun, and finally getting hug after hug from everyone as they were leaving. Real hugs - the kind where neither wants to let go too soon. It brings tears to my eyes just writing that down. Thank you, everyone.
Mary Poppins is one of my favorite fantastic musicals. Endearing story, catchy songs, brilliant imaginings. Thank you P. L. Travers and Walt Disney, for inventing a magical world where everything works out in the end.
"Ain't it a glorious day, right as a morning in May, I feel like I could fly. Have you every seen the grass so green, or a bluer sky?"
-from the lyrics for "Jolly Holiday" (Richard & Robert Sherman, 1964)