On the second day of Christmas, the Good Lord gave to me...
...Two chemo drugs
...and an MRI with good news we could see!
Yes, today was the long toxic drip of Avastin and Carboplatin. I should clarify that "toxic drip" is meant as a reference to the devastating effect it has had (and hopefully will continue to have) on the tumor cells...and just the tumor cells. It's not exactly a picnic for the rest of my body, but it's been more tolerable than I expected. And based on yesterday's results, it's doing a great job so far!!!
I brought my laptop and did some work while the IV pump churned, and I was able to drive myself home after several hours of infusion (and an eternal wait for the mandatory valet parking to deliver my car). I met some more wonderful people who came to the chemo clubhouse. As always, the oncology staff was great, and there were so many nice patients and family members passing through, and it was such a lousy reason to be meeting each other. But there are always blessings in every circumstance, and these people are part of the blessing.
And likewise, sometimes the good comes with some opposition to help us appreciate the contrasting goodness of our blessings. I remember a quote from the hilarious movie, A Christmas Story, where Ralphie (grown up) recollects: "Sometimes at the height of our reveries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us." (This is right before the neighbor's dogs invade their house on Christmas day and eat the turkey that just came out of the oven.)
I'm still on my high from yesterday's MRI results, but upon arriving home this afternoon I discovered that there is a yin to the yang in this news. I got some disappointing news today, but thankfully it isn't anything about my health or my family or anything like that. It's about Sunday's Messiah performance.
It has been canceled by the owner of the Artisan Center Theater, for reasons unexplained. It is a huge disappointment, as many have worked hard on this. Our director even went to great lengths to arrange for a substitute director, because her husband just passed away. She worked hard through her grief to make sure that "the show must go on" in her absence, and so to have it canceled anyway (with no explanation) is just a nasty blow to her while she's already injured. For me, this was an opportunity to celebrate the blessings of my life and my talents being preserved, and I could think of no better way to do it than by singing these beautiful praises to the Messiah Himself. It was such a joy to sing last Easter, and I was thrilled by the invitation for another chance to sing this great stuff again (without having to wear angel wings and stand on a cloud). It is a miracle to be alive and singing (my cold is even starting to shake loose), and it's a shame to lose the chance to share this miracle with the many family and friends who have cheered me on throughout this battle.
I have half a mind (literally) to stomp around and scream about it and call the theater owner and rant and rave about this terrible shame. But I won't, of course. (Not very Messiah-like, and we should at least try to follow His example.) I've decided that it will just be another good reason to live long enough to see another Messiah opportunity come around. Maybe this Easter again. Maybe next Christmas. It'll be all the more miraculous if and when I do have a chance to sing again. Meanwhile, at least I still have half a mind, and that half can sing. (Just not at the Artisan Theater this Sunday - boo!)
And really - if there had to be both good news and bad news happening this week, I'm glad it turned out this way instead of the opposite (like a great Messiah performance ending up being my swan song because of devastating tumor spread). So I'm having my "aw, Shucks" moment but I'm realizing that this disappointment doesn't come close to a "yin-yang" balance of equal weight, and it's hardly "the most unthinkable disaster." It's just a bummer, and one that I'll gladly take, considering the selection of "bummers" that could be out there for me.
I know that there were family and friends planning to come and hear me sing, and I appreciate that desire to support me. Since that opportunity is gone for now, I have an invitation open to people in the North Texas area who wish to join us for a singing service activity on Christmas afternoon. For those who read my little blurb in the Ensign magazine, you'll know a little bit about this family tradition of caroling and visiting with people who are lonely at Christmas. And we'll probably end up at my house afterward for wassail (full of anti-oxidants) and nibbles. Anyone who wishes to participate may contact me by leaving a comment with your email address, or by emailing me directly if you know how to do that**.
**(k r i s t a o a k e s a t g m a i l p e r i o d c o m o r k o a k e s a t a m i c a s o l u t i o n s p e r i o d c o m i a m d o i n g t h i s t o h e l p k e e p s p a m m e r s a w a y : ) )