Sunday, August 31, 2008

Returning to Normal


I suspect that many Cancer Banter readers may have rolled their eyes (I saw that) after my last post, The Healing Power of Pecan Sticky Buns. Yes, I admit that I was so encouraged by my sudden progress that I figured I'd be my old self before McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.

But reality set in over the weekend. After I wrote Paula that my recovery back to normal was going to be slow, she cautioned: "Please print this [my declaration of slow recovery] out and tape it to your bathroom mirror! I KNOW you--you'll start feeling peppy and decide you want a pool in the back yard and you'll just start DIGGING." She knows me too well.

Even though I continue to do just a bit more each day, I'm discovering that I still have serious limitations. I puttered in the kitchen for 30 minutes this morning - nothing more exerting than cubing a watermelon and loading the dish washer - but I was left breathless and tired.

Four friends came by with a beautiful brunch feast at 10 am. We had homemade lemon pound cake, chocolate brownies and fresh fruit galore (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, bananas, watermelon, grapes), all washed down with freshly brewed strawberry-kiwi black tea. Most of the guests ate their fruit with yogurt, but I squirted loads of high-fat whipped cream on mine. I'm counting calories, ya' know.

I was having a delightful time, but after one hour, I was worn out. I had to excuse myself so that I could rest, but I encouraged the party to continue. I came down a little later to say goodbye to my friends and to show off the latest upgrades to the shade garden.


Our shade garden, beneath the redwood trees in the side yard, is a
refreshing retreat during the Dog Days of August. (Click to enarge.)

I was hoping that I would feel good enough today to make a brief appearance at a friend's house warming party. Scratch. I was thinking I might feel good enough to show up at a friend's Labor Day barbecue. Scratch.

The puttering and the small gathering were enough for me. I was content to spend the rest of the day with my LA Times (although the Sunday edition has become dismal), NY Times and take-out fried chicken, greens, mac and cheese and corn bread from Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. The day was far from "normal," but it was good.

16 comments:

Nancy said...

Susan, you have a beautiful shade garden. It looks absolutely lovely. I'm glad you are feeling better and excusing yourself when you are tired. It seems you are making progress. It may be slow, but it's still progress. Give you body time to heal... Love you lots... n

Miss Havisham said...

You are making me hungry for Roscoe's now. It's the middle of the night! And, I should be sleeping but I crept into this wonderland of yours. I don't want to leave...
I don't think I can. I'm lost in the redwoods with stolen watermelon.

altadenahiker said...

I can't get past the tea table. The flowers alone beats our spread by ten-fold. Just lovely. I'm guessing you live down a private road in one of the Altadena secret gardens

altadenahiker said...

As an aside, I can see you have many caring friends. I too live in the Altadena area. Should something arise where you need an extra pair of hands (I don't know, to finish digging the pool or something), please let me know.

Petrea said...

"Cancer Banter" doesn't sound beautiful and tasty, but you make it so. Now I know where you've been. I was clicking on "Open Mouth Insert Fork" for a while and you weren't there.

That's the thing about recovery, isn't it? You feel so good you think you can do stuff, and doing stuff wears you out. You said on Miss H. that you'd host a tea party. Ha! Perhaps not this week, but I'm glad you're beginning to feel up to it.

I'd like to have a tea party, too. (There's time for a series!) It would be nice if I had a back yard as pretty as yours. I'll get to work on that.

altadenahiker said...

I know Petrea. I just discovered both her blogs and am quite taken, can't stop reading. I'm missing the US Open, but did find out (finally) what Homeboy Industries is. And pond scum yum yum.

Piper Robert said...

Your shade garden looks great! Looking forward to seeing everything in person.

Remember, do not go after things like you're fighting snakes.

Susan C said...

Nancy, Miss H, Petrea, AH and Robert,
So glad you enjoyed the shade garden. You must come and visit in person.

AH, you're a sweetie to offer assistance. How are you at laying sod?

Ronni Gordon said...

Beautiful photos! I meant to ask you on the Sticky Bun post if you ever read "The Hours," Michael Cunningham's moving novel based on Mrs. Dalloway. I really loved it. Hey I want to eat some of the fruit you're having but I'm still not allowed.
P.S. I like your writing too.

Susan C said...

Ronni, I am obsessed with The Hours, both the book and the movie. And I must purchase the sound track.

Tracee said...

I am currently hosting a virtual book tour for an author who is a breast cancer survivor. I am looking for people to review the book, or conduct an author interview, or even a guest post. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, please email me at amateurdelivre at gmail dot com

altadenahiker said...

And at the lower end of the spectrum -- sod, oh yes, in certain quarters I am famous for my sod.

Petrea said...

I preferred the book to the movie. Cunningham's amazingly deft.

Speaking of which, if you're all going to have a sodding party, I need practice.

jnrollins said...

Susan, your garden looks even more of haven this year than it did last time I saw it. What a wonderful place to just be. For all of us who are dedicated to "doing" all of the time, "being" is perhaps the hardest, and thus, most necessary task. I picture you draped in shade, just being...Jane

Everything Changes said...

Thank god for friends with great social skills who know how to make a party last when we need to abandon them! Last week and in the midst of rolling hand cut, homemade fettucini with my friends, I had to retreat to my bedroom and take a xanax. I wasn't physically exhausted but emotionally spent from two months of freaking out about my check up at Sloan Kettering. Tumors are still there but haven't grown. While that is good news, the emotional grind of cancer takes a toll.

P.S. Great blog. I just started a blog for my new book Everything Changes: Living With Cancer In Your 20s and 30s. I'll be sure to add your blog to my blog roll.

Susan C said...

EC: I'm so excited about your book. It's sure to fill a big need out there. What a wonderful and exhausting journey that must have been to research and write it.