Healing Water

I hobble onto the balcony and the 84 degree warmth caresses my skin. I inhal deeply and open my eyes to a sea of pale yellow butterflies in a beautiful dance on the breeze. The waves lap the shore a mere 30 ft away. Creighton is happily immersed in his morning paper. For 3 days this is how we start our morning in my happy place, Little Dix Bay, a lovely resort which we’ve been spoiled to visit on and off since the 80s. I swallow my ego and use a cane to stabilize my walking so I don’t stress my hips which are still riddled wi cancer. The radiation has fixed the immediate pain of the right hip and lower spine, but the left illiac crest (back of your hip) is excruciating and forces me into a short, jagged stride. It feels like a band that has been pulled taut and keeps catching. Nevertheless, I forge a path from the room to the open dining pavilion where we luxuriate over a long breakfast and nerd out with the Times digest and the crossword puzzle. Back down the beach, and then life is a lovely little realm of lounge chair, floatie, water, and our deck. This is not rough duty. Floating weightless liberates my muscles. Turquoise water and a reef that keeps big fish out (good for my irrational fear of sharks) and turtles, sting rays, and luminescent angel fish in. These are healing waters. I know Virgin Gorda seems a long way to go, but as you may recall I announced when I came out of the May surgery that I wanted to go, and it just seemed like it was time.
This flare up just happened so very quickly. As of Nov 17th I took my last proper hike (thank you Leslie Hume and Lands End) and then the cancer just went wild in my bones nibbling new lesions on my hips, sacrum, c curve in the neck, my rib, and even my skull. The screen just lit up. All bone. Thank goodness. I think the radiation did wonders on the rib and right hip. The bruising on my skull has vanished. But the left hip is still angry. The radiation will continue to do its work over several months as only good cells regrow. With that pain could continue to calm, I will continue to heal from the original surgery, and let us now hope hat the new drug works starting dec 23. I will find out dec 22nd whether I get randomized. But either way will get a drug. I miss my daily hour hikes and feeling strong. I still have a great appetite. I guess this is hungry cancer. I miss my margaritas. I will return to those and wine in moderation when we see how the trial is going.
On the beach I read The Orphan Master’s Son (excellent, quirky novel set in North Korea), Cloud Atlas (even quirkier set of interconnecting stories some of which I loved and some of which were just too out there. Both great writers) and the glorious Invention of Wings. A novel heavily based on the true story of 2 abolitionist sisters from a prominent family in Charleston. Fascinating. Beautiful writing. And an interesting looks at both racial and gender equality. Now the dessert is ANthony Doerr’s Four Seasons in Rome. Yum. His is the author of All the Light we Cannot See, and in fact he wrote that during this time in Rome. He is given a grant and an apartment in Rome in 2004 and moves his wife and 6mth old twins from Boise, ID to Rome for 1 yr sponsored by the Academy of Arts. I find his writing delicious. Despite my usual speed reading I find I stop myself and linger on words. Re-read his crisp, vibrant sentences. He is sparing with his words, but rich in his content. Remarkable. And in his short stories about real life we see his wonderful sense of humor and wonder. He too shares an awe of nature so I enjoy that aspect of his writing. I have 2 more of these at home (she’ll collector and memory) Redding about Rome only reinfocrces that Italy will feature heavily on my bucket list jaunts in 16/17.

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