Living with Cancer: I remember how it used to be

Living with Cancer: I remember how it used to be

I remember how it used to be
When memories were alive
like a flower
in Spring.

I remember how it used to be
When words would flow
like a stream
to the sea.

I remember how it used to be
When thinking was easy
as making tea
lady grey.

I remember how it used to be
When I would chill
with friends

I remember how it used to be
When Cancer was a sign
after Gemini
before Leo.

I remember how it used to be
Before my blood cells
became corrupt
broke bad.

I remember how
it used to

I’m living with a rare blood cancer called Multiple Myeloma. From February to November 2013, I was on my 4th chemo treatment called Velcade, where I had weekly in-hospital injections, in addition to a variety of other pills taken to supplement my intense chemo treatment. I’m using digital media to educate others about cancer.You can read the background on my diagnosis and previous treatments on an earlier blogpost.

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by Thomas R. Smith 

It’s like so many other things in life
to which you must say no or yes.
So you take your car to the new mechanic.
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.

The package left with the disreputable-looking
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—
all show up at their intended destinations.

The theft that could have happened doesn’t.
Wind finally gets where it was going
through the snowy trees, and the river, even
when frozen, arrives at the right place.

And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life
is delivered, even though you can’t read the address.

“Trust” by Thomas R. Smith, from Waking Before Dawn. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2007. 

More about Thomas R. Smith. What does health care reform have to do with poetry? A timely essay by Mr. Smith: A Guide to the Health Care Labrynth.

Happiness (Reconsidered)

by Judith Viorst

Is a clean bill of health from the doctor,
And the kids shouldn’t move back home for
more than a year,
And not being audited, overdrawn, in Wilkes-Barre,
in a lawsuit or in traction.

Is falling asleep without Valium,
And having two breasts to put in my brassiere,
And not (yet) needing to get my blood pressure lowered,
my eyelids raised or a second opinion.

And on Saturday nights
When my husband and I have rented
Something with Fred Astaire for the VCR,
And we’re sitting around in our robes discussing,
The state of the world, back exercises, our Keoghs,
And whether to fix the transmission or buy a new car,
And we’re eating a pint of rum-raisin ice cream
on the grounds that
Tomorrow we’re starting a diet of fish, fruit and grain,
And my dad’s in Miami dating a very nice widow,
And no one we love is in serious trouble or pain,
And our bringing-up-baby days are far behind us,
But our senior-citizen days have not begun,
It’s not what I called happiness
When I was twenty-one,
But it’s turning out to be
What happiness is.
We didn’t need another reason to love Judith Viorst, but here’s one anyways. Priorities, perspectives and definitions shift and change as we age and, hopefully, mature. The first sentence resonates like a giant brass gong. Would anyone in their 20s, or even 30s have put a clean bill of health first on the list? Now I can’t imagine anything else. I think happiness may be the absence of strife, trauma, etc., and the ability to appreciate that absence. I know it’s a lot simpler that most folks realize. What do you think happiness is?

(Good insights at The Happiness Project; see cool sites at right.)

Oh, Canada!

I only watched a few minutes of the Olympics’ Opening Ceremonies. I don’t even think they should televise the “Parade of Nations.” Come on, other than the athletes’ parents… who wants to watch that?? BUT… I happened to catch what may have been the best moment (at least, one of the best moments) of the entire Canadian- style extravaganza: Shane Koyczan reciting his poem about Canada, “We Are More.”

If you missed it, here you go.
We Are More – video
We Are More – transcript

More, indeed. Somehow Canadians managed to become more genteel, more sophisticated, and more polite than their neighbors to the south. Their cities, at least the ones I’ve visited, have that European aura of cooperation and respect. And, of course, their government actually seems to work for its citizens, rather than its lobbyists. I won’t be watching much of the Olympics, but there is plenty to love about Canada. (Pretty much everything except the weather. You can’t have everything.)