I might instead take satisfaction in taking the dog for a walk around the block this morning in 87° at 8:30, dodging the noisy trash pick up truck by sitting on my walker in the shade along the street and enjoying the cooling breeze. At such a moment, I can wonder if never seeing my keys again will ever need to be be more than a minor inconvenience.
It was also my first walk with the dog in many days and reassurance that I can still muster the energy and strength to do that on my own. For the last week, I have been weary with fatigue, sleeping half the day and then through the night again. One evening I could not make it through more than a half hour of a movie, my eyes simply falling shut as I stared at the screen, trying to follow the plot and keep the characters straight.
|Memorial Day morning|
I slept this morning past my usual wakeup at daybreak. Most mornings, I have been outside on the patio as light from sunrise brightens San Jacinto across the valley. In the shade, with the fountain running, it has been an easeful start to the days, the air calm and slowly warming before we retreat inside to close up the house, thankful for the AC as the outside thermometer pushes 100° again.
All has contributed to the stress reduction I have tried to be mindful of. I have also discovered a vast variety of relaxation videos on YouTube and have even used them during sleep through the night, tropical rainfall being a favorite. I pop in ear buds and drift off, maybe waking now and then hours later to drift off again. Tibetan bells are even beginning to lose their strangeness.
|Rocky cliffs and trees, Whitewater Preserve|
While I await the next visit with the oncologist, coming on Wednesday, my mood swings have been generally mild ones, the loss of keys notwithstanding. One moment I may feel something like a calm normality; another may be troubled by dread of an unwanted surprise, some forgotten business returning to haunt me. Meanwhile, whatever physical exercise I can motivate myself to do gives some feeling of accomplishment, though the weakness and numbness in my left arm and hand continue without improvement.
For Memorial Day weekend, we hung our flag on the front of the house, where a light breeze all weekend lifted it gently on currents of desert air. Monday, we drove out to Whitewater Preserve, where we hoped for a few degrees of cooler temperature, but we stayed for only a while and returned, glad not to be joining the heavy traffic on I-10, headed back to LA. We stopped at Starbucks in town for iced coffees, hoping to find misters outdoors, where we could sit with the dog, and discovering that our Starbucks does not have them.
Otherwise, the days blend into each other, and I’m surprised to discover that four months have passed since my diagnosis and surgery. Finishing volume 2 of my book on frontier fiction is the current unfinished business, which is coming to a close as I get to the last chapter. And after that there looms a sense of vacancy I am not used to, an emptiness that wants to be filled with more than simply waiting for the Unknown.
I finish Reynolds Price’s cancer memoir, A Whole New Life, and he advises to keep asking (and looking forward to) “What’s next?” and not let a void open that fills with grief over losses. What’s gone is gone. So today I’m thankful for what seems like a loss, besides my keys. Though it may seem like resignation, the slowing down by small degrees, less stressed by urgency and busy-ness, is a gift that makes for room to breathe—and to keep on breathing.
Previously: Stress, de-stress