Monday, September 15, 2014

Today was much ado about nothing......

....and I wish I were saying that the first chemo treatment went flawlessly and I came home ready to fight a bear, but that is not how the day went. Saturday I had chest and back pain, even pain when I swallowed. After calling my own private nurse, Janet, a few times and she had me check things like my blood pressure, were my fingernails blue, no they were pink and when I pressed on them they quickly returned to pink, she finally asked if I was taking my pain pills regularly and I wasn't. I took them when it started to hurt so she told me to take them every four hours and see if that helped and it did. Sunday morning I called to tell her everything seemed good and we were both much relieved.

I still didn't know what to expect on Monday because our insurance company was being a butt about OK-ing the oncologist's drug of choice. I woke up this morning with worse pain in my chest and back, as I was trying to decide what to do, a nurse called from Storm Lake to tell me everything was still on hold. I explained about my pain and she said I should see Dr. Harrison and I was able to get in at 10. We all know how Dr appointments go, it took 4 1/2 hours to see her, go get a chest x-ray, back to Dr, go get a CT scan while Bruce and Janet get some dinner, then I got a bowl of soup while waiting for the scan results and back to the Dr office. In the meantime, Storm Lake called the Dr office and set up an appointment for me next Monday because the day was obviously not going that well.

In the end, after all the tests, all the time and all the expenses that will come rolling in, there was nothing that could be pinpointed and that is the best outcome. Dr. Harrison thinks it all stems from the port placement surgery, the tissues are swollen and sore, hence the chest pain. She recommended I start taking Aleve instead of my pain pills because they only mask the pain, the Aleve will shrink the inflammation. And if you have any questions about what a kind and caring doctor she is, Dr. Harrison gave me her cell phone number and told me not to be afraid to use it. I came home feeling a bit bummed and out of sorts, I wasn't really psyched up for the chemo but was ready to, as Jean says, "Follow the trail that Brooke has blazed!" I took the laptop to the gazebo to craft this blog and to keep an eye on Murphy, she is way too interested in the chickens to be trusted. The monarch butterflies are gathering, Saturday they were all over the backyard, clustering in the trees, soaring gracefully and sipping nectar from the sedum and goldenrod that is blooming, so I got my camera. After taking about a billion pictures, I was wishing I had one of those huge, expensive telephoto lens where you can see their eyeball. There is something very comforting about sitting in the sun and watching them.

I looked up the symbolism of butterflies and found this and how appropriate right now.

Overwhelmingly, cultural myth and lore honor the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive process of metamorphosis.

From egg, to larvae (caterpillar), to pupa (the chrysalis or cocoon) and from the cocoon the butterfly emerges in her unfurling glory.

What a massive amount of transition this tiny creature undergoes. Consider for a moment the kind of energy this expends. I daresay if a human were to go through this kind of change we'd freak out!
Imagine the whole of your life changing to such an extreme you are unrecognizable at the end of the transformation. Mind you, this change takes place in a short span of about a month too (that's how long the butterfly life cycle is).

Herein lies the deepest symbolic lesson of the butterfly. She asks us to accept the changes in our lives as casually as she does. The butterfly unquestioningly embraces the chances of her environment and her body.

This unwavering acceptance of her metamorphosis is also symbolic of faith. Here the butterfly beckons us to keep our faith as we undergo transitions in our lives. She understands that our toiling, fretting and anger are useless against the turning tides of nature - she asks us to recognize the same.

WHEW! I couldn't have said it any better myself! I have been given a gift, another week to heal, to cook dinner for Bruce and his friends, Grassey and Mike who want to help him chop silage. To write more thank you notes to people who have been so kind, dropping off food and staying to help us eat it. To maybe get my upstairs bathroom cleaned so if I don't feel like it later, I won't feel guilty blowing it off. 

Or could that be an answer to the question I get most often, "What can I do for you??"

Hmmmmm, maybe I can milk this thing......


  1. Julie, what a beautiful blog - ends with hope and the need for faith! Keep those milkweeds growing for our monarchs - RosannaVan

  2. what a lovely entry, Julie - hope and faith and acceptance!! Go ahead and make a list of things that people could do for you and Brucie, loved ones may surprise you with what they're willing to do!! If I was home I'd clean up your bathroom in a heartbeat!! Love ya hon, CG