rebecca uses a lot of abusive language. not language that's abusive to humans, you understand. but language that's abusive to language.
some people search for words; she just grabs whatever's handy. like a chef who purees everything, casts it into a jello mold, sets it in front of you and misses your look of surprise. enjoy your lasagna, sir!
we were making a snack together, a couple years after we'd started dating (so about 10 years ago). in front of me were tea bags, mugs, strainers, the hot water, toasted seaweed and a couple bags of almonds and walnuts. rebecca, to my left, called out, "can you pass the bourgeosie?"
i said, "rebecca, if you're going to date me, you're going to have to stop pretending that every word means the same as every other word."
and she responded, "meddle, if you're going to date me, you're going to have to start being more creative."
fair enough, i supposed. so, as the years have gone by, i've gotten used to her saying, "can you pass the bigs?" and just guessing at whether she wanted salt, pepper, a napkin or a beach towel.
and often enough, it leads to unexpected profundity. we had tickets to a gilian welch show last spring. the show's an hour away without traffic, and we start getting ready an hour and one minute before the show and we're running about the house stumbling over each other's procrastinations and trying to do so in a way that presents our friendly neighborhood babysitter heroes jim and jacin evidence that our lives Made Sense in some hidden-by-clutter way, and i look like grizzly adams going to a gay wedding and how does she look you look fine but what about- you look fine! no one cares and i love you you're beautiful we scramble to the car, and i fumble for the keys, and we swing onto our road, and we rev it up the entrace ramp to a highway buried in friday night traffic. and i sit there with my useless sweat rolling down my face and rebecca turns to me and says, "well, that was anti-cathartic."
then there was the time last week that i was inside sitting on the couch, and she was on our back porch, and she called in, "i can't find the way"....which could have meant a lot of things, we have a lot of things on our back porch drying and growing and storing...but beyond all that, you know she was kinda cutting to the quick of the human experience. no, honey, you haven't found the Way. and neither have i. it's good to be with that knowingness with you.
...or maybe she just needed a beach towel.
anyway all that's to say this: at the beginning of this may, when we'd started chemo and hadn't had any symptoms and just were back into this unknowingness of cancerlife, a friend asked her how she was holding up. and she said all of the things that are true about the living and the gift and the fear and the faith and the sacred cycle of surrender & frustration. and she spoke of the importance of presence. and she said, "i'm just trying to take it every day at a time."
she said that and we laughed and there's something in that which feels like it's lower-cased true. a true description of our lives right now. maybe everyone's lives. every day at a time, people!
we got the results back from her chemo scan, and they're somewhere south of neutral. kinda bad, i guess. there's "numerous new growths" in her lungs, and some of the guys in her liver have grown, but the rest of her chest cavity looks stable.
but there's not much evidence of things shrinking, so it's time to move on from chemo.
...which means that now we're trying this new drug, this immunotherapy called Opdivo. it's the one that teaches your immune system to recognize the cancer so it can do its immune system thing. the nervous-making thing about it is that it works in about 20% of the population. the exciting-making thing about it is that if it works, it doesn't stop working. it's not like tarceva or tagrisso where the effectiveness is expected to fall off after 10-12 months or so.
and The Important Thing about that is that the western folks who make opdivo don't actually know why certain people respond to it and others don't. so. remember when we made tarceva work miraculously soon? and so so well? and remember when the tagrisso cleared her up so quickly? and remember how she had the best possible response to the whole head radiation? let's do that again. let's pray that this drug work for her. let's clear her body of these tumors...and it's a new moon saturday, which is when she started her tarceva meds. the planets are aligning! may our prayers do so as well!
they had us scheduled for an infusion for her next tuesday. but next tuesday she'll be at la casa de dom ignacio in brazil with seneca, getting worked on there for two weeks of spiritual healing. and we worked with the fine folks at ucsf to move the infusion to tomorrow (friday) morning at 830am. they say it'll take about 3 hours.
and then the next infusion will be in three weeks, and it cycles on from there, and then all the cancer goes away and we all burst into tears at solas' high school graduation because oh what a journey.
thank you for the gifts of life
thank you for the love we share
the love that is a memory of You in us
thank you for calling us all home
we give thanks for the restoration of rebecca's sight
we give thanks for the continued health of little buckethead
we give thanks for all of the healing rebecca has already experienced
we give thanks for all of the healing rebecca in rebecca right now
we give thanks for rebecca's body being clear of all tumors
we pray for rebecca's body to be clear of all tumors
we pray for the best possible outcome from her treatments
we pray this in the name of jesus
present when two or three gather
who raised people from the dead
who reminds us that what we see is not all we get
we pray this in the name of mary the mother
patron of the healing waters of lourdes
who graces us with her presence and her intercession
blue lady of the lakes, of the oceans of the heart
we pray this in the name of mary magdala
who took her all too human hands and heart
supplicated them to the One
and unlocked a mystery and a ministry of loving service that cascades down through centuries
we pray this in the name of brigid
mother of the gaels
carrier and courter of fire and water
hold your children to your chest!
to the One