Got up this morning at six-o-eight. Had to be ready to go to the hospital with Kathleen and another friend whom I will call Sweetie because Kathleen's last CT scan showed no improvement and they needed to do some, oh, you know, biopsies and shit.
I haven't been talking about this because I just couldn't. And it's not my story, is it?
But I want to tell you something- that Kathleen. She is something. She's a Druid or a Pagan (I get confused) AND a scientist and when I first met her and heard her stories I was like, "Really? Right."
And then I slowly realized no, the woman had led a life like no one I'd ever met and honeys, I have met some people who have led some lives.
And when I went crazy and lost my mind and was so anxious I wanted to die because I couldn't live like that anymore, she'd come over and sit on my porch and just talk and talk and all I had to do was listen and and I was soothed.
She didn't hover or say, "Oh, how are you FEELING?" or anything like that. She'd just talk and cuddle the dogs and bring over chicken salad or perfect apples or blue cheese olives for martinis or whatever and then after awhile, she'd say, "Oh, I better go," and then she'd leave and she always left me better.
So you know, I fell in love with her the way you fall in love with people you can trust your heart and soul to and she went through some major shit with a husband and now he's an ex-husband and she never stopped living her incredibly busy, busy life in her garden and yard and with her dogs and chickens and the Opera House where she started directing plays and everything else in this world you can think of.
And then last spring she started feeling like shit and she thought it was all in her mind and she finally went to the doctor and he sent her for a CT scan and she had fluid in her lungs and some "nodules" in them too and also her thyroid.
Okay. This is a long story but what happened is that she'd get better but then feel like crap again and she was either feeling like crap or living her ninety-miles-an-hour life and finally last week, they did another scan and the pulmonary doctor she'd been going to said, "I don't like this," and he sat really close to her and patted her on the knee and told her she needed to go get some biopsies which brings us to this morning when Kathleen and Sweetie and I drove to Tallahassee and got entered into the hospital system and I can't tell you how many scans and ultra sounds and pokes and sticks the poor girl got.
And although no one said anything for a long time, we could tell. We're not stupid. And everyone got even nicer and then we talked to the pathologist, an Italian dude who is what Mr. Moon would refer to as a "sports model" and he said, yes, malignant cells had been found in the pleural fluid and that they are the sort which originate in ovaries and the pancreas or the thyroid. The pancreas scan showed nothing, Kathleen has no ovaries and so they did a biopsy of the thyroid and we don't know anything about that yet but well, we know what we know and that's enough.
Sweetie is a survivor of cancer herself and it was beyond reassuring to have her there today. She adores Kathleen as so many do and her strong presence kept me from going crazy and the three of us were so funny and so confusing to the nurses (who is with WHO? and why do they keep laughing so much?) that they kept checking in on us, supposedly to see how we were doing but I think they just wanted to hear our jokes. And joke we did.
When we heard "malignant" we freaked, of course, but then the scientist in Kathleen took over and the survivor in Sweetie took over and me? I was just along for the ride. Besides, I know that Kathleen's been told she had a year to live before and that was about a million years ago and here she is.
Here she is.
Finally, the endless day was over and we were allowed to go home. By that point, cancer was nothing compared to having to be in that hospital, those beige walls, that weird air. I mean not really. But sort of.
And we're sure that a treatment plan will be formed and Sweetie has all sorts of plans for bulking Kathleen up before she starts treatment and well, we'll deal. We will deal.
And Kathleen is going to be fine. I know that.
But when we got home, I found that Mr. Moon, whose infected toe has been getting worse despite antibiotics, had been given a new antibiotic and told that if there is no improvement by tomorrow HE has to go to the hospital.
So okay. There you go. Life punches at you like that little cartoon guy punching the turkey leg in Man Against Food or whatever that weirdo show is where a man goes around defeating massive amounts of food by eating it and what can you do?
He's sitting with his feet up, his toe is as red and swollen as anything you ever want to see and I am hoping so hard that the new antibiotic kicks the infection like nobody's business and that all of this, too, shall pass.
But. Whatever. We'll do what we have to do. Kathleen with her family of birth and family of choice and Mr. Moon with all of us. Life will go on. I am certain of that.
And I got about four hours sleep last night so if there are many, many typos and grammatical errors here, just forgive me, please. I know you will.
And as I write this, I am wondering what compels me to do so. I don't know. But I know that I am and perhaps this is part of MY sanity. I asked Kathleen if I could write about her (it is HER story, after all) and she just said, "Whatever you want to write. You know it'll be okay with me."
She's like that. By the time she was calling her family (some of whom are coming in tonight for the 4th of July weekend) she was surprised at how hard they were taking the news. "What?" she kept asking. "I'm fine."
And she is. I think she's going to sleep here tonight because her family is going to fill up her little house and she will be able to rest. I hope she does. I washed the sheets in the Panther Room for her last night, just in case.
And now I'm going to go heat up last night's supper for me and my love. Field peas and rice, okra, tomatoes, corn. Blueberry muffins. Squash croquettes. You gotta eat. Might as well eat well.
And that's me, tonight, in Lloyd, Florida where the sun is settling low in the sky, resting its belly on the trees and it's been a really long day and we're all moving forward, moving forward, because that's what you do.