Monday, May 20, 2013

Disk check to lilacs

A brief electrical outage knocked my PC off Monday morning and as I watched the machine restart and begin to disk check itself it occurred to me that I was overdue for doing the same for myself.

Since hospitalization on May 8th I’ve been too focused on adapting, recovering, whatever. In a sense running scared.

Yeah I’ve read about the side effects of brain radiation therapy but 40% through it was time to press myself. My brain is more than precious to me and with the metastasis hopefully in retreat I needed to get it busy being my brain.

My loving ‘care nazi’ still will not let me drive.  So I mowed the lawn 5500 sq ft (510.97m²). A week ago my daughter’s assistance was needed to cut half. Today I cut it myself motivated by my daughter’s quip, ‘hey after all the lawn mower is kind of like a walker’. J Plus if you let go of the bar, I can hear if you fall.

Stubbornly I waited until the hottest most humid part of the day to wrestle with the lawn. No problemo, stamina was good, breathing good, I could follow lines and complete the task - physical check OK

I checked fatigue and confusion by working on line and/or phone entire day and early evening keeping up and getting ahead of my cancer book (actually a 2” binder and growing of copies of every test, result, procedure and more). My voice is getting raspy.

Inspiration can too soon become platitudes. Bottom line health care whether mine or anyone else is about information and what you control.

Yes I could multi-task attentions and do it well when abruptly my self-check was dwarfed by the horrific news out of Oklahoma. Too many times over the years I find myself watching TV in disbelief at news.

My brain’s memory was right in sink as I found myself pausing to remember and give thanks for the three of us the day a F3 tornado with winds of 200 mph suddenly dropped from the heavens into College Park, MD late one afternoon in September 2001 (yes,that same September 2001 only two weeks after terrorist attacks) killing two, injuring 50, and throwing vehicles and house parts helter-skelter for 10 miles.  Our neighbors told us they watched it skipped directly over our home sparing myself, Megan, and most of all Patti. Forces of nature are NEVER disability friendly.     

… and a vivid reminder that the next moment in time is never guaranteed. So hug or at least tell those you love every day that you love them.

When and if possible stop to smell the flowers. My lung cancer will be there in the morning. in the meantime, our yard features 4 lilac bushes and my radiated but successfully self-checked brain finished the day by harvesting a bowl of fragrance to perfume the home.

"Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break."
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d by Walt Whitman

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @

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  1. We have a lilac bush that peaked a few weeks ago - the scent in the house was heavenly!
    It was actually your Dad who advised me to "stop and smell the roses" - I haven't heard that reminder in a while.

  2. Dearest Patrick, I have been blessed reading your blog and they have really brought some peace and strenghth to me. I had written before anon. Yesterday I attempted another and got hung up on URL, etc. Not very computer knowlegeable. I have a 4 cm thing in the left lower lobe. The PET scan showed "some activity". Since I am leaving for Israel the 10th of June to see a new grandchild be born, I will be scheduled for a wedge resection shortly after I return on July 15. After looking at the wedge in the lab I hope they have enough info to do the lobectomy left lower node.Or, that the thing is not a cancer???I feel very frustrated with the thoracic surgeon-I like to visualize what will happen-he is not a candidate for best patient communicator but I guess I don't want to be his best friend. He just needs to do his part. First step after weeks of hiding this from my kids was telling them yesterday. I think they'll make it.Why did I ever try to hide this? I taught them to be strong independent people. Patrick my prayers are with you and your family, my church members have you on our prayer list and I am just so grateful for your writings-I thought for a while I was loosing my mind. Your words comforted and I know know what I will need to get through this. I.m off the pity pot and ready to roar. Gayle Pard Edmonton Alberta Canada