Saturday, January 25, 2014

Baring the gene

Another person to thank on my long list  -- someone I don't even know. I'm gonna get religious here, and say, “Thank you, Lorde, for all your music.” That sixteen year old girl has sung while I've cried for hours back and forth to Boston.
When I was still going for radiation every day, I met a woman about my age on the elevator. She asked me, with an emphatically happy face, exuberantly smiling, how long it had taken me to grow my hair the three millimeters that it'd grown. Mutually we calculated how long it'd been since we'd last had chemo: six weeks out from the hard stuff, in my case. 
I was still going through a low dose chemo, no longer the heavy and hard level that kept me from having hair grow, but I didn't tell her that. It didn't matter.
I asked her if she was going to have radiation, and she shook her head. I now saw an expression of grief that looked like it had visited her face often enough to get comfortable. “No. I have stage four ovarian cancer.”
I said, “I had my ovaries out. I have the gene.”
She said, “I have the gene, too.”
I said, “Wouldn't it have been nice to have known?”
Yes,” she said, “but I have young kids at home. At least I know for them.”
Me too, I have young kids at home.”
A seven year old daughter, and twins. Three year old twins.”
Boys?” I asked.
A boy and a girl.”
I have an eight year old daughter and a three year old son.”
We talked in the line, waiting to pay for our parking.
My daughter just realized, maybe two or three weeks ago, that this might end badly.”
Badly?” she asked.
Well, no, not badly... That I might die, you know.”
But you have...”
Oh, no, it was only stage two breast cancer. I was really lucky. My chances are very good.” I didn't mention the triple negative part.
My chances are not.”
I'm sorry,” I said.
I'm not dead yet,” she said, smiling, but tears in her eyes at the same time.
I hope you have a lot of good family around, for the kids.”
No, we just moved here.”
I'm sorry,” I said again. “It makes you cry a lot, doesn't it?”
She said, “It's not fun.”
I could say all kinds of uplifting things, now, on this blog. I could say something inspirational about heavy but valuable lessons learned along this journey.
But it wasn't fun, and it still isn't. She's right.

Ending on a completely other note: I think I just figured out why I often make a quacking noise on the fiddle's open A string. It has to do with the speed/force/bow length used. Too long and too fast without enough pressure → quack. This is solvable!

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