Saturday, April 6, 2013

Marking time


Hi, friends.  Thought I would put in my two cent’s worth as it has been a while.  I have been so blessed by the depth and reflections of the other contributors to this page, that I have felt somewhat unnecessary in keeping the information stream flowing.  Today’s post is about marking time.  From very early on in this journey, I had to tell myself that at some point, this horrendous pattern of weekly chemotherapy sessions will indeed end.

 Sometimes it is nice to have something tangible to mark the passing of the sessions or the days.  I may have mentioned before about the paper chain the kids have made.  I am happy to report that it is getting markedly shorter.  Here is a picture of it, draped along the banister: 

When we started this whole process, it was not only draped around the bottom rail, but was dragging on the floor.  We are now more than half way to the top, which is very exciting.

Then there’s me with my little project:  macramé and beads.  Gabrielle mentioned my fondness for the bead shop.  She makes it sound as if I am such a regular customer there that, just as in the old T.V. show, Cheers, everyone knows my name.  Not quite…there still are a couple of clerks who don’t know me.  But, I will say that I do indeed know the drill when I go in and zero in on the beads that catch my fancy.  I decided to make some macramé ropes (though we and my people “in the know” refer to it as sennet…that’s the plaited product) with some beads interspersed along the way by which I can count down till the sessions are all done.  Here are three that I have done:

The one with the wood and black beads is my first attempt.  I attach it to my key ring.  My Catholic friends think it's a rosary.  Fine.  Whatever works.  It is made of some sort of tropical wooden bead to represent the dual chemo sessions and then black onyx beads to represent the single chemo sessions.  I really wanted yew wood for the wooden beads, but got stymied in my hunt for it.  In between each bead, there are seven knots…one for each day.  I quickly lost track of where we were, so added the little black piece at the top.  It is now next to the eleventh bead and is held on with a little gold heart-shaped clip (only $1.25 at my bead shop!).  Every Friday, I advance it one more bead.  Pretty cool, huh?

 Daniel’s necklace is the one with the pink and the black pieces in the middle.  These are made of red and black coral.  I know, there may be some dissenters out there who worry that I may be ruining the reef, what with diminishing coral supplies and all.  But, get this:  last time we were in Hawaii, I stumbled across a beach with this huge sign that said “KAPU” and waded in.  I was surrounded by these massive forests of lovely pink and black coral and started snapping them off right and left.  I figured “KAPU” meant “Keep Any Pieces U-pickup, Brudda!”, the “B” being broken off or scratched out by an annoying tourist who can’t respect the privacy and local customs of the Hawaiian people.  There was a rather irate park ranger standing on the beach when I got out, about as big as the famed Hawaiian singer, Iz.  He explained that Kapu meant “Stay out!”.  Sheesh!  Now he tells me!  I am scheduled to be arraigned soon, so I guess I will be “marking time” of my own from my very own jail cell in Lahaina in the not too distant future.  Hope they let me take my bead necklace along to mark the passing of the years… 

Gabrielle’s bracelet is more benign:  beach glass.  She said it reminds her of walks on the beach and the peace and tranquility of the sea.  I like that.

Now, these fine pieces of craftsmanship may beg the question: how did I ever learn such intricate artistry?  Well, as long as you asked, I’ll tell you:  I learned it on the Internet!  Heck, that’s what half my patients do when they want to learn about complex medical issues.  They show up with reams of printouts from “” or “mydocknowsnuthin’.com” and show me the tests I need to order.  If it works for them, it can work for me.  So, I came across step by step instructions on how to “knit one, pearl two” or something of the sort.  Found them on a website devoted to crafts.  It was titled “Easy projects for Brownie troops” and was listed right alongside making a dandelion chain and emptying the cat’s litter box.  Still haven’t mastered either of those two yet.  But I’m getting pretty good at the ol’ macramé.  Here’s my little kit of supplies, which I keep in my very own “Operation” lunch box.  You can't quite read the fine print under the big "Operation" title, but it says "Where you're the doctor".  I like that part the best.  Oh, and the very happy patient...

You will notice that I use bona fide hemp cord.  It is strong, durable, and if Gabrielle continues to get nauseous, she can roll it up and smoke it.  The black thread serves a dual purpose.  It is used in some of my projects, but is also impressed into service to patch up my wetsuit.  It seems to be getting a little more wear and tear lately and has had a couple of new rips.  I suspect that’s due to the fact that I am still doing my part to help Gabrielle gain weight by leading by example.  Apparently, my wetsuit isn’t quite as accommodating of my newer shape as my “generous cut, relaxed fit spandex pants”.

So here’s to “marking time”.  The light is starting to appear at the end of the tunnel and we’re more than halfway through with the chemo.  For that we are all very thankful.  Oh, and just in case you want to call the Hawaiian Department of Natural Resources or Greenpeace or Save Our Coral Association and snitch on me, I didn’t really go around harvesting the stuff over there.  Bought it from a store on Aurora from a guy in a trenchcoat who also wanted to sell me some Maui Wowie.  Now, how more legit can you get than that?

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