Friday, November 22, 2013

Richards Bend Cabin Slide Show - 2000 - 2005

2004 - Life at the Cabin November 20 I also have my discontent moments here at the place. Not as many as I used to have, elsewhere. But I still have them.. Take this morning for example. Mornings are a busy time. Just like most folks, here you have to hit the ground running. I leave one lamp burning all night, very low. Once I turn it up, and brighten the place bit, I go around and light the remaining five. This can take a minute or two. certainly not the flip of a switch we all know and love, if not outright take for granted. Then if it's cold, like it is this morning, with the fire having died down or gone completely out, it's hard to get out from under the covers and into the cold air filling the cabin. Having provided myself with enough light to avoid a serious accident, usually shivering, I fling the stove door open, and scrounge around in the ashes for what ever coals may still be hot. Once I find some, I toss in a randomly oriented wad of small cut wood to kindle a new fire. So I sit and blow and blow until flame bursts forth. Then, as that crackles and burns, I get larger pieces of pine, then oak and fill the stove full. Once I'm sure it will take off, I dive back under the covers, wondering how I could have ever gotten from underneath them - they are pure comfort! The shutout of the cold air is bliss. It usually takes about ten minutes for the stove fire to warm the place, so sometimes I fall back to sleep, it having only been four or five in the morning anyway. Other days, like today, I go ahead and stay awake. Other days still, I stay up and wonder why the hell I don't go back to bed. I'm not sure what it is, but once I've been up for more than about ten minutes, I can't get back into bed. It feels funny to me. like I am lazy or something. I've been up an hour now, so there's no way I’d go back to bed, even though I feel like it. I feel tired and sleepy and I feel irritable. It wasn't enough I was feeling sleepy, but I knocked over and smashed a globe to one of my lamps; a $2 item, but when you don't have another one, and six lamps are exactly what it takes for it to be reasonably bright in here, a replacement globe is worth more than $2. Why on earth I don't keep extras is beyond me. Perhaps it has to do with the fact, there just isn't enough space here (16x16, the size of the medium sized bed room) to actually store anything. I can only keep what I will consume within the next few days, and that's about it. You'd think that lamp globes wouldn't take much space, but it's not only the space for the globe they need. They also need space around them to insure that nothing is placed on them or falls on them to smash them up, so I don't store any here. I just brave a dimmer cabin until I can get to town. And I usually don't mind the dirty floors, but sometimes it gets to me. I sweep my floors at least three times a day, and each time, it looks as if they haven't been swept in a year. Like I said, I usually don't mind, but I was thinking about it yesterday, as I was directing a plume of dust and debris out the door, this wouldn't work for most people. It only takes a moment to sweep the small space. But sometimes, I can't stand the feel of grit and sand under my shoes, and I have to sweep it again and again and again. No, I'm not the most content individual in the world this morning, but I am still glad to be here. The stars last night and this morning were and are something to be happy about. So many stars in fact, it's hard to make out the constellations you're so familiar with. There are so many more stars visible, the ones you know so well are hidden in the multitude. And the visitors. I like what visitors I have here. Yesterday, a man that I know of (I don't know him well, I just know who he is - he owns land on the other side of the mountain from me) came through here, asking if I had seen any of this hound dogs - beagle hounds. I hadn't seen them, nor had I heard them baying, but as I told him, it had been raining, and my tin roof makes it hard for me to hear anything during a rain storm. He said that he'd lost track of them down the river "a ways" from me, and they were last seen headed up this way. I told him that I’d keep and eye out and he was appreciative. Then talked about a great many things. the caves, the mountains, the old people and the old home places up in the high ways now victim to natures reclamation - and he knew so much. So even on my discontent days, I still have my great joys. I am working on an autobiographical history of Richards Bend. My autobiography from the period since I arrived here in 1998. all five years. I think you might find it interesting to know how I came to be here, so far away from my Son, where the idea hit me, and how and why I became so neurotic as to leave the comforts of a large city, and move not only to a small town, not only the back country of a small town, but to the woods. I am looking forward to writing it. I am looking forward to you reading it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This is me now, writing, talking. It’s not a journal from the past, or a quick feed update, but me. Now. I suppose I am not surprised by the results of the PET scan. It is just about what I expected it to be, although I could not rule literally anything else out, and that is the difficulty with medical test results… cancer test results. They can go anywhere. I mean, I could not rule out all of the pain in my stomach, chest, back, shoulder and head were not from runaway cancer cell growth. And that thought does run through your mind, I don’t care who you are. But at the same time, I could not rule out a “no evidence of disease” result either. (Some cancer patients call that NED). Surely that is the difficulty with cancer test results…. You pretty much know what they are going to say, but you just never know for sure. I was watching Book TV the other night as they were interviewing S. Lochlann Jain, the author of the new book “Malignant, How Cancer Becomes Us”. The book, a no crap summary of everything cancer in the U.S., comes off a little angry to me, but I’m still reading it. Even the title is befitting of me, or should I same, it becomes me. I’ve been a cancer patient 804 days. I’ve had five major surgeries, four going on five different chemotherapy cycles including twenty four devastating infusions each lasting three days, fourteen CAT Scans, eight PET scans and I don’t know how many x rays. I had a colostomy bad for six months, had a barium enema, eight bathroom related accidents, and I’ve already outlived one doctor’s prognosis and I am not expected to live past another three years in all of the other medical opinions. In two and a half short years I’ve gone from hearing “did you ride your bicycle a hundred miles this weekend?” to “it was so good seeing you out walking the other day”. I suppose I could ask how does cancer become me. Like it not, tucked away on that long list of a million things that cancer does to its prey is the fact that it eventually defines us. Everything, and I mean literally everything revolves around the cancer, from what to eat and how to eat it, to whether or not I’ll go the movies with a friend. I think, the hardest part of the process is letting go, and actually letting it define you – and as I read this book, I think this might even be the authors point for us as a country. I see so many people out running or biking or walking, being healthy and while that used to be me, I will want it to be me. I am sick and of course, I don’t want to be sick. And it’s not the obvious: I don’t want to FEEL sick, or fell pain, I mean, I don’t want to BE sick. I don’t want this definition. But as time goes on, you begin to accept so much that you never imagined that you could accept. And the amazing thing is, it’s not as bad as you thought it would be. Of course, there is every chance that I may be cured one day, no matter how small the chance. But even if the cancer were completely destroyed, never to return to my body, I will never be the same (I am not complaining, so hear me out). In fighting the cancer, the doctors have had to do things to my body that are irreversible and debilitating, and there are times this fact has been extremely sad for me. But as time passes, and I begin to accept it, I realize, these are just “new normals”. I can still do the best I can do, and that is all I ever did in the first place. It used to be, when I did the best that I could do, I won races, and championships, but that is just vanity. Was it the winning I enjoyed, or being the best in the crowed, or was it being the best that I could be for me and the simple joy of the activity in the first place? So much has happened. So may prayers answered. So many horrors overcome. The war is not over, but the battles have ceased for the moment. In my new states of existence, as I am defined by my circumstances, it is almost as if I have new legs. It is like I have new legs, and I have yet to test them out. I am in a state of happiness about it, and I am enthusiastic about seeing what they can do and I know I will be pleased. Friends, as I sit here, becomed of cancer, let me expresses how blessed I am! There is no way a person can go through this and not come out blessed beyond measure in that we know God has provided us with everything we’ve needed to succeed, even in the face of the harshest circumstances imaginable. I don’t think I will ever be totally afraid ever again. Not only have I always thought God would provide, I no longer have to wonder, or search for the faith. At least, on good days, I can go forth with the greatest confidence I’ve ever known, knowing that He is with me, and that there is nothing more I will ever need.