It is Saturday, June 7th, 2014.
I get up hungry and make myself the rest of the left over Tom Yum from last night.
This day feels normal, and not normal at the same time. I am going to go through my usual Saturday routine, which I must admit is pretty exhausting, but I am going through it with a diagnosis today. Although I am choosing to focus on what is right in front of me, the blockage in my colon, but there is also the “C” word. I am a person with cancer.
The usual start to my Saturday is 7am. Steve and I load all the laundry from the week into our Zipcar. I drop him at the laundomat, and then run to Stop and Shop, Whole Foods, and if it is a large laundry day, maybe even Target or Michael's. I need to gather all the food and supplies I will need for the week to feed and entertain my daycare and my family.
Today, we have the luxury of my daughter Kaileigh being here, and the use of her car, so we can take a slower start. Steve and I load up the laundry and I drop him off. I go back to the house and pick up Kaileigh and Ayla. Off we go to Whole Foods. Our goal is a tasty broth that I can eat that will be nutritious and delicious. We consider the vegetables, and get kale, carrots, leeks, potatoes, onions, garlic and mushrooms. We stroll through the rest of the store, picking up other things and enjoying that Whole Foods Market atmosphere.
Kaileigh and Ayla think I should try drinking some tea, so we look at all the varieties. I am not a tea drinker, and doubt that I will become one, but I pick out some flavors. I also get some nettles for strength and some echinacea to boost immunity.
I am so on top to things this morning that I remember to bring my reusable shopping bags, which is actually bad. I use the paper bags as compostable trash bags during the week, which leaves us scrounging for bags before the week end is over. We end up asking a neighbor for some.
We drop the groceries and put away the things that need to be refrigerated. I am hungry already, and wish that Del’s were open. Del’s is so good because it freezes your stomach so you don’t realize that you are still hungry. Maybe it will be open after we hit the next store.
Alex wants to come with us to Stop and Shop, so we are now a merry party of four. Alex is taking his driving test soon, and Kaileigh lets him drive her car to the store.
We check out the produce department, and each of my kids decides to find a ripe pineapple. I think this is so sweet, because this means that when they went shopping with me as children, they were paying attention. My mother taught me the way to find a pineapple that is ready to eat is to gently pull on one of the upper leaves. If it comes off easily, it is no longer green. All my kids are proud to have this knowledge, and show it off.
I have become increasingly suspicious of the regular grocery store food lately. It never seems to go bad. Shopping is at times difficult since I don’t trust a lot of the food there. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to buy all of my food at Whole Foods, I just do the best I can.
As we mosey down the aisles, my kids having discussions about different things as we go, I realize that we are taking way too long. Steve will be done soon, and we are barely halfway through the store. I text him and tell him I will be there late. Then I try to pick up the pace. Ayla and Alex unload and unpack the groceries. Kaileigh and I go to get Steve. He is ready and waiting, a sign that he has been waiting for some time. He never complains when I take too long to pick him up though.
Finally it is around 11:00am. Del’s must be open by now. I can fill up and freeze my rumbly tummy. We all pile in the car. Because I am “sick” I get to sit in the front. This is usually a major discussion, but no one even mentions it.
We arrive, and find the stand open for business. We get our lemonade, I get cherry again. We sit outside at the picnic table and enjoy the cool Del’s and the warm sun. After we finish, we go to Michael’s craft store. I need paint for a project I am supposed to help with at church in a week. I am doubtful that I am going to be able to be present for the project, so I want to get everything ready beforehand.
We all start into the store together, but quickly break up. I am looking for paint, my kids are looking for realism in the molded plastic toys. I swear, they can find fun wherever they go. I get my paint, along with some supplies for daycare. We pay, we go.
We head home, with Alex driving again. He is going to have all of his driving hours in no time.
Kaileigh and Ayla start in on the soup. Chopping, peeling, cooking. I decide to work on the front yard and gardens. It might be some time before I get to it again. I weed and mow and try to make it look nice. Kaileigh comes out and helps me get some plants into the ground that have been hanging around for a few weeks.
The peonies are in bloom, and look beautiful. They are full and lush and a deep, dark pink. Normally I would not touch them, because they look so beautiful where they are. I decide that I want to enjoy their loveliness as much as I can and I cut some of the blooms and put them on the dining room table.
We finish early, and hurray! My soup is ready. I am really hungry. My kids and Steve are seated at the table. Chauncey will join us soon. We all hold hands and say a blessing, and then dig in. My broth is delicious. Everyone else eats soup in solidarity, except they get to eat the stock too.
The peonies look lovely on the table, and I think that Ayla has set them up to block my view from the stock and bread that everyone else is eating. It turns out to be just a coincidence, but it works for me. I am not really jealous of their soup, but they are eating olive bread.
In case you do not know what olive bread is, I will tell you about it. There is a bakery on Hope Street in Providence called Seven Stars. They make very fine breakfast treats, but what they are known for is their delicious bread. They make several different crusty varieties, sourdough, Italian, multigrain, durum, but my favorite is the olive bread. This is a lovely sourdough that they have put Kalamata olives into. It is chewy and salty and tangy with olives. It is great to dip into soup, or make into a sandwich or eat all by itself. Of all the things I can’t eat, this is the one that I miss the most.
After dinner we get ready to play a game.
I call my friend Kathleen, who texted me before dinner. She is also a doctor and is wondering what is going on. She is very concerned and gives me the name of an oncologist she thinks I should consider. Even though we are talking over the phone, I can tell she is worried. I tell her it will be okay. I have great support, and I will get through this. She likes my attitude.
They are holding the game up for me. It is called Killer Bunnies, and is a somewhat complicated card game. I am terrible at it, but have fun playing. I get tired and excuse myself to go to bed. I know I won’t fall asleep quickly, and I usually read, but tonight I decide I will write. I listen to NPR often, and I have heard of the popularity of cancer blogs. I decide I will write my own. I don’t have a laptop, so I find a notebook and a pen, and I begin.
I sleep fine this night.