Once while I was receiving chemotherapy in the hospital on the 4th of July, Diane brought herself, our mother and me a dessert made of strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream in dessert shells. I was tickled by the gesture but was too queazy to do more than nibble at my dessert.
Yesterday when we held our annual 4t of July cookout with Deb and Charlotte, we had dessert with the same fixings. It was one of those times when I happily remembered the distance between then and now. Then: red, white and blue dessert in a hospital room. Now, same dessert enjoyed while looking out at my garden at home.
Some cancer survivors say they appreciate every minute; I don't doubt that they do, but with all the ups and downs in every day, it's hard for me to imagine. I appreciate many little minutes.
South Hadley had its fireworks on Tuesday. I wrote in a recent post about a New York kind of day; well, this was a South Hadley kind of night. The event is held a couple of miles away at the middle school, but you can see the fireworks along Route 116 starting about a quarter-of-a-mile from our house.
People set up lawn chairs along the street so they can see the fireworks but avoid the crowds. I walked Maddie down to a point where I could see the display. Many dogs would freak out at the sound of the fireworks, but she was oblivious. People reached out to pet her along the way and told me about their own dogs. Maddie wagged her tail. We made about a dozen friends in the course of about an hour.
On the way back, I passed the Yarde Tavern, where a few friends were having drinks on the patio. I tied Maddie up, and she immediately lay down and konked out while I visited with my friends for about half an hour.
Strolling down the street on a balmy night with my dog. Eating a red, white and blue dessert in my kitchen: A nice non-hospital Fourth.
This blog is about falling down and getting up, coping and coming back after four bone marrow transplants for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML, starting in 2003 when I was diagnosed after feeling winded while running a 10-K road race. I have three children, Ben, Joe and Katie, and one Labrador retriever, Maddie, short for Madison, as in Madison (Ave.), in honor of my hometown, New York, New York.