Sunday, 29 April 2012


I’ve always loved the Zen proverb, “After the ecstasy, the laundry.”

I have begun to think ahead. And even a limited amount of planning means that after months of floating blissfully in the “now,” I seem to be transitioning to the stage of “laundry” - metaphorically, you understand. My actual laundry basket is overflowing.

Point is, I think about the fact that I need to get off my butt and down to the laundry room. A few days ago, I felt compelled to spend hours finishing a massive beaded pendent. The techs in radiation gave me my mask as a souvenir  & I’m planning to make art with it. Looking forward to hot weather, I even bought summer clothes. For a long time, there was no impulse to work, to think as far ahead as July or August. To plan.

That sense of all being right with the world is still with me subliminally. But since treatment ended, I’m more engaged, pulled into the spin and flow of daily life. Other than coping with side-effects of treatment, I feel almost normal. I’m not being reminded of cancer by daily hospital trips. I am in the death zone but my mind has a hard time holding onto the idea. It’s a natural enough progression. Nothing stays the same.

Now it’s a matter of balancing between the need to be productive and holding awareness that trying to anticipate my longevity would be a crap shoot.  In September, post-surgery, when I first spoke with my surgeon, I asked point-blank for my prognosis. I swear he winced. “I’m sorry," he said, "I have to answer this directly because you asked me directly - about eight months.” I laughed. I had no intention of dying in eight months. But six months later, the tumors were back. Auntie C is a particularly vicious bitch, it turns out. Now, I’m coming up on eight months and I’m still here. I’m beginning to feel that remission could last awhile. “Could” being the operative word. I'm pretty sure I'll get to wear the summer clothes.

Once in a while, I wonder if the rumors of my immanent demise have been exaggerated and whether I should feel a little guilty for getting people all upset and then having the temerity to linger on. It’s darkly funny and the thought always cracks me up. I don’t know what’s next – or when. But it would be kind of cool to be the exception to the eight month rule. Long as I don’t completely forget that life is perfect just as it is and little stuff is little stuff. 

I know it’s been a while. 

You’ll excuse the brevity, I hope, but I need to get going.  I’m out of clean socks and underwear.


NEDbeads said...

Please have the temerity to linger!! I can't wait to see your new summer clothes, or the art you want to make with your mask... and now of course I am sooooo excited to see the pendant you've been working on!! I had never heard that proverb before, and I am now adoring it, and saying it over and over.

And thank you for your wonderful comment on my pic... which never would have been posted without someone's help and encouragement and support and love....

So so so so glad to 'hear' from you! :D

Howpublic said...

Ned. Thank you for the invitation to linger. I'll try to take you up on that.
I'm kind of shy about the pendant - it's a rework of a tiger's eye bracelet and (to me)a very simple piece. Don't know if I'll post a pic but I will send one to you, for sure.
And're a very pretty woman. So glad you worked up the nerve, finally. Big hugs.

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

Linger on! Why start doing what's expected now? You are, and always will be, ahead of the curve. I can't wait to see what you do with the mask.

tinybeads2004 said...

That Zen comment is so true! Keep doing laundry, enjoying your artwork, and having all the fun you possibly can.
True - remission from cancer is a sometime thing. If you think about it, though, all of us are "in remission" - you've just gotten a somewhat clearer picture of the meaning of this than some of us have.
Can't wait to see what you do with your facemask from the radiation treatments. Your huichol beadwork is totally stunning.
Mary Alexander

Howpublic said...

Cynthia...right now, I'm pondering feathers, lace, huichol beadwork...but it's vague (rather like me these days)
Mary - that's amazing. I have been thinking exactly the same thing about all of us being in remission!