I feel terrible, given the steadily increasing number of subscribers to this site, that I have not been keeping up with my side of the bargain - and my own fervent desire - by posting more blogs. Here’s what’s been going on:
The first 6 months on Keytruda, with no side effects except very chapped lips, the whole dying thing still stuck in low gear, I started to think I was going to live another year, maybe even longer. That meant I had to earn some money which coincided with the need to promote the movie, or to at least have the mechanisms in place: website, active social media accounts - a podcast.
By April, with the website revamped, a new blog, Abby’s introduction of (and maintenance of) an Instagram account, a business model taking shape with Abby (Managing Director and author of her own blog, “Along for the Ride,”) Tricia McGillis (our brilliant designer and Creative Director) and me as equal partners in the venture - Emily’s Universe - and a great idea for the podcast - “But Enough About You” - I was totally invested in my future. So when the first PET scan showing that the cancer was getting worse, I scoffed. We all did (Abby, Heather Wakelee, the specialist at Stanford and, to a lesser extent, our wonderful oncologist, Barbara Galligan). After all, I was still asymptomatic, wasn’t losing weight, had more energy than I had in years, and had even, when the car got stuck in a reedy patch on the unpaved road to our house in Inverness, got out and pushed it back onto the road. I felt so cocky as to make fun of my cancer in my TED talk in April.
But now, with the last PET scan showing further signs of worsening - as I confirmed with Barbara: “ I’m getting worse but slowly?” - and looking at clinical trials into which I might be admitted, and was unable to push the car out of the ditch this last time (altho the three people who emerged from the nearby house didn’t think they could either) I have to swing back to a mind-set in which death is imminent.
I’m finding this difficult. For one thing, I got attached to my plans. And TED didn’t help; I also got attached to me as a person everyone loves and thinks of as a fount of wisdom. Yes, finally, I’d found the role best suited to me - “Wise Old Woman” - and it turns out to be a walk-on!
The bad thing about this - apart from writing “the bad thing about this” - is time is compressed. I experience it visually - in my mind’s eye, a calendar week is pushed by either side into a shmooshed version of itself. (I’m not going to apologize for”shmooshed;” I don’t have time!).
Then, when I think of everything I have to do in that compressed time period, I feel enormous stress - pressed for time. Then it occurs to me that “press” is the root word of compression. “Com” means “with” so - oh, I don’t know and I don’t care, do you?
Oh no, now I’m so pressed for time, I’m plagiarizing Melania Trump! Or her jacket. “When the lily festers,” my 9th grade Latin teacher admonished me, “the stink is worse than the rose.”
Okay, this is weird. Having degenerated into quoting Mr. Cunha, I decided to take a little break and picked up the Harper’s Cryptic Crossword. The first clue in the “Down” column? “Did ironing in a hurry.” The answer is, of course, “Pressed.” This actually just happened!
That’s it. I’m going to take my vitamins and go to sleep.
(“But in that sleep, what dreams may come yadda, yadda, yadda.”)
Postscript: Abby and I just met with the clinical trial team at Stanford and it was obvious from their attitude that I am not on the precipice of a steep downward slope. So the plans are back on.
And so is this blog. I will be taking Janis Joplin’s advice and keep on trucking. That is if Trump’s trade wars don’t make buying a truck a non-viable option, in which case I’ll keep on economy car-ing.
Postscript 2: The dream that came was a nightmare in which I was working 9-5 at a law firm and had to wear high heels! Seriously!
Postscript 3: Car in ditch