We have not yet had a very warm day, but it has been sunny enough to melt the snow here in town. The creek behind our house is rising fast and we can hear the roaring as the water rushes by. Birds are everywhere.
Ellen has a new bird book and she is reading it aloud as we identify different birds at the feeder outside our bedroom window as we sit in bed together and drink mate early in the morning.
Ellen is now in the down part of her treatment cycle, extremely tired, aching joints, not feeling very well. It does seem perhaps this time around is not quite as bad as the last time, but these are still hard days. Her spirit is strong, and she was even able to take a short walk today.
The dogs are showing their love and concern for her, sleeping at the foot of the bed, and cuddling her. They know she does not feel well and they are helping in the way that they know. And it is quite effective.
The famous Harvard study on health and well being shows that “the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, with community.”
Our family, our friends, our community are surely letting us lean into them, and we are pulling great strength and comfort from all of you. Thanks for the meals that appear just when we need them, the cheerful visits, the rides, the help in the house, and the solidarity. Your love touches us deeply. Words fail us.
Last week, before Ellen’s most recent therapy session, we spent a lovely day with our godchildren Maria Jose (who is turning 15 today), Gregory and Rio. Among the various things we did was to climb Maggie Pass near our house.
When last Wednesday came and it was time to go to the hospital for treatment, Ellen again wanted to walk the several miles to town and the hospital. And she did. And she was blessed by a group of friends who showed up to walk with her.
How much support she feels. What a lovely group of people. What a way to start what could be a difficult day.
We hope you can get some sense of how good this made Ellen feel.
She stayed feeling good for a couple of days afterward, but is now in the down part of the cycle. That is just part of the process, and as hard as it is, this is the process that can make her well, and she is grateful for it. Thanks to all of the dedicated medical professionals and researchers who have made this possible, and the many cancer patients who have gone before, and as hard as it seems, letting us all learn from their experience. We must acknowledge them with gratitude.
Luke has for the last couple of weeks been reading aloud to Ellen in the evenings. We have been reading Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad, a travelogue of his trip to Europe in 1879. We are now 25 chapters in, and have been in Germany, spending time in the university town of Heidelberg, taking a large raft of logs down the River Neckar, watching castles go by, walking through the Black Forest, and taking the cure at Baden Baden. We are now going to Switzerland.
Ellen likes this in part because she knows some of these places from her time in Germany.
Your support and caring is what is making it possible to get through this. We are conscious that we are still not quite halfway through. Do let us hear from you. It makes all the difference.