Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yesterday dawned dull and dreary, but ended with glorious sunshine. We left our house at 8 a.m., headed to Corinth for a 10 o'clock appointment, allowing ourselves plenty of time for any unexpected road conditions and to locate the new office. Wouldn't you know it? We have never made such good time--checked in at 9:15--didn't see the doctor until 11:30.
We left home with a few remaining icicles on the eaves of the house, patches of snow in the yard and snow still clinging to the trees and bushes. I especially love to see it clinging to the bright green nandina, replete with red berries. Winter fields with their bleakness that always vividly remind of the cycle of life (birth, new life, productivity, harvest, death) appeared even bleaker. The skies were gray, somewhat threatening. While we were eating lunch after the appointment, we noticed the sun was shining. How different things looked on the trip home! And, our yard--not one remaining icicle, no patches of snow anywhere. Honestly, I miss the snow on the nandinas outside my window.
Nearby areas are not so fortunate. Many still have no power and the ice damage is severe. We received communication yesterday about many churches in our presbytery and their needs. (Our presbytery covers West Tennessee, a strip of Arkansas along the Mississippi River and the bootheel of Missouri.) Plans are being made to send supplies and people with chainsaws to help clear debris. Keep all these folks in your prayers. As you can imagine, the needs are many.
The cancer clinic where I am a patient is actually a satellite of a large clinic in Memphis and we know it is where I need to be. They have had a small complex in the Out-Patient Surgery Center connected to the hospital, but have now constructed a spacious building in that same area. Yesterday was our first visit to the new facility and we were much impressed! Several memories came to mind: 1) My first oncology experience beginning in the early eighties and the progression of offices that clinic had in my almost twenty years with them. The first office was in an old house with uneven floors, pipes that froze in cold weather and a climate "control" system that allowed the plants to die on winter weekends. Times have changed for them. 2) The infusion "suite" more than doubled in floor space and went from nine chairs to fifteen, plus a hospital bed. Tom said that it was more like UC Davis without the floor space. Mention of UC Davis always makes me remember and be thankful for those angels masquerading as oncology nurses. 3) You'll think I'm crazy for this other memory--it's about our beloved English Mastiff, Sugar. I thought of her when I entered the lab for vitals and bloodwork and saw the scale. It is about a 3 foot square in the floor where you stand--don't even have a step up. Here's the Sugar connection. We changed vets after the first couple of years we had her and found that the new vet didn't have a scale built into his table and she was too heavy for the animal scale he had. She weighed between 140-145 pounds, small for her breed, but heavy just the same. The only way we could get an accurate weight was for me to get on a scale, weigh myself, pick her up and weigh us both together or go to a feed and seed store where the scales are much larger and put her on that. Neither were good options: why would I want to share my weight with the vet? and Sugar would have balked at getting on the store scale, wiggled and we'd still have no accuracy. The scale in the oncology lab would be perfect!
The doctor says things look fine. He expressed some concern about the side effects on my feet and hands and said we could put off treatment a couple of weeks in order to let them recover a bit more or we could push forward. I chose pushing forward. He still hasn't given us a final treatment number--just know there's one scheduled for the end of February.
The contrast between the bleakness of the trip to Corinth and the brightness of the trip home can well be an example of our response to problems in our lives. We can focus on the bleakness, the barreness and the gray skies or we can bask in the sunshine that brings life. Annie would sing about "Tomorrow" and the sun coming out; I will sing, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." Both are appropriate.
Pastor Margaret

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