normal: the final frontier

Today I am embarking on our last little journey in the return to normal. After our rather awful winter, it has been small steps in the return to life as we used to know it. Our own definition of “normal.” We’ve done most things. For instance, I do my own grocery shopping (mostly–thank you Meijer Grocery Express), I do our laundry (again, mostly–thank you, Mom), I clean (mostly–thank you, Dad!), and I, in general, am the mom of the house again. It feels good.

But there was one thing remaining. The final frontier. Sides of the bed.

When Mark and I got married, we prided ourselves in switching sides of the bed. No predictable roles for us. We were going to do things differently. Our switching sides of the bed periodically was our claim to an egalitarian marriage somehow. And we were a little smug.

That lasted about a year.

For the 13 of the last 14 1/2 years of marriage, we had firmly encamped on our respective sides of the bed. Until Birdie and my pleural drain entered the family at about the same time.

My pleural drain bag had to hang on the side of the bed and its placement in my back necessitated which side I could best sleep on. Add to this a nipping puppy who also slept by the side of the bed and certain arrangements had to be made. We had to switch sides of the bed or something really ugly could have happened.

For those of you who have slept on a specific side of the bed for years, you know how disconcerting it can be to switch. Sure, you can sleep, but something just doesn’t feel right. Are the sheets scratchier on this side? Why can’t I throw my leg out over the covers the right way? Why is that light right in my eyes? This is how it has been for us for the last eight months.

Today, however, confident that my drain-free days will continue, Mark and I are going back to our sides of the bed. I will have my lamp and my alarm clock (nevermind that they are identical). Mark will have his power cord for his phone. We will both feel a little more normal pulling the covers up and rolling over.

Oh, little normal things of life, how I love you!

I met with Dr. Campbell this afternoon. My tumor markers are up slightly, but this means almost nothing as they were drawn after only one treatment on the new med. I feel so doggone good, though, and that means quite a lot! Dr. Campbell had gone through CAT scan records for me dating back to February of 2010 and leading up to the CAT I had last month. As we looked at these results it was apparent that very little had changed in that amount of time. This is further confirmation that the distress of the winter was brought on by the pleural fluid, not by growing tumors threatening organs.

So now I am…
1. still drain free–yippee!!
2. able to walk 2 miles again–neuropathy clearing up!
3. able to walk up the stairs without going hand over hand up the handrail
4. growing a bit of hair so that I more closely resemble Sinead O’Connor than Humpty Dumpty
5. thoroughly enjoying every minute of this delicious life.

I should tell you that when I saw my nurse last week she was surprised by how good I was seeming. Still no drain? No shortness of breath? Nope. Neither one. Wow, she said, who do you have praying for you?


Thank you!


Yesterday marked my 41st year on the planet. I adore birthdays and yesterday was just perfect–with its perfection bleeding into the day before and after as well. I am still riding on a wave of birthday goodness.

Thinking on the wonder of birthdays today, this quote came to mind. It is from Raymond Carver’s Late Fragment. I ran across it on an artist’s blog that my sister had recommended to me years ago. The artist, Lisa Congdon, is doing a year of hand lettering and this snippet is one that really drew me in–both Carver’s words and Congdon’s visual interpretation of them.

It is exactly why I love birthdays. On birthdays, the beloved-ness I experience day in and day out of this lovely life of mine is crafted into sentiments expressed in words, cards, gifts, and experiences. A quilt of beloved-ness that I wrap myself in at the end of the day and sigh contentedly.

I got exactly what I wanted for my birthday this year. And a whole lot of it. Thank you.