Poet-in-Residence: Thursday, May 21, 2009

Before I get to the heart of today’s post, I’ll take a brief moment for some housekeeping, er medical, updates: First, I had my weekly labs done this morning and everything is okay. Yes, just okay. I continue to be anemic and have a low white count but my levels are not really cause for alarm. I promised my nurse today that I will continue to eat an iron-rich diet and avoid sick people so she let me go without too much of a Procrit pitch. Second, I had my genetic counseling session today, which was very interesting. My doctor, as well as all of the other doctors I met with in the early days, has been focused on my getting tested for the BRCA 1 and 2 genetic mutation but my genetic counselor is more concerned that I might have Lynch’s Syndrome. She and I agree that the odds that I have a BRCA 1 or 2 genetic mutation, which would mean I’d be at greater risk for breast cancer following all of this nonsense, is pretty low given that there is no breast cancer on my mother’s side of the family and that it seems the only possible genetically-linked breast cancer on my father’s side is his grandmother’s, which occurred when she was post-menopausal. If I had Lynch’s Syndrome, which is linked to uterine cancer, it would put me at a significantly greater risk for developing colon cancer (and a few other kinds) later in life. Fabulous! So, we decided today that I’ll have my tumor tested when I have my hysterectomy later this summer to determine whether or not I should have further blood work done to see if I’ve got this Lynch’s Syndrome business or not. Oh, and while I’m giving updates, here’s the deal with my workouts this week: I walked on Sunday with Shannon, felt like crap Monday morning so I didn’t exercise, walked Tuesday afternoon, skipped yesterday, and did another 30-minute walk this morning before heading out for labs and genetic counseling. That’s it. Not very exciting, huh?

Okay, so now for the good stuff…

I lived with my friend Ali, as well as Shannon and Ingrid, during my last year at UVA. We shared a four bedroom apartment in “The Fred” apartment building, which was a short walk to many downtown restaurants, shops, and campus. Despite what you might imagine, there was surprisingly little dating relationship drama among the four of us that year. We all had boyfriends and Shannon and Ingrid actually ended up marrying those fourth year college sweethearts. (What’s even more amazing is that I think they’re both still very happy that they chose to marry those guys. Good for all of them!) Ali’s relationship with Erik, however, was full of 21-year old dating drama. In fact, it was so bad that we often joked that the proprietors of the local Chinese restaurant Ali and Erik frequented referred to the not-so-happy couple as “Asshole” and “Cry Baby.” Seriously. One of the products of Ali and Erik’s tortured love was a hole pile of love (and hate) poems by Ali. It seems as though every time I entered the apartment after class Ali would pop out of her room, teary eyed, with a new poem to share – one that no doubt compared her love for Erik to the vastness of the ocean (Ali’s love of the ocean ran a not-too-distant second to her love for Erik). It got so bad that I’d typically come in, take one look at her, and before she’d open her mouth, I’d say, “Okay, come on, Al. Let’s go to Europes (our nickname for our favorite café, Café Europa) and you can read me the latest while I have tomato basil soup.” (I could deal with all of their drama much better on a full stomach.)

Well, unbeknownst to me, Ali actually crafted some happier, more uplifting works during this dark period. I hadn’t seen or heard of the poem below until it arrived, along with many other sweet notes and cards, with my iPOD Touch the other week. I liked it so much I decided to share it with all of you today. Who knew a slightly depressed 21-year old could have such good insights into what really matters in life? My take away from “I Have My Own Bed” is that we all just need to be happy with what we’ve got, do the best we can each day, and get on with things. Thanks for the poem, Al.

I have my own bed
A roof over my head
Warm clothes to wear
And a comb for my hair
I have food to eat
Fruit, grains, greens, and meat,
I’ve got water to drink,
And to wash clothes that stink,
I’ve got heating and plumbing,
The water keeps coming,
I’ve got paper and plastic,
Twisty ties and elastic,
Paper towels and Kleenex,
Mr. Clean, Tide and Windex,
I’ve got containers galore,
For leftovers and more,
And if mold starts to grow,
In the garbage they go,
I can add, read and write,
My prospects are bright,
I’ve got CDs and tapes,
A couch, chairs and drapes,
Books filling my shelves,
Into which few I have delved,
I have a car just for me,
Though it could sit three,
I’ve got the comforts of life,
And in the absence of strife,
I usurp, use and waste,
There’s no need to be chaste,
But I do recognize
And therefore sympathize
With those who have less,
But feel no bitterness
They’re humble and strong,
And what helps them along
Is their brotherly love,
Faith in God up above.
Though we work a lot
For the things that we’ve got
We must never forget
Even when we’re in debt,
That we have more than some,
We’ve got rights and freedom.
So next time you fret
‘bout what you didn’t get,
Think how lucky you are,
With your home and your car,
It’s time we were aware
That we all must share
That we must preserve
The Earth all deserve.

-Alison McCabe, 1998/99

And speaking of a roof over my own head…CONGRATUATIONS to Kristin, Shawn, LEW, and Bella on their awesome new house! I’m so happy for all of you…and I’m really happy to have such a big space to help decorate!!!

Home, sweet home! Kristin, Shawn, LEW and Bella's great new house.

Welcome friends! LEW and Bella waiting to greet new neighbors...or, more accurately, waiting for the door to be opened to attack the neighbor's cat.

No comments:

Post a Comment