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Monday, August 5, 2013

Convalescence and Escaping Cancer

Lower Harbor, Marquette, MI
I like the word 'convalescence'. Something about it is more warm and comforting than the words, 'recuperation' or 'recovery'. The word 'convalescence' swirls with soft blankets and warm soup and fuzzy slippers.

Originally, I was just going to stay at home after surgery, hang out, watch movies, nothing special. Then The Bickster asked what I thought about going to Marquette while I was 'convalescing'. Knowing that this would not be our usual U.P. trip of tent camping and back-trails hiking, I hesitated. Being surrounded by all of those temptations and not being able to partake might be too frustrating. But after some discussion about having a different kind of vacation - one just enjoying rest and relaxation in a beautiful natural setting, I decided that it sounded like a pretty good idea. I hopped online and booked a room at the Days Inn for seven days and yesterday, we flew the coop.

There is something else to getting away after this surgery other than having a nice place to heal. There is this faint idea that I can escape my cancer, if only for seven days. Seven days of not thinking about the treatments that lie ahead. Seven days of not thinking about possible suffering and premature death. Seven days over which I have a modicum of control. Seven days.

Realistically, I can't entirely escape my cancer while I'm here. Still plenty of reminders - the pain from surgery, plenty of pills to take, and the oppressive constipation that comes from surgical anesthesia and pain medication that, believe you me, can turn anybody into one bitter pill. But something about putting distance between me and those who treat me makes me feel more free from my cancer.

Now that we are here and settled in, I'm starting to relax, body and mind. I've got several distracting yet mellowness-inducing projects to work on including:

  1. several knitting projects including a winter hat for #1 and baby blanket for Ginger #4
  2. recording a book for Ginger #2
  3. reading #3 & #4 Flavia de Luce mystery novels
  4. sketching
  5. awesome used bookstore tour (six in the area!)
  6. Enjoying the nature of this place and the company of my oh-so-lovely husband and wacky lab.

Comfort comes in small slices for people with stage IV cancers. For me, my small slice of comfort today is that for these seven days, I have decided to be cancer free.

(Ugh. That feels so pathetic. Sigh...)


  1. Dear Ruth,
    I wish you a peaceful, restful week of Up-North convalescence. Your agenda sounds great. We adore used books too! If you are up to it, be sure to have pasties for supper. (Rutabagas Rule!)

    1. Hey K8,

      Always do the pasties the first night in! Super Yooper yummy.

  2. OMG!! a UP girl!!!! A thousand years ago I dated a girl who grew up in Ishpeming! She would always return from Maryland for summer camping ... small world :)

    'convalescence' I love it ... you are a wordsmith

    1. Thanks, Patrick. You're too kind.