When I went in for my second Taxol treatment today, I learned that my red blood cell counts have taken a steepish dive in the last week... which seems strange when I've experienced that same week as far and away my best in two months and even one of the best of my life so far. At the time that the nurse came over to review my "numbers," I'd been carrying on a text flurry with Pete and Meg (as she and Maya prepared to board a plane to So Cal to visit with our Grandma Di and our favorite ocean), and I told them of this "wacky" disconnect.
"Not wacky at all," responded Megan. "I know why you feel so good. A weekend of flower kisses."
Pete jumped in: "Family counts over cell counts." When I asked whether I could steal that line for a blogpost title, he said sure, but maybe substitute "more than" for "over."
"So that no one mistakes it for a fraction?" I asked.
"Family is indivisible," he replied.
There are vanishingly few who raise punning to an art, but to my alternating delight and chagrin, I married one. He also looks damn good in a hat, which is no small gift at present.
I've got a somewhat unconventional definition of "family," and "indivisibility" makes up a much greater part of that definition than blood does. My assholery and self-absorption quotients (as long as we're talking numbers) have taken a massive uptick since my diagnosis, and they were fairly high to begin with. (Fortunately, the uptick describes an average, and individual data points are wildly scattered.) But I am rich beyond telling in "family" (given and chosen and happened upon) whose capacity for love outruns my capacity to disappoint. Heartfelt thanks to you all.
These times are teaching me astonishing new lessons about true love and the many acts (big and small and even imperceptible) that sustain it. These times include "date night" with my husband and small niece for a small-screen screening of Frozen and a "date afternoon" two days later with my husband and sister and niece and half the four-year-olds of Portland for a big-screen, sing-along screening of Frozen. (Need a dose of joy? Do this. Immuno-compromised? Fuck it. If you're lucky, you'll hear Pete in the back row, lustily singing along with Queen Elsa: "It's time to see what I can do, / To test the limits and break through. / No right, no wrong, no rules for me!!!")
Tomorrow I turn forty-five. Wednesday I get a blood transfusion. But I already got a love transfusion, and I feel fantastic. Not so my poor Pete, who contracted Maya's cold. (I know I should knock wood before I get all smug about my lymphocytes and neutrophils, few but mighty!!)
Wow. Lots of exclamation points in this post. "Let it go!! Let it go!!!!!"
Oh, and on the subject of love that transcends assholery, I want to send out a big kiss and many happy returns to the man who was my Elsa. Happy birthday, Pete Rose!
Ed.'s note: This post originally referred to "Princess" Elsa when Queen Elsa is in full possession of her crown and of all rights there pertaining. The text has been emended and we sincerely regret the error.