One year ago today I was unexpectedly spending the night in the hospital for the first time in my life.
I had just spent the previous day (my birthday – July 13) on clear liquids, choking down a liter of “Go-Lytely” to get cleaned out for what was expected to be out-patient surgery the next day. I had a biopsy of my tumor on July 14 and wasn’t recovering from the surgery as rapidly as planned, so they kept me overnight. My most salient memory of that desperate night was begging the nurses not to catheterize me, to give me another hour to pee! It took all of my effort to get from the bed to the portable commode without losing consciousness even though it was about three feet away. [My very first blog post recounts all the gory details.]
And here I am, one hellish year later – having come through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and numerous other medical procedures and indignities – thanking God that I’m still here today and healthy.
Yesterday was my 49th birthday. I’m tickled to report that it was one of the best ever! My sweetheart Tim and I decided to take a leisurely drive from Santa Fe to Taos by way of what’s commonly referred to as “the High Road.” We stopped in Chimayo (where some people report spontaneous healings at the Santuario) for a remarkable lunch at Rancho de Chimayo. We sat on the patio under an umbrella and ate the most delicious authentic New Mexican food – I had chicken enchiladas with green chile while Tim had chiles rellenos smothered in even more green chile. When our server learned it was my birthday, a very tasty flan was delivered to the table.
We stopped along the way taking photos and enjoying the spectacular northern New Mexican scenery. In Las Trampas, we spent some time marveling at the San José de Gracia Church which was built in 1760. While Tim took photos of vintage trucks in Taos and Arroyo Seco, I stayed with my theme of snapping shots of church crosses against the blue sky. At the Rio Grande Gorge bridge, I delighted in leaning over the side looking down at the river hundreds of feet below while Tim nervously reached out to hold the railing – all white-knuckled. I bought a beautiful blue tea bowl from Rottenstone Pottery to add to my growing collection of handmade tea bowls.
As if lunch wasn’t terrific enough, we had dinner at Graham’s Grille near the Plaza in Taos. It’s become one of our favorite restaurants. Tim almost always gets the calamari appetizer and the duck entrée. This time, I had a dish of pappardelle noodles with goat cheese, mushrooms and spinach that was superb!
The long, lovely day combined with a nice glass of red wine with dinner made me content enough to doze most of the way home while Tim dutifully stayed alert to drive. It was such a wonderful day of sight-seeing, eating, photographing and laughing – but the part I cherish the most was spending it together being thankful for the gift of another day.
I received the call telling me I had cancer on July 17, 2009. This year on July 17, I intend to spend the day creating more of my assemblage angels and being utterly grateful for the chance to do so.