Our life has changed.
It seemed to happen slowly - but I think what really happened is that I refused to acknowledge the changes as they occurred and built up.
Jim and I live with Cancer
- and many times it distorts your view of your world.
Jim's cancer came back November two years ago. The new tumors were situated in such a way that more surgery to remove them was not an option. For those two years a program of chemo maintenance kept the tumors at bay. Then last summer for good reason the doctor thought a vacation from Chemo was in order to give Jim's body a rest. Within two months the tumors became active again. The old drug was not effective and they have been trying a new chemo drug. We can't tell about its effect on the tumors yet - but we can see the toll it is taking on Jim. Recovering while battling cancer is tough. You need support and more physical help than you like.
The first new trouble began in Texas. This past November we went to Texas so that I could tell stories at the George West Storytelling Festival. And, so that Jim and I could re-visit San Antonio where we lived with our young children in the late 1950s. Our son Jimmy and his wife Monica came with us for the first several days in San Antonio and it was a delicious time - remembering and telling family stories and touching base with old memories in a new way - showing Jimmy where we lived and where his Daddy worked.
The storytelling festival was Fun. People were lovely. Stories were great. But--- behind the scenes Jim began having more discomfort than before and it was difficult to paste on a smile and hide our situation - especially far from home and the doctors we trust - even though Jim often doubles as his own doctor - and does a real fine job at it.
That ramped up the stress. It was like living two realities.
That was early November.
Since then things have continued to change and I can't pretend any longer that they haven't.
You see - I am a spoiled woman. A feminist yes, but a spoiled woman all the same - because Jim was always standing tall beside me and I leaned on him.
Now we are swapping roles a bit - and this is one spoiled woman who is having to stand tall - it is my turn to BE THERE and let Jim lean my way while he gathers his strength to work with the drugs.
Priorities are shifting.
My lists are changing.
I am changing.
For a start - I am taking off my phoney smile - - - smiling honestly and grateful for the real blessings in my life - and I am telling the truth - -
Second, I am rethinking my choices - about the two things I am most truly passionate about -Jim and storytelling.
For the time being - its Jim first, storytelling second -
Cutting back on a few things -
focusing on the ones I really want to do.
The New Front Porch radio show, my TV shows, some performances,
Last year I celebrated my Diamond Jubilee
to walk in my own footsteps, tell the old stories and gather new ones.
This year, like many an Academic - - I am taking a sabbatical -
a breather -
to re-examine my BRAND -
answer questions like
HOW do I want to be a storyteller
WHAT STORIES do I want to tell.
maybe I will tell a few stories about that.
More will be revealed
but I can promise one thing
Jim will be at the CENTER of it all.