Thirty First Entry
The Chair in the Graveyard
March 25, 2018
An empty chair in the cemetery,
to what would its purpose be?
I wonder, as I gaze at this photograph,
the weathered wooden chair, with no armrests,
and its hard uncomfortable back.
Spartan in design, it would weigh next to nothing.
It is set apart from the headstones
placed in the manicured yard on grass;
such a lovely color of green,
and turned away from the burial ground.
Come nightfall, I can envision the magic of fireflies,
floating atop the grass, moving between the headstones,
dancing in the trees.
I look on, no one is in sight; just me,
gazing at the picture from my chair at the computer.
I’m trying to decide which is the “safer” seat?
If I could, would I walk to that chair in the graveyard?
And why? It seems so lonely a place, lamentable even.
Why would anyone go to that chair,
sit there amongst those who have passed from this life?
…the silent residents of the cemetery.
Maybe a person would go there to visit the grave of a loved one.
If so, why turn the chair away from those in repose,
‘neath the green, green grass?
Perchance, it is too painful to look upon the name on the headstone.
Too difficult to reconcile what is remembered, from that life; and now gone.
Then again, the last person to visit may have turned the chair outward,
a sign of welcome to whoever comes next – to take the chair and move it
to wherever a loved one is resting, and visit. Perhaps each person who
walks into the cemetery; they see first the chair, waiting for them to
The fact that the chair is not comfortable is of little importance
and forgotten when the visitor moves the chair to a grave,
sits down, leans forward and bends their head in prayer.
They may even leave the chair
as they get down on their knees in the grass,
close to their loved one, remembering,
reliving their lives together.
The chair waits. A while later, that visitor may sit in the chair again,
stare out over the cemetery, surrounding trees and bushes;
maybe watch the sun set and the fireflies come out,
and think of nothing, just settle into the peace and beauty of
the life all around, and the joy of being.
After the bright moon rises, unfurling moonlight over the visitor,
the wildlife, and the tombstones; the person may stand,
take the chair and gently walk it back to the area where it was first found,
facing away from the headstones and toward the next visitor; welcoming.
Perhaps it would not be such a sad place to visit;
such a lonely chair to sit in.
Maybe it would be a visit to cherish,
memories to embrace – and a giving of thanks
for the welcoming grace of a sacred place.
© K. Pippig
Entry Thirty Two
March 26, 2018
Waiting for the PET Scan Results…
Well, fretting and fretting, waiting to find out what the results of my PET Scan are, has been gnawing away at me since Friday – honestly, earlier, to be truthful. Anytime I have a scan or other test scheduled, I begin to worry what the outcome of the results will be.
Anyway, the tension is only building and I can’t stop worrying and not sleeping and glomming on to each notification of a new email, hoping to hear the results – so – I email my doctor, asking if the results had come in yet. I got an email saying my oncologist will be out of the office until April 1, 2018.
Grumpy Dumpy !!!
March 27, 2018
I received an email from a doctor covering for my oncologist during her absence. He sent me the PET Scan results, which I am grateful for!
If you have ever read these reports, you will, in all probability, find them very confusing; full of medical words and terms that spin your brain around in your skull, leaving you with even more questions than you had before getting the findings. That is how I felt after going over the report.
The doctor who sent the results said: “You can review the results and discuss it detail at your next appointment with Dr ##### or e-mail/call clinic with any questions.”
So, I emailed the office, and I telephoned the office, so I could “ask my questions.” The lady who answered spoke with the doctor who sent the results, and relayed to me that what he meant to say was I could call and schedule a telephone consultation with my oncologist upon her return… Really?! 😖😣😞 Argh!
That aside, this is the short, comprehensible paragraph that I have extracted from the long, perplexing, bombardment of medical jargon:
1. Stable metastatic disease involving the left chest wall, multiple lymph nodes (chest and left retroperitoneum), lingula and likely left pleura. Unchanged small to moderate left pleural effusion, probably malignant.
2. Aortic atherosclerosis. Normal abdominal aortic diameter (<3cm)
The aortic atherosclerosis is from the rigorous, intensive radiation I received after my second diagnosis of breast cancer in 2009. The lymph node that was cancerous was right next to my heart, beneath the sternum, and encased in veins and arteries, making operating on it, to remove it, impossible – so they told me; ergo, the radiation.
Before the MBC diagnosis, my oncologist told me I would likely require surgery to replace a valve when I am in my 80’s, due to the aortic atherosclerosis.
When she first told me that I’d need that surgery, I was thinking about how risky it would be to perform such surgery on a person in their 80’s.
Rather ironic to now hope I will have that procedure done, as it infers that I will still be around when I am in my 80’s.
Thirty Third Entry
Flood Control Basin
Huzzah! Finally the gates to to the flood control basin across from my mother’s house were open today and the basin was freshly mowed yesterday. To top it off, it was sunny and warm; not too hot, not too cool. Such a stunning Spring day, and a fun way to celebrate the coming Easter holiday weekend.
After the heavy rains, the flood control basin was a luscious green, and the trees had leafed out splendidly. In the larger fenced in ponding basin area, there was one black swan, several coots, and a duck or two.
My husband and I, our Golden Retriever, and my mother with her Black Lab walked through the gate and released our dogs, who were thrilled at being able to run free, stretch their limbs, gambol up and down the hills, and sniff all the many new and mysterious smells that were strewn everyplace.
So, the dogs got in some great exercise, as did we humans. It is a nice sized basin, with several hills and rises, and we explored the entire expanse.
In the tiny fence-enclosed water drain, my husband spotted several large frogs, (sitting, sadly, on trash that was floating on the surface,) just before they jumped into the water.
This was the first time we had allowed the two dogs to be together. They got along amicably, and rather than spend time together, they struck out on their own to explore. I wasn’t worried about our Golden, as he has been socialized in dog obedience, agility, and AKC Canine Good Citizen training programs. But, my mom’s Black Lab lives a life free of other pets; cat or dog. Thankfully, all went well, which is good, because I’d like to do this again, soon.
My furboy is growing up fast! Many times, during Obedience Training Classes, before I received my diagnosis or knew anything was wrong, the instructors would mention, repeatedly, that he would make a terrific therapy dog. Each time they said it, I would think to myself, yes, he would, but I’m thinking he would be a wonderful therapy dog for me.
Perhaps some part of my psyche knew I might be in a position to appreciate the love of a therapy dog. Because of our bond, right from the start, I’ve felt uncannily close to him. He is very sensitive to my many moods, and makes himself present, even when I don’t realize I need him.
As I continue to live with my diagnosis, my furboy and I grow more and more close-knit. Our love is in every way, reciprocal, because there are days he needs me nearby, to talk to him, pet him, hug him, kiss him, understand him, and play with him. And to commune on a silent level that runs even deeper than any spoken words could convey. I love him!
It was a very good day…
Thirty Fourth Entry
March 30, 2018
Weekly IR Appointment
My appointment, this time, was a scheduled appointment, not, as they have been in the past, “a fit me in appointment.” My appointment was for 2:30 pm and I waited until a little after 4:00 pm to be taken back into the IR exam rooms. I was advised that there had been a couple of emergencies, which were responsible for delaying my being seen.
This time they had no chair and no wheelchair for me; which didn’t bother me. The area they brought me to was very small. They had me sitting on a hospital bed, pushed up against the wall. When the curtains were drawn closed, there was little room between the curtains on one side and the wall on the other.
I said I could turn around, hang my legs off the other side of the bed so they could do the ultra sound. That was our only option and it allowed for them to perform the procedure sooner. So, the nurse moved the hospital bed around enough to let me squeeze through to the other side and sit down. There was just enough room to bring the ultra sound machine in and do the check on my chest.
I had not felt that sloshing I had been aware of since before my diagnosis, nor during the week since my last visit to IR. Furthermore, I was not laboring much to breathe; not needing to catch my breath when speaking to someone. I had noticeably more stamina and strength. Being able to walk up and down those hills in the flood control basin as I did was a treat for me, as I hadn’t been able to exercise like that since before my diagnosis. Even when I have my chest drained, I do not feel so energetic.
Those things considered, I did not expect the doctor to find more fluid than he detected the week before. As it turned out, he found less fluid. What excellent news! No needle poke.
This revelation boded well, as having less fluid means my body is operating on a healthier level and I am doing better. I’m guessing the cancer drugs may be helping out with that, as well.
Now that’s some good news on Good Friday! Thank you Creator, for being there for me!
Thirty Fifth Entry
The Scar of Loss
April 2, 2018
(I originally wrote this piece for the loss of a beloved furry family member, but the notion is the same for human loved ones we have lost, as well.)
When we lose our loved one, a sharp, painful wound is opened; we put salve on and dress the wound. But the wound is revealed to us anew, each time we clean and re-bandage it, as is the pain.
Eventually, the wound heals, much as a physical wound does. Often a scar has formed, red and angry in appearance. Yet, over time, the scar softens; becomes less noticeable. It is no different for the emotional injury and wound sustained from the loss of a beloved family member or dear friend.
And – there will come a time when you will look upon that scar and remember – not so much the pain of losing that loved one – instead, your thoughts will turn to the moments in your shared lifetime that brought joy, happiness, strength, laughter, and love! And that scar will now serve to pleasantly remind you that a part of that loved one will be a permanent part of you, until you, too, pass from this earthly plane.
Rather comparable to the time your furkin (furry family member; kin) nipped at you with those razor-sharp puppy teeth and left a scar on your hand – a forever reminder that he or she was part of your life and will always remain so. Oh happy scar! 💖❤️💖
© K. Pippig