Thursday, December 22, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
My Seestah Dianie
I first met Diane in 1963, on Ocean Front Walk in Venice California when we were both six years old. We immediately became best friends and remained as close as sisters, over 48 years of love, joy, competition, heartache, and laughter.
We attended Nightengale elementary school together for one wonderful year until I moved away.
In many ways Diane and I lived mirror opposite lives. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and yearned to travel. I moved frequently throughout my childhood, especially after my mother remarried to a diplomat who took my mother, sister and myself to West Africa. Writing letters gave Diane and I reflective perspective on our lives. I could always ask her advice, like when I was 13 and a boy I had no interest in slipped me a love note. Unfortunately, with mail service being as slow as it was, her answer came too late in that case.
Whenever my family was in California we would visit Diane at Venice beach and relive the good times dog paddling in the surf below the lifeguard towers. Neither of us could actually swim. She loved photography, horses, ballet and a guy from high school named Tim Sheppard.
During our teens Diane found the Episcopalian church and I found est seminar trainings and the New Age. We almost lost touch but luckily my mother intervened.
We were only in the same state for a couple of years before Diane became the “address book wrecker” who moved all the time. First on a six-month singing gig in Norway with a Lebanese cover band. Then to Virginia with a new boyfriend where she sang and played keyboard in a top 40 band called Snapshot.
In the early 1990’s Diane sold the apartment building she’d inherited from her beloved father and began her world travels with a seminal trip to the Findhorn foundation, a spiritual community located in northeast Scotland.
After she returned to the states Diane finally left LA for Sedona, Arizona. When I visited her there, she met me in Phoenix and flew us in a tiny plane to Sedona. The air currents bounced the air craft around, and Diane kept twisting around to look at me in the back seat and giggle, giddy to be in the air showing off her new pilot skills and sitting next to the handsome co-pilot, her flight instructor and current flame. Luckily for me I was too busy trying not to get air sick to worry about us crashing.
An adventurer, Diane went on to obtain her private pilot’s license and almost started a seaplane business in Scotland. Always looking for ways to live in the UK and for spiritual knowledge, she attended the University of St. Andrew’s in Scotland in 2002, and completed her undergraduate degree in San Francisco in 2004.
A few people have asked me why she never married. I assure you it wasn’t for a lack of offers. Diane suffered from deep emotional wounds inflicted in childhood by her unstable mother. The pursuit of physical and emotional healing were constants in Diane’s life, along with spiritual seeking, Jesus Christ, singing, and many friendships.
I will miss her humor, her playfulness and her affection, but I know that she isn’t truly gone, but lives on in non-corporeal form, as loving and feisty as ever.
– Stacey Dennick
Diane, Stacey and Alex in 2010
I can’t think about Diane without being transported 48 years back, when my eight-year-old self had just landed with my sister Stacey and our mother at our grandparents’ place on Venice Beach in California. After growing up in the Manhattan cityscape, we suddenly had a whole beach as our playground, and found the perfect playmate in Diane, a little girl who lived just down the street.
Together, the three of us played in the dunes, the sand and the waves, caught moths on the flowers in front of the scary lady’s house, collected shells, beach glass and pretty stones. We were so captivated by these sparkly treasures, we founded the Shiny Stone Club, with Diane’s little brother as an honorary member.
Dianie’s bicycle shed became our clubhouse, where we sang endless rounds of “Found a peanut,….” We let three-year-old neighbor Charlie Blair tag along with us, and his baby-talk names stayed with us for almost 50 years: Dianie, Fu-Fu (for Susie, as I was known) and Tay-Tay (for Stacey).
As an adult, I think of Diane mostly as a musician, a talented keyboard player with a strong, full voice that rose unexpectedly from the petite frame of a girl I remembered as a very shy teenager. Diane's band played at my wedding in 1990.
The last time I saw her was a year and a half ago when she came up to Sonoma while I was visiting Stacey with my then 19-year-old daughter. We toured a goat farm, pet the baby goats who nibbled on our clothes, and picnicked under the apple trees. Though I knew she had been very ill, Dianie looked the same to me—youthful, spontaneous, with a ready giggle.
Shortly before, Dianie had told Stacey and me that we were the only people left on earth who had known her parents and her brother, reminding me that she knew my whole family as well: my long-departed grandparents and mother, my father, stepfather, aunts and uncles, cousins, significant others and children.
Her premature passing has left me sad but grateful for the gift of such unique, longtime bonds of friendship and de facto kinship.
– Alex Russell
I first met Diane when she and her mother moved into my area and she joined my high school. I remember her waist-long brunette tresses, tinged with just a hint of chestnut tones. (Sigh.) We were in dance together and we shared a love of ballet. We were also both in the music department, although in different choirs, and loved concert time … ah, to sing in front of an audience. It was also at this time that she began going to church with my family on Sundays … yes, it was an Episcopal church.
In our senior year it was Grad Night at Disneyland and it was the farthest from home Diane had ever been! My Dad had been Air Force and I had lived in different states and even in England, so the idea that Disneyland was a ‘far journey’ was hard for me to grasp. This inspired us to concoct a road trip ‘north’ - she had the car and I knew the road so off we went! When we were about 10 miles from Lake Tahoe, I told Diane that she should let me drive so we didn’t end up IN the lake. She resisted (of course), and I insisted. We both shared at least one personality trait … stubborn, hardheadedness. But I prevailed, we traded places and shortly afterwards it was, “Oooo’s” and, “Aaaahhhh’s”. She had never seen anything like Tahoe before and, later that evening, said she was glad I did the driving because she would have had us ‘off road’ and ‘in lake’. She was a great travel companion and we went north as far as Mt. Ranier. I think Diane had the love of travel in her all along … it just needed a first-time-out. She never lost that love of seeing new places, new people; never lost her sense of adventure. I treasure those memories more now than before. – Susan K Campbell
While each of us have many intriguing tales to recount, I feel the important things to share about our dear Diane are her impressive spiritual fitness and her service to others still suffering.
I believe Diane to be a true exemplar of one who ultimately lived in The Light and did so despite many misadventures in her younger days. And guided as she was by The Light, Diane achieved spiritually valid relationships that provide clear testimony about her unique humanity and contributions. Put another way, Diane embraced a high-order of universal love that she skillfully shared with others. For this I am grateful and willing to honor her talents by paying it forward.
Our dear Diane also possessed a quirky sense of ironic humor, which she wielded with a fearless panache and often in a comic baritone voice. Sometimes we laughed so long and loud during our Skype Internet calls that the circuit would overload and drop the call; but we always redialed until the connection was reestablished And typically her quips favored spiritual insight or confessional truisms. Here, I can say without reservation that her humor, commitment to the ways of loving kindness and well honed wisdom gave comfort and encouragement to many she encountered. Even as she struggled with her lethal illness this past year our Diane maintained her wit and charm. So, I hope that as we go about attending to Diane's memory and her continuation (a Buddhist concept) we will also take council from Diane's lyrical and comic genius.
Too, we should take stock of Diane's spiritual presence and engaging openness. For example, when we met by chance at a mutual friend's college graduation in Vancouver, Washington some years ago it took little time to realize how special Diane is. After our casual introduction back then we became fast friends and natural confidants. Here I believe that Diane's unique ability to unconditionally connect with wounded souls such as mine and extend true friendship is a quality that distinguishes Diane and endures beyond her last breath.
Further, while this testimony of Diane's transcendent goodness may seem a bit ceremonious, I hope we will continue to appreciate her engaging use of insight and relational introspection. These skills allowed Diane to serve the cause of true spiritual love and to help many rise above their errors and hardships. Indeed, Diane and I often "co-confessed" our errors and misdeeds as young adults, especially during our alcoholic eras. And, from this we concluded that true repentance is won by unconditional service and love; both of which are best tempered by good grace and humor . In Diane's case I truly believe she had crested the "redemption mountain" by extending good council and transcendent love to all who accepted it. Thus, Diane leaves us as her true authentic self rather than as an artifact of social construction.
Finally, dear friends, I draw your attention to the photo-collage showing a phone booth and Diane's writing desk and laptop, both of which were situated in the Welsh countryside. These photos witnesses a definitive and still comically inspired aspect of our relationship. Namely, we engaged in unending efforts to carry off "phone dates" as Diane chased across the world on her many adventures and spiritual missions. To achieve these rendezvous, one of us would get up in the wee hours to initiate a transoceanic call; which was usually prompted by a 6th sense that support and laughter were needed. These calls produced what I call the OMG bookends; to wit our calls would start with her saying: "Oh my God, we're actually talking in real-time" and then after some hours of fascinating discourse I would exclaim, "Oh my God the sun is rising here an neither of us have slept a wink yet." And between those OMG bookends, there are volumes of bittersweet memories about all order of wants, needs, aspirations and the joy that we were the best of friends without the usual trade-offs. Here it is notable that I never harsh moment with Diane. And in our last minute-long phone call in late September, when she could not summon the breath to say a final farewell, she silently acknowledged that our spiritual bonds were secure and continuing.
Order of Interbeing dharma name: True Companion of the Heart
Core Coordinator, River Sangha (Salem, Oregon, Est. in 1999)
A Buddhist practice and mindful community in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh
Memories of Diane
by David Gordon
I first met Diane at Bob Baxter’s performance workshop in Reseda in September 1980. The first time she got up on stage to sing, her natural verve and energy jumped out at me like a flash of electricity – a captivating, outgoing California confidence in sharp contrast with my English reserve.
As the workshop progressed we became firm friends as we shared our love of performing music and we played support on each other’s sets in the final, end-of-workshop public concert.
I returned to England at the end of that year, but we remained in close contact, exchanging long letters about the progress of our lives in the days before email and visiting each other’s homes around the UK and the States.
But it was through one specific act of generosity and understanding that Diane changed the direction of my life and left herself forever with a special place in my thoughts. Diane’s path brought her to Scotland and the Findhorn Foundation and for some time she encouraged me to go there too.
I always had reasons not to be able to go – some of which (like being able to afford it) were valid and others of which were no more than excuses. But when, in 1995, Diane returned to the States after living in and around the Findhorn community for two or three years she left a cheque at the booking office to cover the cost of an Experience Week workshop. “I think going to Findhorn would be good for you,” she said. “Whenever you decide you want to go, all you have to do is call them up and tell them to use the cheque.”
Overwhelmed that someone could care enough about me to give me such an opportunity, I removed the remaining obstacles and set off for Findhorn that summer. I was at a very low point in my life but it was important for me to experience some of what had been so important to Diane and to see why she believed it could be something to help me out of my despair. The week was a marvellous, loving, reassuring experience beyond anything I could have imagined possible and it was made all the more poignant by the fact that it had been a gift from a friend who understood so well what I needed.
The Findhorn community has been a great support to me on many occasions since that first visit and it seems fitting that Findhorn was the last place that I physically saw Diane when our visits coincided a few years ago.
I will always be grateful to Diane for introducing me to Findhorn, but I will always picture her sparkling on that little stage in Reseda. Keep on singing, Diane.
– David Gordon
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
From: Cindy Essen, October 18, 2011
I don't know what to say other then I will miss Diane so very much. In Jan. of 2009 when my partner passed away suddenly Diane had only been home from the Hospital for a short time. She would check in with me almost daily to see if I was okay. Always reminding me that I am not alone. Diane's belief in the Lord was so strong that it was her that kept me from walking away from the Church and God. Whenever I needed the nudge I could and will hear her Voice in my head telling me to Keep praying and trusting in the Lord and it will be okay.
– Cindy Essen
From: Lesley and Donald Holmes, 10/21/11
Diane's passing came as a shock, but not a total surprise of course, as we have followed her blog closely over the years, and received many letters with her unmistakeable sweetly decorated and calligraphed envelopes....and sweet is one of the first words her memory calls up. Another is Friend -she was one of the truest friends anyone could wish for - we felt as close to her after nine years of being separated by two continents as when we first used to hang out together at Findhorn so many (15? 20?) years ago....
There is so much more we could say; Diane was such a rare person, and so beloved to us - but this will suffice for now. We will sit and light a candle and listen to Diane singing at the same time as we imagine you will be committing her body to the ground.....and we will imagine her flying away over Loch Ness, where she once took Donald on a flight - only this time we will see her flying with angelic wings.
In Love and Light,
– Lesley and Donald Holmes, Normandy, France
From: John Shaver, 10/20/11
There have been times when my partner and I have tried to join a church, and it's not always easy. At St Paul's Diane was quick to assure me, "Don't worry, I have your back" Thanks Diane. I will miss her calm and assurance.
– John Shaver
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Diane G. Luboff’s Memorial Service will be held at 2PM on Saturday, October 29th, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1123 Court Street, San Rafael, CA 94901.
Fr. Thomas Brindley will officiate. St. Paul’s Choir, under the leadership of Michael Struck, will perform the music. The Flowers will be provided by St. Paul’s Altar Guild
Donations in remembrance of Diane may be sent to any of the following:
Society of St. Francis, Provence of the Americas, Inc. San Damiano Friary,
573 Dolores Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Upward Call Ministries, Inc, Fr. Thomas Brindley,
704 Sutro Ave, Novato, CA 94947
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Choir Ministry,
1123 Court St., San Rafael , 94901
Samaritan's Purse - Turn on the Tap, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC, 28607
A reminder, the burial will be Friday, Oct. 21, 2PM, Sebastopol Memorial Lawn.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I am an ex boy friend and the American living in Berlin or better known as the Bubba to my beloved Bubette!
Diane and I were a couple back around 1989 to ?? 1991. I rented her apartment on Venice Beach when she made the decision to move to Sedona. There was a short period when we both lived together in that apartment which I remember with very fond memories. As a couple we were probably not the best match in the world, but as soul mates we were perfect – both alcoholics, both adventurers, both looking for something beyond the next cloud or mountain top. I admired her spirit so damn much and her dedication and perseverance. As an example, I was with her in Sedona the weekend that she first soled in an airplane. She took me to the airfield one Saturday morning just to show me flight school and the planes she had been training in. Her instructor was there and asked her if she had a little time free. Diane said yes and her instructor said, “Good because you’re going to solo this morning!” You could hear the gulp in Diane throat but she said, “IF you think I’m ready …OK!”. As her instructor and I stood on the end of the runway she said to me, “Don’t worry she knows what she’s doing.” And she did, making a perfect take off and return landing. We then went out for a celebratory breakfast. Nothing seemed impossible for her, as for example her deciding to move to Scotland and open a flying service. The business may never have gotten off the ground but it was not from and lack of effort on Diane’s part. Her spirit and drive was truly amazing.
Like you, I have thousands of memories of “Sweet Diane,” the vast majority are private and better left in our hearts. My last phone conversation with her was the day she was released from the UCSF hospital back in August. What I remember most from that conversation is that as we were saying good bye, I told her that I loved her and after a timely, no doubt surprised pause she repeated the same back to me. Funny how much I feel those words today.
One more thought that I want to express to you is that I knew how much she loved her father and especially her little brother, as well as the difficult relationship she had with her mother. I can only think that she is happy now having been re-united with the two (if not three) most important people in her life. You and I may be missing a “best friend” but she is with her family that no doubt loved her as much as she loved them.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Dear friends of Diane’s,
Stacey Dennick here. A reminder that I'm collecting stories about Diane for a memory book. If you'd like to write something please send it to: email@example.com (a Microsoft Word file is best for longer stories.) Let me know if it’s not okay to post your piece here, or to quote parts of it during the memorial service. Here are the first messages I've gathered.
From: Stacey Dennick, October 16, 2011 8:30:06 AM PDT
– Love, Stacey
Sent from my iPhone
From: Alison Sheriffs Brown
Subject: Re-Diane's flight, October 16, 2011 9:58:37 AM PDT
Thank you so much for letting us know about Diane. We went for a walk on Findhorn Beach and when we were there we saw a dolphin and another amazing thing was a small set of joined kites were being flown and the child let go of it. These dancing shapes took off fast and instead of falling to the sea went on and on out to sea. The mother said she thought they were bound for Norway. We watched until we could see them no more bobbing in the air and said Diane must have flown them off with her. When we returned we found your email. How wonderful that her end was pain free and peaceful.
From: Jennie Curtis, October 17, 2011 11:06:45 AM PDT
I was blessed to serve as Diane's spiritual companion for nearly 6 years when she was in the bay area. Her gentle spirit, deep faith and extraordinary presence will be a life long legacy and gift to those of us who were blessed to call her friend. Peace beyond measure for her spirit and to all of us here on earth who have been graced by her presence
–Jennie K. Curtis
Sent from my iPhone
From: Chris Kagan, October 17, 2011 7:05:09 PM PDT
I've known Diane since she was in her early 20’s and I was in my mid to late 20’s. We met at a music shop (McCabes) in Los Angeles where she was singing and I was playing mandolin or banjo. Our friendship lasted until now with many phases including dating each other, being lifelong pen pals, philosophical partners, and student teacher relationships with my teaching her stock trading so she could give up having a standard job, and her teaching me musical techniques.
She was always very clever with cards, and her last birthday card to me was signed “hugs, blessings and love” which is a great summary of how she treated me and so many others. We used to have a playful competition regarding who could create the card with the best twists of phrase, and it was fun. We introduced our friends to each other, had dinners, recently went to an owl evening, the birds, not her singing group of the same name. That singing group was very good. She was the star vocalist. Her half Jewish, half Christian background always had a special appeal to me, a sort of hybrid intellectual and spiritual vigor. She showed a lot of courage, and enjoyed nature, music, friends, ideas, and was naturally artful. Sue, my wife, liked her and she liked Sue. We will both miss her.
– Chris Kagan
An ode to a flying swan
In days past I was a flying instructor with the Moray Flying Club in Scotland and this was where I first met Diane. She had achieved her flying ticket in the USA and I had the pleasure of teaching her the whys and wherefores of flying in the UK. We spoke a whole lot of different gobbledegook over the airwaves here. Diane was quick to learn and soon after that teaching period we embarked on innumerable hours of pleasure flying together. Behind that intense façade there was a twinkle in the eye that revealed a yearning for a something a little less mundane.
We flew all types of contraptions from modern touring aircraft to home built machines to a Second World War biplane and we would clatter into the skies with frivolous abandon. We flew high, we flew low, we flew fast, we flew slow, we performed aerobatics and occasionally came to earth with a bump – we were in mutual agreement that no matter how hard the bump if you could walk away from the landing it wasn’t such a bad one after all. Those times are long past and I miss the fun we had. The memories are mine to cherish. Alas I no longer fly but Diane you are now soaring with the angels. Take care and God bless.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Diane passed peacefully, surrounded by loving friends, yesterday morning.
A memorial service will be held sometime around the end of the month, date and time TBD.
Stacey Dennick is collecting stories about Diane, some of which may be included in the memorial service, and all will be printed and added to a memory book. If you'd like to write something, the more specific the better, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org (a Microsoft Word file is best.)
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Hello to everyone who reads Diane’s blog. We are Ruth, Ali and Tony - the Scottish friends who visited Diane last month and had a very wonderful holiday with her.
We wanted to let you know that Diane was taken into hospital (UCSF) last weekend after having stomach flu and a UTI. She was in a lot of pain and very weak. Thankfully the medical staff were able give her sedatives and she’s now much more comfortable.
Diane was desperate to return home and at the end of this week, her wonderful friends organised ‘around the clock’ care. The hospital would only discharge her on condition she had 24/7 care, so a rota was quickly and efficiently created.
Thankfully Diane was able to return home by ambulance yesterday (Friday). The ‘Hospice on the Bay’ offered training to those who are taking care of her. There is a hospital bed in her living room as she can’t lie flat due to difficulty breathing. It’s situated by the two windows and she’s surrounded by flowers.
Her friend Laura wrote the following on Saturday, 15 Oct:
Diane is resting at home, in her last days. She was SOOOOO happy to get back. She is very medicated now and not so lucid much of the time, but she has moments of clarity. Getting home was just one of those clear moments, and it was just 'heaven' for her. I was there, and also two other friends and a Hospice social worker when she got home. When she was settled in her bed, she wanted ice cream, and so we all ate vanilla ice cream together. It was lovely.
We cannot list everyone who has helped to make her final days comfortable, truly loved and cared for spiritually as well as physically and emotionally. We’d be sure to miss someone out.
Her friend Maggie asked if she needed anything and her response was, "your prayers."
Chris in Seattle was able to upload this posting - thank you so very much to everyone. It means a lot to us being so far away to know that our dear friend Diane is being cherished in her final days.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I've always loved "outtakes" the best... the snippets from movies that just weren't quite splash enough to make the big marquee. I'm a show-off. I have been given wondrous gifts and as well simplicities that I wish to share before moving on to next musings.
For those dear friends not from California, my friends here are standing in front of one of the redwoods at Muir Woods here in Marin County. These are REALLY tall trees!
So here's that fun "extras" Gallery: CLICK, my friends!
The soirée was of course a great success; their stay at the villa was mostly wondrous; and we got around the local area, even while I whined about my puffy cheeks (down now every so slightly with the reduced Dex!).
We managed to feast at the three local restaurants I'd eyed, BOCA in Ignacio being one of them. I need to point out that dining out in Scotland is not normally a pleasant occasion. The food is expensive and less than ideal quality... unless you make it to the likes of Boath House out which is, oh, heaven. Trust me. Go there. You'll NEVER forget it. Otherwise, even the likes of the Ramnee in Forres is sorta like a local fish-'n-chip shop with strong pints at the bar. But I gotta tell you - they make some extremely luscious fish-'n-chips!
So we BOCA'd... and we made it to a wholly ordinary Mexican Taqueria on Grant Street here in Novato. We're Californians; we're locals. We do Mexican. NEVER had they before. I think more energy and bug eyes went into the size of the portions than anything else, and with enough homemade guacamole and other various salsas (including a side of molé sauce), we feasted. The two others were a surprise luncheon at the Buckeye Roadhouse in Mill Valley and our last meal at the Harmony Dim Sum in Strawberry. What can I say? YUM!
One of the most delightful excursions was having being given a personalized Garden Tour by Nanette Londeree, my kind landlady Master Gardener. SHE was born gifted. She even brings me vases of cut roses as I'm on her healing path radar - bless her. However, Tony & Ali & Ruthie are no slouches in their respective gardens... but wow. Nanette normally saves her tours for 150-200 people.
We were then treated to delectable cut farmer's market fruit and bubbly pear juice on their patio. What a blessed morning!
"So whatcha up to tomorrow?" piped in her husband Bill. Both retired after decades and now into their various heart paths, Tony responded, "Not sure. Think we'll just explore the area."
"I can take you all up Mt. Tam and then to Muir Woods if you like," he quipped. Now Bill is not only a bit on the shy side but VERY busy. While Nanette's eyes widened slightly with surprise, Tony said, "That would be GREAT!"
And so it was. You can see some of the photos here in the little Gallery. It was AMAZING.
There was also an open-top City bus tour while I had a rest day. I'd loaded 'em up with AAA maps, the Ferry Schedule and my blessings.
I cried and laughed every day with delight to have had my friends come all this way to spend an entire week with me. I give such great thanks to God.
But what's this little black kitten face at the end of the Gallery? You'll have to wait and see, won't you?
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
This glorious variegated rose belongs to my gifted Marin Master Gardener Landlady Nanette, also a Master Rosarian (U.S.). It symbolizes yesterday's hospital visit of Tuesday, September 20th... with intricacy, complexity and ultimately beauty.
I had not a small amount of anxiety for this particular visit. One, it had been a month since my prior checkup jaunt, which I now have learned is not all that unusual. As my blessed friends from Scotland were here in Marin County for a WEEK of joys (woo!), I had not the slightest intention to commit any of that time to getting my blood drawn and having the other oncologist give me the once over before shoo'ing me off. "You seem to be doing well. See you in a few weeks or a month..."
This time I saw Dr. Wolf. Hot shot in the joint, a zillion years of experience. This is the man who had walked into my ICU room in July and given me my "terminal" diagnosis. He's not a wretch - he simply had demonstrated a bedside manner that I would not have chosen. "There, there now" - how many oncologists do YOU know who have that in their back pocket? He and I had gotten off on a really rough footing back in July and he was on my "you keep your distance, buster" list. In fact, since having been sprung on August 3rd, I had not seen him. He had been out walking the forests of Laos. ("I work hard and I play hard."). Dr. Olin - the other oncologist - was a dear. I like dears.
So my anxiety levels were up a bit. I was asking and begging for prayer. I was RECEIVING prayer! And I had asked a friend's mother, a retired cardiac nurse, to accompany me as advocate. Two sets of listening ears in that tiny office were better than one.
The drive in was interminable. Note to self: No more appointments after 8am or much before Noon. I had a page-full of questions. I KNEW he'd be kicking my butt - that was his job, wasn't it? There she is, the little "I won't do chemo this time" refusenik. In spite of prayer, my own and others, my friend the brain was having a field day with me.
Surprise: It was a great visit. Here are the three chunks of good news delivered by Dr. Wolf in a surprisingly warm manner:
1. The Dexamethasone HAS shrunk the main tumor slightly. This brutish oral steroid that has been sending me through a tilt-a-whirl carnival ride every morning since late July has in fact had an effect on the little monsters in my lung/chest area.
2. The fluid in my lungs - both the left working and right "non-working" one - has lessened as noted on a recent CT scan of Sept 2nd.
3. The best news of all for me personally - Dr. Wolf and I are going to experiment with me taking LESS DEX. I almost cried when I heard this news. I had almost begged, frankly. I've been shattered on this steroid, from hand shakes to all-morning disorientation to my bulbous face. We're going from 20mg to 12mg/day. (In the hospital I was on 40/mg day). Twelve!
This morning I cried as I pulled out THREE 4mg/pills rather than my five. Placebo effect or no, I can already feel a difference.
I do not live my life between hospital visits, of course. I pray for the discerning grace to integrate levels of guided wholesomeness. This Friday, for example, after weeks of fiddling with getting an actual prescription for the priviledge, I will meet privately with a licensed physical therapist at the Osher Marin JCC for an evaluation for their hydrotherapy program. No, it ain't free or part of my membership costs! However it'll help get my somewhat resistant heinie back to the gym for gentle and even FUN use. Woo! In the meantime I take walks.
My priest Fr. Thomas is a source of great Godly wisdom. I am reminded to stay "...bigger than my vital statistics," as any fixation on them can rob me of the present which is where CHRIST MY GOD lives. "The present is jam packed with myriad of clouds of witnesses... who are never separate, no matter what the facts are... CHRIST IS THE LAST WORD."
I go back to UCSF on October 18th. In the meantime, I am given the grace to say to my True Great Physician, "Lord, here I am."
Your prayers have blessed me!