Group Writing: A Day to Begin Anew

 

This week has been a turning point for me. And I’m using this day to mark an important transition.

I am declaring myself recovered. I feel free. What does that mean?

For one, I made my morning walk with John Yoo, Richard Epstein, and Troy Senik—well, at least listening to their podcast. I’ve decided that this walk is not part of a temporary routine that I began on my road to recovery, but a new stage of this time of my life. I don’t walk quite as far as I used to, nor as fast, but I do walk 30 minutes. And I still wear a hat to cover my nearly bald pate. But I feel fully myself and strong. And it’s a good time to be out, gliding through the silence, waving at other early walking souls.

After a shower, I look at myself in the mirror. Silvery feathers on my head glow back at me. I run my hand a couple of times through the unfamiliar softness. It feels good, vibrant. Soon I will walk out my front door bareheaded. No hats or scarves. And then I’ll enjoy seeing eyebrows and eyelashes in the mirror, springing up on their own.

At breakfast, I only have a small number of pills to take. No more supplements lined up on the counter with morning and night soldiers to fight off potential enemies. And then I make up my mixture of Kashi cereal and cream of wheat and almond milk, heated together in the microwave, adding pieces of fresh peach; Jerry takes a half of the peach, and I take the other half. I’m so glad that I can now eat a normal serving of almost everything. I can taste it. And it tastes so good.

Then I read posts on Ricochet. And I write, or try to, hoping to be inspired by some scrap of news or an insight. For some odd reason, my posts seem to be getting more attention. Maybe people feel sorry for me. Maybe my writing has changed. Maybe I’ve changed. Maybe it’s just my imagination. But that feels good, too.

I will work out this coming Wednesday as usual. But it will be my last time with my trainer. She’s taught me well. We’ve worked on my upper and lower body. I feel so much stronger. But it’s time to go solo. And it feels like just the right time.

This afternoon I will talk with my Torah study partner. She knows I’m doing well. Lately, we’ve found much to laugh about, usually sharing stories of our mishaps. It’s fun to talk about mistakes, tease each other, express gratitude for life. And talk Torah.

The residue of recovery lingers. Peripheral neuropathy has reduced but is still present. There’s swelling in my legs and feet, but that is going down. As if life is reminding me that I’m getting older and that even an imperfect recovery is more than enough for now. I smile at that thought.

And I enjoy a deep breath and settle into gratitude.

Soon my hair will grow out enough to qualify as a pixie cut; my eyebrows will look back at me and my eyelashes will flutter. I will graduate from my peach wine to zinfandel. I will splurge on a rich dessert. I will sleep better and more deeply.

Life is good.

[photo by Arek Adeoye at unsplash.com]

Published in Group Writing
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 27 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    When I have recovered from surgery a couple of times, I have been filled with awe for the miracle of healing. Progress in and of itself is inspiring and energizing. :-) 

    It’s wonderful to read this. I am so happy for you, and I’m grateful you told this story over the past few months because it will give courage to others facing similar trials. 

    Time to have some unfettered fun. :-) 

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    MarciN (View Comment):

    When I have recovered from surgery a couple of times, I have been filled with awe for the miracle of healing. Progress in and of itself is inspiring and energizing. :-)

    It’s wonderful to read this. I am so happy for you, and I’m grateful you told this story over the past few months because it will give courage to others facing similar trials.

    Time to have some unfettered fun. :-)

    Thanks, Marci, for all your points! It does seem like healing is truly a miracle. And I am going to have some fun!

    • #2
  3. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Thanks, Susan, for your recent posts.  

    My daughter is now going through what you went through.   She just finished with her final chemo (which knocked her out each time) and her hair is completely gone.  Radiation starts in a week or so.  She is not quite brave enough to go out hatless.  

    My wife Marie had breast cancer about fifteen years ago.  There came a time in her recovery that she was brave enough to go about without a hat.  It wasn’t easy.  The first time she showed up at a women’s meeting bald, it was a shock to everyone, but it wasn’t long before everyone was used to a bald Marie, and from then on, in a good-natured sort of way, they laughed at her bald pate. 

    I’m happy you’re in a recovery mode. 

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    God bless you, Susan.

    • #4
  5. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    That was really good to read. Glad you’re back.

    The most important part of being of mature years is that one finally has enough perspective or distance from all the bad stuff to use them to deepen appreciation and affirmation for everything else.  A pain-free walk on a beautiful day is instinctively enjoyed by little kids and old geezers like me but often missed by those in the middle of life, absorbed in things that seem more important than they are. And oldsters are far more conscious of the gift than the little ones even though we share the same enjoyment.

    • #5
  6. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Thank you for the joyful news, Susan. Prayer works!

    • #6
  7. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Thanks, Susan, for your recent posts.

    My daughter is now going through what you went through. She just finished with her final chemo (which knocked her out each time) and her hair is completely gone. Radiation starts in a week or so. She is not quite brave enough to go out hatless.

    My wife Marie had breast cancer about fifteen years ago. There came a time in her recovery that she was brave enough to go about without a hat. It wasn’t easy. The first time she showed up at a women’s meeting bald, it was a shock to everyone, but it wasn’t long before everyone was used to a bald Marie, and from then on, in a good-natured sort of way, they laughed at her bald pate.

    I’m happy you’re in a recovery mode.

    Thanks so much for commenting, @kentforrester. That could be a tough journey for your daughter, having to go through radiation, too. Fortunately I didn’t need radiation. And good for Marie! Around the house I’m not wearing any headcovering (I actually said I’m not wearing anything, and I wasn’t about to try to explain that!), and I’m feeling like hatless outside is not far off. I think Jerry should have a say about that, and at the moment, I think he’d say it’s up to me.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    That was really good to read. Glad you’re back.

    The most important part of being of mature years is that one finally has enough perspective or distance from all the bad stuff to use them to deepen appreciation and affirmation for everything else. A pain-free walk on a beautiful day is instinctively enjoyed by little kids and old geezers like me but often missed by those in the middle of life, absorbed in things that seem more important than they are. And oldsters are far more conscious of the gift than the little ones even though we share the same enjoyment.

    I hesitated to write this post at first, @oldbathos, because my day was going to seem so ordinary, so boring. But as you suggest, it is appreciating those moments deeply–the taste of a fresh peach, the silence on my walk, exchanged smiles and waves with other walkers. And BTW, you could have said, “old geezers like US.” I’m proud of my geezerhood!

    I don’t want to paint my journey as all sunshine. There have been many down moments and struggles. But I work hard to come out on top. Thanks for your kind words.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    I remember the first time you and your wife drank to me, @oldphil. Thanks so much.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Thank you for the joyful news, Susan. Prayer works!

    I’m absolutely convinced they do work, and every day I express gratitude in my prayers for others and those who have prayed for me!

    • #11
  12. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Yay!  Hope to see you and Jerry at a Hillsdale function soon.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    Yay! Hope to see you and Jerry at a Hillsdale function soon.

    Unfortunately we won’t be going to the next one, but maybe later!

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: I am declaring myself recovered. I feel free.

    Yay!

    • #14
  15. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: I am declaring myself recovered. I feel free.

    Yay!

    Ditto. Declaration is an important act.

    • #15
  16. WiesbadenJake Coolidge
    WiesbadenJake
    @WiesbadenJake

    Susan, I am so happy for you! Though I have found all your writing compelling, your writings about cancer have been so meaningful to me. I have experienced infusion chemo first hand (would not wish it on anyone). The after-effects are difficult for anyone who has not been through it. And yet, we live–it was worth it all. Normalcy takes on a refreshing beauty that is difficult to explain to others. Thank you so much for sharing… 

    • #16
  17. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Dear Susan, first off, I was so struck by the photo sent by Old Phil with the toast, I started to send you one of mine–the fact that I have far too many and it was difficult to pick just one may be a topic for another day. However, upon reflection, it seemed to me that a more appropriate way to express the joy you must be feeling right now is that of a beautiful sunrise over Santa Rosa bay. I hope you find in it the hope and anticipation of much better days to come it is meant to convey!

    My Lady and I have reason to have real understanding of what you have been through, as she underwent infusion chemo – plus many, many radiation sessions. This was a few years ago and at her her recent visit to the oncologist she got a clean bill of health report.. Thank God. We sure did hoist more than one glass that evening! 

    We send our very best wishes for your continuing recovery and for many, many more happy and healthy sunrises!

    Sincerely, Jim and Judi

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Dear Susan, first off, I was so struck by the photo sent by Old Phil with the toast, I started to send you one of mine–the fact that I have far too many and it was difficult to pick just one may be a topic for another day. However, upon reflection, it seemed to me that a more appropriate way to express the joy you must be feeling right now is that of a beautiful sunrise over Santa Rosa bay. I hope you find in it the hope and anticipation of much better days to come it is meant to convey!

    My Lady and I have reason to have real understanding of what you have been through, as she underwent infusion chemo – plus many, many radiation sessions. This was a few years ago and at her her recent visit to the oncologist she got a clean bill of health report.. Thank God. We sure did hoist more than one glass that evening!

    We send our very best wishes for your continuing recovery and for many, many more happy and healthy sunrises!

    Sincerely, Jim and Judi

    Such a beautiful, moving photo, Jim. And I’m delighted to learn your wife’s news! Here’s to many more happy years for all of us!

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    WiesbadenJake (View Comment):

    Susan, I am so happy for you! Though I have found all your writing compelling, your writings about cancer have been so meaningful to me. I have experienced infusion chemo first hand (would not wish it on anyone). The after-effects are difficult for anyone who has not been through it. And yet, we live–it was worth it all. Normalcy takes on a refreshing beauty that is difficult to explain to others. Thank you so much for sharing…

    And thanks to you for following my journey and for your kind words, @wiesbadenjake.

    • #19
  20. Troy Senik Contributor
    Troy Senik
    @TroySenik

    A beautiful post … and honored to take the morning walk with you. We don’t deserve company that good.

    • #20
  21. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    This wonderful reflection on recovery from serious illness is part of our Group Writing Series under the August 2021 Group Writing Theme: “A day in the life.” Stop by to sign up for the August theme: “A day in the life.”

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #21
  22. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    Once you have moved on from the peach wine to the real stuff, celebrate with your husband, turn your TV, or other music listening device, to Pandora and set it to a channel that plays the music of your youth, (60s folk I am guessing) and start trying to one up each other about what you remember about that song, artist or moment in time and use an internet search engine to prove that both of you are wrong.

    Our memories are all we are left with except for that damn internet. It is likely to be both humbling and joyfull.

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Once you have moved on from the peach wine to the real stuff, celebrate with your husband, turn your TV, or other music listening device, to Pandora and set it to a channel that plays the music of your youth, (60s folk I am guessing) and start trying to one up each other about what you remember about that song, artist or moment in time and use an internet search engine to prove that both of you are wrong.

    Our memories are all we are left with except for that damn internet. It is likely to be both humbling and joyfull.

    Great suggestion, @southernpessimist! Thanks.

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Troy Senik (View Comment):

    A beautiful post … and honored to take the morning walk with you. We don’t deserve company that good.

    Thanks for the kind words, @troysenik.

    • #24
  25. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    What lovely writing and what great news. I’m so happy for you. Congratulations. It’s also nice to hear a positive story. Everything in the news is such a downer. 

    • #25
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Manny (View Comment):

    What lovely writing and what great news. I’m so happy for you. Congratulations. It’s also nice to hear a positive story. Everything in the news is such a downer.

    Thanks on all counts, Manny. These are certainly sad times.

    • #26
  27. Dominique Prynne Member
    Dominique Prynne
    @DominiquePrynne

    The best update!  Joy! Joy! Joy!  

     

    • #27