In a few hours I will be at the Oncology Center undergoing Chemo Round Four of the six prescribed for me. Since this journey into my new normal began in early March, the love of my two sons for me--Lamont on the left and Leland on the right in this photo that I took on January 7, 2012, one year to the day after my little Mama had died--has been the place to go in my mind, in my heart, and in person whenever I needed to be sheltered from the reality of my new normal. And that's important to me.
These two little boys who have grown into men who comfortably draw me in physically, up against their chests, holding me tight with their strong arms, murmuring their love for me until we let go and smile at each other before going in for one more hug before we part. Lamont and Leland, their father's two boys. I love them so. And that's important to me.
Lamont and Leland who have looked at me with their beautiful eyes and smiled at my bald head and my thinning eyebrows and eyelashes and answered me in a most believable way when asked. Told me that I look fine, that I look good, that that hat doesn't work. Told me so that I know I still look like their Mom to them, no matter what. And that's important to me.
Lamont and Leland who have taken my grocery lists to Fred Meyer, called or texted me photos from there to make certain the right items ended up in the cart. Since late June, they each have even endured a slow-moving visit to Fred Meyer when I felt like I needed to go with them, to hold onto the grocery cart and shop for some new earrings in addition to grocery staples and cravings for me. And that's important to me.
Lamont and Leland who have walked with me back and forth to the Blue Diamond for food and fellowship or have taken me in their cars to satisfy other food cravings to Killer Burger or Burgerville or Cha Cha Cha or Bijou Cafe or 3 Doors Down Cafe for those same reasons. Sometimes to places to be together out and about for a good time. So that I could enjoy riding along, looking out the window, feeling the fine Portland breeze, being out of my apartment and with one or both of them. And that's important to me.
Lamont and Leland, who with beloved friends, took my place in April when my Portland Trail Blazers played two home games in the first round of the NBA Finals, one loss, one win. Whichever son was at the game texted me photos of the good time had by all in that huge crowd of hopeful fans--the other son watched with me at home on TV. Those same sons and beloved friends took my place at a Portland Thorns NWSL soccer victory in August (a Portland Trail Blazer season ticket holder perk) and texted me fine photos from there, too. And that's important to me.
Lamont and Leland who have helped rein in my occasional ramblings and/or wonderings about not only the cancer, but also the two surgeries when the cancer quickly came back two months after we thought it was all gone, the chemo, the upcoming radiation, the slight changes in my currently part time work schedule and my successfully riding the bus and streetcar there and back, but also about my dealings with a short term disability insurance employee when I finally revealed to them her total ineptitude* once I got over the shock of it and could spell it out to them. And that's important to me.
Lamont and Leland, who as far as I can tell have believed me from the get-go when I have said that this cancer is not going to kill me; that my expectation is to be cured, that my positive attitude is as great a weapon as the medical ones I readily subject myself to endure. The cancer has changed my life, sure, but I'm in treatment for the cure. And that is most important to me.
Merriam-Webster says this about shelter, a position or the state of being covered and protected. I say this about shelter, that my sons provide it for me as if it were second nature, about which Merriam Webster says this, an acquired deeply ingrained habit or skill. Thank you, Lamont and Leland, for becoming the men you are today, who wear your second nature so lovingly.
While my City Daily Photo Theme Day post focuses on my sons, I shall not leave out for a single second the cover and protection in my new normal provided by each of you who continue to pray for me, for us, for my caregivers. I am grateful for your love and concern from afar as well as for the help provided by those of you in Portland. I love y'all and and thankful for y'all.
*She had my claim connected to the wrong policy the whole time and incorrectly told me that my going back to work part time would not impact the receipt of my short term disability benefits. Thankfully, she got it explained to her about the mess she was making in time to correct it before I ended up owing money to the short term disability insurance company from benefits she might have approved and released in error.