Thursday, November 12, 2020

It feels like they're always circling

Cancer and the coronavirus remind me of the Jimmy Buffett song "Fins." They're circling, honey. They're schooling around.

My art director has cancer. There's a 2x2 cm mass in her breast, making it Stage 2A. It's growing quickly, but hasn't spread to her lymph nodes. I am heartened by her oncologist's interest in preserving as much of her breast as possible. That's preferable to frantic concern about saving her life, isn't it? Plus, we have very good insurance through our employer, so she's being treated in a hospital with a national reputation for cancer care. She is otherwise healthy, has the enthusiastic support of her lover, and there's no reason not to believe that, after chemotherapy and a lumpectomy, she won't be OK. 

But still, it's disturbing. In the last decade, my friends Ed, Barb and Kathleen have all battled cancer. As have Ed's daughter and Barb's husband. (He died from it.) So I'm afraid of cancer. 

Illinois is experiencing a spike in corona virus cases. So far this month -- and it's only the 12th -- my immediate community has 43 reported cases. That's more than 3 cases a day. Right here. Not in all of Chicago or all of Illinois. Just here in my neighborhood. My local library just emailed me that they are closed until 11/19 because an employee tested positive. So I'm afraid of covid.

I'm still going to Key West for Christmas because, frankly, I'm more worried about the asswipes who flout the mask mandate at my neighborhood Target than I am flying. I was impressed last month when I went through both ORD and GRR. Travelers complied with masks and distancing, maybe because if they didn't they couldn't fly. I'm not interested in what's in my fellow man's heart, though. I just want to stay safe.

I spoke to Henry about this yesterday. I told him that this year, our holiday celebration would be different. I am NOT going to Christmas Eve service with him. I am not going indoors with a group of people who will be singing hymns.* I am not eating in restaurants with him and his friends. I asked him instead to explore outdoor, open spaces -- like parks, beaches and piers -- where we can eat lunch every day. I told him I envision spending a few hours every day picnicing, and that's it. No more spending days into evening together, dining and drinking and behaving like tourists. The important thing is that we spend a few hours a day together in safety. Because  of his brain injury, I'll remind him of it again before my trip.

I am trying to maintain my perspective. Most people in Key West, just as most people here, do not have covid. On the other hand, no one plans on contracting this disease. So I insist on being careful.

Fins to the left, fins to the right.

*My church still isn't meeting live, so I can worship with my own congregation from my phone.



  1. We are watching church from home. We ate at a restaurant the other day. It was a large place, limited seating high ceilings and under a strict mask policy if you leave your table. We were a large a party so that they had us in the back. Other than that, we mostly eat take out or eat outside. My aunt is fighting breast cancer.

  2. So Maine has gone from the least cases in the nation to the fastest growing number of cases in the nation. :( People got complacent. I'm still vigilant, though. And when I'm at school, I don't leave my room except for a potty break but you better believe I sanitize the heck out of it. And no outside visitors--no students who aren't in my classes are allowed in. It breaks my heart but it would break my heart even more if I infected my parents.

  3. We are averaging about 18 cases a day here now, in a county of 33,000 people. That doesn't seem like a lot but it adds up. My brother's mother-in-law died from it a few weeks ago and that really shook me up. She was the 5th person I know who has died from Covid, but the only one I'd actually had dinner with.