Dreaming Beyond Cancer

Watercolor by Catherine Twomey
Dreaming Ocean

I had to get out the paints this morning to get down a dream vision. What a contrast my dreams have been lately to those before September 18, when kidney cancer was still a part of my husband's body. From dark and unsettling to calm, beautiful, light and well, dreamy - I much prefer the most recent dreams.

This is a watercolor on Arches watercolor paper. The swelling wave behind the breaking one brings an anticipatory tension to the seascape. It's difficult to describe the sense of relief we carry today, and how previously "critical" problems have been minimized.

And then the bomb dropped....

Baseball Flying

Football Flying

Well it's been a while since I've been able (or wanted to) post. I spent the start to middle of the summer working on a long-awaited project: a horse sculpture project that I will eventually launch on a crowd funding site. I've also been taking a ceramics class. Then, another unexpected bomb dropped.

Three weeks ago my husband called from where he's working in Ohio, starting out with: "I've had a really bad day." That was the understatement of a very up and down year. He'd experienced some intestinal pain, and needed to see a doctor. Not yet having a GP in Ohio, he was sent to an ER. That happenstance probably saved his life.

A CT scan revealed a minor intestinal infection. It also showed a 4 cm probably malignant tumor on his right kidney.

Fortunately, I have friends in Cleveland with deep medical backgrounds. They referred us to the Director of Oncology/Nephrology at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. If my husband was going to have to have cancer, this was the best place to be: they perform over 4,000 of such surgeries a year, and it was caught early. A very unlucky event just became manageable.

We are now two days out from surgery. When I arrived here in Ohio with the dogs, I was not only in shock, but uncertain about what to do with the three weeks we had to wait until surgery. Rick lives in what I fondly refer to as a man-cave, so to cheer us both up I painted the above baseball and football now proudly hanging in his otherwise nondescript house. My brother arrives tomorrow and from there, the rest is anyone's guess. Oh, yes - there's a well-armed friend staying at the house until this is over. And a hungry mama bear in the neighborhood as well, just for added security.

A 90% cure rate isn't a bad deal, however, so I'm pulling for this all to be just a rough, vivid, past memory that jolted us to the reality that no one lives forever. Please think good thoughts. We have no other choice.