January 7, 2015. We have come out on the other side of winter solstice, and know that the hours of daylight are lengthening, though we can’t feel it quite yet. The CMV counts are down to “8” copies of the virus and the symptoms that raged through me in November and early December are gone. Not forgotten, certainly… but the will to be healthy is strong and I make it my business to build a wall between that time and this time.
I spent a lot of time with my journal this year, and it reflects my travels to Alaska, around the islands, and to Portland –along with notations from visits to the doctor: “CMV numbers up, start back on gancyclovir”, “Heart effusion size is reducing”, “endoscopy shows moderate inflammation”, “lymphocytes up”, “anemia has returned”, kidneys spilling protein” and so on. In between I write notes from Naturalist classes, prescriptions to myself (more exercise! Less sugar! Etc), and references to adoptive cell therapy, which is the latest idea the SCCA is suggesting—that I go to Houston and get a T-cell CMV-specific infusion to help my body fight this pervasive side effect of losing my immune system.
At the end of the 2014, I re-read this faithful journal. And once again, the analogy to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings seems to fit. Put aside any critic’s voice about the movies…that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about actually being the Hobbit, whether Frodo or Bilbo, though Frodo’s journey seems closer to mine. Loving the simple joys of life and home, pulled out into a dark and dangerous passage through threatening landscapes, longing for the beauty and comforts of the Shire, but going forth because it’s the only thing that can be done. And triumphing. The littlest being in Middle Earth, triumphs. Saves the whole kingdom, really. For me, the kingdom of Shann Weston was in grave jeopardy. The little Hobbit soul triumphed.
And now, like both Hobbits, I recount my adventures and look back on the journey and see the unlikely fighter that hazarded the heat of many battles. The Hobbit is a survivor. When I looked back on November’s sickness, I wrote “The Hobbit falls down the long scary ridge of loose rock. And it is a hard hike back up. I am still not all the way up at the top but I am on firm ground, walking by myself.” When I think of my 64 amazing years on earth, I think this episode is small, compared to that.
I see all the ways now that this illness mended and healed as well as tore through and damaged my life. So much of this was because of Steve, Mariya and Elena and my friends. Yes, I had my companions through the dark landscape, like Frodo. No one could do it by themselves.
It is time. Before anything else happens, we are off. Like thieves in the night, I said before. Off we go to Mexico tomorrow! We had a wonderful Christmas with the family and many walks and visits with friends. But the dark, cold days are rough on this still healing body. So much time inside. We are infinitely pleased to be able to go, even on a shortened timeframe. To sit in the heat and soak up its curative energy, walk on the beach along the magnificent ocean, and watch sunsets with friends, that’s what I most definitely need now, after nearly two years of the fight, and way too many doctor visits. I love the elemental life—close contact with the earth and sky—and Mexico is the expert in giving me that.