One of my favorite quotes from Madeleine L’ Engle reads: “The real question is…not if you believe in unicorns…but do they believe in you?”
I think the greatest accomplishment we humans can obtain (during our lifetime) is never letting the wonder of the child within us disappear from our lives. This is the part of us who still loves Christmas, the first snowflakes on the tongue, Santa’s arrival at the end of each Thanksgiving Macy’s Day Parade, snuggling with grandchildren, and planting the seeds of imagination in each of them… to last a lifetime.
Gloria Houston, my friend and beloved children’s author, sent out an update on her health a couple of days ago and my admiration for this extraordinary woman intensified with each sentence….with each health challenge she has and continues to face.
L”Engle says: “We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are.”
Gloria exemplifies this quote perfectly. When she first told me about this rare cancer (over a year ago) she said that no one to date has survived it…so it is up to her to be the first one to do so. Unicorns still believe in Gloria.
I will share with you her message she sent to those who have contacted her and understand her journey she is on…she wants us to fully understand the challenges she is facing but also her renewed determination to overcome it.
Thank you for your concern, prayers and positive energy over the past months I have neglected to communicate. I have spent more time in hospital than out during that time, with side effects, infections and other delights of cancer treatment. I am “home” at the marsh house and hope to be here through the holidays.
I had the side effects of two chemo treatments at one time, but they were necessary. I had localized chemo to the largest tumor in my liver, which was successful in destroying that beastie. I also started a systemic chemo which has shown some success. I must finish that protocol before we begin the newly FDA approved drug with the highest success rate.
We have been waiting a year for this one, Yondelis, with the greatest success in treating all soft tissue Sarcomas- it has been approved for use by the FDA for leiomyosarcoma! While waiting for that approval, we started a round of another chemo with some success with leiomyo. . . It was developed for one specific type of breast cancer, but has worked for leiomyo. . .often enough for us to try it.
Spent most of September and part of October in hospital with Sepsis and edema, but I’m “home” again, working hard to build myself back to strength to fight the beasties with all I have. I survived the Sepsis with numerous antibiotics and was on my way home when the most incompetent doctor in my experience continued to feed me IV’s of fluid until my legs would not bend, I had trouble breathing and no food would go down.
The edema specialist told me that I was filled with water! I am overcoming that situation–slowly–albeit angry that it happened. It cost me an extra week in hospital and numerous epensive tests to prove that I do not have congestive heart failure! Right now, I’m praying that no permanent damage to my body was done. Medicare is investigating the situation.
My daughters want to bring me to NC to see the new production of Virginia Satcher’s adaptation of The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by the Parkway Playhouse in Burnsville. I have seen this excellent adaptation by large theatre organizations twice, so, at this point, I don’t want to face the cold, especially now that my newly black hair went down the drain, and I am again bald.
All recent events have made me very fatigued; too tired to undertake the trip. If I could breathe and fly, I would be able to attend perhaps…
The performances are on Friday, December 4 evening performance, Saturday evening performance, and Sunday performance at 2 or 3 pm. I worked with Virginia on accuracy for the culture and the time to avoid negative stereotypes. I hope that you will be able to attend for me.
There is little more to tell you, except that I’m still here going into the fifth year since the first symptoms appeared in my right arm. This for a cancer which has a survival rate of only a few months as the goal.
*I will continue this fight even when there is no hope, if that occurs.
Have a wonderful Holiday Season, whatever you celebrate!
With gratitude, love and all blessings to each of you,
I am going to write Gloria and tell her that I am giving her a nickname “True Grit Gloria.” This amazing woman continues to believe in the power of God and the magic of unicorns.
- I always thought in the story (The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree) that the mother was the real heroine throughout….keeping the farm going, food on the table…while her husband was away in France fighting during WWI.
- And then on the night before Christmas Eve the mother awakens little Ruthie….With only a hatchet and a lantern…they trudge to the top of Grandfather Mountain to find the perfect Christmas tree and deliver it to the church right before sunrise on Christmas Eve. Amazing feat….If anyone can conquer this “beastie” my bet is on Gloria!
So until tomorrow….Father give Gloria and all Your Children the strength to fight the tough adversaries in life when “we have to be braver than we think….and be reminded to “be more than we think we are.”
“Today is my favorite day.” Winnie the Pooh