Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Wow, your support is tangibly cosy.  I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

I feel that I did some of my very best work on Tuesday, and it sounds like some of you agree.  The best is all I can strive to do, you know?  No point stressing about it now; instead I'll spend energy being proud of what I've accomplished to this point.  And my accomplishments and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Ian for all of his love and support, and especially for pausing his career to raise our kids.  Sometimes that seems to be the non-military equivalent of the ultimate sacrifice.  I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished, both with our kids and in his own life.  (I love being juxtaposed with you, babe--for nearly 10 years now, boo-ya!)

The ultimate juxtaposition, I think, was interviewing for a permanent Microbiologist position yesterday flanked by 3 hours of hard chemotherapy today.  Talk about a phase change; sublimation to be exact.  Sublimation is the phase change from a solid to a gas, like when steam rises off of the now-frozen Lake Mendota in Madison.  I think that sublimation is the appropriate analogy because I felt solid yesterday in my knowledge, abilities, and sense of self.  Diamond solid.  I made good conversation with people.  I articulated scientific points about microbial ecology, antibiotic resistance, and phage diversity.  I ate two nice meals with colleagues.  And now today, as all of those drugs begin coursing through my system, this solid feeling is lifting.  All of these things that I could do so well yesterday are floating up into the atmosphere.  Tonight I couldn't even set the table without forgetting something with every trip.  Must have taken me five trips.  Anyway, it was tempting to posit that "melting" was a better analogy than "sublimation", because I could imagine the chemo drugs washing and eroding my solid self, but I definitely feel like my solid self breaks away into floating pieces.  And sublimation is a much less ordinary process than melting, and what happens to me is far from ordinary.  The good news is that when the floating particles cool off, they return to me for a fleeting moment until the next round of chemo.

As long as we are juxtaposing, let's go for "chemotherapy" and "IV drug use" with a little help from the band U2.  The other day I listened to one of my favorite classic albums, The Joshua Tree by U2.  My favorite song on that album has always been "Running to Stand Still" because it is musically very interesting and beautiful.  The lyrics are poignant, a unique perspective on heroin addition, and evoke empathy despite my inability to relate.  However, this was my first time listening to it from the perspective of a person undergoing chemotherapy treatment.  Oh my, it is now my lovely lullaby to help me make peace with what I am going through.  There might seem to be a few incongruencies, but I do think that there has been at least one day during which I could relate to any given line, some more frequently than others.    

Want to hear the song?  Click here.  I'll leave you with the lyrics below.

And so she woke up 
Woke up from where she was 
Lying still 
Said I gotta do something 
About where we're going 

Step on a steam train 
Step out of the driving rain, maybe 
Run from the darkness in the night 
Singing Ha, Ah La La La De Day 
Ah La La La De Day 
Ah La La De Day 

Sweet the sin 
Bitter taste in my mouth 
I see seven towers 
But I only see one way out 

You got to cry without weeping 
Talk without speaking 
Scream without raising your voice 

You know I took the poison 
From the poison stream 
Then I floated out of here 
Singing...Ha La La La De Day 
Ha La La La De Day 
Ha La La De Day 

She runs through the streets 
With her eyes painted red 
Under black belly of cloud in the rain 
In through a doorway she brings me 
White gold and pearls stolen from the sea 
She is raging 
She is raging 
And the storm blows up in her eyes 
She will... 

Suffer the needle chill 
She is running to stand 



  1. I knew you would blow them away!

  2. Is juxtapose a weighty word? The babes and I are rocking out to U2 this morning per your suggestion. Hang in there today!

  3. It most certainly is a weighty word. Nicely done!