Thursday, April 26, 2012

Almost Home

On the Overseas Highway, again
Every time I face a follow-up test or examination for the cancer that side-railed my life for several years, I work my way into a terrible funk, a deep, dark and midnight blue place just this side of true depression. I’m just too overall happy to go all the way to official depression anymore. So I call a funk the blues. As in “How are you, June?” “I’m nursing a case of the blues.” Nobody tries to talk you out of that because the blues is perfectly acceptable, pure as the driven, spirit-dampening rain that began my decline a week or so back. It’s OK to be blue once in a while. It’s understandable, particularly when facing a fork in the road, which is how I view follow-up exams related to my recovery from cancer.
Tina Dykes makes beautiful jewelry and sells it at the artists co-op, the Key Largo Art Gallery
    Monday we drove to Miami to see Dr. David Arnold, the guy who has treated my throat cancer from the very first biopsy through radiation, chemo, a relapse and second tumor, surgery, more chemo, baldness, skinniness, and recovery. I wish I’d taken photos of myself at every visit, as they would tell the story of my cancer adventure far better than mere words can. Cancer, in the beginning stages, doesn’t make you sick. The things they do to chase it away is what makes you sick.    
At Mile Marker 103 you need a con leche!!
I love these lamps at the Community Thrift Shop. I would have bought them, but they were too kitschy for Michael.
Pon, at Num Thai. Order the Spider Roll and eat your fears.
    Being on the road to Miami for that check-up with the Big Guy, Dr. Arnold, the make-it or break-it guy with the power to send you forth into your lovely life, disease free and unbound, or back home in despair, to plan for another dreaded biopsy, you sweat. As Michael and I know all too well, things can go either way when Dr. Arnold laces that tube into the nostril, down into the throat and into those wet, mucusy places where cancer once found a foothold.
At the Key Largo Gallery.  I think I lost my virginity in this bus!
    The news is good. Perfect. I am well, my mucus membranes intact, pink and vibrant. No lumps to worry over. No bumps to keep me awake at night. I am healed. And, as everybody knows, the further away from cancer you get, the better your chances of never having it again become. You’re never home free, but no one ever is, right?
    The good news means I can sleep again, and, in a Miami hotel, I do, catching up on many nights of lost sleep, and many days of too-little-sleep fatigue. I dream of the ribbon of life, un-spooling before me, no end in sight. Michael is much too kind to wake me from my celebratory slumber. I awaken at last hungry as a bear, just out of hibernation. Feed me!
The Juice House serves fabulous Cuban food, too.
    On the drive home, we feel as if we’ve won the lottery. Michael is buoyant. We take a long, lovely layover in Central Plaza, my favorite strip mall, at Mile Marker 103. While he sits in the car, drinking cafe con leche, listening for one of his songs on the satellite radio, I explore.
    Back on the road, I take a turn driving, and the Overseas Highway is so broad and sparklingly beautiful in the sun I ask Michael to take a picture. Of what? he asks. Of the open road, I say. Of how it looks when you’re nearing Big Pine Key, getting closer to Key West, when your heart is bursting with joy, when you’re well again.


  1. Great news, June!! Loved reading these words........

  2. Tina (the other one)April 26, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    How do you spell RELIEF?

  3. Lovely lovely. And now I'm HUNGRY!!!

  4. Thank you so much for stopping by the Key Largo Art Gallery. I hope your visit was pleasant and full of color! I'm glad you enjoyed my VW bus painting, they always bring back great memories and thanks so much for sharing it. Please visit us again. Have a great day!


    Teresa Kelley
    Key Largo Art Gallery