Golden Bubbles and Silver Linings

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July 23rd, 2010

There’s something stirring inside of me. Please forgive me if I talk in circles here but something is happening and I’m trying to find the proper place to put a Post-it note on it.

My blogging has been sporadic since I was released from the hospital over a week ago. There isn’t a precise reason why I’ve been more incommunicado than normal, although I think it has to do with an intense re-grounding, re-focusing and no, no, I’m not saying this properly. Sorry. Allow me to start all over.

I began to notice a stirring inside of me on Sunday, the day we spent visiting our daughters at Blue Lake and attending the extraordinary fundraiser you’ve all heard about. My eldest daughter led me through a mind-over-matter exercise after we had lunch that day. It involved golden bubbles coursing through me, gently easing good white blood cells into existence and ushering the naughty ones away. Later that day, “coincidentally,” a fellow survivor wrote a serious note on a silly caricature of me, “Rodney, mind over matter.”

So my daughter’s internal visualization began to take hold and was fertilized by the love and buoyant support surrounding me at that bar. Inward changes fostered by outward buttressing. That’s a potent mix. Wait, I think I’ve got it. Let’s begin this blog a third and final time.

Something wonderful is stirring deep within me. Yes. That’s it. There’s something wonderful within. A routine blood test this week, the kind you sometimes hear about on Grey’s Anatomy, revealed certain levels of certain counts to be twice as high as back when I was “healthy” a year ago. My doctor didn’t believe the test. He thought his machine was broken. A second test told him they were real.

He apparently hasn’t witnessed golden bubbles or karaoke fundraisers or mind messing with matter. My treatment plans are now in a tizzy. No one exactly knows which end is up. A fourth plug of marrow will soon be removed from my hips which have become so comfortable with the procedure that when they see the needle and corkscrew, they just yawn, roll sideways and flip on an old Seinfeld rerun. you look at our year, there hasn’t been a lot to cheer about. And yet there are so many positives that have sprung out of the negatives, as my mother has always told me. Being unemployed gave me a lot of time with the family and allowed me the luxury of heading to the hospital on that Sunday evening in April to have my gall bladder examined. Had there been a job to attend to the following morning, I would’ve waited the extra five or ten minutes for the gut pain to subside, (which it did), then headed off to bed. That Rodney guy wouldn’t have found out his white blood cells were dangerously low. Being unemployed also presented me with the opportunity to teach some college classes, something I always thought I’d be good at. Turns out, I was mostly right about that.

The car accident which totaled our van while Marci waited at the stoplight turned positive when it took our 12-year-old van with 180,000 miles and replaced it with a 10-year-old van with only 80,000 miles.

The money stolen from our locked safe in Paris was reimbursed by the hotel management. And it gave us a chance to speak with the gendarmes, Interpol and feel like we were part of any given spy film from the past decade.

The Detroit Daily Press closing after only five days saved me mountains of headaches due to extreme underfunding. And honestly, the blog material and sympathy was incredible.

And as Marci said, after nudging me in bed just now, “Your leukemia is bringing out the best in people.” She’s right. Armies of friends and strangers are committing acts of such brazen kindness, it almost feels illegal to enjoy the fruits of their offerings. Even though our family is insured, people still muscle their way to the front of the line and offer up newer and more creative ways to help out.

My cousin Chris explained that people need to do good and I am giving them the opportunity to do so. As I bumble through this cancer experience I sometimes think — but only for a moment — that might be part of my role. No, I’m not so arrogant as to imply it’s because of my disease that all my friends are being awesome. That doesn’t explain it. But try this T-shirt on for size; by swallowing my pride and allowing others to do nice things, I am letting a greater good metastasize around me. Each one of you does good every day. Just seeing it all happen in one confined location is simply astounding.

Something is stirring outside of me now.


Hey kids, don’t forget the incredible opportunity to purchase vintage or fresh photos from Detroit-area photographers during this print sale sponsored by The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. Whether it’s Babe Ruth or Barack Obama, these images make me proud to be part of a superb Detroit photo legacy.

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