Kneeling at the Side of a Stingray Pool

I have a bit of a complicated relationship with God these days. And by “these days,” I suppose I actually mean “my entire adult life.” My pendulum swings widely, and unpredictably, between hook-line-and-sinker-for-Jesus and not-at-all-sure-I-buy-any-of-this-like-at-all.

Interestingly enough, I tend to have my most spiritual (I guess that’s the right word) experiences when I’m in full-on skeptic mode. Take, for instance, my recent trip to the St. Louis Zoo.

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On Belonging

Estes Epic

Okay, look: I’m not the most athletic person in the world, okay? But last year, my favorite friend did this unbelievably difficult kayak race called the MR340, which inspired me to put myself through some sort of physical challenge. (Besides eating too many donuts, which would be a more typical Launa-inspired physical challenge.) (I’m not wrong, am I, Launa?)

ANYWAY.

I can’t run (joints), I don’t enjoy biking (butt), and I didn’t want to kayak (dark water scares me). So, I registered myself for this 12-hour walk in Minneapolis, set a goal to do 36 miles in 12 hours, and started training. That goal sounded bonkers to me at first, but sooner than expected I was doing 20-mile walks in a little more than 5 hours. I was confident I’d do well.

But then my dad’s stem cell transplant interrupted my training schedule and preempted my trip to Minnesota. (Which is fine, because I’d choose a life-saving medical procedure over a stupid race any day of the week.) So, I set out to find an alternate Hard Thing. And I found The Estes Epic.

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Day Plus 33

So, in general, I’m trying not to eat junk*, but after Dad’s appointment with the oncologist today, I decided a celebration was in order and I picked up a dozen sugar bombs from the best donut shop on the planet: Donut Drive-In. (If you’re from St. Louis and you’re about to argue with me about World’s Fair, that means you probably haven’t actually tried Donut Drive-In, so shhhhhh.)

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Day Plus Six

Big news: Dad got his last dose of chemotherapy today. And Jessica, today’s nurse, declared it to be his last dose ever. I love the optimism. There’s just so much damn hope in that place. It’s contagious, and I adore them all so much.

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Day Plus Two

Since we’re basically in wait-and-see mode, I likely won’t post every day. Soooo, assume no news is good news. Or, at the very least, not overly concerning news. In fact, just now the nurse said, “Well? I guess I could get some vitals on you or somethin’.” The way I see it, if Amy has to think hard to come up with something to do for Dad, he’s doing jussssst fine.

Day Plus One (yesterday) brought just a couple of minor hiccups—low grade fever, nagging headache, and aggravation of a completely unrelated-to-CMML issue. But by the end of the night, everything got resolved, and when I texted Dad this morning to ask how he was doing, his response was, “Grreeeeat!”

To those of you who’ve been praying or meditating or sending good juju into the universe, thank you. And don’t quit, okay? It’s working.

Day Minus One

Quick update on today: Dad’s doing super-great. He ate three meals, walked 16 laps around the floor, rinsed with saline three times (to avoid getting mucositis, which causes nasty mouth sores), used his spirometer (to exercise his lungs and prevent pneumonia), and started working on a puzzle I brought.

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