Keagan used to sing with me whenever I got to an Eb (the one a tenth above middle C). It has been a long time since I could reach that note. But today, Sharon came over for coffee and started playing a hymn my father loved, In the Garden . I joined in singing, and sang as high as I could (nowhere near Eb.) At the upper range, Keagan joined in. Later, after Sharon left, I tried it again with the recorder on. Here is the result. First you hear me trying to get to the top of my range, then Keagan joins in. I love his singing.
I am journaling this because my oncologist suggested it might help. I don’t like taking drugs ( unless they are recreational ) so I don’t want to try the alternatives he and I discussed.
It is now 2015 and this year, so far, is no better than last year. In January I was diagnosed with a malignant pleomorphic sarcoma – aka cancerous tumour in the leg. It is fast-growing, but still small. It is being treated with radiation therapy with surgery to follow and the long-term prognosis is good. That is what the left side of my brain has understood of the process.
The right side of my brain is harder to convince of anything. It is distrustful of authority, of change, of technology. It understands things differently. My right side has been giving me dreams. Some nights, one. Other nights, several. They are all about death, and some are also about being buried alive. Last night I had the worst dream I have ever had, and I can’t shake it. It has made me teary and anxious all day long. When I tried to explain it to my doctor, I could not. The adult in me understands what is happening and is fine. But the baby in me won’t stop crying…….
In the dream I had cancer and I had a doctor who knew a probable cure. I did not live in a wealthy western culture, but in a primitive, shamanic one. So my doctor ( ie shaman) had a cure that I didn’t really understand. It required a child to help out. I agreed to the cure therapy.
The cure worked rather like that old Mouse Trap game. First a ball rolls down a channel and that triggers a lever, etc, until at last a mouse is caught in a cage.
But in this dream, in the last step, my cancer was removed, and the child was thrown into a pit. The pit was like a narrow steel shaft deep in the ground. In the “real” world, I live in a mining town so it is not hard to imagine where my subconscious came up with that image. I did not know, in the dream, that this was how the child was to be used in the cure, and I was horrified when I saw the child thrown into the pit. I screamed at the shaman to pull the child out, that it didn’t matter what happened to me, I was an old lady, but the child should not be hurt.
On the shaman’s face was the same look I see on my doctor’s face when I ask him questions about my prognosis – about whether I will lose much muscle in my leg, about how soon I will walk again, etc. That look that says that you are too stupid to know what you are asking , and you have no idea what you are in for, and what you are asking is probably impossible. He and his helpers said they would try to get the child out of the shaft, but I knew they would not be able to and the child would die all alone down there of heat or water loss, or starvation, or go mad. And I would be cured.
Of course, the dream was so horrifying, I woke up. And yes, I know it was just a dream. But all day long, as I go through the treatment in my Canadian health care system, I keep wondering, is there a child being hurt somewhere in the world, in order to cure me, to keep me alive past my best before date?
I have been working on the guitar the last few weeks, trying to learn some jazz songs so I can play and sing with my brother later this summer when I visit him. It has been hard work getting the fingers to move and stretch on the fret board again, and learning the chords. Since my guitar experience has been playing mostly country songs, I knew the majors and minors and major sevenths, but that was about it. Learning all the minor sevenths with their augmenteds and diminisheds, and the sixths and ninths, not to mention an occasional 11th and 13th, has been quite a challenge.
And then figuring out, slowly and painfully because I am pretty dumb about music theory, that a lot of these chords are the same – i.e. a key’s major sixth is the same as the relative key’s minor seventh – C6 is Amin7 – and so on.
Today I was practicing Getting to Know You. First the country version, all majors and sevenths, with an occasional minor tossed in for fun. Then the jazz version with all the lovely chord flavours. Now I find I cannot play a country song straight any more. I want to add these new and interesting chords whenever I get the chance. The more nuanced sound is much juicier. Some of the chord transitions moving from one major chord to another are so lovely, they make my tummy twist. For example, the version I have of For Sentimental Reasons has a lovely chord transition moving from C to F using C7, then C9♯5, and then the F. I really like ♯5ths, so I like this transition. (Of course it occurs in other keys in other songs as well.) The photo above is of me learning how to make an E7♯5.
Our huge apple tree has erupted into bloom again this year. Sight and scent both too lovely for words.
It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our