Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Coming back to work after the holiday break, I knew I needed to anticipate incoming artillery. Spring semester always seems to have a certain stress as we deliver on the current academic year while we plan for the next. That I remained unfazed by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune through Thursday of this first week of class and university operations has reminded me of the value of getting real rest. Not chemo-necessitated rest, but sofa-lounging, book-reading, nap-taking rest which I got in Cayucos, one of our favorite places in the world.

After the holiday hecticness, Akemi and I made our way from Palo Alto down the coast for a four-day stay in this little beach town just south of San Simeon. We have been coming to this homey place which time forgot since Craig and Wendy’s wedding about 25 years ago. Because of Wendy’s roots and hospitality there, we have returned many times over the years. The long, shallow beach is ideal for toddler sand castles and teenage body surfing. Akemi has enjoyed ocean kayaking and sailing in nearby Morro Bay with Craig, and we have eaten many a s’more, won ton, tuna melt on San Luis garlic sourdough bread, and Seafood Shanty ice cream dessert with Katie and Mitchell. When we could not bear to face the first Christmas after Bing died at home, we took up their invitation to come instead to Cayucos to be with them.

This visit, though, we were there on our own. Without athletic Craig organizing sand dune climbing, our most ambitious activities were to make friends with the dogs waiting onshore for their surfing owners, make our customary pilgrimage to Linn’s in Cambria, and make room for popcorn during a Netflix marathon. We were glad to add another happy stay in Cayucos to our memory book.

The rest did me so much good that I am chagrined, even startled, to realize how much better I now feel, and with the comparison, how crummy I had been feeling throughout December. As Donald said, it is not new information that I do too much. I thought I was doing better in managing my activity level, but I see afresh that cutting back even more has got to be the priority new year’s resolution.

I now have had one more Rituxan treatment than my dad had, and have found myself reaching for the same kind of coping strategies that he tried – hot baths, gentle movement, massage. He took up tai chi and invested in some foul-smelling Chinese herbal tea. I’ll skip the Chinese herbs but see the utility of something like tai chi instead of aerobics. He was in his 70s and retired but I have to figure this out in my 50s while working for the long stretch.

This last week of Akemi’s break, I haven’t been home much. So she and I have a growing list of things to do and take care of this weekend before she heads back to Boston. Then I will take a hard look at my calendar and start penciling in “real rest time.”

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