Sunday, May 30, 2021

Joy Amidst the Journey

Not sure whether my internal action motor is in good repair or not. What I mean by that is this: Again, and yet again, I’ve vowed to myself that I would begin to post something on this blog every other week. I keep making that commitment to myself—and sometimes to you—yet, somehow the motor sputters, then conks out. No posting for weeks, sometimes months, once two years. 

So today, I begin again with no guarantee of when the next post will be, just an update of what’s been happening in the life of Elisa, the 38-year-old woman whom I met through blogging and who has become the daughter/granddaughter I never had. 

Since November, when the specialists at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake diagnosed her rare stage 4 melanoma cancer, she’s had a great deal of radiation. Two weeks ago, she drove to Utah from her home in Idaho to have another brain scan. Then, great news! Her two brain tumors were gone. They’d vamoosed! Cause for deep and lasting rejoicing. 

However, this past Thursday, when she returned to Huntsman for her every-three-week-immunotherapy-infusion, the pre-infusion tests brought less joyous news. That is, the medication, which is supposed to attack and kill the cancer cells in her neck, spine, and hip, had attacked her liver. She now has stage 3 liver failure. 

In November, the doctors told Elisa she might live 2 years. Then when immunotherapy began, they said that if she responded well to the particular infusion med they were using, she might live 10 years and, possibly, experience remission.

 Obviously, that med doesn’t work for her. There will be no further infusions for at least two months. She drove herself home yesterday afternoon, after staying two nights in the hospital. Drove, not knowing if the infusions will begin again and, if they do, what med will be used and how effective it might be. 

That is, she drove not knowing, but trusting, as she has trusted throughout, that all shall be well. In an earlier posting, I shared with you my belief that the essence of Elisa is joy. At the deep center of herself where she is truly One in Oneness, she is always—no matter what happens—joyous. 

Her “million-dollar smile” reflects that joy. It’s the reason, I think, many of the people she meets do not recognize that she is ill. She doesn’t look ill, nor act ill. She keeps laughing with her children, her husband, her parents and in-laws, her friends. She keeps making memories with them.

 I’ve said before, and I say again, she inspires me as I deal with my piddling ills. On days when  self-pity begins to tip-toe into my psyche and I, although aware of its sneaky ways, let it enter the corridors of my mind and heart, I think of Elisa and try to embrace the joy she’s shared with me. 

That doesn’t always work, I admit. Sometimes, I do my Irish keening because of vision concerns and also the Meniere’s symptoms that have been so persistent with the weather pattern of the past weeks here in Missouri.

Throughout my youth, Mom used to say whenever I grumbled about my life:  “Dolores, you find what you look for. If you look for good you will find it, and if you look for bad, you will surely find that also.” 

That seems to be Elisa’s philosophy of life. Somehow, she has the inspiring ability to embrace all the possibilities of her life. She is, I tell you, one of the great gifts of my existence. 


PS: Elisa posts on Facebook. She also posts on her blog: