Gramercy for the august eighth month…

A lot of my subscribers are kidney friends; dialysis patients scattered, for the most part, all across North America. Today I read a gut-wrenching message from one of my favourites. She lives in Maine, has four children – two tweens and two teens – a devoted husband and is treated by a world-class Nephrologist whom I adore. Last month she found out she has cancer – an always dreaded and feared diagnosis. A battery of tests has been ordered by her oncologist and haematologist and some pre-surgical drugs prescribed. The gut-wrenching worsens because her HMO has refused to pay for the drugs and almost all of the tests so after much soul-searching she has decided to skip them all, not wishing to put an additional financial burden on her husband’s shoulders. Damn! Life should never, NEVER force us to make such adverse life-threatening decisions. Certainly not in North America where state-of-the-art hospitals abound. The USA is a powerful nation, a power that extends beyond military to education, research, the arts, technology, philanthropy and yes – medicine. Imagine what might happen if the collective skills, creativity, drive and passion of that nation combined – for just one year – to design, establish and fund universal health care! Imagine!

August has officially become cancer month for me; everything, everything is checked, endless tests are run, blood work taken several times, imaging, eye tests – the lot. It’s a little stressful and it makes life a bit hectic running around to get it all completed. To complicate things, in the past month I’ve had two viral chest infections which have sorely hampered my breathing. And fevers… URGH! I confess that until I read my friend’s message, I was indulging in a bit of a pity-party, and now I feel sorely ashamed of myself. I have beaten cancer twice now and have one case held firmly (I hope) at bay. Not once in all of those battles did we ever have to wonder if we could afford to proceed as recommended by my doctors. Gramercy. Profound gratitude that I live in a country with comprehensive health care and compassionate practitioners.

This awful virus also means I’ve not had many park days and I really miss my time at Presqu’ile when it’s suspended. So, unlike a lot of the kiddos and most of the teachers and principals, I am delighted to see the end of August and be finished with the inside of labs, doctors’ offices and hospitals (hopefully, for another year). So far (touch wood) all my tests have been negative and I’m hoping the last few are exactly the same.

Meaning having great importance, in my life the eighth month truly is august.

Friday, seeing the brilliant sunshine, I knew I wasn’t wasting it by hibernating, not even for one day more, not even with a virus!

autumn sunshine 1

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
[Nathaniel Hawthorne]

Me neither, Mr. Hawthorne, me neither! After my appointment Friday morning I ran away to Presqu’ile to recapture my bliss and serenity. September, the gathering month, is very much about contradictions. It is an ending and a beginning. The weather can be scorchingly hot, humid even, or it can be cool bordering on cold. Cold is exactly how I found Presqu’ile – a chilly 13℃ when I arrived – feeling for the first time like summer is really over. Although all the usual suspects were roaming the beaches and trails with their binoculars and high-power lenses – all of them searching for that oh-so-rare bird/bug/reptile/animal, etc., – the park had that end-of-season look to it. There were no kiddos romping, laughing and riding their bikes, no families playing on the beach, all the picnic tables along the south shore were unused and both the park and lighthouse stores were closed.

Autumn is, nevertheless, a very special time at Presqu’ile because the migrators begin to assemble ready for their long flights across Lake Ontario and southward to winter in warmer climes…

Damsel and Dragonflies




The Canada Geese and Cormorants spend many hours practicing their formation flights; honking and squawking across the sky above. On one take-off yesterday, I had to pause and look around – the sound of the Cormorants’ wings sounded for all the world like applause. The waterfowl are busy, focussed and very active, as are the squirrels and chipmunks – cheeks stretched out by their hoard of acorns and berries – laying in their winter stores. I had a simply lovely time watching them all working so hard.

“Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.”
[Samuel Butler]

In sharp contrast to this busyness, and just like me, the frogs and turtles were just chillin’, soaking up the warm sunshine on this cool day.

I simply cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.

autumn sunshine 2

A lovely and unexpected kindness was extended to me this week, a first for me in this month of new beginnings.  The blogger I most admire gave me a shout-out on Twitter.  That’s a first for me for sure.  It made my day and I’ve shown everyone who’ll look (and indulge me) that tweet.  Thank you PMT!

Gramercy.  My heart is full.

‘Til next time, y’all…


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