Ian and I went to a symphony concert last week, to hear Gershwin's Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra and Beethoven's Symphony Number Seven. When I bought the tickets, last summer, the guest artist was supposed to be Sir Andre Previn, who was to do a two-week residency with the Seattle Symphony this fall, culminating in this program. I believe he was going to play the Gershwin and conduct the Beethoven. In the event, when we arrived at the symphony, the program was the same but the performer and conductor were not. For the most part it was nevertheless a fine experience. I found the trumpet solos in the Gershwin to be ever so slightly too sharp on the high notes—not quite enough for an involuntary cringe, but close. The rest of the music was excellent, and I correctly identified the theme to Beethoven's 7th before we went back in to hear it after intermission, so that was fun.
We decided, however, that we're good on live performances of the symphony for the next several years (unless there happens to be another performance of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto, in which case I'll go), because the audience is an inevitable part of the show, and it turns out I'm a bit of an old stick-in-the-mud. We were sitting in the Founder's Tier, in the center of the third row, and the usher pointed the way to our seats. There were four people already seated in our way; we politely excused ourselves. The first two—no problem. The man of the second couple, however, said "Why didn't you go the other way? I'd think that you should have." "We came the way the usher directed," I said, and sat myself down. I then leaned forward and looked to my right, the way we hadn't come, and saw a line of 10 people already seated—a longer line of seats than there was to my left, the way we had come. Grrr. Of course there were all the people who coughed in the quiet places, and clapped between movements. And then, for the entire second half of the evening, the people sitting directly in front of me kept talking and laughing. I couldn't actually hear them, but every 30 seconds or so when one would have something new to say to the other, they would lean their heads together and completely block my view. I wanted to ask them very kindly, after the show, if it was the first time they'd ever been to the symphony. I did not.
This, however, is more about the symphony that I meant to write—my intended theme for this post was the sort of "rebirth" I've gone through this summer and fall, directly associated with the path of the cancer. In the hospital, for example, I was completely at the mercy of the people around me to take care of my needs, even the most basic (infancy). When I left the hospital and came home, I was still very weak and, while I didn't have to learn how to walk again, I certainly had to build up the strength to do so (toddlery). I couldn't write very well for a while—even the muscles in my hands had atrophied. So I learned to write (age 5-7), reread the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder series (age 6-12), pulled out all the old Calvin and Hobbes books (high school and college), and bought tickets to see a symphony. The last time I listened to classical music with any regularity was probably 1995, and it was at the symphony that the "rebirth" cycle came to my attention. I seem to be done going through personal eras, though. I'm not, for instance, finding any desire to pull out my old linguistics books. And I'm not finding it necessary to replay my swingin' single days, either.
Big weeks coming up for me: On Monday I meet with a genetics counselor to see about whether or not I have a particular gene mutation that has made my cancer more likely. If I do, there might be some implications for Mom's health, or Deane's future children's health. For me, of course, it's kind of academic—I have had cancer, four times, and so a genetic marker isn't really going to do much to predict whether or not it will happen at this point. Anyway, they'll probably draw some blood for DNA testing, and I'll hear sometime. I don't know how long it takes.
On Tuesday I have a MUGA, the one that looks at whether or not my heart is functioning well. I don't usually feel my heart pounding, but in general it definitely beats faster these days than it did in the past—like, 120 beats per minute when I'm just standing. Sitting or lying down it's usually upper 80s to mid-90s. I'll be interested to see what the MUGA says.
On Wednesday I have a bone scan and a neck-to-pelvis CT, followed by my chemo (put off by a day because of the MUGA and my horseback riding schedule). I'll be at the clinic about 9-6 next Wednesday. Then it's Thanksgiving Weekend.
Then, on Wednesday 3 December I have my next brain MRI and meet with Dr Jason, then on the 4th I meet with Dr Specht. So I will have more information in the next two weeks. Whether it will be enough information to estimate when I am "done" with treatments remains to be seen.