Cycle 2, day 8. Slowly climbing my way back to humanity. The climb began on Saturday (day 6) with a call from a good friend to my husband, offering to cook me things. In general, I’ve declined these offers since most food tastes awful at the early part of the chemo cycle, and I get some small satisfaction out of cooking when I’m finally able to stomach food. But this offer was different — various things were suggested: waffles, molasses cake, etc. along with the selling point that the cake was dense and high in calories so a little provided a lot of nutrition. My husband relayed this to me, figuring I’d decline as I normally do, and accidentally substituting “apple cake” for “molasses cake.” My eyes lit up and apple cake sounded like the very best thing in the world to me on a fall morning. He called our friend back, who took in stride the fact that an apple cake wasn’t among the things he offered, and several hours later arrived at our door with a warm apple cake that was as good as anything I’ve ever eaten. Not only did our friend think of us on Saturday morning, but quickly switched plans and produced an amazing apple cake he hadn’t even offered to make. That’s what I call friendship.
Throughout this journey, there have been so many small (and large) acts of kindness and generosity — an apple cake, deliveries of bagels and babka, a hand-knit hat to wear during a cancer walk, CBD gummies and a little pot delivered by a friend, a microwavable dog that smells like lavender — that it seems that some folks really have perfected the art of being decent human beings. And the lesson for me is that it isn’t that hard to do a small, yet generous thing. I certainly hope to remember that lesson when it is my turn to take care of someone in this situation.
Surprisingly — or perhaps less so if I’m honest — is the fact that the same people who had difficulty being decent when I was first diagnosed still do and it seems clearer every day that they will not be part of my life when all of this is over. They seem unable to get out of their own way to even send a simple card, let alone bake an apple cake. I hope I remember those lessons as well.