The day started like any other. Or maybe not so much.
Like any other day, we woke up early and got the two oldest ready for school.
Unlike any other day, they took a few pictures with daddy before getting on the bus.
Like any other day, Seth spent a bit of time on his phone, then a bit of time doing “a little” work.
Unlike any other day, I flew around the house, maintaining strict attention to what remained on the morning’s to-do list.
Clean powder room. Check.
Spot clean disgusting blotches of food and gunk off the main level floors. Check.
Clean main level floors. Check.
Clean windows and glass in whole house. Check.
Put clean sheets on Cooper’s bed (a.k.a. guest bed). Check.
Finish cleaning the kids’ always disgusting bathroom. Check.
Like any other day, I didn’t feel adequate for this housekeeping job. I wasn’t sure it’d meet any Good Housekeeper’s stamp of approval. By the time we got to finish cleaning the kids’ always disgusting bathroom, I was exhausted and had to call for Seth’s help. He changed the lightbulb over the kids’ shower, set 3-year-old Maisie up with supplies and assigned her to clean the toilet. She did a decent job, but I pointed out the fact that she didn’t get the base, that this would still be disgusting for any guest. “Ahhhh,” he said. “Big deal,” as he walked out of the room. Considering we were soon headed out for two days of follow-up appointments at Mayo Clinic for eye cancer, I had to agree. But I cleaned the toilet base anyway.
Unlike any other day, grandpa and grandma arrived promptly at 10:30 a.m. We showed them around, detailed the next two days of kids’ events, and left the house by 11:10 a.m.
Like any other day, we stopped to get some gas.
Unlike any other day, Seth bought a bottle of Propel water for lunch. Clear liquids only for four hours prior to his MRI. 20 minutes later, we stopped for Jimmy John’s. Real lunch to go, for me only.
Like any other day, we chatted the whole way there. Mostly about work. A little this and that.
Unlike any other day, we knew our way to Damon Parking Ramp, Mayo Clinic. No directions needed for this fourth trip in five months. We arrived perfectly on time for his MRI. One minute early, in fact. Seth went straight in. I sat, breathed, listened to a webcast on Iraq, and hand-drafted a blog post inspired by the lady across the way on a Mayo note pad.
Unlike any other day, we made our way to our hotel, checked in, and left within 15 minutes. We hadn’t gone on a date in more than FIVE. MONTHS. Did we need a date night, or what? After sharing a piece of bunny cake and peanut butter cheesecake at Canadian Honker, we walked a half block down and spent the next hour and a half working and blogging in peace at a coffee shop. That was followed by dinner, a trip to wander the aisles of Aldi (okay, not so romantic, but neither of us have been there before), and a movie of Seth’s choosing, Mad Max.
Like any other day, I wasn’t excited about a violent, non-stop action movie. But I’d left most of the day’s decisions to him. After all, he’s the one with eye cancer, not me.
Unlike any other day, we scored two 3D movie tickets for $17.00!
Like any other day, Seth LOVED the violent, non-stop action movie. I didn’t love it so much, but did appreciate its artistic value, especially the drum and guitar playing dudes battling in the desert.
Unlike any other day, we went back to the hotel.
Like any other day, he went to bed before me.
Unlike any other day, we woke up in the morning, got ready, checked out of the hotel and headed over for another round of adventures at Mayo.
Like any other day, Seth picked up some coffee. I didn’t.
Unlike any other day, Seth had several back-to-back appointments. Blood work. An eye examination. Eye photography. And an eye ultrasound.
Like any other day, I worked on my blog when Seth was in each of his first four appointments. A twinge of guilt ran through me each time I broke out the computer, like I should be giving my husband 100% of my undivided attention. But those appointments were really just for him anyway. And he reassured me, “go ahead and work on your blog, stay here, there’s no reason you need to come in with me.”
Unlike any other date, we ended this fourth trip to Mayo with another visit to Seth’s specialist, Dr. G. He popped his head in the room to say “The systemic testing (MRI) came back okay.” Then he left for further analysis of the morning’s testing. We waited. Waited. And waited some more.
Unlike any other day, Dr. G had the news we’d been waiting for since Seth was diagnosed with eye cancer in January, the news we’d been waiting for since Seth went through week-long radiation and hospitalization in February, the news we’d been waiting for since he took a whole month off work recovering and recouping. Is the tumor shrinking? Or is it NOT?
Unlike any other day, Dr. G told us he sees “very little change in the SIZE of the tumor, but the internal reflectivity has increased substantially,” which means that next time he sees us, it’s likely things will look better in regards to the tumor size, even great. Dr. G showed us a bunch of graphs of this “internal reflectivity” and how it’s changed since original testing back in January. Sure, the size of the tumor had changed very little. But it was hard to deny the difference in those graphs, the difference in the internal matters and workings of the tumor itself. Dr. G showed us another picture of the front part of the tumor. “It looks like it’s retracting, that’s better, too,” he said. Had the tumor shrunk, we would have returned to Mayo in six months. Based on this visit’s results, Dr. G recommended we return in three months. And he urged Seth to get the laser surgery he needs on his left eye.
Unlike any other day, we made our way down to Mayo’s subway level. A lovely woman was playing “On Eagle’s Wings” on the piano. “I sang that song at my cousin Doug’s funeral,” Seth noted quietly. I leaned against a column and teared up. The news we’d just received was neutral at worst, from all indications trending positive, it seemed. I wasn’t sad at all. Just filled with emotion, if that makes sense. In the comings and goings of wheelchairs and significantly sick people, children and caregivers, the woman played on. On and on, she played. She played with her head up. She observed keenly, with every ounce of her heart and soul, as people passed. She let intuition and the Spirit run straight from her heart all the way through to her fingertips. Yes, I knew it! Pure grace. Divine favor. This was the pianist the elderly woman told me about last time we were here! The woman who plays every Thursday. The woman who plays by heart, by ear. The woman who doesn’t get paid a penny, who plays according to the shifting tones of the room, who turns hopelessness to hope with simple, beautiful tunes.
Like any other day, I cried when I took it all in.
Like any other day, Seth asked why I was crying.
Like any other day, I said “I just really love this.” Yes, 24 hours have since passed. I know why I was crying. The work that pianist does at Mayo is EXACTLY the kind of work I want to do with my writing. She exemplifies my greatest life’s dream. To bring pure beauty in the midst of significant pain.
Unlike any other day, we went back up to the Damon Parking Ramp, got in our car, and drove down and out of this fourth trip to Mayo.
Like any other day, we got another lunch to go, talked, drove, and hugged Seth’s parents and our kids when we pulled in the driveway.
Like any other day. Unlike any other day.