Monday, July 10, 2006

Margi in the flesh in the clouds

Monsoon clouds in Mcleodganj -- on the rooftop of the Him Queen Annex.

I’m sitting in the middle of a cloud, completely surrounded by opaque air, and the sky beyond is a mystery. The rains fall intermittently. Occasionally the cloud gathers itself in varying degrees of density and brightness — until the mood shifts and the veil becomes completely uniform. A blank slate, soft and fluffy, with no clues of what lies beyond.

Tonight I head back down to Delhi for my blood test and check-up 4 weeks after chemo #6. Brian will accompany me on the train and help me cope with the jitters that come with the hospital visits. Hopefully, it will be a short visit — no more chemo is scheduled and this thrills me to the core. Also, according to the Delhi weather report, the temperature has been hovering just above 100 degrees, with humidity in the high 80s. The monsoon has not yet graced Delhi. So I hope to zip in and back out in just a few days time. As long as my CA-125 level remains low, I won’t need another check-up for another month or so -- when I’ll return for a fresh look inside my body with a CT scan.

Here in Mcleodganj, I have started seeing a Tibetan doctor, Yeshi Dhonden, former doctor of the Dalai Lama, in preparation for the end of chemotherapy — to ward off the return of any cancer demons. He has worked with cancer patients around the world and particularly in San Francisco in affiliation with a Cal State University program that focuses on breast cancer. (You can google him for further info.) He has given me a course of pills that look like polished balls of dirt and also taste like dirt. His translator tells me the pills will keep the cancer from returning. A week’s supply costs 60 rupees. There is no charge for the consultation.

My most immediate concern is to drive away a creeping sinus and lung infection — it would be a shame to succumb to a cold after surviving all that chemo. It’s the same bug, I believe, that hit me in Delhi just before chemo #6 — that Dr. Rajan gave me antibiotics for-- which I had to quit too soon because of the rollercoaster-sledgehammer effects of chemo #6 (just couldn’t keep things down). So now I am coming at it from all angles: back on the antibiotic from Rajan as well as some Tibetan medicine (more dirt pills) from Yeshi Dhonden and some effervescent Airborne tablets from Penelope and Deane and colloidal silver sinus spray from Susan and QX from Carolyn and of course, ginger tea from the Hakeem brothers at Him Queen… That should do the job.

On a more important note -- I read today that the Dalai Lama is currently suffering from fatigue and lung and chest congestion. He was admitted to the Tibetan hospital here 2 days ago, just after his birthday. The doctors have prescribed 10 days of complete rest along with Tibetan herbal medicine (dirt pills) and they have canceled all of his current engagements, which included lectures in Europe. He had just completed 10 days of intense 'teachings' here in McLeodganj. They attribute his fatigue in part to his hectic schedule. No doubt -- there were people from around the world here to attend the 10 days of teachings. I wish him well.

In the meantime, I’m here in the cool monsoon clouds of the Indian Himalaya, alternately working and resting. My monsoon cloud has thinned a bit and I think I can make out some shapes of things I already know are out there. A first-time looker would never know about the expansive valley below or the high mountain peaks above. Time seems suspended in this no-sunrise-sunset and so-very-still atmosphere. For the moment, there is no hurry.

(email from Margi, received by Penelope - she asked me to post it, as she was too tired Sunday night to post it herself)

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