Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Excuses, excuses

Okay, I’ve been delinquent on blogging and emails as well-- but I have a couple of really good excuses. I know, you’re thinking “yeah right—she survived the chemo and now she doesn’t have time for us...” Just so you’ll know the truth-- I have a note from my mother excusing my absence. Never mind that she died in 1982. One of the perks of coming close to death is that the lines of communication across the border become clear and fairly easy to access, certainly better than cell phones. Posthumous notes are no problem.

The note from my mother:

Dear Blog readers (all 3 of you),

Please excuse my daughter for her failure to blog and email during the last several weeks. Although she did survive the 6 dreaded chemotherapy sessions— she was immediately hit with a wicked (come-and-go-type) chest cold which didn’t kill her but did a number on her energy level. Also, she was staying at Angus’s lovely house in the hills of the India Himalayas and it was a bit of a trek to the nearest cybercafe. It is after all monsoon season in India and given the recurring chest cold it would have been risky for her to trudge up and down the mountain (in the mud and pouring rain and fog so dense it’s like breathing water) to do the blog.

Sincerely (from the other side),

Theresa Cecelia Madarda Synakowski Scharff (Margi’s mother)

p.s. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

There. That said, I have to admit I’m still spinning from the idea of getting a life extension! I'm slowly regaining strength and hunkering down on the work-- with 2 tandem shows coming up in Oct /Nov in L.A... I have spells of energy while I’m working, but when I stop, I find myself exhausted. Will have to learn how to regulate the supply. Also, still fighting off the come-and-go-chest-cold (that my mother mentioned) while the monsoon rains fill the sky.

I have a great place to watch the weather. I’m now in McLeod Ganj and have a corner room at Hunted Hill Guesthouse with HUGE weather-watching windows (2 wall to wall and floor to ceiling!) and a balcony. It costs Rs500 (US$10.87) which isn’t bad though still more than my “p.c. days” budget of US$10 for the whole day’s expenses. The guesthouse owner, Yesh, kindly rounded up an Xtra table for me to work on— so now I have everything I need.

The main window of my room faces north towards the hills and high mountain peaks of the Dhauladahar (‘white mountains’) range in the India Himalayas. The monsoon-fed vegetation is as lush as ever with infinite shades of green showing off in the tall pines and rhododendron trees mixed with ferns, mosses, lichens and scattered terraced rice paddies... The landslide sections on the hills across the way expose the metallic greys of slate in massive fan-shaped rockslides. Above the tree line, the high peaks refuse to settle on one color. When not dressed in clouds, they change their colors by the minute from subtle greys and blues to rich browns, purples and Day-Glo pinks at sunset... The view of the 15000(+)foot “Moon Peak” greets me in the mornings and makes me happy, which not being a morning personality, is a pretty tall order. The mountain is up to the task.

Yours truly/truly yours,


Monday, August 14, 2006

Post Chemo: First Hairs

First Hairs

The hairs that were the last to go are now the first to return. My eyebrows and eyelashes are making a rapid and welcome, albeit stubby and slightly punkish, comeback. The nose hairs are a little slower. Head hairs (which left me long ago-- just after chemo #2-- while brows and lashes hung in until after chemo #5!) are snail’s pace slow on the return.

In their absence, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for the specialty functions of the brows and lashes. Besides looking sexy—the brows and lashes really do protect the eyes from sweat and dust particles and small flying bugs of which there are many during monsoon season in the India Himalayas. It seems I was always rubbing something out of my eyes while these uniquely shaped and purposely positioned hairs were missing. As for the nosehairs— no not sexy, but in fact they do have an essential job. Without their fuzzy protective filter-- my sinuses have been assaulted repeatledy even though I wear a bandana over my nose and mouth more often than not. I’m just now getting over the last (hopefully) in a multiple series of sinus turned chest-colds that started near the end of chemo#5 after nose hairs departed.

I can’t say what the absence of head hair does other than make people stare (if you’re a woman) or think you’re a nun. Here in Dharamsala, I’m spared the staring since the bald heads of Buddhist monks and nuns outnumber the fully-haired heads. I can say that my personal experience of baldness has given me a new understanding as to why bald men rub their heads so much—it really (really!) feels great. In general, head hair seems dispensable as far as physical function-- a scarf or cap can keep the head warm. And my niece, Jen, early on pointed out the advantage that I wouldn’t need someone to hold my hair back while I was vomiting. But I do miss the aesthetic funtion of having head hair. The new ones are a motley bunch, not much on aesthetics. I couldn’t even name the mixed colors. They are taking their time to grow-- still shorter than my eyebrows which rushed right back. But the hairs that have arrived are soft and silky. Time to get a brush.