I’ve had a good month since my last post. Many people continue to express their loving support, and it is comforting to know so many are thinking of me. Work has gone well, and I’m thrilled to report that most of my brainpower has returned. My memory is still poor, but it was not so great before all this anyway.
I had my annual visit to Florida in late January. It’s always good to go home to Sarasota every year, but this trip was especially restorative. While Abe has been just wonderful to me and for me, seeing my family and good friends in a relaxing time was just what I needed.
My sister took me to see Drag Queen Bingo, a weekly show at the local dinner theatre. My cheeks hurt from smiling that night. It was an absolute blast. And get this: I won a bingo game! My prize: hair care products. The hostess—Beneva Fruitville, named for two main streets in Sarasota—was hilarious and kind in her remarks about my obvious condition. I even ended up getting a standing ovation. What a hoot.
The following week I spent a couple of nights in Ft. Lauderdale. My friend Tony twisted some arms to get his actor friends together just for me, to rehearse a reading of his new play, "A Letter From the Bishop." It is a powerful play about marriage equality from the view of gay priests, and I was thrilled to be witness to its inception. I was able to meet for the first time an online friend Tony and I had in common. David, Tony and I had a great time together, and it was all too brief.
On my way home I stopped in Ft. Myers to see my old friend Jack, who always offers supportive wisdom and the occasional swift kick. Interestingly, Jack and Tony independently pushed me to consider that the time has come for me to write a book. Talking with them about this pushed me past the subject of my cancer for the first time in a long time.
The past six months has robbed me of my effectiveness in my advocacy for people who are LGBT. I’ve had to suspend meetings of a supportive group at my church, and I had to cancel the presentation I was to make at a national convention of church educators. It has been truly disheartening to let these go, at least for now. But I don’t have to wait to start thinking about writing a book about Christian acceptance and support for LGBT people. I can work on that in my free time, some of which is coming up after surgery.
Having a renewed sense of purpose has really lifted my spirit. I continue to hear from people whose lives have been changed for the better because of what I’ve written. I am amazed and humbled whenever I hear that, and it reminds me each time how important it is to share the truth of God’s love as I see it. I know I’m not alone, but not many are speaking out. I have the privilege of being heard, so I must continue to speak. And maybe it is time for that book.
Just before I left for vacation, I could see that my hair was starting to come in, just as my eyebrows and lashes had fallen out. My new hair felt like bunny fur, but there was an occasional black wire poking up too. Well, they did say it would be different. This week it became clear that my hair was not coming in at the same rate: the back was getting long—in a relative way—and I had a hair line that was beginning to show, but it was not coming in by my forehead. I had male pattern baldness! No way I was keeping that look, so yesterday I shaved it all off again. (Note: bunny fur is especially difficult to shave.) Back to Bald Birdie until it’s all coming in. I really don’t care all that much any more.
My surgery is tomorrow (Monday) at 1:30 PM. I have no worries about that part; it’s a pretty standard procedure. I know I will struggle with my appearance afterward, but it is something I must face and move through. The day will come when it is no longer an issue.
My dear friend since forever is coming from Florida to baby me and reassure Abe. I’m not sure which job will be harder. Her presence here will be so comforting to us both, as are your continued good wishes and prayers. Thank you all for your encouragement, and keep the laughter coming!