Chapter 12 – The Picture of Good Health

Chapter 12 – The Picture of Good Health

March 28

She’s the picture of good health.

H-m-m-m-m … what the   #$@%&*^%   does that mean?

Let me begin by letting you all know I am the picture of good health.

The chemo is mostly working its way out of my system. My blood levels are good. Some of the neuropathy has abated. I am beginning to drive. Food is beginning to taste better. And aside from the occasional snooze fest, I am able to stay active for much of the day.

In other words, I am working my way back to normal life.  And, while I admit that much of this euphoria is based on a comparative analysis of my previous existence while undergoing chemo, I would say that I am good. … Life is good. I am indeed the picture of good health.

But, using that phrase got me thinking of just how many ways there are of framing the picture of health.

First there is the old … look in the mirror and what do you see? What you see is what you get, right?  Yes, that would seem to be true … up until the day you feel lousy and everyone you meet says how marvelous you look! I can’t tell you how many people have told me … YOU LOOK GREAT! … while I work to bring them into focus, and think … Um … Okay … but l can just barely stand here and converse with you. Please catch me if I keel over!

So then, which picture is correct? Yours? Theirs?

Then there is the X-ray or the thingamabob-scope that reveals a hidden micro bestial blob.But is that any more correct than the mirror image that shows you in the pink of good health?

Until December I was the picture of health.

Now I’m not?

Does that mean I never was?

Was I ever?

And, lastly there is one’s inner image. The view from behind the eyeballs. If you feel like you are 25 as you dance to some golden oldie, is that not an accurate picture of you? Just because you are still, after all these years, a lousy dancer doesn’t make your self-portrait any less real.

I find it fascinating that your inner self, the image you carry around in your head, is only supplanted when you look in a mirror, or come into contact with the outside world. It is only then yourself image is taken from you and processed by someone else.

Your family, your friends, your doctors, anyone who is involved with your care and support, their image of you brings your own image into a new focus, if you let it.

Your inner image can be febrile and wasting away, while the mirror shows only rude health.

You imagine yourself the personification of joie de vivre … feel energized, cool, and up for anything … and come up against a group shot revealing a really bad hair day … or what looks like your mother’s hands sticking out from the end of your new jacket … or inevitably spinach between your teeth as you smile.

Or, me myself and I might be dancing to the beat, while another image lurks in a picture somewhere deep in your medical file, or coming up in your next visit to Radiology.

La La Land, while seemingly quite real, needs the occasional reality check.

Hence the reminders to get your mammogram, schedule a colonoscopy, call your Doctor’s office to set up your annual physical.

Deal with it. Because no matter how young you might feel, yours is not the only picture that needs to be framed. We really have no clue.

So, all this is to let you all know I am fine. I am indeed, the picture of good health. MY picture of good health. But my surgery has been scheduled for the 29th of April. It is only after that we will know how accurate the picture really is.


This update arrived rather out of the blue. I really had no intention of addressing such an oblique topic. But the drawing arrived … unannounced and unedited … from my stylus, and I realized how ironic it is that I could look so much better … all hale and hearty …  and still feel so lousy.

Don’t get me wrong, compared to how I had been feeling I really was in the pink! I was much more interested in the world around me, was able to sit up and take notice, have visitors, and converse in whole paragraphs. My appetite was recovering, although there were still some flavors that defy description … and though I still suffered from fatigue and residual aches and spacey-ness, I was physically and mentally more stable than I had been in months.

But despite all that, there really were days I thought I might keel over as I stood by the door to welcome my many visitors. My good health during this period resulted, primarily, from being unable to do much except rest and get better. There really is a lot to be said for doing a bunch of nothing. And the days when I felt the best were those I can’t recall because I didn’t do much of anything.

Maybe I should revive the practice of Do-Nothingness.

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