NPR logo Little Things That Turn the Day Around

Little Things That Turn the Day Around

I'm going back to the hospital today for an MRI. We know the cancer is there, this is to help pinpoint the locations for radiation. If I can have radiation. There is a real question as to whether I can get more radiation on the part of my spine that was radiated about six months ago. And I also have to go back to the chemo room. Not to visit my friends this time, but to get an infusion of a drug intended to strengthen my bones. It's funny, I drink almost a gallon of milk a day. It has to be skim, and it has to be ice cold. But that's actually down from many years ago, when I probably had a gallon and a half every day. Strong bones and healthy teeth. Who would have ever thought that I would have tumors eating away at my bones?

When I was on chemo, when I couldn't tolerate cold drinks for the first week or so of each cycle, it was tough to go without milk. How can you eat a cookie, or a brownie, or just about anything, without cold milk? I know that it's obvious, but I started thinking about the little things, the things that make us smile, the things that help us get through a day that is physically tough, or mentally, or both.

A chocolate chip cookie with milk. I think I've already covered that one. Ice cream, but I like the kind with all sorts of stuff in it, or on top of it, or both, if I can get away with that. I love jalapeno peppers, they remind you that you're alive. And what isn't better with melted cheese on it? I love a good mystery, or a book that takes me somewhere I've never been, and makes me feel at home there. I love the joy of discovering a new author, and realizing that he or she has written other books as well. I love most movies, and in this age of DVDs and DVRs and TIVO, I still love going to the theater and paying way too much for candy. All I ask of a movie is that it not be boring. And if stuff blows up, all the better. I love coffee. I actually drink iced mochas, which may or may not qualify as real coffee, and yes, I like the buzz too. Cuban coffee, the little shots known as liquid cocaine? Truly a gift from the gods.

I can go on and on. A great bottle of wine, or even a good one. A hot dog from one of the street carts in New York. A great slice of pizza. A good joke, a line I wish I'd thought of, a smile, a look, making someone else laugh. All of those can turn around a day. There is plenty of time to think about the big issues. My cancer, my prognosis, the treatments that are coming. I spend enough time thinking about the Beast. Sometimes, I just want to let something as simple as a good song take me away from all that, even if it's just for a minute or two.