Monday, 15 February 2010

On Ladybirds and Lymph Nodes

It's Spring in the Sacramento Valley. There are several reasons why I know this to be true. For one thing the sun climbs quickly to a height close to UK summer standards, which allows the moderate chill of the morning to quickly give way to t-shirt temperatures. For another, there are bugs at play, and by "bugs" I refer to the American usage, meaning "insects", for today I saw the first ladybird of the year, bumbling around in the grass of the back lawn, stretching remarkably stout gossamer in readiness for possibly the first flight of the season.

Yesterday, returning from Wilbur Hot Springs, there was more evidence, were it needed, for the return of things vernal. Almond blossom and lambs. Yes, little baby lambs wailing and running as far as they dare from their mothers. We stopped at one friend's ranch to see a couple of lambs rejected by their mothers. To the oohs and ahs and various cooing, various of our party remarked on their cuteness. More the pragmatic, I wondered how long it would be before they fattened up enough for tha table. Served with almonds, of course.

Almonds are not the only fruit

In the grand tradition of "doctor" joaks, there's also good news and bad news. The good news is that we're readying to move into a new house of our own. Yes, at last we have taken the plunge to join the great mass of mortgage-payers and home "ownership", with all that entails. We have to be out of our current rental by the end of June, so Christine's been househunting through the winter, and having seen every single house in our price range, we settled on one that's close enough to the right school, commute and whatnot. The offer made and accepted, and the many pieces of paper read, signed and initialed, we're gathering the financial resources together to actually buy the bugger. We're so close we can taste it; Christine's asked if we can pay another visit for th epuroses of "colour matching". This is a throwback to some primitive mothering, nesting instinct, I take it. In any event, it's a distraction while we play the waiting and preparation game.

Which brings me to the bad news. We already knew that Christine had a tumour in her left parietal lobe (that's in the brain, apparently), and have been moving toward the practically Star-Trek technology that is gamma knife surgery. This entails firing 201 precisely-tuned beams of radiation from Cobalt-60 into a tiny focal point inside her brain. It's a good use of modern med-tech, non-invasive and highly effective.

She also had another PET scan last week, regarded as necessary to identify and further sites of metastatic cancer. Which of course, have materialised. They've spotted a couple of "somethings" that indicate cancerous activity in lymph nodes in, on or about her lungs. This is not good news; lung tissue apparently is highly fertile ground for cancer to grow and spread. Yes, of course, it's treatable, but it does mean that during the busy moving season,Christine will be going through chemo again, and everyone will be stressing a little.

Still, it's Spring and the ladybirds are out. So there's always that going for us.