Happy and Healthy 2006!
By way of a "group" holiday letter, I thought I would add to this blog. After my struggle with cancer in 2004 there are so many people who I want to keep in touch with, and to make sure that everyone knows how much I appreciate their support and encouragement. Blogging about "my cancer adventure" was a way to keep people up to date when I was in treatment, but I haven't kept it up for some months now. So, "Happy New Year!" -- well -- the Chinese New Year starts on Jan. 29!
2005 was -- most importantly -- a year of good health and high energy. I had my last radiation treatment on Jan. 3, 2005 and have been "officially" cancer-free ever since. I continue to see my cancer "team" of Doctors, one every three months. In May I had my mammogram (Special! Half price!) and also an MRI, since the tissue of my remaining breast is very dense. Everything came back fine. Then in Nov. I had a bone scan, which I requested since I'd been experiencing some back pain. Again, everything was fine, so I guess that was just plain old "normal" back pain like everyone else seems to have. So I am still NED (no evidence of disease). Yay!
I did have a little encounter with lymphedema in March; I saw a physical therapist to learn how to deal with that: if I remember to wear my special compression sleeve and glove when I fly, I don't seem to get any flare-ups. The whole lymphatic system seems so important yet mysterious, certainly not something I had ever thought of before.
I got used to wearing my prosthesis and now I don't really give it a thought. My hair was growing back in the spring, and in the summer I gave most of my hats and both my wigs to the Breast Cancer center at my hospital.
A real highlight of the year was participating in the Avon fundraising walk for Breast Cancer, May 14-15. I was very privileged to walk with my close friends Laura Macy and Rose Theresa as a team, "Musicologists for a Cure" (the web-site is still here ) We raised nearly $9,000 through the support of many friends, colleagues, acquaintances and total strangers; money that will be used in cancer research and to provide treatment and support for women in need. I was very impressed by the organization and imagination that goes into making the walk exciting, fun and memorable. I walked 26 miles in two days, Laura did the full 39 miles, and Rose had some knee problems on the second day, but did over 20 miles. It was a remarkable and moving event in so many ways: getting to know Boston by foot - we walked everywhere! Camping out in huge a tent-city that was erected that day for us; showering in special shower trailers (really nice ones!). And the ceremonies and rituals that bring the community together, and remind you of the importance of the cause -- one was the "every three minutes" ribbon: every member of the organizing crew had a big pink ribbon -- like a sash -- that they would randomly put over the head of some walker during the course of the weekend -- or leave it outside her tent at night -- as a reminder of the sudden and unexpected way that breast cancer strikes.
The Rebecca Clarke Society reprinted A Rebecca Clarke Reader in paperback in June 2005. The book is now in more than 75 libraries in 10 countries. My 2005 lectures about the book included the Peabody Conservatory, Royal Musical Association of the U.K. and a conference hosted by New York University. I was taped in two interviews for cable TV (both airing in 2006). I am very happy to be busy promoting the Reader -- the work my treatment kept me from in 2004 -- and working on my next book (a biography of Clarke).
I enjoyed a great many trips in 2005 (after staying home and in treatment in 2004): including Puerto Rico, New Mexico (my mom and I saw some spectacular operas in Santa Fe), Oxford (UK), then in December, California for the Holidays, followed by Guatemala, for the New Year! Rosie and I celebrated our second anniversary and had such a wonderful trip to Guatemala. I am looking forward to traveling to Cuba -- (CUBA!!) A group from Brandeis is going and I just thought -- what the hell! I'll start a new research project interviewing Cuban women composers, and I'm sure it will be fabulous.
GREAT THINGS!: My niece Marli -- age 15 -- attended a summer school at Yale. I'm very proud of her thirst for knowledge and her spirit of adventure. My nephew Tom (age 13) is becoming a really skilled musician on both the guitar and piano.
One thing I got done (by tasking my roommate Rose T to be the "foreman" -- I was out of town for most of the construction) was to have my back yard landscaped with a retaining wall. The large, interlocking bricks (two tons of them!) were moved from a nearby construction site -- I called the owner, and they would have gone in the dumpster otherwise. So I think I should get some kind of prize for ingenious, large scale recycling, and Rose T. could get an honorary contractor's license for overseeing the crew of "Craig's List" workers.
There was sadness: Pamela, my beautiful tabby girl, was quite sick in late March when the Pope was on his last legs. Would she outlive the Pope, I wondered? She was on an I.V. for three days, and (at the same time as the Terry Schiavo debacle was going on) I wondered if I unhooked her from life support would I get protesters in front of my house? But she pulled out of it and outlived the Pope -- I made her her own little Pope's miter and suggested that she should be nominated to be the next Pope. Of course they don't let females be Pope. Then she was fine until Dec. when she weakened again, and died peacefully on Dec. 17 -- she was 17 years old. We'd been through a lot together. Bertie, her stepbrother, just keeps going. He was quite sick after Pam died (I wrote his obituary as well as Pam's) but he came around. (I will add Pam's obituary here)
And speaking of the Chinese New Year, on Jan. 29, the year of the DOG begins -- and Rose T, my roommate has just brought a beautiful 4-year old greyhound into our home! Her name is Lily, she is lovely and so far Bertie is taking it pretty calmly!
Wishing you good health, happiness and productivity! And Peace!