Saturday, January 26, 2008
This is kind of how I’m feeling today.
I made this picture a little more than ten years ago when I was in Santa Fe. I was taking a workshop from Peter DeLory, who decided a self-portrait would be a great way for us to rev our engines for the week. Having never done a photograph of myself before, I took the assignment quite seriously. I hopped into my car and drove out of town, up the road toward the ski area. I set up my Hasselblad on a tripod, pulled the trigger for the self timer and ran like mad to get across the road and up onto this rock in time for the exposure to be made. (I think I may have had 30 seconds or so.) The contact sheet is pretty funny. There are more frames of me climbing (not so gracefully) onto the rock than of me actually on top of the thing. But for this one exposure, I did make it to the exact location I was hoping for and even had time (a very last minute and unplanned decision) to raise my arms up as if I had just made quick work of an opponent in the boxing ring.
Years later, Max used PhotoShop to put some humongous boxing gloves onto my hands, making it look as if I was Ms. Hulk Hogan and gave the retouched photo to me as a gift. We had all fought madly over those huge boxing gloves at a white elephant gift exchange that year at our annual Chanukah party. None of my family members ended up with the coveted gloves, but at least I have the photo Max made. It is tacked up on the wall of my office just to remind me that I can be strong.
With all the words of encouragement I have been receiving from so many, along with some other important bullet points (as they say in the few board meetings I have been known to attend) I am feeling like I may have won round two in my bout with cancer.
~ I failed a test! And that is a good thing. It was the blood test to see if I have the genetic marker for breast cancer.
~ I received in the mail a beautiful, handmade magic wand from my friend Laura in Texas. With it came a certificate that grants me all sorts of powers, each one clearly itemized and defined.
~ I saw the movie The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. You may or may not know the story of the Frenchman who wrote the book upon which this Julian Schnabel movie is based. It’s a film of amazing power about the triumph of the human will, adapted from the memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor of the magazine Elle. At age 43, Bauby had a stroke, leaving him paralyzed, with only the ability to move one eyelid. In a Normandy hospital, he learned to communicate by blinking this one eye, and by this means managed to write his book, published days before his death in 1996. All Bauby had was: one blinking eye (with which he could see, but not well) his memory and his imagination. By learning to explore what he could recall and what he could conjure up, he discovered a kind of freedom and humanity he’d never known before and which helped him to actually cope with each new day.
The movie helped me put my health issues into stunning and immediate perspective.
Round three begins this coming week, as I meet with the surgeon to determine our next course of action, which thanks to my “good genes” may not be as bad as I had thought it would be.