June 29th, 2009: Today I had an appointment with Dr. Jahan, my oncologist. Even though I have a daily assault of pains and limitations, I am also in pretty good shape. I made a list of health issues to talk about: muscle pain in my upper right shoulder (probably from too much mouse activity rather than a tumor inside my lung) and a couple of questions about pain medication. We dispensed with those questions in a few minutes. Then on to the more exciting topics which turned out to focus on french restaurants in Paris and in the countryside. I certainly have my favorites in Paris and know nothing about dining outside the city. It was a vibrant, exciting chat, and a luxury to be able to walk away from the grim realities of my illness and get down to the serious pleasures of memorable dining.
Given my current ablility to think, feel and generally be in the world, I won't have to go back for another appointment for at least two months. If anything weird happens, I will call Dr. Jahan right away or hustle to the nearest emergency room. Conclusion: I am on a health plateau right now. My pain is reasonably managed and if I get uncomfortable, I can take more morphine. I'm seldom uncomfortable, I walk pretty adeptly. I go into work five days a week. The sun is shining right now.
And the sun shone yesterday over the crowd too big to count accurately (450,000? Half a million?) gathered along Market St. for the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots; the kickoff party for Gay Liberation. Although there was not a cloud in the sky, there was a chill on the breeze as Ken, Gaetano and I watched the parade from the shady South side of Market St. An hour or so before it arrived, I imagined having a meltdown at the curbside as the Maitri cable car went past. But no. When they appeared, I waved, I shouted, I felt a huge connection, but my own health issues and Maitri's emerging presence as my final home didn't overwhelm me. My, the parade lasted for a long time! After three hours, I needed a break so I headed off to the gym for some exercise and a pause from the intense color and input from all that celebrating.
Most inspiring moments: cheering for the group of gay Middle Eastern Muslims waving flags from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Palestine knowing that those countries do not hand out merit badges to gay people; seeing women I know in the dykes on bikes; seeing Mayor Newsom walking to the edge of the crowd slapping palms and shaking hands rather than sitting in rather removed splendor on the back of the Packard convertible that normally carries him along the parade route. I went to a high school reunion some 15 years ago and talked with a classmate who had just returned from Israel. She said that it amazed her to be in crowds and restaurants and public transportation where most of the people around her were Jewish. After a lifetime of living as a minority, suddenly she was surrounded by Jews. That's the way I feel on Gay Pride Day at the parade. I know that there are a lot of gay people in San Francisco, but at the parade it feels to me like most people are gay and there's a healing in that for me. Yesterday was fun, bright, poignant and healing.