The last couple of weeks have been rough. Virginia's health has been declining for the past month or so, but it started going downhill really fast about when she went to the doctors two weeks ago. When she got there they sent her to the emergency room and put her on oxygen. To make a long story short, the problem was stage four lung cancer. After we learned that her health went downhill so fast we didn't have time to handle it with dignity.
Her family balked at the idea of sharing the story widely. Nobody knew what the problem really was, but many of Virginia's friends wanted to do something to show support. We ended up deciding to do a "Support Walk", walking loops around the hospital to create a vortex of healing energy and give her at least a smile or something like that.
Lloyd got there before me. He took a lot of pictures and said I could use them. Pictures with a small red LC in the corner were from his camera.
The Major brought a table and a huge get well card with plenty of space for people to leave a note for Virginia. It was the perfect thing to bring people into the spirit of the moment.
By the time I got there it was a happening for sure.
Many of her friends from Too Legit to Quit, Red Power Divas, Breast Cancer Walks, and Bike Party were there. People were very nice to me. I got lots of hugs and many people told me "If there is anything I can do just ask." Soon enough it was time to pose for a group shot.
Then it was time to start walking.
There was a brief stop at the only bathroom on the route before we really started walking.
It was very grounding to walk with so many friends that cared. After a while we got to her side of the building.
We waved from the sidewalk. Then somebody figured out there was a tree between us and her window, so we moved into the parking lot and waved again.
We waved to her window long enough that we saw somebody waving back. The glass was too tinted and the distance too far for me to be sure who it was. Then we walked on.
We did everything by the book, crossing streets at the light when it was safe and stuff like that. Neat that these two pictures (above and below) were taken at about the same time.
After we went around the hospital once we circled up. Many people talked about their hopes for a full recovery. Amy read a message from Silver, the gist of which was that they had seen us waving, and that it was a beautiful sight. Deepa talked about gathering miles so we'd have a good story to tell her when she came around. I don't remember the Major's words, but I remember her strong healing tone. They gave me a group hug of support.
Roy took this picture. After that we talked in various ways. Some that were ready to go said their goodbyes. Then a much smaller group of us went around the hospital again to really suffuse the place in healing vibes.
About then Gerry and Dana showed up. Gerry was up for walking around the hospital, but Dana's days of long treks are behind her. She sat on the bench while the rest of us took off. Soon it emerged that for Gerry and I it would be a slow mile compared to that of the rest.
They disappeared into the distance while we talked. One thing I vividly remember is Gerry explaining that if I'd been her husband instead of her boyfriend I would have been able to keep them from intubating her. Left unresolved are my feelings about having a large Catholic family angry at me for killing their sister/mother/aunt/cousin. Almost happy I wasn't in the position to make that call. End of life care is a terrible burden.
They did two loops in the time Gerry and I did one.
Sheldon caught us walking on the second or third loop around the building. He explained that he couldn't be with us because of some issues with his ankle that would take a minute to heal.
Later in my email I found a note from Chris explaining that he wasn't there because he couldn't find us. All I can say is thank you to everybody that was with us in spirit.
Jason joined us for the last loop or two. Earlier he'd gone up Mt. Umanum with a group that had planned to do it long ago.
This is the group that went to dinner after going around the building at least five times.
Postscript Feb. 13: Yesterday I visited Virginia to read some cards people had sent. She turned her head and listened to me for sure. It was the first voluntary action I'd seen from her in a week. All of a sudden I'm feeling hopeful. What a roller coaster!
Postscript Feb. 13, after visiting Virginia: I got there when they were in the middle of "a procedure", and had to come back later because they needed clean room conditions. When I came back later she ignored me. The nurse explained that I shouldn't expect much real change in her condition for a few weeks, and after that it just depends how the cancer reacts to the chemo.