Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lava And Kava

South of Hilo, on the big island of Hawaii, there's a town called Kalapana. In 1990, the volcano called Pele erupted and lava flowed for months, covering the old fishing town and its black sand beaches. As the town is slowly coming back to life, merchants sell weaved baskets and coconut water by the side of the road. There is a Kava bar, where residents like Harold, serve kava and play Hawaiin music some nights. Residents build houses on fields thick with black lava and coconut trees sprout up, dotting the vast black rock with spots of green.
While Kathy and I sat at the bar and drank earthy kava, Harold told us about living through the lava flow. Though no one was killed, he said, some people left the town. Harold chose to stay, leaving for only one night and living the rest of the time on a generator while the lava continued to flow around him. When I asked him why he chose to stay, he said, "I grew up here. This is where I live."
The lava still flows from Pele. During the day steam plumes up swiftly into the sky in a big puff over the ocean and at night, tourists drive up the road toward the steam to view the lava sparkling red down the side of the mountain. The residents of Kalapana don't live in fear of Pele. Rather, they live humbly alongside the unstable mountain, trusting that whatever Pele brings is a matter of fate.

The Avastin and Gemcitabine put me in bed for two days. This combination of chemo was pretty tough and also pretty toxic. And also wasn't working. My scan showed that the area in my lung that was radiated did shrink so yay for that, but the newer tumor at the bottom of my lung is growing despite the killer chemo.
So we've decided to quit chemo as we have tried two different regimends and they aren't quite cutting the butter.
Although this does leave me somewhat dismayed, I don't think it is quite time to gasp and clutch the curtains. We still have a clinical trial to try out, and I will continue with radiation as well.
I continue to write in my journal for Luka. And I have some other tidbits of info I am writing down here and there. But mostly I am trying to just live and enjoy my time, no matter how long it is. 5 months, 15 years - whatever it is. While I continue to fight, I will live humbly alongside this unstable monster in my body. I do hope it doesn't erupt. But I do realize that, ultimately, it is a matter of that wonderous thing called fate.


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  3. I recently learned about your blog from Inspire and have been following ever since. You are such a gifted writer.

    I just want to thank you for sharing your fight with us. I am so inspired by many ways. I leave your blog touched, in awe of your spirit, and wanting live a better life.

    I am praying for you and wish you many many smiles, today and for many many years to come.

  4. Julie,
    Your insight and outlook on life amazes me at every turn. Thank you for sharing with us, your writing is such a gift.