Sunday, December 14, 2014

I can Handel it!

At the eighth meeting of the 8th floor SE tower Operatic Society, on Friday, Sara reported on her progress with the Handel opera "Semele" she will see in March (as will we). At first she didn't like the recording because it reminded her of "church music", specifically Handel's Messiah that her parents used to play all the time. Having listened to it a couple of more times, however, she now thinks it's great. "The singing seems really difficult", she added. I also learned that Jina (a nurse in the urology clinic who is my hero because she gave me a number to call that actually gets answered) used to be a professional ballerina. Will have to ask her about that on Wednesday.

It occurs to me that there could be a reader of this blog who also has done or is doing chemo, or knows someone who is. With that in mind, I don't wish to give the impression that it's all been easy. Friday night in fact was my worst yet, with that awful feeling of "looming nausea" (I don't know how else to describe it).  But I can Handel it! I just get out on walks no matter what, this weekend being particularly beautiful. Any kind of distraction helps too, whether it is mathematics or Italian or football or opera (have just finished L'Elisir d'Amore, Pique Dame and Jenufa) or the original Swedish "Wallander" series (what better than a gruesome murder mystery to take your mind off things? Very well done). And of course the munchkins, although it's frustrating I have so little energy for really playing with them. Saturday the most I could manage was sitting at the kitchen table at their house for half an hour, watching them make Christmas cookies with their grandma.
It doesn't get any cuter than that! Kaia was wearing a typical outfit:
petticoat, her wedding "headband" and a Christmas apron. What a hoot! Wendy says that later Finley lost interest in the cookie-making and spent an entire hour playing with the soapy water in the sink. The little guy has an amazing attention span when he gets involved in one of his projects.

Speaking of opera and football, sometimes it's good to combine the two by turning off the TV sound and putting on opera instead. My real dream though is that after scoring a touchdown the player, rather than going into the hokey celebratory dance they like to do,
belts out the final measures of "nessun dorma", a la Pavarotti: "Vincero'...Vincero'...VIN...CER...OOOOO'! ("I will win".) Wouldn't that be cool?

Anyway, the good news is that I'm taking a break from the chemo as of now.
With Abby's Washington D.C. recital in early January, there's no way I'm going to get on a plane feeling like I do now. So (and they're very flexible about this) we won't start cycle 5 until January 9th. Actually it's not yet certain what the next steps will be. Tomorrow I have another CT-scan, then meet with the Doc (and Jina the Ballerina) on Wednesday. I don't intend to make any decisions until I'm feeling better, but at least I'll have more information. As to the CT-scan, now I know the drill. They should have a special half-size bottle for the "Mitchell bladder" that I and my siblings are all handicapped with, but they don't so you just have to smile and nod and when they're not looking pour half of it out. 

For those who are interested, the next installment of "What's behind the sky?" will appear soon. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays!


  1. Steve, Sorry to hear that the chemo is now really wearing you down, but you definitely have the best approach to handling it--distraction! and I'm glad to hear you're still able to be distracted. Please let us know the results of the CT scan when you get them on Wednesday. We're looking forward to seeing you in January!

  2. You'll have to tell Sara that "No, no, I'll take no less," from Semele is one of my dream pieces. But, I can't quite sing it just yet... The runs in that aria are some of the longest I've ever heard! It definitely qualifies as difficult singing. :-) Did you tell her we've seen Brenda Rae perform in Santa Fe? She's singing Semele and I really wish I could see it!

    1. Having just listened to the aria: "Whoa, melismarama!" to quote a one-time singing colleague of mine. Sheesh. Would love to hear you sing it when you've got it down...

  3. Hi Steve, I found this guide to Semele from a 2009 Pacific Opera Victoria production. Some of the info is specific to that production, but there's a lot of nice stuff about the opera, Handel, Baroque opera, and the myth upon which it's based. I thought you and/or Sara might enjoy it: