Friday, April 30, 2010

I turned the rope for the Dark Frog

Among the wonderful, gentle Frog and Toad stories, written by Arnold Lobel, is one called "Shivers." Frog and Toad, two great friends, decide they want to tell scary stories to give themselves the shivers—just a little scare to make them feel cozy and safe as they drink their tea before the fire. The bolder friend, Frog, tells a story about the Old Dark Frog, a huge, fearsome ghost that loves to eat little frog children.

One evening when he was a child, says Frog, he and his parents were walking home through the woods when he got separated from them. The Old Dark Frog found him. The Dark Frog told Frog that he was going to eat him, but because he was still full from his last meal of frog children, he would have to work up an appetite. He took out a jump rope.

The Dark Frog tied one end of the rope to a tree.
"Turn for me!" he shouted.
I turned the rope for the Dark Frog.

Two weeks ago, I read this story to my daughter.

One week ago, on April 24, I learned I have stage 1 breast cancer. It was a gorgeous New England spring day, when the air is clear and warm, the sky is an unbroken blue, and the trees and bushes all wear a gaudy green coat. When I walked outside, the craziest thing happened: the sun grew brighter, the sky became a richer blue and the green leaves practically shimmered. I could hardly take in the vividness of the world.

The tumor is small (1.4 cm) and it looks like they caught it early. I have great odds for a total cure. Most likely, I'll have a lumpectomy in a couple of weeks, followed by radiation and hormonal therapy and possibly herceptin. After a lymph node biopsy, I will learn whether I will also need chemo.

Do you know what happened to Frog? He turned the rope and the Old Dark Frog jumped and got hungrier. Then—"I had to save my life," said Frog—he took his end of the rope and ran around and around the tree. He tied up the Dark Frog and ran home through the woods to his family. And Frog and Toad, teacups rattling, enjoyed their shivers.

"Frog," asked Toad, "was that a true story?"
"Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't," said Frog.

Here's what's true for me: I feel I have a great medical team. I know I have wonderful family and friends. And I have learned that there are many treatments for breast cancer and many more on the way.

But I also have two daughters, ten and thirteen. And so I will do everything I have to do to see them through, to finish my job. The rope is in my hands, and now, I start turning.

1 comment:

  1. You turn that rope, my friend!

    I just love how the Frog and Toad library has become your bible - so much to be said in that. I have such a connection with those two, as well. I have taken pains to preserve my sons' entire Frog and Toad library for eternity.

    You have such a positive outlook, and that is key --- you will come through this challenge in heroic determination - I am confident of that --- fight on, my friend - I am right there with you - Laurisa -