After talking with Tera on the phone last week, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at her family’s home in Los Angeles.
Tera sounded so weak, so tired, so distant. What I got was a surprise and not expected. Maybe that’s because we often suspect the worst.
Her bouts with leukemia began years ago, and she won each battle. We thought the most recent battle, at the end of last year, would be the last. Maybe the war’s not over.
I talked with her on the phone Friday and expected more energy, though she’d been down for nearly two months. My hopes were not realized, so I left home Sunday heading for Los Angeles with as much fear as hope.
Once I settled in at the hotel, I decided to stop by to see Tera Sunday night. Her mom said it would be alright so long as I didn’t stay too long.
You never know what to expect in such a situation. We thought she was all but gone. I think she did, too. Talk about your basic emotional roller coaster.
I noticed two things as I walked into her room. First, Tera looked a bit like death warmed over. I don’t mean that in a ghastly way. She was so thin and so white. Then I noticed the hair. There was more of it than when we met last in the summer. Maybe an inch or two or more.
That’s the bad news.
The good news was Tera’s smile. Maybe it’s a reflection of the soul. Maybe it’s just a natural expression. But Tera’s smile was back, though I don’t recall it ever really being gone.
She grinned big and I knew it was a smile reserved just for me. We’ve known each other over 20 years and the lines of communication were open Sunday night.
Actually, it was more that tear ducts were open and flowing. We cried for a couple of hours until Tera’s mom ushered me out the door after dark.
As far as is known now, she’s in remission, though further tests are needed to confirm our belief. Maybe the cure nearly killed the patient. It happens.
I came back late Monday morning for lunch (I eat, Tera doesn’t) and we talked half the afternoon, though she would nod off to sleep from time to time.
Tuesday Tera went for a walk. Well, we took her for a walk. Hmmm. Actually, we carried her around the house and out to the porch for awhile. That exhausted her and she spent most of the afternoon asleep again.
By Wednesday she was alert with more color in the face. A little makeup and lipstick helped, too. Then, questions. It was as if a faucet had been turned on and the questions just poured out in a steady stream. I’m not sure she even heard my answers.
Tera asked about all our friends, kids, neighbors, and so on. It was like talking with Rip Van Winkle, though he was out of it for about twenty years, and she was out only a couple of months.
I dropped by her place, picked up some clothes and other items, and brought her laptop (PowerBook, of course). We got it set up and running before I left Thursday night. As you’d suspect, there were hundreds and hundreds of email messages to wade through. That’ll keep her busy for a week.
Tera was also pleased that we’d kept writing articles for Mac360, wasn’t impressed with the Google ads (but it was her idea), wasn’t surprised at the iPod with video or the dual-core PowerMacs, was surprised at the iPod nano, was surprised at the limited video inventory on iTunes Music Store.
When we last talked with Tera, iTunes was at version 4.9, and now it’s version 6.0. She said that ‘jump’ was lame. Tera’s back.
So, Thursday was the turning point. Noise from Tera. We used to cringe when she’d start squawking about something, and all I could do was laugh and cry. At the same time. What a glorious sound, all that squawking.
She’s on solid food now, though not much at a time. She can move around a bit on her own but needs a little help for the long distance runs (down the hall to the bathroom). The change in ‘glow’ in just four days was remarkable.
Did I mention that ‘Tera’s back?’ We don’t know for how long or under what circumstances. Perhaps that’s the case for all of us. For now, we’re taking one day at a time.
More to come.