Jane is a ten-year survivor of a very rare form of cancer Myelodysplastic Syndrome. She has enjoyed several exciting careers including a librarian, counselor, teacher, and writer. She loves to write about surviving cancer, overcoming hearing loss, and her hearing ear service dog, Sita.
It dawned on me that even when I am going though horrible chemo, I feel better when I can be outside in the summer. I enjoy sitting in a lawn chair out in front and chatting with the neighbors.
There is a Beatles song called “Here Comes the Sun” (1969). The lyrics say so much. The song talks about the long cold lonely winter, but states, “Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right.”
In addition to my service dog, I have a rescue cat. This adorable, mischievous, little creature lived in a dumpster for nine months before I adopted him. He is playful, funny, affectionate and independent. The poor little kitty has been treated for allergies since I got him. According to the allergy veterinarian, the mites he picked up living in the dumpster were different than the ones inside my home and his body reacted. He has been on several medications and is groomed frequently to get the mites off his fur.
Recently, his scratching himself became worse. I really became alarmed when he bit me very hard and it was not a playful bite. I didn’t understand why and took him to the veterinarian. I was concerned because I have given him a home for over 10 years but I could not keep a vicious cat.
The veterinarian loves him and asked me a simple question. “Did he have an area in the house that was his?” I explained I have a beautiful enclosed patio/ three-season room that is essentially his. He has a huge condo where he spends all day basking in the sun. But he could not go out there in the winter and it was a typical gray and cold winter in Ohio.
She explained that he needed another place inside when the weather was bad to call his. He could have toys there to play with and it would be his special spot.
She also discovered the poor creature had ear infections, which were immediately treated. He was in pain and trying to tell me by biting me which was the only way he knew how to communicate. She still emphasized that I find a place indoors for him so he would not bite.
I came home and changed some of my furniture around. I have several windows in my connected living room and dining room area. I bought a smaller condo which reached right where he could perch and look out the window. Next to the condo is a scanner that I placed a bath mat over. He could roam from one platform to the other. Ohio does have some sunny days, although cold, and now he could be in the sun. At the very least he was not in darkness and enjoyed the light. He changed immediately once he could see outside. He still doesn’t seem to care about the toys, but when the sun sets he climbs into my lap and purrs by the hour.
I then thought about how all of us need some light and sun. There are statistics proving that states like Alaska with the least amount of sun have the highest suicide rates. Iceland is very close to the Arctic Circle and people there drink coffee in one of their many cafes or sit around a roaring fire. When I visited Finland, another gray country, the guide told us that almost every apartment and house had a sauna for people to enjoy in the winter, along with a drink in their hand! Our bodies are not made to be in darkness.
It dawned on me that even when I am going though horrible chemo, I feel better when I can be outside in the summer. I enjoy sitting in a lawn chair out in front and chatting with the neighbors. My dog loves to bask in the sun and will sit outside for hours just sniffing the air and feeling the warmth. On warmer days, I am often on my porch until 10 at night with string lights all around the ceiling and candles burning as I watch the sunlight fade and the moon appear.
Inside my apartment, I have a wooden tree a friend made for me. I decorate it for each season and put artificial lights on. I make sure during the winter season there are at least three or four strings of different colored lights, and it is amazing how that tree lifts my spirits.
We look for constant cures for our cancer. We try the best medicine and the highest rated doctors. But animals are smarter than we are. Sometimes all we need is a little sunlight to help us feel healthier. Go out and enjoy those rays whenever you can! If you can’t be outside, light up indoors and listen to the Beatles song about “Here comes the sun!” And remember that through the long lonely days of chemo, the light is coming. Be ready to cherish it!