Cancer Commando’s First Mission



A good example of a heathy puzzle.
A good example of a heathy puzzle.

It’s my chemo treatment day and I am early to the hospital.  The traffic was really light for some reason and I just zoomed in.  Jennifer is showing up soon.  We didn’t come in together as usual.  But we will cause trouble here shortly.

I did my turn at the jigsaw puzzle here in the waiting room.  I try to do at least one piece. Did three today, hurrah.  It’s where it is happening here.  It is the best way to strike up a conversation and get intelligence.  Other than that, people are moping around and it is hard to approach them.

Last time I was here I did my first mission as a cancer commando and it had to do with the puzzle.  I’ll have to tell you about it.  I came over to do my usual piece and noticed that the puzzle was the same one that was there two weeks before which is odd since there is usually a faster turnover.  Not only that but it seemed still to be two thirds done like somehow nothing had progressed in two weeks.   And it didn’t take too long of staring at it to discover that it had numerous pieces missing.  People realized that and lost interest quickly but the big thing is nobody did anything about it.  It just remained.

So, I got it in my head to deep six it with permission of course.  It felt so great to slide the pieces off the table and into the wastebasket.  I was striking a blow for the other patients coming after.  It sounds a little silly but it was a case of realizing the value of a positive action no matter how small.  And the value of getting out of my personal “rut” and participating in the bigger picture.

Well, it seems like a dinky little thing but it is part of something bigger, something that could grow.  Just getting organized and getting the hang of this cancer commando calling.  It feels a little like “One Flew Over the Coocoo’s Nest”‘ if you can remember that.  That was from the sixties; I don’t know if we can remember that.  Later, love, Felipe.

6 thoughts on “Cancer Commando’s First Mission”

  1. Hola PF Felipe!

    Happily amazed at how many things the two of us “strangers” have in common. You zeroed in on one of my biggies with today’s blog. Doing something positive, no matter how small. The people in this world I have the least time for are the the perpetual bitchers who never have a suggestion or idea or slightest glimmer of intuition toward offering a solution to the things they’re ranting about. A small, exceedingly small even, case in point. The hand wringers lamenting the loss of our beautiful Monarch butterflies, partly due to the loss of their favorite “flower”, the common milkweed. They bash the chemical manufacturers. They bash the farmers. They bash agribusiness in general. And when I ask them, “how many milkweeds have you planted on your place?”, they look at me like I’ve sprouted horns. Cathy has milkweed growing all throughout our garden(s). We throw some of their seeds in the road ditches so they can thrive there. If there were milkweeds growing in every yard and garden in the country, it would dwarf what used to grow in our grain fields. A simple, small positive thing, and yet it seems so foreign to so many.

    I’ve heard from Clara in Columbia and her notes are wet with tears of gratitude to you and all the Caminoheads in the Volker battalion. She asks that you continue those prayers not just for her but for all those who fight the long hard fight against that awful foe.

    My Cathy is enjoying the chance to visit Vancouver next week. She is accompanying our daughter (another Camino vet) to be the “traveling nanny” for their youngest child as she does her professional job of sales promotion for her company. Maybe she can wave as she flies over your island 🙂


  2. Way to go, Commando Phil. Small actions that lift the spirits are as necessary, perhaps sometimes more than all the big “guns” we throw at our challenges. In fact, it strikes me that you are consistently elfing about committing small acts of random thoughtfulness and kindness. And yes, I do remember McMurphy and nurse Ratchet, Martini and the Chief… keeping one’s sanity in insane environments requires Commando like efforts. Well done with the puzzle.

  3. PFJuan ~ thanks for the backup on the small efforts. And you are back to the milkweed and butterfly connection. And man I do appreciate our banter and your effort to keep me honest with my ideas. So, Your Cathy is flying to Vancouver and I have to ask is that the one in WA or the one in Canada? It is probably the one in Canada but thought I would ask. When we get together we can talk about milkweed and butterflies and woodcock and overgrown old farms but that will take much more beer. Love you man, PFFelipe.

  4. Catherine ~ your party was the bestest! Thank you so much. It really took me back to Spain and I am sure that went for everyone. Complete with Kelly and I doing our Abbot and Costello thing. Yes, then the commando deal which is in my head in the context of the cancer experience. I am attempting to lead the way to get folks as far down the road to healing as possible. I seem to be getting a pass on some of the worst of the treatment side effects so I figure that I need to use that gift energy to do that. Moving patients from patients to campers to commandos and maybe further. Here is a question for you as you seem to remember the sixties, was Nurse Rachets first name ever mentioned? You’re the best CJ, Felipe.

  5. First of all, i Love one flew over the cuckoo’s nest. LOVE IT! But not as much as I love you, and PFJ, and Catherine, and Dana, and Esther, and Cherry, and (of course) Rebecca (yours and ‘mine’) and all the other Caminoheads. LOVE them all! Love you! Just LOVE!!!! and no, I don’t think Nurse Ratchet’s first name was ever mentioned. Unless it was Nurse.
    Big kiss to every single one of you! <3

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