What Luck Means Now | With Jacki Weaver
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That's what Joyce Maynard writes about in this week's essay, it's read by Jackie Weaver, who's been nominated for a kademi awards for her work in silver, linings playbook and animal kingdom. You can see Jackie this summer in the new series. Perpetual, grace limited on epix. The room where else spend the day if I'm lucky is fluorescent lit lined with hod plastic Jays and has a reminder on the wo- concerning the importance of hand sanitizer, though. Friends offered to accompany me, I'm here alone. On the opposite side, a family has gathered a man in his early sixties like me and four young people around the ages of my children. They're engaged in. Cheerful sounding small talk about their jobs. The Red Sox as for me. I don't feel like talking to anyone. I ride a little after six AM after kissing, my husband goodbye before they will him into surgery. The surgery is expected to take twelve is though, somewhere around us three, the surgeon will have gotten to the place in gyms abdomen where he can see the Tuma known to us, only as an innocuous, looking gray area on Jim C T scans. Sometimes this turns out to be the moment when the surgeon discovers, the Juma is not operable after all in which case they stitch everything up and say, we tried. The two met in question. I haven't allowed myself to call it gyms to. I don't want to see him. Take ownership is two point five. Centimeters in the Hammida located in the head of gyms. Pancreas. The my husband survive to have shot that survival, this Touma must come out. The operation calls for the removal of part of gyms anxious. He's gold data is due Edina and pots his small intestine, and stomach. Pitch gutting, a fish GM, a fly fisherman said to a friend, that's roughly the idea. It's all to save an operation this, that a person is lucky to be receiving it. But Jim Naidoo feel lucky. Seven months earlier when we went to the doctor anticipating Goldstein's, we learned that Yuma was probably not purple. This is surgery that gives you a shot. Jim's Dr Toda's shot just that. But suddenly a shot was everything. It's called the Whipple procedure. From that moment, our focus had become shrinking the Tuma to wedge, Jim could get the Whipple. And after eight rounds of chemotherapy and two of radiation. The day has come. The Whipple is brutal surgery in the best of circumstances. The best being a strange phrased employ, when discussing a form of cancer with two years of I will rate of around five percent. Don't Google it. They told us that first day, but we did. The day we learned the news, just fifteen months had paused since our wedding on a New Hampshire hillside, with friends and children, gathered fireworks exploding and a band backing us up as we performed a duet. On a John prime song and talked about the trips we would take the olive trees, we would plant each of us had been divorced. Almost twenty five years, how lucky everyone said that we'd found each other when we did now luck means having this operation. In four hours. Luck will mean getting a call from a nurse. Who says they've reached the Tuma they're going in for it. I have a book, but I keep reading the same sentence on the other side of the room. The father and the four young people around repping, sandwiches, and laughing. The twentysomethings at telling funny stories about their mother, if not for the institutional decor. You might think they're enjoying family reunion. My children in gyms. No. When Neha on three thousand miles from home. In those terrible weeks off to the diagnosis, I lived with the phone on either rea- calling hospitals and researching treatments that might offer. What the first Dr not the possibility of a future when a program looked promising. We got on the plane it was in this city at this hospital where we found the surgeon who said. I believe I can get your husband's Juma out. Not even eighteen hours earlier. We Mark this moment with day game at Fenway park. Enough. Would we celebrated the Red Sox win with oysters and multi Jim Boorda cap bold for many months? His hair was back. He was thin. But handsome, it was about two years before that Jimmy dos to marry him on the deck. If he's Oakland California home with a couple of martinis and a plate of voices. Never a skillful liar. He pointed me toward a particular or ister and suggested I try it tucked into the shell. A diamond ring. I had been single for twenty four years just putting that ring on my finger, feld odd almost embarrassing. As later, it would be difficult to say my husband Orford selfishness Jim's wife to me, marriage meant trouble. Failure pain. Why risk that again, only I did we bought a house made big plans? Then came the diagnosis. I think it was then not the day of our wedding, when the words, wife and husband entered my vocabulary, the first time I could speak them without awkwardness. They slipped into my speech over the weeks and months, I spent navigating a will of cancer treatment searching for the bobbing scrap of hope in an ocean of trouble drug trials. Immunotherapy extreme diets. I express mile dos Ganz to syllogies as far away, as Germany, and when we would told the next point with three months out I said my husband needs to see the doctor now. My husband. It some point I realized I no longer spoke of gyms treatment, or Jim scan. We are on full fear in Knox. Now, I would say, we're getting cyber knife radiation, and then we trank the Tuma by fifty percent. We are getting surgery. The us after my divorce I'd called myself a solo operator, but I had longed for big romance. And with Jim I found it. The summer after we met. We saw nineteen eighty two Chrysler lebaron convertible on Craigslist in Maine and bought it, then flew from California to pick it up. For the first time in thirty eight years of practicing. Jim took the summer off. We put four thousand miles on that convertible. Mostly on New England back roads. We ate lobster rows and danced and talked about riding Jim's motorcycle across the country. Allie? Mcgraw earn Ryan O'Neal might have made it look, otherwise, but cancer is not romantic. Always Elaine, man. Jim dropped thirty pounds. I headed by the way he dressed conservative, but shop. Now he wore his suit like David Boon in the talking heads video of us. When it looked as if a recurrent C difficile infection might kill him. He was down to one hundred eight pounds and dropping, I persuaded him to have a fecal transplant Dona me. He had been since the teen Abass player of rock and roll guy. Also an eagle scout. I love that about him now as the chemo eight away at him and his triumph gather dust. It seemed important that he playing. So one day I made pie for the whole band, and their wives. But the morning of the party, the neuropathy kicked in from the chemo, leaving Jim's fingers numb, unable to play that night, I stood at the edge of silent yard and dumped five pounds of seafood. No roken role that day or that season all the one that followed. In the waiting room, the family across from me, had brought in food for dinner, the just opening this styrofoam containers. When a woman approaches Benz to speak with the father a hand on his showed the daughter leans in and the sun and the two others. I realize must be their partners. Suddenly, the room spinning the food drops to the floor. The father, just sits there, hands to his face shaking his head, but the children weeping, and then wailing someone stands staggers drops to the floor. They all Russia food, represent bags abandoned. It can happen. That's whiskey the end of life as we know it. Then two time can creep so slowly, even a minute seems. It's close to midnight when the surgeon calls. This was the toughest Whipple. I ever performed. He says. They got the Tuma and took Surti eight, lymph nodes. It will be another few days before the pathology report. But things look good in the recovery room. I find the bid with Jim in it, though. He's much changed from the person. I met to north even four years earlier on a match com date at a restaurant in Marin County, California, where I kept waiting for him to suggest that we order something, but he never did later, he explained. I was just so no top by you forgot. There are two coming out of him his eyes closed mouth open. He looks a hundred years old, but he's alive. I'm his wife, I told us and take my place by the bit. Jacki Weaver, reading Joyce, Maynard's essay, what luck means now. We'll hear more from Joyce after the break. modern love is supported by xfinity. Some things are hard to control like over caffeinated co workers. Other things are easy to control. Like you're in home wifi with xfinity X by wifi curfew change password user profiles over the x fi at another reason, why xfinity is simple easy. Awesome go online. Call one eight hundred fifty or visit a store to learn more restrictions apply. Gyms. Whipple procedure took place in the summer of two thousand fifteen and for a while it felt like victory for both Jim and Joyce. There was this joyful triumphant moment when Jimmy merged from the surgery and the surgeon said to us, this was a success. This was a great surgery, a success for surgeon is very different in this case from success for the patient, he did a really good job. And we were you for it. But that wasn't the end of the story. My husband was not really out of pain from that moment on, we went back home to California and did all the things that you do had more chemo. But. The cancer came back and almost just over a year year and a week from the date of the surgery in our bed at home. Jim took his last breath. I don't need to say that I notice of cancer like this is spectacularly bad luck. For a man that I consider young man. He was sixty two when he when he was diagnosed, but having said that I feel so lucky. To have had him in my life. To have known him and even to have walked this pass. I knew him I knew him. And he knew me and some of us go through our whole life, not being known and I carry that with me, it's a, it's a huge gift. Joyce says that after Jim died she started thinking about how to spend the rest of her life. One of her regrets was dropping out of college decision. She'd made not long after writing a long piece for the New York Times magazine in nineteen seventy two it was called an eighteen year old looks back on life and the issue was published with Joyce's photo on the cover. From that moment on my life changed within a day, there were a thousand pieces of mail delivered to my Yale dormitory room. And in among those letters was one completely different from all the others, which was a letter, just basically saying, I have a lot of action for that piece that you wrote, I think you're real writer. And I know thing or two about the perils of early success. And I urge you to be careful you will be exploited and the letter was signed by j d Salinger. Yes. The same JD Salinger that was the famous and reclusive, author of catcher in the rye Joyce, and Salinger started writing to one another not long, after she gave up her scholarship to Yale to go and live with him in New Hampshire. He was thirty five years older than she was. I didn't know what being in love wise. I had never been in love what it was for me was religion. I was his follower. And whatever he said, I believed. Must do it was an extremely painful year and ultimately around just about exactly a year after he'd I written to me. He sent me away in a pretty painful way that relationship ended but Joyce went on to write more than a dozen books, Mary and have three children. And she says that despite her regret over leaving Yale, she never thought she would go back. I was carrying on with my life. I was working very hard. I was putting three children through college and. Engine died. And suddenly, the thing that had seemed so far, fetched and unimaginable seemed like a real possibility. So coming back to Yale, forty seven years later was hugely symbolic for me, I had unfinished business, and it was honoring my own dreams my own goals, and being my own person. Not fashioning myself into who a man, however great told me I should be Joyce is arising junior now and she spends a lot of time biking through campus in New Haven. I ride past the Yale school every day. And it is a moment when I sometimes actually speak aloud to my husband and just say, oh, Jimmy. Look at me now. How I wish you were here. That's Joyce, Maynard, her many books include the memoirs, the best of us and at home in the world. More after this. The fact that in two thousand nineteen where having this debate about measles, vaccine, makes my head want to explode, which is tennis. Strange really strange place in the only people speaking up the parents, endless thread, the podcast from WBU are Boston's NPR station and read it brings you a special series on the history of vaccines in antibac- Sers, subscribe on apple podcasts, or wherever you listen. Here's Daniel Jones editor of the modern love column for the New York Times, what struck me in this essay is this constantly shifting definition of luck and how we define our lives as being lucky. And does that mean that things break our way and that we're happy and healthy? Well, then what is luck if illness? Drake's how do you define how do you call yourselves lucky? Then it's appreciating sort of love that you share and what brought you together, and what's going to keep you together in this case until the end and, and how if if the relationship is a good one, you're inclined to think of yourselves as lucky. So it was just it was an interesting sort of meditation on the word luck and how we use it and how powerful it can be. And here's Jacki Weaver on why she chose to read this essay. I chose this one I was of the north. Why did I do? I kind of identifying a bit because I had a release series operation myself, only about twelve months ago. Cedars-sinai saving our brazen. Five incisions in my and my husband set in Cedars-Sinai fo twelve hours, unless it's the same kind of deal, and also the family collapsing in, in the waiting room. That's exactly what happened to my brother and my father, and I win my mother's sudden dot in an operating theatre so so identified with that. When you get to a certain age, you've experienced just about all of it. Next week. William Jackson Harper. Nate was my break-up buddy. We were introduced at scruffy Murphy's Irish bar by mutual friend who thought we'd like each other. And I liked Nate instantly is tight crewcut in animated features. He seemed transplanted from another generation, you can easily magin him as a bit player in fifties war movie, getting out lines like, hey, Sarge over here. He's on a whole or shot me mom bleeding. Modern love is a production of the New York Times, and you are Boston's NPR station. It's produced directed and edited by Caitlyn O'Keefe original scoring and sound design by Matt read, iris Adler is our executive producer. Daniel Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show special. Thanks to Smith Hennig on your streaming and mealy at the New York Times the idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by Lisa Tobin additional music, courtesy of a PM magnitude Cardi see you next week.