As I have mentioned before, I tend to plant things for winter interest as well as for enjoying during what most of us consider the growing season. One of the things I enjoy most about this is watching the patterns of shadow on the snow.
Here my Harry Lauder's Walkingstick (Corylus contorta) shows its twisted form and catkins. I have two varieties of this shrub. This one, a plain green leaved variety and another which has red leaves in the spring. This one is in the front yard and I am going to have to move it as I'm tired of explaining to passersby that it isn't sick that it is supposed to be contorted. (Harry Lauder was a Scottish entertainer in the first half of the 20th century...and I loved his "Wee Highland Laddie" when I was a child).
Another winter wonder is the Hellebores. I have several varieties and it isn't for nothing that they are commonly called "Lenten Roses."
Here, you can see the little buds of the flowers getting ready to open. They will open soon, probably by the end of the month. This particular one is Helleborus foetidus (stinking hellebore) and I love it's sharp pointed leaves which are like stag's horns.
I also love how the shadows play on the snow, casting dark blue and lavandar lines. This is a baby Acer Sangu Kaku (Coral Bark Maple).
We've had a lot of snow for SW Ohio....well, we've had three snowstorms with no melting in between, which means that I have snow up to my kneecaps in my back yard. One of the things which is heartening about looking at a garden in the winter is the resilience of the plants.
The hellebores go on making their bid for regeneration and prepare for their flowering, even in the middle of what most people think of as a wasteland.
Grasses bend under snow and are covered, but given some warm days, they too will once again stand tall.
On Thursday, I am having to practice my own resilience. Last week Thursday, I went for my 4 month visit to the oncologist. This Thursday, he called me with my tumor markers. Tumor markers are substances which are produced by specific tumors or by the body in reaction to tumor cells.
Usually, since I've had breast cancer twice, it is in the 20s. Two visits ago it elevated to 40-something. This was a little alarming, but usually if my markers rise, they will go back down again. This time, my markers were in the 60s. That, coupled with the "area of concern" on my pelvis indicates that in all probability, the cancer is back. Well, heck.
So now I have been switched to a higher aromatase inhibitor--something which prevents the tumor cells to "hook" into the food supply in my normal cellular structure. Tamoxifen is an aromatase inhibitor; I've been on a higher level one called Arimidex for years. I am now put on Aromasin. I just about croaked as when I went to pick up 14 tablets to tide me over until my mail order drugs come, it cost me $164.98.
I took it last night and this morning have a stiff shoulder. Heck, opening the window with my opposite arm even hurt. This might be a side effect of the Aromasin as it can cause joint pain...or I may just have slept on it incorrectly. Who knows?
Next week, I'll start another regimen: IVs of Zometa which is used against bone metastases. I think he said that I will start out getting that once every three months and that the infusion only took 15 - 20 minutes.....a heck of a lot better than the 4 hours I was there with Aredia.
I asked him if this combination might be sucessful in killing off the cancer and he told me that yes, it was possible, but because cancer cells are our own cells gone awry, you never know unless you try. This made me feel a little better as the two strongest types of chemo available for breast cancer patients, I've already had and obviously have failed on. There is no more chemo for me, except to use down the road to alleviate pain. So, hopefully somewhere in my DNA is an enzyme for a super ball, and I'll rebound once again...or at least be like my ornamental grasses, lifting my bent head.
At any rate, even like this picture, the sun shines bright against a dark sky.