Dancing with Savvy


I’ve been taking dexamethasone for my blood cancer, multiple myeloma, since 2007. The synergistic effect of this steroid with myeloma therapies is undisputed. They work, they are inexpensive, and can be taken orally. My cancer continues to wobble without direction, seemingly unable to focus its biology. I attribute much of the myeloma’s poor power of concentration to dex.

On the other hand, its potency comes with side effects that some find intolerable. Steroids can make you moody … crazy moody. Extensive use may also lead to muscle wasting and diabetes.

Furthermore, long term users often develop cataracts, such as I did. Now, however, my cloudy vision is getting the attention it deserves. Yesterday, I underwent the first of two surgeries to repair my blurry eyesight. Today, I see much better and the grittiness that accompanies cataracts vanished along with the clouds. One down, one to go.

Bengal Tiger

For clarity of vision, I’ve relied on the auto-focus of my Nikon and iPhone cameras. Those, along with my memory, collaborate to evoke scenes from my boring life. Recently, this long running film included an afternoon waltz through the backyard with my granddaughter, Savannah.

The puzzled wonder at all she saw shone in her blueberry eyes.                   I humored us both with a treacly stream of off key lullabies.

The midday sun laid tangles of shadow, right there upon the ground.       Tigers circled the imagined bramble, not once, but twice around.

The stripes upon their Bengal legs, buttered evenly by the heat,           Melted in the shade of cut leaf maple, so cool beneath their feet.


Eventually, my palette of rhyme dried up and my arms ached from carrying Savvy. So, I loaded her into the baby buggy. She obliged by promptly going to sleep, snoozing all the while as we trundled about the neighborhood.

Afterwards, back home, I paid attention to the restive prompts of chirps, sighs, and squeals that make up Savvy’s two month old vocabulary. Diaper, bottle, or hold me close: she helped me decipher the elemental necessities of a baby’s life.

Smiling Savannah
Smiling Savannah

More and more, her awareness grows but she is always here, now, unable to even imagine the future, let alone worry about it. Which is good, for therein lies a lesson: we all see poorly when attempting to peer beyond the moment. That’s true whether you have cataracts or not. Who knows what’s really ahead? For me, with respect to my supposedly incurable blood cancer, anxieties arise only when I try to see what cannot be seen. Hanging out with Savannah is an excellent antidote to that temptation.

7 thoughts on “Dancing with Savvy

  1. Sounds like a delightful way to focus on the present. Savannah is adorable. Congrats on the clearer eyesight. I have so much admiration for your strength of spirit.


  2. I find nothing boring about your life. Surely the ability to just “be” with it is the best antidote to boredom there is. Loved the pics. And the prose, as usual, is sterling. Blueberry eyes, restive prompts of chirps, sighs and squeals;buttered evenly by the heat (loved everything about the Bengal Tiger). Thanks again.


  3. I just saw your posting, John. I love it and am very moved by its wisdom.
    “we all see poorly when attempting to peer beyond the moment,” is so, so true. Savannah knows that! She is so beautiful, a gift to you and everyone around her. Glad you can see her more clearly.
    Hugs and good wishes,


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