Carla posted it on her blog, so I can write about it here--there is some hope!!! Real hope--it feels as warm and life-giving as the unseasonable sunshine we're getting here--seventy lovely degrees, and the cherry blossoms fit to burst on the pink trees.
A study in Italy seems to show that small doses of lithium can be effective in slowing down the progression of ALS, and preventing death. It's not a cure--it's not even definitive yet. The study is only on about fifteen patients, and has only been going on for 18 months, but the results were so dramatic and surprising that the researchers put the control group, who were receiving a placebo, on the lithium, because it would be unethical not to.
It's not a cure, but it buys time until we get a president who will put stem-cell research on the front burner. It's a ray of hope, and I am bathing in it.
(For more detailed information, see Carla's blog at www.carlamuses.blogspot.com .)
I've felt kind of raw and vulnerable since returning from Detroit. I know I "should" be basking in feelings of success, but I am finding the playwriting biz stressful. There's money involved, for one thing--not money that I see in my checking account, but big money for production costs. And unlike poetry, where it's perfectly acceptable to hide out in your study in your sweatpants, it seems like playwrights are supposed to Show Up at things--like early rehearsals--and have opinions, and know something.
Plus, the subject matter and the language of my play--some people like it, some don't. That's what it is to be out there in the world, some people are going to love what you do, others won't, and it's not my job to read everyone's mind or make everyone understand me and like me. It's just my job to teach my classes and do my revisions and make lasagna.
Yesterday I volunteered with SF Connect. I thought I'd be planting trees, and thus advancing towards the goal of fifty trees planted by my fiftieth birthday, but instead ended up just weeding around tree basins in the city. It was great though--I learned about an organization called the League of Urban Gardeners and Arbor Day, and met some nice folk, and most importantly was just out in the fresh air and balmy sunshine. Funny, I'd passed those city trees a million times and never noticed them--but of course they need weeding and tending and care. Everything does. I have mostly been about creation and destruction in my life so far. Middle age seems a fitting time to learn about preservation.