So long, long song

December 18, 2013

AS you may or have may not noticed. I have.

I have not been writing really this go round of chemotherapy and treatment.

My venue has turned more to being and photographing and trying to beg our family off on other families for sinner and fun and a delightful change of scene. The sights and sounds and laughter of begin with other people seems paramount of my existence.

That and yoga, dag nabit I love getting settled into the studio and lifting my head from the pre-class music and book work to a bounty of beautiful smiles. fantastic, really!

so here are a couple phots that some of you whom dont part take in Facebook can have a gander at. oxoxox my lovlies, my     angels, my pixies and sprites. i adore you.

IMG_1863 IMG_2364 IMG_1555 IMG_2091 IMG_2215 Photo on 11-21-13 at 1.08 PM #3 Photo on 12-6-13 at 9.30 AM #2 Photo on 10-26-13 at 3.17 PM #2 IMG_2050

 

 

Precipice

September 5, 2013

It has been pretty easy the last week to pretend that this is not happening. But now standing on the precipice of getting my port put in tomorrow I am finding myself filled with a fair amount of anxiety and a lot of questions.

The difficulty regarding anxiety lies mostly in knowledge. The knowing of what is to come. The first time around it was sort of like a scary adventure. I am reminded of a spring day somewhere around the end of April beginning of May early 1980’s. I was a sassy 8th grader, hanging out with sompompy like bridgee high schoolers… yes, boys. It was a wickedly hot day and the Ompompanoosuc River was looking very inviting. So we all went down to jump off the bridge. I wanted to show that I was a tough girl so I jumped before anyone else could get ready. This was the first time in my life I thought I was going to die. Seriously. The water was so cold that my limbs could hardly move, so cold that my chest and larynx tighten up so that when one of my friends called down to ask how it was I could barely utter a grunt (which he took as “great” and jumped in). In desperation I struggled over to the shore (too prideful to let anyone know I was in agony and scared) and eventually got out. The thing is, to this day I am seriously scared of jumping into water that may be chilly; and actually, I have a strong physical and emotional aversion to cold water at all. Ask my family; I spend more time on the beach or at the edge of the lake, river, pool, psyching myself up or waiting for the elements to be in my favor.

Getting a port put back in, starting chemo feels a lot jumping into the river again, and I HAVE to do it.

And the anxiety starts feeding that sense of failure… a cruel dance that I am working on getting rid of, changing… looking and listening for different music, making different choices, different steps.

So the question is, how do I make it more tolerable?

Clearly I need a wet suit. A wet suit made of alternatives… acupuncture, tumor inhibiting diet, visualizations, etcetera; a wet suit stitched together with the helping hands, loving hearts and words of strength form all of you.

And perhaps, just perhaps once that port is put in and the chemo started, once I have jumped back into the freezing cold river my resolve to be strong and proud and capable of getting myself to the bank will kick back in.

Maybe it is time for the leap instead of this limbo.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” (Charles Swindoll)

2013: Oh look, here we all are

August 22, 2013

Did you find yourself here again. Bummer right? My sentiments exactly. Jeez, I almost hit that 3 year mark and “blammo!!” everything changes. Originally it kind of felt like sliding backwards, but the truth is we are always moving forward even when we are visiting unfortunate and familiar things; be it bad attitudes, too much drinking, or cancer.

My first reaction when I found out was actually a keen appreciation and wonder of the power of intuition. Part of me knew cancer had returned. Or to be more precise it turns out it had never entirely left. It was just hiding and slowly growing.

The second feeling was fear for my kids, for putting them through what was in the near future, and fear for what is always in all of our futures, but hopefully not too soon. death. But even my emotional brain knows when to reign that in.

The third feeling was of failure. But I didn’t want to admit it. When Adrian and I left the oncologist I grabbed my trusty book off the dashboard of blessing by John O’Donohue and did a “lucky pick” to see what John and the universe wanted to let me know. The book fell open to A Blessing for Failure. NO SHIT, I kid you not. So of course I slammed the book shut and said; “lucky picking is bullshit. That’s the wrong poem for me.” All Adrian said was “Oh?” and then there were the tears and the admission that I did indeed feel like I had failed. Failed in all my efforts to de-stress, to have an occupation that made me feel great, to appreciate my life and my kids my life so much that it would save me; I felt like I failed to find the key to turn cancer off. Failed because I had to tell all these people who love me and who I absolutely adore a message that would make them sad, mad and scared.

And it has taken me a great number of days to feel like I didn’t fail. I haven’t lost or failed. I am here. I didn’t get hit by a car, have a heart attack, or eaten by a shark (mostly because I only went in the water up to my waist, but it could happen…) You get my point. And I get my point. You are alive, I am alive…today, right now. I am alive and I may have cancer, but I will tell you what, cancer doesn’t have me.

A BLESSING FOR FAILURE by John O’Donohue

IMG_0265 The will of color loves how light spreads
Through its diffusions, making textures subtle,
Clothing a landscape in concealment
For color to keep its mysteries
Hidden from the unready eye.

But the light that comes after rain
Is always fierce and clear,
And illuminates the face of everything
Through the transparency of rain.

Despite the initial darkening,
This is the light that failure casts.
Beholden no more to the promise
Of what dreams and work would bring.
It shows where roots have withered
And where the source has gone dry.
The light of failure has no mercy
Of the affections of the heart;
It emerges from beyond the personal,
A wiry, forthright light that likes to see crevices
Open in the shell of a controlled life.

Though cruel now, it serves a deeper kindness,
Wise to the larger call of growth.

It invites us to humility
And the painstaking work of acceptance

So that one day we may look back
In recognition and appreciation
At the disappointment we now endure.

 

 

Message Sent (go back)

One year later….

December 24, 2011

I don’t know how many people still subscribe to this post but I am going to write anyway.

Once I was healed from liver resection surgery number 2 I threw myself into biking and running, actually I started running on the treadmill at my folks house even before the staples were out. I was going with the Lance Armstrong more exercise more oxygen method. I ran a 6.5 mile race up Mt Tom in the spring and did a mini triathlon in the late spring. All good stuff, but yoga kept calling me back and so I applied to Kripalu to get my Yoga Teacher certificate and have just completed the first half of that training. It was intense; challenging for the body and the mind. But seriously, what this year hasn’t been challenging?

There are amazing lessons in all the struggles we are presented with. I know cancer has given me gifts, I don’t want anymore gifts, thank you; but I continue to learn and grow from the ones I have. Every amazing and difficult thing that has happened just in the last year has had a gift, and there have been plenty.

This summer started small and ended with a bang! It began with Lorna stepping on a piece of glass that severed a tendon in her foot. Lorna is a bike racer and kicks butt on the road and track. She derives a lot of peace of mind and well-earned pride through her racing and the exercise itself so to be faced with a potential injury that would negatively impact her racing for a long time was scary. My sister will have to illuminate us on her exact gift from that experience, but I know there was one.

Then the summer just revved right up! My mom who had a cough for quite a while was diagnosed with lung cancer. She was scheduled to have her lung removed, big deal but neat…clean done.  Nope, they started surgery to find that it had spread outside the lung to her lymphs, and a later MRI revealed it was also in her brain. She jumped into chemo and radiation almost everyday. And yes, there have been gifts but you’ll have to ask her. Here is her blog about her journey with cancer (http://anneleneve.com/). She is amazing and strong!

Fast forward to the flood from Hurricane Irene which really slammed Vermont and our house was one of the lucky ones… Oh no, we got hit! We were flooded and trashed about, but we had amazing friends and neighbors and people we didn’t even know come help us out. We witnessed an astounding show of selflessness and giving. And now we have a clean basement and a new foundation.

Hot on the tail of the flood Adrian; who had been struggling with drinking so much that I was literally that day going to drop the “D” word bomb when he disappeared on a bender, then resurfaced and bravely checked himself into rehab. He has done remarkably well and I don’t know that I have ever been so in love with my husband as I am now. Sobriety has been a tremendous gift in this house.

Okay wow! right? Enough is enough, and I agree.  Needless to say, however, we are all doing well right now. Yes, there are still the multitude of tests to check hanging over my mothers and my head, that will always be there (we each have one in January actually, keep those fingers toes and eyes crossed for nothing but goodness and clearness), but otherwise all of these things that have happened though difficult while in it have shown some sort of light, some gift.

Now I know it is the holidays and you have far too many things to do, but I will add-on below a reading I am doing tonight (Christmas Eve). By some curious and magical turn of events I was asked to write and read a reflection at the Universalist Unitarian Church. I was dumbfounded by the inquiry because I have only ever gone to this church 3 or 4 times and as many of you know I am a bit resistant to religious gatherings.  However it seemed like another good challenge that was necessary and so off I go even though I am so nervous I could scream and run away with my arms over my head. Anyway below the picture is the reading I am doing, for you, on your time if you want. Thank always  for being there, wherever that may be right now… jai bhagwan!

before life got extra exciting

(CHRISTMAS EVE READING 2011)

When my oldest daughter was still in elementary school my husband, Adrian, taught her that when a teacher says “who wants to go first” you just shoot your hand up in the air before you can even have time to reconsider. I thought it was brilliant advice, so when Daniel asked if I was interested in doing a reflection, perhaps about upheaval or restoration or resilience, I immediately shot my hand out and typed YES! And almost just as quickly thought “what have I done?”

I can not tell you how many classes I failed in high school and college because I was too mortifyingly shy to do an oral presentation. Getting up in front of people filled me with agonizing angst. On every possible occasion where wishes might be granted I wished for the bravery to get up and do the things I wanted to do, to say the things I wanted to say, longed to say, needed to say, even if only to pass a class. I made pacts at New Years to do better, I hoped the packages under the Christmas tree might have a magic confidence potion, and yearly I blew out my birthday candles with the wish to speak and do, to be confident and believe in myself knowing somewhere inside I had the capacity; all the while berating my self for being a wimp and undermining myself every other day of the year.

Birthday wishes don’t make you more brave and you cant find it under the Christmas tree. Practice can make you brave. Practice. Practice, practice, practice. Practice anything and you will get good at it. Practice berating yourself and you will become good at it, practice being critical of other people and you will become good at it, practice losing your temper, practice procrastinating, practice violence, practice envy, practice self pity and you will become good at it.

So eventually the question became “what am I practicing?” Make no mistake, just because the question is clear

and the answer is also then illuminated

the pieces don’t suddenly fall into place.

No, for me it took practice. Practice,  practice and more practice

and then still it didn’t take until I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer at 39. We had just moved to Woodstock, I had three children, a new business and in the blink of an eye the world shifted. What became apparent immediately was that nothing mattered anymore except right “now”. Right NOW.

What we regret about the past is that we can’t change it. What we fear about the future is that inevitably there will be change; for ourselves and the people we love; and that change includes illness and death. It is a radical act to practice compassion and contentment right NOW.  Nobody said life would be easy. Some of us, many of us, have experienced illness, death, infidelity, financial struggles, and natural disasters; to name just a few of life’s bounty…but this is life. It is the sweat, the blood, and the tears hand in hand with the joy, the laughter and newness. I, personally, have experienced an abundance of life’s gifts.

On my 40th birthday I had half my liver removed; it became my re birthday.

What I discovered is that illness and struggle isn’t a punishment, but rather a stimulant to life. It’s a reminder that it is not about what life hits you with, but how you keep going even when you don’t know where you are going.

I invite you now to close your eyes. Close your eyes and listen to your breath. Listen to your inhale. Listen to your exhale. Close your eyes and feel the rise and fall of your chest with each round of breathes. Listen to the pulse of your heart held within the sacred container of your rib cage. And now, without moving, try to feel the hard wood seat below you and behind you… supporting you. Without moving feel your feet rooted to the floor beneath them. And with your eyes closed open your awareness to the breathing of your neighbors. There is an undeniable life force emitted by each of us especially when we breathe, relax and allow.

Take a few more breathes here and while you do imagine the invisible energy line that connects us all to each other; a line to our past, to our future and to our present. Our present. Your present. This present. This present is a gift. A gift of NOW. Everyday you wake up has the potential of compassionate rebirth for all that you were, all that you are and all that you will be. Every day is potentially your birthday, a new day, a new opportunity, a NOW opportunity. Every breath you inhale as sweet and valuable as your first and each exhale as easy and poignant as your last.

Tonight and tomorrow many will celebrate the birth of Jesus but right now I invite you to open your eyes look around at your neighbors, your family, your friends and wish yourself and each other a happy birthday.

And thank you for listening to me practice.

87 hours

December 19, 2010

A quick short narcotic influenced note to let every one know that 87 hours after begining my second liver resection surgery I am feeling great and walking the halls of MGH’s Bigelow building. My pain is subsiding, my scar is even more awesome than before and my belly button indeed does lilt to the right a bit. No problem!

More to come. Thanks you, everyone, for your out pourings!

Here I go again…

December 14, 2010

“Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.” (Wayne Dyer)

I don’t know where I am going to go with this writing tonight, so bear with me. This last 6 weeks has been a roller coaster. First there was the news that there may be a spot on my liver, which kicked me into high gear as fast as I could trying to get my mind and body together: yoga, biking, high doses of cucurim, liver detoxing, no alcohol, no sugar, therapy, and much more. In the end the second scan showed not one, but two tumors on my liver and then the added necessity of having a PET scan in order to rule out any other cancer metastasis in my body. That 24-hour wait for the results was brutal and frankly I have never come as close as I did that day to throwing up from nerves. Usually my body heads to the migraine for undue stress, but this was special, this day called for a lot of gagging.

Relief finally came with the call from Dr Ryan saying that it were still merely the two liver tumors. What a weird place to go. The day before I was devastated that I had these two tumors at all, then all of a sudden I was ready to pop champagne because I only had two liver tumors.

“Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”  (Henry Miller)

We are headed to Boston tomorrow (Tuesday December 14) to spend the night at the hotel that spoons with Mass General Hospital. I will be joined by my team of bedside earth angels. The kids will stay in Vermont with Jake and Kristin Albee, whom the kids are more than thrilled to pretend are their parents for a few days (the extra added bonus being that they suddenly get a 4 month old brother). My surgery will be Wednesday morning and I will be first on the table that day. When we found out that I was going to have surgery Adrian and I were both secretly terrified that they would schedule it for Thursday the 16th. We later admitted to each other that it felt like it would have been a bad omen if it had. December 16th happens to be not only the day I was first diagnosed with colon cancer, but also the day that Adrian and Erik’s mother, Sandra died. And although I cant find much that says anything particularly amazing about Wednesday the 15th, it will certainly be the day Dr. Ferrone removes the last; do you HEAR ME?! The LAST!! Tumors out of my body. Ah, the lovely Dr Ferrone. I adore her. She is amazing, beautiful, tough skilled, capable and a mom of two littles. She is also someone I never wanted to see again, unless I ran into her in the grocery store or coincidentally on a really awesome vacation. That said; I trust her skills entirely.

Trust.
Now that is a big bite of mental, emotional and spiritual smorgasbord. It is hard to chew and has a tendency to keep getting stuck in my throat, mostly, I think, because the lump of worry and anxiety I am trying to dissolve keeps getting in the way.
My test right now is to relinquish control and trust that Dr Ferrone and her team will put me under and bring me through to the other side. I need to trust in my courage and strength to get through this minus only 30% of my liver and a bit of blood. I need to trust the power of energy and spiritual forces of everyone I know who is rooting for me. Conversely I need to trust that if I die (whew, it took me about 5 minutes to type those three letters in a row) Adrian will go on being the amazing dad he is and that my children, all 3 of them, will get the support they need to be at peace within themselves, to trust that people will remind them of who I am (was, oi.) and that no matter, I trust/believe that I will always be with/near them in spirit and energy.

My love for my kids, my husband, my sister, my parents, my friends, and all the amazing people I have met and continue to meet is too strong, too powerful to be fleeting or contained solely within this body. When I sit back and I think about the love I have for everyone and it makes me feel like I might just burst; like I need to throw back my head and yell it in the most primal way.

Listen carefully,

if the rain or thunder,

wind or snow

sounds like it is carrying an “I love you”;

It is.

I do.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” (Lao Tzu)

Health, Love & Courage Shrine

a collection of jewels, words, talisman and symbols that people have given my over the years before and  during this adventure

Truth: Who am I protecting?

November 14, 2010

When a door is opened light floods the darkness, not the other way around.

So here I am about half way through the wait before the next MRI. I have been busy trying to modify my lifestyle. More exercise, check. No sugar, check. No alcohol, check. More meditative mindfulness…kind of check.

Okay, so that last one has been a bit tough. Not that I haven’t tried to make the time and find the focus. Every night as I go to sleep I find some mantra to say, like “this will be fine” or picturing Dr Ryan sitting before me saying, “It was nothing”, all the while rolling my fingers over the beautiful prayer beads Georgia brought me back from her trip to India.  Often I fall asleep only to wake sometime in the wee morning hours with the beads entwined so tightly around my fingers as to cut the circulation off, at which point I wonder about the healthfulness of my new habit.

But new habits are just as difficult to cultivate as old ones are to weed out. Adrian has decided to join me in a detox/liver cleanse for ten days, as well as set out on his own adventure: no more smoking (which he was already modifying) and no drinking. I admire his willingness to push off into a place that is fairly unknown to him and supportive of the difficulties. I wonder, however, about the social experiment part. When we all get used to drinking in our social circles, whether with one friend or many, how then do you find your way without the wine or beer in your hand, mouth, and mind? Do we even know how to relate to others without it? During the couple of social times that have come up Adrian has chosen to drink Kaliber. Our therapist suggests that this is akin to quitting smoking and walking around with a fake cigarette in your mouth. That is it still turns on that part of you brain that uses it as a tool, necessity, or addiction, which ever word suits your definition of the reason to make or pay attention to habit change. I am not sure what I think. Though I do think that it is very cool that Adrian is now really remembering his dreams for the first time in a long time as well as not snoring as much. That is very pleasant.

Now I sleep soundly, no snoring and like when I was being treated for cancer I sleep right through the night. However, the difference is I am full of angst at night which I didn’t do before (enter the prayer beads and the meditative work I do to get to sleep with them). I don’t know if it is my brains way of preparing for ANY outcome, but I am finding it is hard to make the positive words stick. The positive words and images I attempt to implant are often at struggle, like two beefy anchors each at the end of a tug of war rope, with words and images that sound more like; “well….it could be worse” and images of hospital johnnies and the gross taste I had in my mouth for weeks post liver surgery.So I push them out of my mind, hope that sleep folds me in fast and tight and wait for the kids to arrive for morning cuddles.

Yesterday, I went to this lovely yoga class in a warm studio, with the sun shining through the windows and lighting up the vast Vermont fields that just so happen to be filled with wild and imaginative sculptures. It was both a gentle yet powerful class and filled with focus on chakras and the sensitivity of the touch of ones fingers.  At one point we sat against the wall with blocks on the top of our heads in order to draw our focus to the seventh chakra ( you can go google the meaning or go here http://www.mysticfamiliar.com/library/l_chakras.htm#seventh).  As I sat there tears just started rolling down my face. It was both strange and beautiful for me because I actually was feeling neither sad or happy. And they just poured out… wet, salty and pure.

Later we were lying down, again with some focus on chakras, but more trying to relax completely. I began to feel so frustrated because I had this intense feeling of tightness behind my left shoulder-blade. It was as if I was having a muscle cramp. I was so aware of this tension, like a guitar string stretched too tight, and I could not get it to just relax.  The class ended, I returned to an empty home, and put my happy music (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) on super loud so I could dance and clean. Which is exactly what didn’t happen. Instead the songs started and all of a sudden I find myself kneeling on the floor sobbing with our sweet dog, Manchego, trying to get under me to support me and lick away my tears.

So I told Manchego why I was crying, and discovered the pain in my shoulder had disappeared. When Adrian came home later and found me in better shape, but still leaking tears I told him.

I am really scared.

And Adrian gave me the best gift ever.

He said that he is too.

Why do I consider that a gift? Because I wonder, hence the title of this entry, “who am I protecting from the truth?” Is it myself from the reality? Or from the worry that I may not appear strong and capable? Who do we protect by pretending that we don’t have struggles, fears, foibles and vices? Who do we protect by trying to appear perfect and jovial. Who are we protecting when we don’t acknowledge the struggles and realities of other people’s “stuff”, the slow destructions, the suppressed anxieties? Frankly, I don’t mind when people wear some of their “dirty laundry”, I makes me feel like I am not alone in not being able to get all the spots out of the whites or that perhaps I have been sleeping in and wearing the same clothes for the last three days ( um…yep, this is both literally and metaphorically speaking).

Adrian, in acknowledging my fear and, for the first time since this whole misadventure began, admitting that he too is scared gave me the gift of balance. He isn’t trying to shed the most positive light on the situation and I don’t feel like I am holding the entire bag of fear. I needed to open the bag and he needed to be willing to look in and take some out.

Turns out I wasn’t protecting any one by keeping it guarded, rather the opposite.

So there it is. The TRUTH.

” The moment we begin to the fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from the motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods the light and life no longer flows into our souls.” (Elizabeth Cady Stanton)

Limbo

October 28, 2010

“The one permanent fear of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.” (Henry Louis Mencken)

I used this picture on my Facebook profile, so it may seem familiar/redundant to you.But a few people have made reference to or commented on the ghost like/haunted image. Perhaps it is because Halloween in a few days. Perhaps that is what is on our minds. I think subconsciously for me it represents how I am feeling. Limbo. I feel neither sad nor happy. I am awash with words and feelings at such a high rate of change it is as if the ebb and flow of the tide were on hyper-speed.

Familiar-Redundant-Unknown-Unhinged-Calm-Anxious-Unbelievable-Expected-Denial-Anger-Appreciation

These are words that are flying around my head like a childs mobile when the windows have been left wide open. The wind whips and blows and no body knows until they get home whether mother nature will have pushed torrents of rain/leaves or sunshine in through the window.

“Faith and doubt both are needed – not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.” (Lillian Smith)

I put aside the blog. Ran away from it really. It seems a fairly typical reaction ( I hope). I wanted to disassociate myself from the events of 2009. To wander through 2010 feeling carefree and to get my 1 year in remission report and skip happily into 2011. The truth is, things are neither as simple or easy as they appear. Do you feel there is a difference between “simple” and “easy”? I do. In the same sense that there is a difference between whether you “hear” or you “listen”. But ah… I digress. Avoidance.

Partially I kept saying to myself that I didn’t have any thing to say anymore, since I wasn’t in battle with cancer. The truth is I have tons to say, but it’s not about fighting a life threatening disease. The simple life is wrought with its own struggles and many of them are far more personal than broadcasting the experience and results of a colonoscopy. The question arises, how far do you go airing your laundry, some of it dirtier than you thought when it was dropped on the floor and kicked next to the hamper.

Also then, the question arises am I potentially gearing up to do battle again, or is this a wake up call to tell me that quieting my voice or the suppression of my experience and the reality of day-to-day life, is actually one of many things that aid and abet the return of the cancer pirates (that is a coy reference to blog numero uno. Wink wink)?

Chinese medicine says: Each organ in Chinese medicine is related to a specific emotion. The Liver is related to anger, especially repressed anger or frustration. When the Liver energy is stagnated or rebels upwards, a person is prone to depression or irritability. Ironically, this works both ways. Stress in our lives, leading to anger and frustration will be the biggest factor in causing a Liver imbalance.

I know I pledged to myself and possible on the very pages of this blog to turn things around, to speak more, to be the best me I could be … harder than it seems. I don’t believe that my angers and frustrations are the only cause of this disruption/”dittzel” (again the medical term for this unknown spot on my liver). But I do think that I fell into a state of denial that presented itself in not caring for myself the way I should have, and that this has added to an inability of my body to fight what ever maybe on the near or far horizon.

Have I been dancing? No.

Exercising regularly? Not really, and I don’t think elementary school kick ball counts because there is a lot standing around waiting for the ball to be retrieved and arguments about what is safe or out…you get the picture.

Have I been conscious of the amount of “toxic” stuff I consume (each persons definition of toxic is a bit different, I know)? Not as much as I should. Seriously. I know I don’t eat poorly and unbelievably have all but given up chocolate (which some of you know is astounding for me), but there are things… I could list them but I wont, not today anyway.

Blah. Is this a confessional? Maybe. Maybe I just needed to put it in writing. To say it out loud to myself and to you. To let in and let out what I feel. I feel like I could have been doing a better job and I feel I now need to make that change for the future. I feel I am not alone in the fact that I have family and relationship struggles (although the exact issues may vary) and that those things occupy a lot of energy and time both internally and externally. I often feel isolated and unhinged. And yet, I feel content that our house is done and we have a lovely town and neighborhood. I feel like I miss so many of you so often and want to visit you and have you visit us because laughing and sharing and sometimes even crying together are the parts of this life that give me sustenance.

I feel that maybe now I see that, no matter how it may be to say and hear, perhaps the truth will set me free.

“When you get to the end of all the light you know it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown. Faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.” (Edward Teller)

40 for the first time (again)

May 21, 2010

Okay. So I have no idea how many people will read this because it has been about 6 months since I last wrote.  I think I needed a hiatus to find out where my head was after the incredible journey of last year. Well, honestly, I am still trying to figure out where my head is, but that seems like a task most of us will have forever. My dear friend, Paula, sent me  a message a while back saying how she was missing the blog and wondered whether I would write soon (yeeps, that was in January). My response was something like; I haven’t really updated the blog because I guess I don’t know how to proceed post cancer. I have a desire to, but things are so sort of regular now and, also, since I am not battling imminent death I wonder are my musings relevant/important/note worthy…. maybe. But then again, maybe not.

I feel like having cancer is a bit like giving birth (not that I want to do it again) in the way that while you’re in the midst of it you think that the experience is so intense that you feel like you will never be though it. And then it’s over and time passes and you sort of forget how intense it was because everything seems normal and regular again. Maybe that kind of amnesia is Mother Nature’s way of helping you cope and get beyond painful things. Although it certainly doesn’t hold true for everything now does it? There are still things that pester and pain the mind and the heart from experiences we had growing up, or last month, or just last night. What is the reason the mind doesn’t let these go?

Closure? The finish line? There is a definite end to the intense part of birth or even the major part against the battle of cancer; while the emotional battles we have/had with our loved ones or ourselves are often played out over and over. Even if the script is not the same, the plot line has been again and again replayed; kind of like prime time teen shows where there is a misunderstanding between two characters and instead of just fessing up to it they have to fumble through all these generic hijinks. I mean, really, even I am getting bored with my predictable reactions to the predictable arguments Adrian and I have. But where the heck it that finish line and how do you cross it together (whether with your wife, husband, mother, daughter, boss) when it seems like you are running a relay or on different teams? And even if you figure out how to run the 3 legged race together, where the heck is the end?

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross)

I really have to apologize. I am out of blog practice and sort was just missing the musing and connecting part so much. I haven’t been writing and I haven’t been thinking as deeply as I was. Well, that’s not true. I have, but I haven’t been entertaining the thoughts beyond having them. They don’t find their way out; to the page, to you, to me, to examine and ponder.  What I am learning right now is that even if you feel like there are changes inside you that you can make, that you want to and ought to make, there are so many people and elements around you that are like a river flowing and carrying you down stream. And the ride is nice and comfy and the people and things around you are loving and supportive. And you don’t want to fight it and go up the stream, but what you want/need to do is clamber to the other side because you’ve seen it and even touched the banks and you know it is where you need to be.  But it is so darn hard to cross over. It is easier to ride down in the comfort of the same routine. I understand why yogis/native americans/mystics/addicts have to go off into the desert or forest. There is no way Jesus would have been able to be all he could be if he had stayed at home eating tender steaks and pungent buttery goat milk camembert and thinking that perhaps he had been able to follow his childhood dreams if his dad had been around more when he was little and his mom wasn’t always at work and too exhausted at the end of the day to praise his perfect cartwheels. No, instead he spent 40 days and nights off in the desert and broke the cycle and came back as… well, you know, Jesus.

40 for the 1st time (again)

Um, just so we are clear here. I am most certainly NOT comparing myself to Jesus. Nope. That’s be redonkulous and you know it! So just cut it out.

Okay. So I don’t  know where I am going with this other than to say that so much has happened and there is so much yet to happen.

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness.  Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost. (D.L)

Going slowly, but not stopping

December 16, 2009

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Nothing quite like eating nothing for +/- 40 hours and downing a quart of Half-Lightly to really clean out the… Mind! You thought I was going to say body, guts, or colon: anything like that right. That’s far too obvious.

Nope, it’s the mind. After getting beyond the hunger (which does pass), after the caffeine headache realizes it’s defeat, and the guts have been flushed, you start to slow down. You don’t have the energy to get worked up about things and the body and mind conserve for crisis. Now then, provided there are no impending crises on the horizon, you are set to Buddha the heck out of the rest of your day. Frankly, the Demerol you get for the colonoscopy doesn’t hurt either.

So yes, I’ll admit that on this, the eve of the one-year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis,  I was feeling a bit anxious about the follow up colonoscopy I was party to this afternoon. And was thinking about the curious timing of many of my procedures. It’s as if the spirits that be are not going to let me cop-out and forget 2009 no matter how hard and fast I cross the days off the calendar in order to finally hang our 2010. Sweet Jesus, I don’t care if it’s full of cute kitty and puppy picture with captions like “hang in there, baby” and “keep it up, kiddo”, just as long as it says 2010 all over it.

You know what is really curious. I actually didn’t realize or accept that I had stage 4 cancer (and I mean HAD!) until after the last chemo. I know the doctors told us, but it turns out I am a professional at putting my virtual fingers in my ears and disregarding the scary stuff. And to that I owe a big thanks to all the men in my life that made me watch horror movies. I never thought there could be any good reason for that genre of film, but it turns out tuning out is the benefit.

Seems to me a good recipe for near death or any number of crises of humankind might be:

1 tsp of reality
2 tsp of denial
1 tsp of grace
2 tablespoons of humor
3 tablespoons of self-love and acceptance
2 cups of belief
2 cups of hope and prayers filled by others
And a couple pinches of vanilla (because I have found that vanilla makes almost everything better).

Like any good recipe it seems the baking and the making takes forever. And while it is in the oven you watch it, wait and hope it doesn’t fall because you may have clomped about too much. When it emerges from the oven it is delicate and too hot, so you continue to admire and wait and hope it is all right. Then, finally, you get to taste it. And then all that time it took; all the working, the waiting,  the hoping, and the cooling, slips from your mind the way a dew drop falls from a leaf when jostled and disappears into the undergrowth, swiftly and gently.

And although you have tasted it before, life has never quite tasted as full and good as this.