Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sleep, please let me sleep!

Well Christmas is over.   It was a very good Christmas and I am sad to see it end for a number of reasons.   Not the least of that it has been my excuse for putting off the realities of my life.    My mantra has been "we will get past Christmas and then deal with it", and I haven't meant just the cancer.   As most times in life, life doesn't stop just b/c you are dealing with a crisis or a some other difficult marches on despite your current situation.   So, now I have to put things into perspective and deal with things.   I am overwhelmed by it all.   I would just like to crawl into a hole and sleep away all my problems.   I can't even get my brain to function for the simple things right now,,,,and sleep forget it. 

Sleep used to be my escape.   At least that is often how I dealt with difficult things...or what I considered to be difficult at the time.  It is interesting how relevant things become over your life time.  What you thought was such a crisis seems to be just a 'blip' in the day compared to newer or more serious problems.  Now sleep seems to elude me.   I read late, wake up during the night, and then finally wake up early just to lie there and think.   I hate these times.  I remember them so clearly from the past and they will only get worse.  I remember the feelings of sickness from the treatments, the restlessness from the drugs, the PAIN from the is actually worse each time b/c you really do know what is in store.  I know I was afraid the first time, I remember that very clearly.  I was afraid that each time I threw up or felt weird I was dying.  Now I know those feelings will pass but I know too that they will come....I haven't decided which is worse.   At least thinking that you are dying is in some way an escape.....that is a bit dark.

I think I will stop for a time....I am feeling very very lethargic and negative.   I dont' want to go through this and I know I have no choice.....I am no longer in denial but am moving quickly in to ANGER>  I am really pissed that this is happening and I feel that it is not fair.   To anyone travelling with me at this point I will apologize now for any speeding, swerving, uncontrollable bumps that may occur in the road ahead.   Bear with me, love me, but please don't ask me to slow down.....I really don't feel like it right now!!!!!   And that's not just because of the cancer......all the other things going on in my life I will just have to live with.....mostly b/c they are actually out of my control.....heading for a really deep valley.....hold on!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life Sucks....and then it doesn't!

No matter how hard you try, sometimes life just smacks you in the head.  I have been trying really hard to focus on the good stuff and keep a positive attitude and outlook at least until after Christmas.   It seems that I am surrounded by sorrow though.   Maybe it is the universes way of keeping me humble, but for right now it is just making it that much harder to keep myself focused on the good stuff.   I went to a visitation last night and the sadness in the room and on the faces of the children he left behind was just too much for me.   It was a foreshadowing of what it will be like for my child and family if this time things don't go well.  It was so difficult, that today although I had planned on going to the funeral, I just couldn't get myself out of bed in order to do so.  It was like every muscle in my body was rebelling against the idea.   I finally, decided that maybe I didn't need to go and instead stayed home and baked and cooked all day.  That did seem to help with at least my ability not to think about things.

I just felt like I was watching my own life pass before me.   It made me think of how hard it is for everyone when someone dies, but the other thought that kept entering my mind was - I would rather be the one left behind!!!!!   I kept thinking about how upset everyone was, but at least they were still alive.  I am sure the one in the box would have loved to be the one in the receiving isn't a nice thing to say but that is all I could think of.   I really don't want to die......and I really don't want to leave those behind sad if I sucks sometimes and there just isn't any other way to see it.   So today, I just went with the mood and thought terrible things, envisioned horrible outcomes and finally moved on.

Friends do happen to enter at the most fortuitous times....I had been invited to a friends for supper tonight some time ago.....obviously the universe had prepared the way for this day in that it ended on the best note.  Supper with good friends, little people and great is good even when it seems like it isn't......

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do it anyway.......

I am very good at giving advice to others on how to handle events in their lives.  What I realize, and this is not the first time I have had this revelation, I often am great at giving advice but do not listen to my own voice.   This week I had an opportunity to hear myself telling someone else that they must live in the moment.  Not only live in the moment, but even FORCE themselves to do things that are 'normal' just to get through the moment.   Hmmmmmmm......that's very interesting!   I have not been feeling very into Christmas this year although I have not let on to many that is how I feel.   I hadn't decorated, didn't really think much about presents, and just wasn't in the mood....then I heard my voice advising someone else.   So..........

The house is now decorated, and quite nicely I might add.  It is the first Christmas in this particular house. (I have an aside....I have always said that I don't get attached to material things or places and so I don't get really negative vibes from past experiences.   Well that might be true, but I just realized that I have yet to spend two times in any one house having chemo.   So maybe I just move each time giving me the false impression that it doesn't bother me.   Just a thought......more on that later) As I was saying, being the first time in this house it was a new challenge to find out where do I put the tree, how do I display things.   Of course, that is after I clean, clean, clean, because I will be re-arranging furniture and those dust balls (cat hair balls more likely) that have been behind the couch start to fly all over the place.   So, I began the task, without much energy but found that as time went on I became more and more excited, and eventually decorated far beyond my original plan.   It is true that mind over matter can be quite fruitful.     As the house became more festive so did my mood, and then my emotional state of mind started to take a turn.   I went shopping for little gifts and wrapped some gifts, and even started knitting a couple of things that I had planned on but hadn't gotten around to.  I mailed some gifts that should have gone out weeks ago (so of course it cost me a fortune in mailing) but it felt so good to do it I didn't care!

It is going to be a very Merry Christmas at my house this year....with lots of good spirits, good will, and good wine too!.   I am actually starting to really look forward to next week.   So to everyone who feels like a grinch, or is just sad and a little low, my advice (and I did take it myself) is MAKE youself do something Christmasy and see if it doesn't actually make you feel better.    I have a saying "fake it till you make it" and this year I did and you know what "I made it"......

So, for all you passengers on the'denial bus'...we have parked for the time being and are going on an emotional holiday to celebrate Christmas with friends and family.....suggest you all do the same....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Good friends, good life!

There are moments in your life when you are very clearly reminded of how lucky  you are.   Last night was one of those moments for me.    Celebrating friendship, the Christmas season, and really good food!
For all that I have gone through both over nine years and more particularly the past couple of months, I can still say that I am a very blessed person.   I have such very good friends, some old and some new, but people in my life who are kind, caring and very fun.   It is such an eclectic group, which tells me that the karma in my life is still very positive.

I still have my moments, and life sometimes hits me on the side of the head, but for now I will bask in the sunshine of the season, grateful that my family and friends are safe, warm, and not stranded on a highway in a blinding snow storm.   The last few days, with the terrible snow squalls and the many people stranded for 24 hours and more in snow drifts, makes my little house with its heat seem like a real harbour in a storm.  I mean that both literally and figuratively.  Putting life in perspective is always a really good thing.  As much as it may seem that trouble only comes to me, I am reminded daily both from a personal point of view and from a public one that we all have troubles and that life really is 'character building, not comfort seeking'.  So again, it all comes down to attitude and how you choose to see the world around you.   Today I choose to see the glass 'half full' (of a good white wine) and hopefully that attitude will last throughout the Christmas season.

To everyone, I wish you a blessed Christmas with family and friends, and may the peace and love of Christ be present in your lives however you may see that......God bless and happy Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blinders please........

Well last night the 'denial' bus had a crash...I have yet to decide whether or not it was totalled or just a fender bender.   Time will tell!

I was having a pretty good day, although I knew something was percolating down deep.  I had been feeling a little grumpy the past couple of days and I was impatient and annoyed.   Not by anything in particular mind you, but by life in general.  That is usually a good sign for me that something is changing and it won't take much to set me off.   Although, I must say that compared to my youth, my bad days today are better than most of my good days then.   Experience and maturity are very good trainers.....

I digress.   Anyways, I am sitting in front of the t.v. watching "The Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" (a really good movie by the way with Sandra Bullock and Ellen Bernstein) when I notice a picture on the wall of my daughter and I taken about 19 years ago.   She is just a little tyke and I look pretty young.  Well the tears start to flow and the next thing I know I am sobbing away.    Who ever knows what will trigger your emotions?   So I am sitting there crying, and trying to watch the show, and my whole life is going through my mind.   What the heck happened to all those years?   It seems that it was just a short time ago that I was raising my daughter and really enjoying every minute and now she is grown and pretty much on her own and here I am old, tired and sobbing in front of the t.v.    Oh my I feel like a really bad actor in a really bad play.   Reality can be stranger than fiction.

So, I guess the damn is starting to break.   I am not surprised considering that last week was the anniversary of my father's death, the winter is here with a vengeance, and I haven't been able to knit anything for myself in weeks.   I must be going through some form of knitting withdrawal, that's it.  Whew, what a revelation, I was thinking maybe it was something more serious.   Glad I figured that out.....I guess it was a fender bender....all I have to do is grab a set of needles, find a project I love and actually is for me, and then drive off into a snow bank and park and I'm not still in denial.......NOT AT ALL!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting some kind of battle...."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just Thinking..........

"We don't actually fear death, we fear no one will notice our absence"   (Bones)

That really is true isn't it.   The question is Who are we in this kaleidoscope of life, where do we fit?  Will anyone really notice our passing or is that too only a moment of grief for a few?  I know now why many have said that "it isn't death that scares me", its the not existing, not being remembered, no record that we ever really were here!  Isn't our mortality, our existence, and ultimately our eternity dependent upon  those we leave behind?  

On my initial diagnoses I can remember my first thoughts were "I don't want to die!".  Then as time went on and I responded to the treatments that fear began to subside, although it did return when I would look at my daughter and realize that no one, no one could raise her as well as I could.    But it too would move to the understanding that she would survive, not necessarily in the best of circumstances but her life would go on.   It was at this point that the real fear gripped me. I am really not so important that my passing will have a significant effect on this world.   In the beginning yes, but then people's lives would return to the proverbial 'normal' and over time my existence would not even be noted.  How far back do I remember?  My grandparents?....barely.  Who talks about them, my parents but they too soon will be gone.  Isn't that what scares us as human beings....not existing.  Not existing in this moment and then finally in history....this realization is humbling...but first before we are humbled, we experience the loneliness that comes with the not really existing...

I remember a story I was told by a good friend a few years ago.  He had lost his six year old son about 12 years earlier.   He remembered his son every day and there were times when the memories were harder to deal with than others.....those moments when he was reminded that his son would not experience certain times....high school graduation was the one that was making this time particularly difficult.   He told me that he would often wonder if anyone else really missed his son or even thought about him.   Then one Friday night while he was at home....the doorbell rang.   A little annoyed at being bothered he answered the door to find a young girl about 16 or 17 at the door.   He knew her as a student from the school and through her parents. She wondered if she could speak to him for a few minutes about a paper she was writing so he invited her in.   She then proceeded to tell him that her assignment was to write about someone who had had a profound effect on her life.   She wanted to write about his son!   She had been close friends with him and his death had changed her forever....she had never forgotten him.  Her question, would he talk to her about his son?    Needless to say, my friend was moved beyond words.   His question had been answered, yes others did remember him!!!!!

I have always remembered this story, because it makes me realize that even when we don't know it...we effect people around us.   The Buddhists believe that every action that we do exists in the universe for 100,000 years (ripples in the world).   So maybe I will be remembered.   I know my daughter will, and perhaps even her children......and for now that's enough......just sitting beside the road in a snow drift thinking these days......and that is alright too!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cancer in Modern Day

Well I just had to make note of what I had done so far today (and yesterday too).   I shovelled at least a mountain of snow....and I will soon have to go and do it again.   Not that I am complaining...although every muscle in my shoulder is not quite as accepting.   I was thinking while I was doing this how much has changed for cancer patients/survivors over the past number of years.   I mean,  the fact that I am alive after nine years is in itself a miracle, but that I am still doing what is expected of any normal Canadian citizen after a major storm is even more amazing..  If I want my mail delivered I need to make sure the path is clear and safe for the mail person, and if I want to drive my bus I need to
 1.  first shovel to get to it, and then
2.  shovel so that I may remove it from where it layeth. 

I just wanted to comment how much I appreciate the ordinariness of these things.    There is a really good book I read many years ago by Frank Arthur (or maybe it was Arthur Frank ...these two first name names can be so confusing) called 'At the Will of the Body'.  In it he describes the ever changing lives of people who have cancer in this day and age.   He talks about the fact that with modern medicine we have people in our society that are not completely healthy and yet are not totally sick either.   They are ill, and so not maybe as productive as bc (remember bc is before cancer) but still very capable of being active in their lives.  He calls these people members of the 'remission society'.  I think that is still where I am because I am not yet in active treatment.   So as a member of this society I am expected to do things that most healthy people do.  Not that I mind, but sometimes I shake my head and think 'as long as I can do them a little less perfect and at a much slower rate" I am going to do them.  Although, it is not my nature so I must work very hard at doing things slowly...and as for perfect...well we are working on that too.

So today I shovelled, and I did so slowly, and with enjoyment.    Normal activities can take on a whole new perspective....shovel/rest, shovel/rest, take a breath and look around, shovel/rest.  And then stand back and look at what you have succeeded in doing.....still more ahead than back but enough to get the bus out......toss the shovel and lets go 4-wheeling in the snow drifts.......see if you can catch me.....OH NO a patch of ice....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why me?

Today is a day I remember...about the past but also in the present.   December 6 will always be different.  Five years ago today my father died.   It makes me realize that when we say "we are all equal"  it has a much deeper meaning than what the world often thinks.   We are equal, not at a material level, but at the level of existence and suffering.   These are the times when we touch the souls of each other and are reminded that we have so much more in common than not.  We are corruptable beings whose bodies will let us down and eventually will cease to be able to maintain the necessary energy to keep us moving in this vessel.    But we are also equal at the level of understanding pain, disappointment, struggle, fear, anger and all the intangibles that make us who we are a beings.  So the question "why me?"   really does become "why not me?"

The past few days have been very humbling ones for me.   Although, I know that I have my own issues I have been reminded that I am not alone in that area.   It is not the suffering that separates us but the unique ways we choose to deal with it.   As Budda tells us "life is suffering"  the impermanence of life physically, but also emotionally and mentally is what causes suffering in our lives.  Each of us carries some form of 'cross' (notice I use multi-religious metaphors) but we each decide how we shall live that out. We can not always control how our lives evolve but the attitude we take to our life is very much within our control.  Over the past few days, I have been privilaged to meet people who are amazing in their outlook, their stamina, and their resilence even though they have every reason to be bitter, angry, and disparing.   It has been a good reminder to realize that although I may have to go through things in my life that I don't want to....or have no control over...I truly am in control of how I live it out.   This isn't a new revelation by any means, but what I have realized is that I am not alone.   The only ones in our world who are truly alone are those who believe that they have no suffering....the denial people.   Those people who refuse to accept the fact that we are all equal in our difficuties....and when we share them with each other we can be a true community if we accept our own suffering and  live out the experiences it offers.   Notice I didn't use the word 'blessings'   Still not blessings just experiences...its makes a difference to me!!!!!

So, I have renamed the bus  the 'experience bus' so that we can all drive together and find the experiences life offers us during this journey.   Periodically, I will refer to the bus as 'denial' on those days when I am not feeling so enlightened and generous(after all I am still only human)....but for today we are off to have an experience.....maybe we will jump a cliff or two on the way.....hold on...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Daytime T.V. ...YUKKK

Cold outside too!   Snow is on the ground so we have officially moved into another season, whether or not the calender agrees.  Still I think Europe has taken over from Canada as the Great White North these days.

I have been pleasantly sitting on my mountain the past few days, knitting up a storm.   Knitting is my addiction and it helps to keep me totally oblivious to the realities of my life.  I can sit and knit, in total silence, for hours on end and not think about anything else but whether to knit a stitch or purl a stitch.   Sometimes, you make a YO and sometimes you SSK...but no matter what, my world only exists for that time in my hands and what it is I am creating.    I love that feeling of watching something grow out of just a combination of knots into something beautiful.

That is until today!  I got up and made coffee and then did something I haven't done for a number of years.  Actually, something I haven't done since I had my last round of treatment.  I took my coffee and turned on the 8:00 a.m.    I never watch t.v. during the day....except those two times before when I was going through the cancer.   I sat there and mindlessly watched morning news programmes (note the correct spelling).   That simple action scared the HELL out of me.   That is what I do when I get depressed.  I close the curtains, turn the t.v. on and just sit there for hours mindlessly watching whatever happens to come on...I don't even bother to change the channel.  So, what does that mean?   Am I depressed?   I know I had a really bad night last night...  Probably absolutely nothing (ate too much fat or something) but nothing is absolutely nothing anymore.  Everything is something, something terrible, something growing in me that I need to be aware of.   I hate this!  I want to go back to just being mildly neurotic about pains like everyone wait, that isn't really true is it...most people go to place where they have a pain and think brain tumor, cancer, or some other life threatening disease.   Don't they?

As you can see, it is not a good day.   That's o.k. because now that I have expressed my feelings, and realize that I really don't want to watch daytime t.v. for the next year or so I will be o.k.   I am off to finish my lastest knitting project, while driving the bus down the mountain......look out people it could be a rough ride, but hey a little rollercoaster in a person's life makes you remember that you are still we go.......fasten your seatbelts......... 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Descending Mountains!

As you may notice the background of my page tends to change.   Change is not something I don't like as long as it is within my control to change...I change my living space often to suit my mood...and I change the page to suit my mood too.  I am a very visual person and sights make the best template for me to know where I am sitting in my life.  

Today, it is high up on a mountain top.   I love mountain climbing although I do most of mine from my couch while reading the adventures of those who are skilled at such tasks.  I read anything I can get on mountain climbing and to the novice I might actually sound like I know what I am talking about.   Like all adventures and experiences there is a language that goes with that particular journey.  Cancer has its own language, one I am not yet ready to use.

I am sitting on my mountain, I think I may have brought the bus but I can't remembered where I parked.  So I am by myself.  I am surveying my world, and taking a brief reprieve of all things busy, important or relational.  I am enjoying my mountain top view and the peacefulness that it allows.   I have climbed this mountain a few times and know the best route. I have descended it just as many times.  Looking down, I realize the danger of descending to be much worse than the ascending, as most climbers would know.   We often talk of problems as mountains to be climbed but for the moment I see the summit as the place where I am starting.   At some point I will begin the treacherous descent but not right now!  One thing about ascending or descending mountains is that you must do them may  have many around you and at times you may even belay with each other, but virtually you tackle the mountain on your own...just expecting support if you really need it and then that isn't even always possible.   That is a really good analogy to the journey of cancer.   No one can make the trip for you, essentially you are on your own, but you can have lots of people around you and even those many feet below supporting you through just the sound of their voices.  I have all of those with me on this journey, but the descent will begin in my time to some degree and it will be on my own.  I will descent at my own rate, hopefully arriving at the various designated rest spots (read base camps) before the storms hit too hard.   Eventually, I will arrive at the main base camp after the final leg through the ice field and then come out the other side to celebrate another successful summit and return.    You guys might have difficulty following me, unless of course you leave the bus.  I will let you know when the descent begins so that you can don your climbing gear and follow me down....until then sit tight and stay warm, the descent can become very stormy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Power of Prayer

So, I finally cried last night...maybe I have driven out of denial alley and moved into depression row.   Not clinical depression just that place that feels like 'oh no not again'.   Its o.k. though because I was feeling a little left out as everyone else seemed to be upset and I felt like I was behind a window watching.  Unfortunately, I am now in the room people so better watch out what you say....I will hear you!  Cancer sucks by the way!  Just in case I haven't made that clear yet.   I decided maybe I should call on a little faith to help me get through this and then decided maybe I should just let everyone else pray for me.   Found this prayer today when I was 'organizing' (read getting rid of) stuff.  I tend to do that when I am stressed.  The good thing is that I will be very well organized over the next it really matters.   Anyways, I was talking about I will share it with you - its called the Power of Prayer

The day was long, the burden I had borne,
Seemed heavier than I could longer bear.
And then it lifted - but I did not know
Someone had knelt in prayer,
Had taken me to God that very hour,
And asked the easing of the load.
And God, the infinite compassion,
Had stooped down, and taken it from me.

We cannot tell how often as we pray,
For some bewildered one,
hurt and distressed, the answer comes.
But many times those hearts find sudden peace and rest.

Some one had prayed, and Faith,
a reaching hand,
Took hold of God and brought God down that day!
So many, many hearts have need of prayer,
O, let us pray.

So everyone on the bus....start praying and those of you who don't know how, positive thoughts will do!  O.K. now hold on we are starting to turn a corner......Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Who wants to drive???

I have to say, third diagnoses is not the same as the first, nor the second.   Unlike most things in life, when we experience them more than once we don't get too hyped the third time, I think this is different.  Weird thoughts running around in my brain.  I know I am suppose to be least that is what I think I am suppose to be.  For the most part I am, but then a thought randomly wanders through my brain that perhaps I have outlived my luck.  Third time might not be the charm ! (need a sarcastic font for these thoughts)

I think back to  when I heard the second time, and let me tell you that was much worse than the first.   It was like now I really am a member of the club.  First time you figure maybe you hit the jackpot and you never have to admit that you carry a card membership.  Second time round that thought goes out the window.   You are officially one of THEM, and will be forever.

This time is different again.  I seem more tired and I don't think it's totally a physical thing.  I feel like I don't want to go through this again.   Its not fair and I am really not looking forward to the future.  I know what is in store, which was part of the second diagnosis too.  You know how shitty things are really going to get.   Cancer doesn't do nearly as much damage to you as the treatments do!  But its different this time too,  I just want to pretend that it isn't happening at all.  I talk to people and I think "they seem so much more upset than me" but in reality I realize that it's because I just won't let my mind wrap itself around it.  

Have to quit now....way to tired to finish this...I think it is taking me too close to reality and the veil is slipping. I am actually sitting here with my eyes half closed.....night night!   All you passengers on the might consider another form of transportation for the time being....I think denial is turning into I don't know what but I don't feel like driving right now....anyone want to take the wheel??????

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wonderful Women......

Today is a dull, drizzly, cold day  outside, but inside both me and my house I feel warm, wonderful, and loved.   I still woke up this morning with aches and pains but thought maybe I am just getting old.  There are always two ways to look at everything right.   That thought then led me to my next one.   I am blessed with the most amazing group of women in my life.   I had a day yesterday that most people wouldn't have experienced in a month.   First, a friend drops by unexpectedly and we chat and have coffee...couldn't begin a day any better.  Then a nice walk in the sun and spent the afternoon relaxed and knitting with the best group of ladies on the earth.   OOOOH  I love my knitting group and I love the venue warm and inviting!   Then to top it off, away I go to dinner with another group of ladies and we laugh, and chat and eat great food.  I am blessed beyond belief.....and all that estrogen can't hurt a soul.   So at least for the next 24 hours I am going to revel in my blessings ....and let all the other stuff go.

Just an aside.......Reading the most wonderful article on Emptiness and the Four Noble Truths.   Although life may be suffering when you really understand it there is a way to reach Nirvana...we just have to work at I have totally detached and let go of my to have another wonderful day on this less than wonderful weather day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reality from the Inside...literally

Thinking the denial bus may be starting to drive itself.   I am reallying trying to steer it along denial alley but for some reason I feel like something is trying to grab the steering wheel.  So far, its only been successful at the more sub-conscious level.  I have had a really hard time sleeping the last couple of nights.   Very reminiscent of the very early days of my cancer.   Waking up numerous times in the night and lying there saying out loud, "I have cancer" as if hearing  my voice would make the reality of it move deeper into my being.  I am not doing this so much as waking and thinking 'oh no, I hate this part".  Its knowing that this is where I start really understanding what is going on.  I don't think I am ready for that!

If you have ever really had a trauma or shock you will understand the feeling of waking up and your whole body feels like it has been smashed into a brick wall.  The muscles and bones just feel like they have been damaged but from the inside out rather than the reverse.  That is the feeling that I have been getting lately when I wake up.   The grief stage is moving to the point where my body is tensing up at night because I am not allowing it to enter my waking life.   I know that but really don't want to go there yet. 

One of the things that happened when I was diagnosed with cancer is I came to know ever nuance of my body.  In the beginning it is because I was absolutely terrified of any pain or new feeling thinking it is the cancer growing or returning.   As time goes by though it became a familiarity with my body that I actually came to was a coming to of knowing.  A more intense understanding that I am a moving, constantly changing being which most of us never ever realize.  We think that we move when we want to move or make ourselves move but in reality we are constantly moving inside and out.   I sound like I am rambling but these last few mornings have been bringing back a very vivid memory of my first chemo treatment.   Which I am sure is etched into every fibre of my body not just my mind.  I was given the drug Taxol (a very small amount thank goodness) and I went into anaphylactic  shock.   I remember that moment intensely!!!!   It was as if every fibre, nerve, muscle, and cell became alive and started to move erratically and without any control from my brain.   I remember that I could hear voices, I was not able to see outside of my body but I had a very good view of the inside.  I was rushing, eyes open, through my entire body at the speed of light and watching my body attack this drug and try to push it down to my feet and out of my body.  Then all of a sudden I was back....looking at those around me and it was over.  Since that moment, I think my body is more alive to what is happening to me than it ever was before, or maybe I am the one who is more alive and aware!

I am really trying to stay in denial for awhile longer because when I have these thoughts and clear feelings I really remember how much I hated having cancer.   So, I am not only driving, but the shades have been pulled and I am only looking into the world today with blinders.....might be a rocky ride for the next while.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blessings in the midst of chaos!

So begins the tests.  Up early and off to the lab.   Early of course being relevant to everyone else's early.  Most of the people who attend these places are elderly so 7:15 am is probably mid-day for them.  They are sitting there smiling as you come in and realize you are not only NOT early but there are no chairs left and the place hasn't even opened yet.   Anyone who knows me knows that I must have my coffee in the morning.  I usually would not even enter the world of others without it.  Well, this was early and no coffee!!!! One of those fasting normal can any test be when you haven't had anything to eat for 12 who lives like that !!!!!   I blood work done and off to the big city to see the doctor.  I have had this appt for about 3 months.  Get there, and don't have enough change to park in the metered parking but recall that at this point I have yet to complete my first coffee.  Not enough caffeine to make really good choices.  Park and spend my last dime, literally.   Get lost in the hospital b/c for some reason I have no memory of where his office is...I blame the lack of caffeine.   Approach the receptionist and give my name and she says with What doctor?  I repeat his name.  "Oh no he doesn't make appt on Monday"  Ok so it isn't yet 9 a.m. and my day is not beginning on a good note I still believe mainly due to this fasting deal.   So, what is a person to to Timmies!!!!!!

On the way home I make a decision to go and visit my old place of employment.   Well now that turned the day around 180 degrees.   If ever there is a place I can go when things aren't going well it is to the school.  One, it is always more chaotic there than anywhere I might find myself these days and two the staff are always so happy to see me.  How many places can you go in your life where people are genuinely happy to see you.  Even family is suspect when you gather with them, cause they are suppose to be happy to see you.
So although the day didn't get off to a very good start, and in my mind was setting a standard of what life will be like for the next little while (read for the next few years) it was a delight to go to the school, walk through the noisy and dangerously busy hallways (remember teenagers do not look where they are going they assume any one older than them is the Red Sea - we will just part as they come by) and chat with old friends.
My school was my refuge in the past and today I realized it will still be a place of refuge this time round.
How lucky can a person be in life....I have people in my life who really love me and don't mind letting me know.

Today I saw one of my blessings....and you know what it had nothing to do with cancer...see cancer isn't the only way we find blessings.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Feeling...ooh what a feeling!

Feeling....oooh what a feeling!

Beautiful fall day...sun is out,not too cold.   Decided it was a good day to finish the fall clean up and do some pruning.   Best idea I could have had.   The crisp air, the light wind, and the fall sun made me feel so alive.  I realized that there are times when you feel the air touch your skin and it just sings with life.   I love the wind and have always enjoyed sitting in it and walking in it (with my back to it of course).  Today, I realized how wonderful it is to just be alive and to feel.   The sensations I get when the sun shines on my face, the wind touches my arms,  so often we are too busy to notice these things.   What I realized was that it is those sensations that remind us that we are living, breathing, entities.   Not to feel means that I am  dead.  That can mean the same thing emotionally.  Not feeling angry, sad, or even just melancholy means that we are at some level no longer living.  So today, although emotionally I may be a little dead, physically I am very much alive.  So now I plan on working on the emotional side and going off to finish a beautiful knitted sweater I am making for myself.  OOOOH what a lift that will be.   So, no bus rides today will all just have to walk!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Feeling scared.......

Feeling scared......

Wow..this time it may be very different.  Not having a good day.   Feeling very much alone and I mean that in the literal sense not figuratively.  The last couple of days I seem to have spent an enourmous amount of time on my own.  I don't think that is unusual but I never really noticed it before.   All the other times I was a mom who had someone who needed me to get up and get things done for her.   That isn't the way now.  I am not so sure I am going to like this.   Way too much time to think and it seems that I am no longer an early riser.  Sleeping in till mid and late morning...think maybe it is a  way of making the day go by faster.   Today won't be too bad as I have to work for a few hours.  My part-time job may end up being my saviour. 

I wrote a piece in the very early days about lonesomeness and being alone, but I didn't mean it quite this way.  Rereading it, it has taken on a whole new meaning.   I shouldn't be surprised because I remember in the early days saying that as a single mother I didn't have the time to lay in bed and be sick.  I found having to get up and be responsible one of the reasons I beleived I did so well.  I had a purpose!   What will be my purpose this time.   I am feeling scared for the very first time...and I really don't like the feeling.  

I guess there will be days that the denial veil is stripped off and reality hits like a blast.   What is most interesting is that although I am terrified of being alone, being surrounded by people also scares me.   I like to be with people but on my terms, and somehow I don't know if that will be the case.  I have so many people in my life that I know care, but at times I want to be left alone.  I am such an enigma even to myself.   I guess maybe I will just pull the denial blanket a little closer today and park the bus.......

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hey! No talking to the driver.....

I have come to discover that without denial I wouldn't have the time to do everything everyone wants me to do.   I have been so busy the last two days fulfilling the commitments I made bctt (read before cancer this time) I haven't even had time to think about myself.  Not that I am complaining, but I think I may have figured out a really good reason to stay exactly where I am.   If I moved to another emotion it might interfere with everyone else's life....not to mention my own!

In some ways I think I have started right back where I was the first time.   Although I must admit there have been a few minutes where the 'annoying' feeling has edged its way into my thoughts.   Sort of a 'oh crap, I don't have time for this".   I know that I have to do something about it soon.   I think people are worrying that I am not really dealing with it.   Oh I am dealing with alright, just maybe not the way everyone else thinks I should.   Very interesting how everyone knows exactly what I should do, and I know that it is because they care.   But I will look after myself.  One thing that I have figured out after all these years is that I  probably won't die this week, unless of course I get hit by a bus.   Wouldn't it suck if that's how I died, especially if it was the same one I'm driving!!!!  Talk about bad luck.   I remember one time shortly after the original diagnoses I was walking downtown at night in a not so nice area of town.  I called a friend and we were chatting and she asked where I was.  When I told her she said "are you crazy what if someone mugs you" and my retort was "God be with them...because right about now I could use a good excuse to punch someone".    Just think, I have that anger to look forward to as soon as I have moved out of denial and into the other stages.   So as we drive down denial alley, I have been picking up many people along the way...some have heeded my request to just sit quietly but there are a few who insist on whispering in my ear....don't you know that you aren't suppose to talk to the driver?????

Monday, November 15, 2010

Denial - what does that mean this time???

So, I have been thinking about this denial thing.   It seems to me that if I was truly in denial, I would not be able to write about the fact that I was in denial.   Doesn't denial mean that you have yet to accept that which you are presently in denial about?  So that led me to reminisce about my denial and how it felt the first time......

June 2001 - Waking up in hospital from what was to be an appendix removal to the general surgeon standing over me saying "well it wasn't your appendix, instead we found tumours and so we just sewed you up and are sending you to another hospital".....hmmmmm that's about all I remember about that guy!

So began the original journey.   I do remember calling my siblings that evening in my semi-conscious state and telling them, but it all seemed so ordinary and not too important.  Although, I think that may be how I remember it, because over time I have asked them to tell me exactly what I said and they seem to remember it as being very traumatic.  Interesting how different people remember things differently...especially when you are full of drugs.  So began my denial...I have virtually no memory of what really happened after the drugs wore off expect what people have told me.  I spent alot of time later asking people to repeat the story because it is very disconcerting to have a whole period of time spent in a  fog.   Especially a period of time in your life that was so life changing.

One thing that I do remember thinking at the time was, 'who told my daughter what was wrong?'  I would learn much later that I told her, and according to her (12 years old at the time) I did a very good job of it and was very calm.  I have no memory of that at all. Way to much to deal with obviously.  I do remember telling the doctors at the time that I needed to be in and out of the hospital by August 5 because I had a trip planned and I certainly wasn't about to cancel it. I was told that the trip would interfere with my chemo and I promptly told them to change the chemo.  They did!  Also, I informed my boss that I would be back to work in September when school re-opened so there would be no need to replace me. What is most fascinating at least to me is that everyone just accepted everything I said without a blink of an eye.  Now, I did know that I had been diagnosed with cancer, and for all intents and purposes my outward demeanor seemed to say I was in total control.  Looking back, I realize that I wasn't really dealing with anything. I just did what I was told to do, as long as I really wanted to, and of course being told if I didn't I would die gave me really good incentive to do it.  Everyone around me kept commenting how strong I was.   I laugh at that now because I realize that I wasn't strong at all I was moving in a fog and just trying to survive.   It would be six months before I would even take time to investigate the statistics on my cancer.  For anyone who knew me that should have been the first clue that something was wrong....I am an intellectual and must know everything about everything.   At this time I wanted to know nothing!   I did make decisions but they weren't about my treatment or my cancer, they were about my life.  I would get up every morning and shower so as to look presentable for my visitors.   My gawd, when I think of that I giggle.   Who cares what a cancer patient looks like - ME!   My lovely daughter laughed one day and said "no one knows what to do when they come to visit you because you are sitting up looking so nice and normal".  Then after they would leave, I could barely crawl back to bed to sleep in order to be rested up for my next visitor or two.  How crazy is that!  

So as you can see, I am thinking perhaps I am not quite in denial this time...I mean this is the second recurrence.   Or maybe there are levels of denial and I am at a lower level and so able to talk about my past denial in order to avoid my present circumstances.  Either way, I think I will keep driving the bus.  I don't believe I am at the point of letting anyone else steer in case they drive to close to the truth.  So lets continue quietly driving to the next stop........who knows were?????

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cancer is knocking AGAIN!

Ok so here goes.   This is a totally new concept for me but I am really looking for new positive experiences and hopefully this will be one.

As the title suggests cancer has come knocking at my door AGAIN!  I took the title from Melissa Etheridge's song "I run for life".   She is so good at putting into words the feelings you have when that dreaded beast comes ...this beast has been laying docile for me for four years and now I find it hovering very close to the door.   It sucks....who ever says cancer is a blessing is full of sh..!   Yes there have been many blessings that I have received over the years because I have cancer.   First that doesn't make cancer the blessing.   I have met lots of people I would not have met had I not been overtaken by diseased cells that didn't have the sense to die.   But, and don't any of you take this personally, I could have lived my whole life quite well without knowing any one of you!....Sorry but you or cancer.....You lose!

So now I have to go and look up all my old skills....denial, anger, bargaining, depression and bring them out one more time so that I can hopefully and at some point soon arrive at the wonderful place Acceptance.  Don't you just love how all the things you read are so succinct at how its done.   One, two three and then you are on your way to living a wonderful life of acceptance....NOT.   I put those away four years ago but I have been more than aware they would possibly be needed again.  So I have dusted them off and am working on the first right now.   Denial....I am not very good at this one....I like to drive the denial bus and anyone who wants to hitch a ride.....go sit and be quiet.    It works you know for awhile and right now that's where I am.   I am pretending this past week didn't happen and I am going about my business and all the things I promised I'd do as usual.   I mean one thing I have learnt over the past 10  years is I probably won't die tomorrow so I better keep up appearances.   So anyone who wants to join me on my journey....the denial bus is leaving and we will begin our we go!