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!