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.........