Monday, August 29, 2011

Death is close....always!

Haven't really felt like writing much.   The juices don't seem to be flowing...maybe this is what is called a writer's block.   Decided I needed to though because the past week has been nothing if not interesting.  Then again, I find that my life is usually least to me. 

Had a real theme of dying this week.   With Jack Layton's death which put me in a bit of a tailspin.  It reminded me of how swiftly this disease can take you from the top or peak of your life and within weeks put you in the ground.   I don't like being reminded of these things but sometimes it is a good thing.   Then I did a funeral on Saturday for a former student who's father died very suddenly, and again was reminded how precious life is, and how unpredictable!   There was a photo at the service of him taken one day before he died with his granddaughter.  It was so beautiful and he didn't look like he was dying...and yet she turned one year old four days later without her Opa.

Both of these men were young by our standard's, yet in many ways both had lived life to the fullest in their own ways.   It made me realize that it isn't how long you live, its what you do with the  time you live.  I know that isn't very original as we all seem to say it often, esp when someone dies.  But it is profound!   

If we come to accept death as a part of life we are much more likely to live while we are still alive.   In our society (b/c most of the world knows full well that death is very close at hand) we often see death as something that is outside of life.   As if it is standing off in the wings and if we are really careful and don't let it come on stage we can somehow beat it and live forever.  We constantly believe that if we do the right things then we can avoid or at least delay death indefinitely.  Then comes a moment where someone dies and we are stunned.......

I too am very much guilty of this way of thinking.   Even with cancer, I have gotten complacent and not lived the life I know I could have.   Then it raises its ugly head again and I am taken aback by the seriousness of it.   I don't believe that we should all live as if at any moment we are going to be struck down.   It would be a very neurotic world to see everyone running around twisting their heads to see if some awful thing was about to befall them.    What I mean, is that we should look death in the eyes, see it as a reality, and then decide to live every moment as if it counts.   Not putting off all those things until it is more convenient, especially the things that are relational in nature.   Spend time with loved ones, help those in need not b/c they deserve it but b/c we as humans are obligated to help others.   See the good in others, the wonder in nature, the awe in  children, the humour in God's world.    Believe me God definitely has a sense of humour and it is all around us.   Just tell God your plans for the day!!!!   

The past week has been difficult.....I have had to look death in the face at a personal and at a more general level and both have had an effect on me.   I have had to  deal with the reality that this disease is back and that it isn't going to just go away if I ignore it.   Death is in the room in my life but it doesn't mean I have to invite it to stay or even offer it a seat.   I will look it in the eye and then turn and leave the room to live another day......that's all I have and so here I go off to have a great day no matter what it brings....even if it brings death!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Today I was kicked in the gut!   We lost a great Canadian today much to soon.   He struggled like many of us with cancer and unfortunately the cancer won.    Sixteen weeks ago he lived the greatest moment in his political career, leading the NDP from an almost non-existent force in Canadian politics to the Opposition Party.    As was said on twitter "he was the great Prime Minister Canada never had".......

In the midst of his own struggle he was still thinking about how we (those suffering from cancer) might lose hope in our own struggles when we saw that he lost his.    He reminded us that we are fortunate to live in a country and a  time where cancer treatments are very successful, and that we must continue to be hopeful and optimistic in our own battle.   I usually don't use these warrior type words when I speak of cancer but today that is how I we are at war with this horrible disease.    It is at times like this when I realize the incredible people we are losing to this disease......Jack Layton was a unique human being and a real politician....of the people, for the people!   A man of courage, passion and gone from us because of a disease that seems to be winning more lately in my life than losing.    I will hang on his words of living in the moment and cherishing our loved ones and the time we have with them......

I can say it no better than he:     "love is better than anger.   Hope is better than fear.   Optimism is better than despair.  So, let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic"     Rest in peace have done your job and it is now our turn to carry the torch........may Canadians hold your family in their hearts and prayers.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Events still happen while I wait!

Its taken me a couple of days to get my thoughts together enough to write.   As I knew it would be, the appointment was quick and to the point.   The doctor, true to his word believed that I knew something was happening and just decided we would go ahead and do tests.   Blood tests done, and a CT scan to come.  So, now we wait, and then figure out what comes next.   Another poignant event allowed me to realize the blessings that I have had just by still being here.   Got to see a very good friend's daughter get married....seems like yesterday she and my daughter were sharing stories and miseries about being the children of  Chaplains.   Now she is a married woman!    Made me wonder if I will live to see my own daughter marry.   Any parent must wonder those thoughts from time to time, but I know that I have thought things like that many many times.   Wondered if I would see her graduate grade eight, see her turn 16, graduate from high many frames I have had the grace to fill and see her grow.   The next frame is her least that's the one I think is never knows!

So, not a bad weekend, and something to boost my spirits.......but still I wait to hear what comes next.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Ok, so it is appointment day and I am up early and trying to get myself going.   Usually, as I have said before, when you actually get to the doctors all the things that ailed you have disappeared.   Well, I am still exhausted so that isn't happening.

What I find interesting is that I am trying to compare how I feel to how I felt six and ten years ago.   Not that I could really remember.   I have said many times that I wasn't really very sick in the past, and my daughter just rolls her eyes and says "yea o.k. Mom"....which I take to mean that she doesn't agree!  She says that I was tired, moody, sleeping lots etc etc and then says ....sort of how you are feeling now!!!...then goes on to tell me how really sick I was when I had chemo.   I don't remember being REALLY bad, but she does.....maybe I don't need to remember these things my dear.  It's like having a baby, you really don't want to remember the pain or the species might be at risk!!!!!!

Here's to hoping that I can be honest and above board.....I need to have the courage to be honest and figure out what I need done.   My worse trait is to deny deny deny, and hope that all will just work itself out.  I should know by now that when you have cancer that is not necessarily a good thing.  I have a story about that....the last recurrence in 2004/05 I gave the surgeon a surprise during the surgery.  He knew that he was going in to take two tumors out, one on the ascending colon and one on the lower bowel...but to his surprise he found another my right hip area.   After the surgery he came and asked me "did your hip hurt lately"?   I said "yea for the past few months, why?"....he then proceeded to tell me that there was a tumor there and he had to remove some of the muscle and nerves in order to get it all.   "Why didn't you tell me that you were having pain in your hip"?, he said.   "oh I just thought it was arthritis?.....and he looked at me and said "E. when you have cancer, it is a good thing to tell us if you start having pain somewhere...."   needless to say he was not impressed....mind you I did get him back by saying "didn't you take a cat-scan?"....maybe you should be more thorough when reading it?????......we both laughed.    He has said this time though he isn't giving me as much free reign as he did the last time....I wonder if that is why???????

Well, I am off.............p.s. taking my own vehicle so there are no passengers....don't need any whispering in my ear today......

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Feeling Sick!!!!

I find it hard lately to even come on the blog site.  I think in the early days it was a place to vent, and then it was just a fun place to write things down and perhaps believe that my experience was helping someone altruistic!!!!   Now it feels like it is a place that is making me face a reality that I truly do not want to face.   At the deepest level of my being I am fighting to pretend that nothing is going on and that if I just ignore everything I can make it so.   I can't explain the reasoning except that I am just so tired of this journey sometimes.  I want my life life that I left behind 10 years ago.   It is silly but that is how I feel.   Not only do I not want to live this but I don't want to drive the bus, I don't want to make everyone feel better, I just want to hide away and pretend that all is well.   

I am so 'sick and tired' of being 'sick and tired'!!!   Cutting the grass has become a huge effort, and it bugs me b/c I loved doing things like that.  Now it makes me so tired  I feel like puking afterwards and can't even enjoy the final product.   I know part of my anger, frustration whatever is b/c tomorrow I go back to the doctors.   Not that I will know anything immediately, which can be a source of frustration.  I wish sometimes I could go back to that 'polly anna' way of thinking that the visit to the doctor is the cure all......never was but we constantly convinced ourselves that once we saw the doctor we would feel better.   Actually, if I remember correctly, it was usually the day before the doctor's appointment that I started to feel better :}

So, I go and talk, and maybe decide to have some more tests done.  I can't explain exactly how I feel b/c it isn't like I have some huge pain that is screaming at me.  It is just that feeling that something is not right.....I am way too tired for normal aging...although I do tell myself perhaps that is all it is.   I sleep too much, I am not rested when I rise, and I want to nap all day long.  If that is normal aging than who every coined the phrase "golden years" obviously didn't make it there!!!!!  

I will end with a profound quote that I read this morning by Carl Jung:\

"if we remember the fundamental principle that the symtomatology of an illness is at the same time a natural attempt at healing",,,,,,,,,   hmmmmm that works for growing old too!!!!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011


I am so confused...too much going on and not enough down time.   I performed a wedding this week...well sort of.  It was an emergency wedding b/c the bride's mother had just been diagnosed with cancer and was given only days.   So, it was in the hospital chapel and it was just like a real wedding.   She was dressed in white, there were bouquets, and was all so strange.    The reason is that it wasn't a legal wedding b/c there was no license,  it being a weekend and all.   The family was happy, the mothers seemed very pleased and so in the end 'who cares'? ... Life just seems so full of interesting turns.   I was very pleased and even privileged to be a part of it.  I received the call at 11:00 a.m. while shopping with my daughter.   I arrived at the hospital at 3:30 for the 4:00 wedding.   There was a time in my life that I couldn't imagine that I would have the temperament to pull that off, but it just seemed so doable and I didn't even stress.   My daughter and I had planned to go to lunch, so we still did.  

The confusion comes in when I try to make sense of what is going on in my life right now.   I have always believed that we live our lives in 'themes'.    I believe that God speaks to us through the events and people that are placed in our lives at any given time.   Over the past few weeks, I have been involved in so many different things, with so many different people, I wonder what it is I am suppose to be coming to understand.    In some ways I would say maybe I am just being given opportunities to see the important parts of life......but so far I am  missing the 'hatch' part.    I know that could be due to the age I am at, although there are a few babies looming on the horizon, but not directly related to me.   I have done many matches and some dispatches but not too many hatches.   Although I did do one baptism at the beginning of the year.  So, I think I may just have figured out what the theme is, living, important moments!!!!!! addition I have reconnected with family and that is also an important part of the living.....I guess I am being given the blessings of seeing what really is important in life.   Even still having lunch with my daughter was important and I had the grace to know that.    I don't think I am so confused least not for the moment :)

Monday, August 1, 2011


I grew up being told that it isn't nice to use the word hate.  I passed this same lesson on to my daughter.   So, it is a word that was rarely if ever heard in our house.   Except of course the time she was really mad about something and said "I hate you" and my reply was "well I guess I must be doing my job".....I digress

Hate is not an emotion that I allow myself to explore, I don't like the feeling it has and I certainly don't like the energy it takes.   BUT, I can honestly and with full emotion say I HATE this disease called cancer in all its forms.   It seems to be taking over lives and families like the plague!  It eats away at the body of the individual, but it destroys the souls too.   Not only the soul of the person it has taken hold of, but the family and friends too.   No one is safe once it enters a home.    All though it may not contagious by medical terms, every member of the family suffers from this disease.   Even when it doesn't succeed in destroying the body, it takes a part of the person and family that can never be replaced.   Cancer kills, even when it doesn't kill. 

It takes a sense of peace, security, freedom, hope, eternity!....all these suffer because of cancer.    It is an insidious disease that attacks quietly, only affecting the individual, but then it lifts its ugly head with a roar and everyone within hearing is devastated and changed for ever.  At this point in time nothing can stop it, and it seem that every time you turn around, someone is saying "so and so has cancer" has become a part of our daily the weather.   No one is safe, no one can say they haven't been touched by its tentacles, it has become part of our daily lives....even though it is not able to enter our 'being' it has entered our lives.

We must always remember that it is not 'who' we are, it is not a part of our true 'person'.  It is an uninvited stranger, and must be treated as such.    We must not become the cancer, it must remain outside of our understanding of who we are.    We may have the disease, but it does not have us!....this is so important.   It cannot be allowed to define who we are.....we are so much more even when we are ill.    We must always remember to think, talk, and act as if this invader is invisible.   Do not give it power over our mind, our soul, and it will not have the same power over our body.  I do not mean that we can be healed by ignoring it.   No it may succeed and we may die, but if we have lived every day as if we are still in control of our lives then we have won .   Cancer has the ability to take the body but it has no strength to invade the soul., we must allow it to happen and we can prevent that.   Allow yourself the pleasures of the day, live each moment fully with your loved ones.   Do not mourn for those who are still with you and can still be seen and that day to the fullest.   Then cancer is still that stranger in the room that can be not allow it to take over the room and bring a is still life until it is not.....people are not truly dying until a few hours b/f they are life every moment of every day.....don't let cancer take one minute from it!!!!   ...and then it will never really have invaded your being and the soul will still be free...whether you live or die!