Sunday, March 25, 2007

To See things as they really are

At the beginning of life after treatment, I began to wonder what I would talk about on my blog. I thought that cancer and treatment were over, and that I would be at a loss of how to continue my weekly musings on life.

What I realized later that I am more in need of this blog than ever before. The last few months have been a turning point for me, and my coping with cancer has just begun. Even better than that, though, I've found my way back to a point in my life when I saw things neither optimistically or pestimistically, but simply as they are, a beautiful dedication to embracing "what is." I feel I've begun walking a path where I can honestly and willfully see things in that truthful light and learn to not only accept it but actually embrace it for the reality that it is. It's a crazy thing, but it's liberating and nice to be comfortable enough to face truth and be able to deal with it.

A few weeks ago I was faced, for the first time, with what I can only guess would be the makings of a junior panic attack. Racing thoughts, inability to sleep, chest pains, that sort of thing. My doctor asked if I should increase my anti-depressant, and I thought of crawling into a hole. I was so disappointed that I wasn't able to handle this.
And then I thought of this very ancient, wise saying, "If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation."

I hope that this is true, because I realize what I am right now is a continuing fluxuation between grounded and then in the next moment hopelessly vulnerable. And I am working towards being okay with that. In doing that, I realize that there is no hope in trying to control all the delicacies of life, that every day new stresses, new tasks, new dilemmas are introduced that we will never be able to manage. Some are even in our control, and still will be unmanageable.

This is a relief to me, that I don't have to try to do that anymore. That I can go about my life, realizing the incessant ebb and flow of stress and eustress, and just take it as it comes.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Let it be

I feel for some reason the need to post an update on Oscar. I'm not sure why- most of you don't even know him. Maybe this is for me, instead of you. Gah. You're so self centered.

Oscar is home, getting lots of meds to regulate his pain, symptoms, etc. He looks better than I've seen him in a while- more relaxed, more himself, more comfortable. And yet I'm sad. I'm sad that he's going. I should have taken more efforts to get to know him. I should not have been held back my shyness or embarassment. I should not have spent so much time at work when I could've been cultivating a friendship.
We all know this, I guess, that time is precious. That we never know what could happen to anyone at any point, and to cherish every moment. But it seems so clear to me tonight.

And so, I attempt not to hold back, and try to tell you what is keeping facing forward these days: The world is beautiful, and we can only be truly happy when we learn to accept and learn to love not only the joy in it, but the heartache.

And though I am so unsure of how to do that, I know that I simply must somehow learn.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring Break '07- This Year, No Beach, No Banana Daquiris

I swear to you I've written at least 15 blogs in the last few days, and have erased every one of them. My committment to you, right now, is to publish this blog no matter how ugly or inappropriate or whatever it is.

Spring break this year started with an art memorial service for Lia. There were 8 of us there to honor Lia and to have our own memorial for her since we weren't informed of the formal one till days after it was too late. I wish I had a picture of Lia to post here, but I don't. I wish that you could see her, though. It would add so much to what you read about her. Anyway, there was that on Saturday last, and it sort of "set the tone" for the whole break. I had a pretty emotional reaction to it, especially for someone who doesn't have emotional responses in public. Andrea started the memorial by just telling us that anything was allowed- tears, words, laughter, hugs, silence. I started to cry almost immediately, and cried much of the time I was there. The group talked about Lia, then about the last 2 years, as 5 of our group of 25 have slowly melted away from us. Then we talked about our fears- about making more friends at Gilda's club, only to watch them die, too. Only to force us to face our mortality.

I guess I thought I was handling the whole thing better than I have been, but it became clear that day that I have barely handled it at all. I don't know what I've been doing, but I don't think I've been facing the pain. It has taken me all week to essentially come to grips with what is going on with me and what I am feeling. And what I am feeling is this: fear. Fear is a pretty foreign feeling to me- I've made my life out of stupid risks taken and living off the adrenaline from them. I'm the person that wiser people call wreckless and some call stupid, and am also the one that's pretty calm in most scary situations. A response from childhood or other hood, I guess- instant crisis management.
Up until a few weeks ago, if you asked me what I'm scared of, I would've said, "Disappointing my loved ones. But besides that, very little." Pain doesn't really scare me- physical, at least. I'm not scared of suffering, because I know for the most part that I can handle it. And I've learned much from losing things I loved and putting my life together afterward- to the point of feeling confident from such endeavors.
But things are different now. For one thing, I understand what a fear of death is. For me, it is attached to ego, as I am not so afraid of missing things as I am of the way life goes on without stopping to see that you are no longer a part of it. I assume this is nothing but a fear of essentially being forgotten. Or inconsequential. Of dying, and then, in essence, disappearing.
I also understand, I guess, the fragility of life now somehow, too. How it is here in our grasp, but, at the same time, it is not. It is mostly just beyond our grasp, because it is not something we can hold and protect, but merely something we are allowed to touch intermittenly and love and hopefully grasp and fully appreciate. And, after our time is up, it is gone from our sight.
That's enough to ponder for years, so I'll stop there. That's what's going on with me. I'm trying to use that, to understand what I've been taught from this, to make these days that are only mine a gift to myself. It is not always easy being so mindful, but it is important and a blessing, even when it hurts like it does today.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Wake me up when February ends

I am glad February 2007 is gone, and I'm glad it's not coming back.
In February we lost Lia and Mary, and Oscar went in to ICU. Bobby and I went to see him last night, and he did look better. He said that they have finally gotten his pain to a manageable state, with a Morphine drip and regular injections of Dilaudid (?) as needed. It was good to see him with some color and able to chat for an hour or so without being in pain.
As for the future, we are all a little unsure. The tumor may continue growing now that they have taken him off of his chemo. Not sure how any of this is going to go. I'm scared, quite honestly, but trying to be real about my feelings and am hoping that as time goes on I will be able to deal with what is happening. For now, I'm going on instinct and what I know is the right thing to do.


I'm Too Young For This!