A long time ago I watched the autobiographical movie All That Jazz, directed by choreographer Bob Fosse. There was a moment when the main character, facing his own death by heart attack from hard living, goes through the classic Elizabeth Kübler-Ross 5 stages of dying: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. I remember thinking how silly, who does that? Me, that’s who. I’ll be honest, it took me a few days to let the idea sink in that there is something going on in my body that is so serious that most people in my place don’t live more than a year. In the hospital I was in kind of surreal place, getting all this attention and concerned looks, my floaty feeling magnified by painkillers.
Things have changed in a week.
For one thing, there is a warrior at my side. For another thing? Google. Research is literally at our fingertips. We are coming up with a plan. And until a plan becomes The Plan, this is what’s going on with and for me..
The Basic Stuff.
Ups and downs. Overall, I feel better and can do more than in the few days before I visited the ER to find out what was wrong. It’s nothing like my usual energy. Soulmate is doing all the cooking. I clean here and there. I have naps. We take walks, slowly..
Everyone asks me about this. Cancer people are known to have pain, yes? Mine is manageable. I have painkillers and use them sparingly. Some days are better than others..
From what I know so far, two of my lymph nodes are enlarged, about 2 inches across. Normally lymph nodes are much smaller. These two miscreants live in my lower right abdomen. Everything else in there is on alert, on fire, and traumatized. I weigh just under 110 and my belly should be flatter than it is, but because of what’s all going on in there (I keep thinking my organs are having a hell of a party), it’s not. C’est la vie..
This past week I’ve been all over the place. There was the day when it sank in for the first time that most people in my place expect to die in a matter of months and that the western medical community doesn’t have a lot of answers when it comes to advanced melanoma. I suspect I moved out of Denial that day.
I see an oncologist this week. I expect to hear a lot about how they think my body is doing, what tests I might still need, and what treatments they recommend. Soulmate and I have spent a great deal of time researching, especially alternative treatments, but the medical opinion is definitely a part of the picture. There are targeted therapies for advanced melanoma that look promising. Seattle Cancer Care Center in one of the country’s best cancer treatment centers. My oncologist seems front and center in a number of clinical trials. So we’ll see. I hope it’s good news. But honestly, they don’t give much hope.
Weeding the garden.
Soulmate and I have begun to talk about me as a beautiful garden. We see so many gardens when we walk in our neighborhood. Some gardens are beautifully kept, strong. Some gardens have weeds. Our job now is to make the garden stronger so that the flowers will block out the weeds. The problem with weedkiller is that it also kills the flowers. I am convinced that the way to a beautiful garden is through enhancing the soil, mulching with nutrients, and plenty of water and sunlight to build beautiful blossoms and the plants they grow upon. The weeds won’t have a chance.
I really thought we were eating well. But this week has taken me to a whole new level. Fresh fruit/vegetable juices, raw foods, nourishing cooked foods. Alkalizing. Organic. No more dairy or animal products, sugar, processed food of any kind, wine, or coffee. The diet will continue to evolve (we are looking at more juicing, for one thing, plus incorporating more superfoods) but so far so good..
Soulmate was trained in breathwork. This is like rebirthing on steroids. Physiologically, it is oxygenating. Energetically, it clears blocks and stored emotions. On a soul level? Feels like anything is possible. Today I saw my destiny. Which is nothing about dying from cancer.
I’ve mentioned our martial arts practice before, Oom Yung Doe. I can’t say enough. This week I’ve done qiqong movements as well as a deep internal form called Bagwa, plus some of a static form that opens the body and strengthens all the 8 major joints of the body and is pretty much a standard warmup..
The outpouring of love and support from our Facebook communities and other communities has been amazing. Just what I needed. Plus, we are reaching out to people locally more, enjoying meals with friends..
I’m not yet clear on my practice. It’s so odd to admit that, because as a spiritual teacher or whatever I am expected to have a strong personal spiritual practice, but I’ve been in crisis around that for a while, trying to figure out how to walk the divine and the profane worlds simultaneously. I believe that this cancer experience will show me what to do. In the meantime, lots of writing and processing, lots of listening to my inner voice and being open to what comes next. Visualizing good things. Being present to What Is. Remembering I am a magnificent creator.
In spades. Keep it coming.