Monday, February 28, 2011
Before- watch WITHOUT SOUND
AFTER_Watch WITH Sound!
Continuing to heal which takes a lot more time than I figured on- some days feeling quite chipper followed by a few days of decrepitude. Cobwebs in mind and arm pit- found the courage to locate a video on the procedure: an animation which if watched without sound, is actually pretty interesting- then back to single-cells
Speaking with Aubrielle I show her a poppy seed and say- 'look how small it has the potential however to grow into an amazing plant with many blossoms that size of (breasts)'- so I'm looking at the fact I only had tiny small areas of cancer on nodes but what might a cell of cancer become?
Looking at history of cancer first mention in 583 BC. Egypt -Also hundreds of tears ago some thought cancer was caused by melancholia- or the feeling one had not served God to one's fullest capacity- I think modern medicine has left out a whole system of understanding- it seems from my perspective important to treat the cancer as a complete systemic (to mean: no system of the person whether spiritual, emotion, biopshysical.biopsyhological and cultural, and environment should be considered separate from all the others)
I feel old today, but don't know what "old" feels like exactly- more accurately- I feel tired- to the bone, or like paper in a book of dust. sterie strips beginning to lift and peel from the surgical incision showing newly minted skin and fine pink scar- It's kind of exciting - a really slowly reveling foreign landscape on my chest- like a fault in the earth's crust rising up out of a low lying plain. Each day the petals of the stitches will wilt and fall from the wound- I'll sleep on my stomach, stretch yoga and marvel at how the body knits itself- so frikken amazing!
About the photo-
I lifted my blouse and pointed the camera blindly toward my chest— took one shot- just wanting to show the sterie strips-that is what these are! The pinkish skin and little marks are the remnants of the drains placed under the skin- it is surprising…those still are very tender -
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
- First an early morning email: an associate from several years ago whom I had only a professional relationship to sent this amazing message this morning when she heard my diagnosis. I am honored she has let me share this message with readers because of its open-hearted sense of community and trust! I have changed the names of her sisters and where they worked to protect her privacy.Thank you to this 'friend' for her courage, caring and compassion, I am so inspired. What better way to transcend boundaries than to look at our lives where they intersect another's - where our stories become medicine for each other and reliving them returns medicine back to ourselves in an ever-widening, ever-deepening stream of healing.- this is blessing- this is faith.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I am seeing startling stats that would indicate - i will have friends and family who will sadly have to go through some of the same experiences I'm currently going through-
Assuming - (we will agree with the stats for the purpose of this post- today anyway)-
I want what ever I'm going through to be of some sort of benefit for any one of you to whom this may one day apply- [Isn't it always happening to someone else?- For me, It was always happening to someone else before my own positive mammogram]
I will try and list all and any helpful information I run across- thankfully i have many many friends- who are sending me resources, and materials on multiple levels of healing and as I synthesize these and apply them- i will undoubtably share- Let me be your guinea pig- your white mouse, your torch in the cave-
- If i had had my first mammogram 3 years ago when i was 50- Maybe if i'd thought - i'll have a screening for my golden birthday present? Maybe I would really only have had DCIS-0 and there would be no chemo-I know this is 20-20 hindsite- but really if you are putting it off- and "know" you should go in- (I did for at least 5 years)- Then PLEASE do us all a favor and get it done- ounce of prevention or pound of 'cure' ?? Up to you!
The Buddha was a really crafty guy- he wasn't sure how he would be able to lead others through the necessary path to the great illumination that he had experienced- He thought: "This can't be taught"- - He was ready to just enjoy his enlightenment- but he looked back over his shoulder and saw the needlessness of the suffering because of "not-seeing"- Out of this overwhelming compassion for the sake of others- he devised the concept of going about it, (the teaching) like a DOCTOR prescribing medicine!! How cool is this symbol as it relates to the condition I find myself- and seriously, that I find us ALL in? way cool!
My teacher told a second hand story which has helped me a great deal -
A zen master was asked: "What is suffering/Pain?- He replied- Sensation + Aversion.
The body doesn't feel "pain" - it feels sensations-The body has no way to judge the sensations- but even on a rudimentary level- it seeks wholeness (integrity) and wants to avoid dis-integration. The mind feels pain- which is like sensation + aversion-The mind senses through the body the same sensational impulses- but it judges - like dislike- Investigating strange phantom and squiggly shooting tremors and stinging tissue throbs if I can look at these out the corner of my mind/body's eyes They are often intriguing- when I'm tired I watch the mind apply regret- like" Oh I might never be able to _________fill in the blank again because my arm is ________fill in the blank- I feel sudden unpleasant experience that I don't want to have (aversion) this experience. Pain instantly appears as my primary focus- almost instantly I'm suffering- (a mixture of emotional pulling, and sorrow, and regret- self-pity) Safety- the breath also arises the consciousness of breathing - today's dharma message in the book on the mantle: Who am I- that thinks I am carrying around this body?
I have been absorbing- that perhaps 'I' am not this body, mind, cancer-experience. For the moment let's say: What if I accept that this body belongs to (let's call god for the purpose of this paragraph), this body is god manifesting god awareness- this mind also god-awareness manifesting itself, then wouldn't it follow cancer also god manifesting god consciousness? Everyone is out racing around for a cure- The Buddha prescribed about 80,000 during his life time. Cancer as "other"? Other than what?— now that,… is a really interesting ?
Friday, February 18, 2011
Very interesting idea and one I'm really glad to see has been investigated-check it out- I'm not giving away the cat!
Last night i stood nearly naked in a white satin nightgown over long sleeved white sleeping shirt in the middle of the garden 2:30 AM soaking in the white light white heat of the nearest to FULL moon, moon- the ceiling of sky pale was etched with waxy moon-white. No sounds, no movements along any streets- the hum of any car silenced for the spell in the garden-
even the stars giving way to the spill of night's perfect egg of light. Me and the BLACK cat, in moon worship heeding the new directives on my Wolf card from the medicine pack at Natalie's sanctuary. This moon is happy- did you look? gleefully reigning with her Athena-inspired smile. &
I'm still awake since that moment, and now it's 2:11 PM, I'm contemplating a moon-shade nap, but, before that, be advised the NEXT FULL moon is the last night of Winter! Spring Equinox March 20. I wonder what kind of moon rhythms might relate to the infusions of cancer killing chemicals — the plateau of waxing the trough of waning!
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
JOY! I believe I actually do get it - it's a lot more interesting than rocket science
It's fine to run the numbers and dissect the heart of matter- but when all is said and done- the numeral Uno thing that makes any difference or truly matters is peacefulness, contentment with what is, relaxing, letting go- and enjoying the ride— I begin to see that if I do indeed find myself in the 'infusion-suite' at Kaiser Permanente, at least I will be able to practice metta* continuously there for each one present- the patients, and also the nurses, the doctors, the waiting room attendants, myself— the unseen particles of hope and the filaments of fear-nothing left out, all of us all the while-
One friend said: " Oh good you can at least use your mind.- I understand it this way- Oh good I'll be of service- I can 'milk' this experience for all it's worth- it's milky whiteness like the energy of the moon pulling tides across the entire planet—the force of love for others the medicine of compassion - all the rest is grist…
*metta": pali for "loving-kindness practice
easy direct description of the practice linked here for all interested
with palms together bowing— be joyful, protected from any kind of harm, at peace and perfectly contented
Monday, February 14, 2011
And it's Monday AM but the oncologist who is the same age as I am already has bloodshot eyes. You can tell she uses a really good SPF hand cream because her hands are almost milk-blue white without even the hint of a sun-brown 'age' spot- but further up above her wrist, a few little freclkles are beginning to merge into a larger diameter of tell-tale liver colored skin. It's routine for her she lets me know its hard for her too - to be a cancer doctor- she wishes this were more fun- face it she is dealing with the sick of the sick everyday. And she is all too familiar with the ODDS, all things being EVEN. She is more stooped than any of my same age friends and I worry about her developing osteoporosis. Still she is a smart girl from Austin university med school with residency at U of Chicago so I can feel confident she knows how to read and interpret the info that frankly I've just read up on and I did not have to get through med school in order for us to communicate about the #s-
Anyways- if treating BC with only surgery, in 10 years only 15 % of persons will still be alive- (this is using 100 people as the pool) with chemo the ODDS jump to 24 % with chemo and combining chemo with 5 years of hormone therapy it increases another 9% or 33 will still be alive- that is by today's standards of treatment- in another year or five or 9.7 the ODDS may be different based on new therapies. Then radiation experts will want to add their %s to the mix, treating the chest for any lurking cells even tho the surgeon says ALL margins are clean- surreal and yet everyone will do all they can to stay alive as long as possible - that is the given, Still it's our CHOICE on all of it-. I feel lucky? but I never gamble or play lotto or slots or any of it I even feel uncomfortable playing rock - paper-scissors- luck isn't a very comforting escort even if he is sexy- Luck may lay down a coat over the puddle if the numbers are right, but he will just as likely flip a coin to see if its your jacket or his he uses- The operative that tips the scales seems to be CHEMO-
We toured the "infusion" ward- everyone looks sick and also completely engaged in "getting better"- you know that commercial where everyone is a numeral as they walk down the street? You could almost see the numbers above their little bald heads- no one making eye contact- soon I'll be one of them sitting in the easy chair, cozying up to my drip bag of CYTO-TOXIN This & That. A neophyte BC patient healthy-looking weary from surgery will be escorted in for a "look-see" and I probably won't make eye contact out of a weird protective wish for her faint-daze-gossamer of false privacy or maybe I might just a whisper of a wink a tiny gesture of: "it's okay Cancer is embarrassing for all of us".
WE are ALIVE we are WHOLE and holy even if we do have a few holes here and there- It sad kind of that it's a meat-packing kind of efficiency - the roll-call, the hope- and it is true hope- then there are the numbers- the schedule- the drugs the remission the waiting- there are no signs for health- nothing to indicate the cancer is checked or balanced- - I leave this post with a message Lara sent me a few days ago-
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
even tho 14 nodes were exhumed last week, and only one positive the fact C had traveled to any node at all is significant-
90% of cases in the study and which mirror my statistics (not necessarily my C) had a 5+ year survival rate-
5 years- enough time to do ANYTHING at all, and the rest is groovy-
Two night ago I had this dream-
[a monk in maroon robe and short black hair is sitting on the steps below the lotus thrones of the celestial buddhas. The monk seems to have been in quiet conversation with the buddhas kind of a business-like meeting quality to the scene- The monk says: " Oh and i wanted you to be sure to know that Elizabeth Lahey has been going through a trying time." The Celestial Buddhas answer: "Oh Yes, she is right here on our list!! ]
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
(Image courtesy of my BFF from kindergarten DAF.]
4:00PM--Today-- Dr. Kolpec the thirty something surgeon says: "This is like having an eye brow or bikini wax, it's not as bad as you think but definitely not the happiest part of your day-1. 2. 3". She RIPS with two hands entwined around the dual .25 inch hose/tubes sticking out of my side through two small stitched incisions! It felt like I'd had a tooth the size of a horse chestnut wrenched out by the roots [deep earthy curmudgeon-like] for all of 8.5 seconds, the dentistry images instantly replaced with a sensation rather similar to a flaming match being thrown onto a spot of BBQ lighter that had accidentally soaked into your tee-shirt, melting there for just long enough to….
YIKES!!!- and Yes!! was most definitely one of the most intense experiences yet…[almost automatically I begin listing out loud all the words that I could find to describe the intense sensations directly: hot • deep • fire • searing • ice • sharp • hot • dull • achy • fire • scald • sharp • acid • tingle • cooler • dull • softer • warm • cold • softer………• strong •…… pressure • ebbing • quiet • soft The naming acted to divert the mind from the unnamed four-letter word that rhymes with 'chain'.
Unbelievable RELIEF — it's over — the tubes are out! & I no longer feel like a misplaced David Lynch character moping around the backlot of a creature feature flick
NOTHING ABOUT THIS CANCER IS AVERAGE, TYPICAL OR SIMPLE.
It turns out the pathology report shows invasive tumors in several places in the lymphatic system of the breast- Still nothing outside the duct or the lymph system - also not out into the fleshing tumor producing areas, AND only .6 cc of cancer matter found in one single node, AND in typical cases, this cancer would not have been in the node at all the deterioration of the breast - or rather the advancement of the cancer doesn't typically correspond to having masses in the nodes- - not expected at all So while a grade 2 invasive diagnosis, Dr. Kolpec said, "It is barely a 2, and your prognosis is really really good!" She says in efforts to making me feel better or is it herself she is comforting?-humm?
- So good news because MARGINS were ALL clear-Means No To Radiation- well, so they say - however-reality and since both my maternal aunts died of brain cancer, a maternal cousin's 6 year old son died of optical nerve cancer and my maternal uncle lives with a liver tumor. I'm definitely opting for chemo. Oh yeah another plus, turns out i have 100% perfectly optimal estrogen receptor cells which will fit exactly the tamaxofin which will certainly be prescribed for the next 5 years or so- Uh, bikini wax my ASS !! #@$^+@#~%¶§∞¢£‘œ ≠ |
Brian May Lead guitarist of British Rock band: QUEEN-
- On His Physics Dissertation"It's a study of dust. As simple as that. Dust, in this case, in the solar system. We're actually surrounded by it. The earth moves through a cloud of dust constantly and a lot of it comes down to Earth. My experiment was trying to figure out the motion of that dust. Where it's going, what it's doing, where it came from and what it means in terms of the creation of the solar system."
Joni Mitchell: "We are stardust, billion year old carbon…caught in a devil's bargain, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden…"
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Thought I would prove with a few images I made it through the surgery.
- my left arm pit is completely numb- like when you get a big shot of Novocaine but your lip never thaws out- this creates a strangely disassociative and un balancing over arch of wonder and worry-'will I ever feel my arm again?'- 'is blood flowing there?', and other uglier thoughts I don't need to share.
- I feel pretty good, but after an hour or two of conversation I want to nap for three and do so- obviously I am learning to adjust to new energy levels- patience and boredom and then writing some, eating VERY well- thanks to Magpie and dear Heather! Who knew the silver lining would taste gourmet?
- first formal meditation practice on Thursday- found it easy to practice shamatha (calm-abiding), even in the surgery prep suite and then in recovery- awareness of breath always possible as long as there is awareness, meditation — interesting because the meditative states have no body boundaries that have changed in any way, tho deeper insights offer preview for much greater capacity only because of this body experience-
Thursday, February 3, 2011
bless every heart for every breath of concern, calls, comfort, and caring; food, cleaning touches and thought waves - it is not incidental nor insignificant and all gestures deeply most deeply felt and welcomed- thank you
Justice Invocation of Maat
Great Mother of the Sun
Descend into the arms of the earth
Winged Goddess of balance
Come unto me who cry out to you
For justice and truth and strength
Help me find Balance in the world!
I call upon you to help balance the energies
In my life
I call upon you to bring the truth
Into all I do and say and feel
I call upon you to give me strength
To persevere on all levels in healing myself
On all levels
In organizing, in uniting
And in bringing a halt to all destruction!
The black free-standing feather of Maat
The crystal star gleaming within
The outpouring of interstellar energies
Flowing and snaking through the earth
Filling every living thing
With the will toward harmony
I invoke the point of equilibrium
The force of momentum,
Gravity and electron-spin resonance
Filling us with the song
I invoke the law of the universe
The innate justice
That governs all things
May I channel this energy in my work
May I be a conduit of the black flame of justice
And the silence of truth-in-action
Many we I unified with all living beings
Through the breath of Maat
And may her heart-beat fill my ears
As the sound of a singing healed life!
Mother of infinity
Goddess who guides the sun
And all the ever-moving stars
Guide me now in my our hour of need!
Great Cosmic mother
May it be so.
We invoke the black haired Goddess
Who balances the souls of all beings
Who, weighed with the heart,
Reveals all things.
May I enter the chamber of truth
And stand before the great power of justice
Maat, crowned with the feather
Reveal yourself in all your manifestations
We call forth the center of truth and justice
From within and without
We name this power Maat
And we manifest it here and now
As knowledge, will and action
Through the strength and energy of our arms
May the balance of Maat
Through the clarity of our minds and loins
May the balance of Maat
Through the black flame of justice in my heart
May the balance of Maat