Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's Over... What Now?

Back by popular demand, the email I send out almost 4 years ago when I was done my cancer treatment follows, so many of the pieces and observations still apply... Read on.

Dear Family, Friends and Angels,

Well, here I am, writing from the other end. Who ever knew I would make it. Well, I guess we all knew, but in the beginning, in those long hard moments, in the dark nights, there were times I was not so sure I wanted to, let alone would. This has been the longest 7 or so months of my life. Not just because they were so hard, physically, on me, but also because there was so much time in between to ponder, reflect, take a look. A time to think about what life really means to me, a time to re-evaluate my values and priorities, a time to decide how I want things to look from here on in. Not that things will be perfect, not that they will always look like I have decided I want them to (that seems to be one of the great lessons of cancer - let go of that perfectionism), but to have a vision and a place to point my toes and stars to navigate by on dark nights.

So what have I learnt?
Ø You can't do cancer alone, and now I know I would never want to
Ø The people who love you don't mind doing the hard or ugly tasks if it will help you
Ø There are more than enough people to help in your hour of need, actually probably in any hour
Ø People love to give
Ø Asking for help is hard to do, in fact it is the hardest thing I have ever done, way harder, some days, than having cancer
Ø Love is all that matters
Ø There is no such thing as perfect, only progress
Ø Things don't always go your way
Ø If you are willing to wait till the right moment (as defined by the Goddess - and I hold that there is no other right moment) you will get the right answer (again - also Goddess given)
Ø For as many crazy medical practitioners there are, there are as many, or more loving, generous, open-minded ones - Debbie the chemo nurse will live on in my heart forever
Ø Sometimes there is such a thing as too much fire (who knew!?!)
Ø With enough love, faith and courage, your body can heal from anything
Ø The pain and fear of surgery and needles is nothing compared to the joy, love and support of friends and family, and doesn't last as long
Ø Sometimes the Goddess' will is hard, but it is never without reason

There are probably many other things I learnt. And I suspect even more and deeper learning’s will continue to unfold for the next few months and years. But one other learning I have received is that when the words and inspiration stop flowing it is time to stop expressing. Forcing it doesn't work. And it wastes a lot of time. And it takes me further away from the Goddess. It is both something I love and it works for me to follow the life force, the aliveness, the juice. So on to the next topic....

What's next?
This part is so uncertain. I feel a little left high and dry by the medical establishment. First they are all over me, now they have vanished. The iceberg of emotions that I have been holding in check is starting to melt. The grief of "my life will never be the same", and the fear of "what if it recurs?" bubble up every so often. I hear the emotional integration can take quite some time. I hope I remember to make room for it. Maybe get some counselling, or hook up to some support groups for cancer survivors my age. There is this way that I just start attacking life, that seems to have people buying into my illusion/deception of everything is fine, let us just get on with life. I don't think everything is fine, I don't really think it can be so soon after something like this. I don't think I want it to be. I sure hope I can learn that lesson, to be gentle with myself, to listen to my core and what I really want and what I really feel and to keep expressing that. And to keep asking for help and not forget that huge lesson. I know I can come off looking so good and together, and I guess now that I have touched and have more respect for my vulnerability, I want to keep honouring it, to keep giving it the space it deserves. Now that is a big challenge for me. Uggghhhh. Not more challenges. Well, at least I don't have to do it alone. And then there is the trial by earth (I have been viewing the surgery as trial by air - blade and all, chemo as trial by water, radiation as trial by fire, and so naturally there must be the old trial by earth), how do I integrate all of the changes (diet, meditation, exercise, yoga, visualization, etc) into my daily life, permanently? I guess I will be guided here too.

So as I head into 2002, cancer free and full of new hope (I have a great transit this year, goodbye Neptune, hello Pluto!) I actually feel grateful for all of the great gifts of this last year. I have included pictures of me, bald, shorthaired, red haired, and my old look, long flowing hair, for those far away who haven't been able to see my transition.

Feels weird to wrap up this email (as I am sure you can tell, by how freaking long it has been so far, sorry, as I said, when it flows I go with it) kind of like it will be the end of something. I have loved knowing I have this extended community of people around the world loving me, praying for me, helping me. It has been so huge for me to keep asking for the help, to know you are there even on the days when I can't see or feel you beside me (kind of like my relationship with the Goddess). And on other days, I have felt you all, and am so grateful. How do you say goodbye to that. Well I guess you don't. Even though I won't be inundating you with a zillion emails, I will be holding you all with love and wonder and gratitude.

You are/were my lifeline. You were my Goddess on the days that I forgot.

Blessings on you. May the light and love of the Goddess surround you always.

In deep love and gratitude,



At 7:58 PM PST, Anonymous cancer patient said...

Awesome blog on alternative cancer treatments. No one should have to go through the discomfort of radiation or chemo-therapy so blogs that offer cancer patient are a very valuable resource.



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