Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy


When I woke this morning I said to Steve that the side-effects of Taxol are different than AC.  I feel terrible in whole new ways.   Steve said I should write a poem like Wallace Steven’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” only title it “Thirteen Ways to Feel Like Crap.”  I thought “Thirteen Ways of Chemo Pain” might be more me.   I felt in the night like acid had been poured down my throat and was eating out my body.  My hands and feet are not comfortable, and I feel pretty generally lousy, and so, it is.  I don’t think I want to write a poem about this.  I’m trying to hold my right shoulder down that keeps popping up to protect me from the next blow.  Lots of fun, and I am a witness.  I am mostly fine and clear, like the weather predicted for today.   

Jane and I talk.  I tell her I am in pain.  I try and write, and will go through what came.  When, you see Jane’s poem, you will see how connected we are, all of us.  I read of Jung and the three stages of alchemy.  Her poem is that, a poem of alchemy, though she had no idea what I was doing or reading.  All she began with was the pain she heard in my voice.

Here is my beginning flow.

the side effects of taxol are different
than those of AC -
I feel lousy in whole new ways
like acid has been poured down my throat
and eaten out my insides -
I feel like a clean toilet bowl
where the squeaks of cleanliness
are squeals of achiness
and my hands and feet feel burned
and charred,
I am burned out, blackened -
I think now of Jung and the three stages
of the alchemical process,
the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone.
I google it and read from this web-site,
a Jungian analysis of the film American Beauty.


First is Nigrego,  the dragon, devil, or blackness.
There is suffering and dissolution.
We are taken apart to understand of what we are composed.
This requires heat.
Next comes albedo, the brightening stage.
Male and female integrate.
The dissolution of nigredo leads to the seeing of the shadow,
the animus, or male,  for women, and the anima, or female,  for men. 
Here we may find the ultimate source of energy, the soul. 
In Rubedo, everything comes together and there is a growing redness,
increasing warmth, and there “is an increasing participation of consciousness,
which begins to react emotionally to the contents produced by the unconscious.”

I continue,  quoting directly from the website named above.

"The growing redness (rubedo) which now follows denotes an increase of warmth and light coming from the sun, consciousness. This corresponds to the increasing participation of consciousness, which now begins to react emotionally to the contents produced by the unconscious. At first the process of integration is a 'fiery' conflict, but gradually it leads over to the 'melting' or synthesis of the opposites. The alchemists termed this the rubedo , in which the marriage of the red man and the white woman, Sol and Luna, is consummated." [15]

(I think here of the work my red and white blood cells are doing right now.  Certainly, they must feel consummation in all this activity.)

"But in this state of "whiteness" one does not live in the true sense of the word, it is a sort of abstract, ideal state. In order to make it come alive it must have "blood", it must have what the alchemists call the rubedo, the "redness" of life. Only the total experience of being can transform this ideal state of the albedo into a fully human mode of existence. Blood alone can reanimate a glorious state of consciousness in which the last trace of blackness is dissolved… Then the opus magnum is finished: the human soul is completely integrated." [16]

Unus Mundus

"Everything good is costly, and the development of personality is one of the most costly of all things." [21]

"The experiential experience of the unus mundus seems to be a transcendent one. The West Nigerians say, 'Only when a man dies does he discover the mystery of life'." [22]


Viewing chemo as an alchemical process is helpful to me.  I finish reading this, and call Jane.

She has her poem.   She says all this in her usual, complete and whole way!

Jane and I feel ever more strongly, how we all are one.  We meet in the collective unconscious, a network of mycelium, from which we mushrooms peek, and speak.





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