November 22nd, 2005

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Good Morning!

I wake up and feel great, as though everything has washed through. Maybe I have a fast metabolism so everything hit hard, and then flushed out. I am drinking tons of fluids and intend to do the walking today which is so crucial. I continue to see that when I stay in the moment, all is fine. Even during the worst of the treatment when I could honor my heart and think of all the support I am receiving, and remember to breathe, I really was fine. I could watch the birds flying by, so, a zip a dee doo dah kind of day for me today. The Lance Armstrong book is really helpful also. When he speaks of his fear of cancer, he gives one definition of "human:"

   " characteristic of people as opposed to God or animals or machines, especially susceptible to weakness, and therefore showing the qualities of man."

He then continues, "Athletes don't tend to think of themselves in these terms; they're too busy cultivating the aura of invincibility to admit being fearful, weak, defenseless, vulnerable, or fallible, and for that reason neither are they especially kind, considerate, merciful, benign, lenient, or forgiving, to themselves or anyone around them.  But as I sat in my house alone that first night, (after learning he has cancer) it was humbling to be so scared.  More than that, it was humanizing."

Perhaps that is one of the gifts of cancer - becoming more human.
After all, we are here as humans.  I am grateful for the gift of this, the chance to feel more deeply into even more aspects of being a human being.

Thanks for listening, and being, and feeling your own vulnerabilities and fears.  

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More information than you may want to know -

I just checked in with the nurse assigned to me by Blue Shield. She asked if I had eaten anything since the treatment.

Well, what a statement for me! Have I eaten anything?

I had half a turkey sandwich and soup for lunch, apricots and an apple for snack, and a dinner of chicken and a sweet potato, followed by a protein drink with milk and banana.

Maybe that is why I am feeling so well today. I am going to try and get through without the anti-nausea medicine for now, as I see I am eating, and as long as I do that, and include a lot of protein, I feel well.

I know this is my experience, but I offer it as I know many of you know others going through this. Maybe the eating is flushing this stuff more rapidly through.

So, eat a good breakfast this morning, and I will too!

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Lance Armstrong -

I think what Lance writes here with the aid of Sally Jenkins is helpful to consider. I put it here though it is long.  It is helpful to me, and I hope, therefore, to you.

Lance Armstrong: 

    "What are my chances?  It was a question I would repeat over and over.  But it was irrelevant, wasn't it?  It didn't matter, because the medical odds don't take into account the unfathomable.  There is no proper way to estimate somebody's chances, and we shouldn't try, because we can never be entirely right, and it deprives people of hope.  Hope that is the only antidote to fear.
    Those questions, Why me?  What are my chances? were unknowable, and I would even come to feel that they were too self-absorbed.  For most of my life I had operated under a simple schematic of winning and losing, but cancer was teaching me a tolerance for ambiguities.  I was coming to understand that the disease doesn't discriminate or listen to the odds - it will decimate a strong person with a wonderful attitude, while it somehow spares the weaker person who is resigned to failure.  I had always assumed if I won bike races, it made me a stronger and more worthy person. Not so.
    Why me?  Why anybody?  I was no more or less valuable that the man sitting next to me in the chemo center.  It was not a question of worthiness.
    What is stronger, fear or hope?  It's an interesting question, and perhaps even an important one.  Initially, I was very fearful and without much hope, but as I sat there and absorbed the full extent of my illness, I refused to let the fear completely blot out my optimism.  Something told me that fear should never fully rule the heart, and I decided not to be afraid.
    I wanted to live, but whether I would or not was a mystery, and in the midst of confronting that fact, even at that moment,  I was beginning to sense that to stare into the heart of such a fearful mystery wasn't a bad thing.  To be afraid is a priceless education.  Once you have been that scared, you know more about your fraility that most people, and I think that changes a man.  (I add,  a woman, too.)    I was brought low, and there was nothing to take refuge in but the philosophical: this disease would force me to ask more of myself as a person than I ever had before, and to seek out a different ethic.
    A couple of days earlier, I had received an e-mail from a military guy stationed in Asia.  He was a fellow cancer patient, and he wanted to tell my something: "You don't get it yet," he wrote, "but we're the lucky ones."

I agree.   : )

All of you out there take care of yourselves.  I have Steve soaking in the wonderful seaweed-arnica lotion I brought back from London this summer.  Chris used it last night, and I think Jeff needs it also.  You are are suffering with me.  Bathe deeply in your heart and mine.   There is wealth to share, and we must all care for the beauty and fragility in the blessing of living, for now, in time.   Expand your space and breathe.   We are ALIVE!!!!   It's Celebration Time!!!    My song for today!!!

My nurse friend says if I am not nauseous, I don't need to take the anti-nausea medicine.  Hooray!!   Side effects of drowsiness will then ease.  I should have some energy today, and also, fatigue, but, at least, glorious movement is flourishing and dancing in me.

in peace and joy,

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Clarification on Lance and me -

When I first started reading Lance Armstong's book, I felt what he and I did not have in common was that he bicycled for the pain, he pushed himself to deal with pain, to relieve it; he enjoyed working with the pain. He bicyled for pain.

I feel I have preferred to work with pleasure. I bicycled for pleasure, not for pain. (not to put myself in his bicycling category.) I never exercised with the idea of "no pain, no gain." It made no sense to me.

I was only saying that I think he and I came to this from two different perspectives. I am greatly enjoying the book, and certainly admire him, but I never had that fire of anger in myself that motivated him. His mother was wonderful, but his early father figures were either non-existent, or violent, and certainly not helpful. I had two loving parents who adored me in every way. Where I was taught to take it easy and not to push, he was taught the opposite. I was simply trying to say that his words are helpful to me now, and I see that our backgrounds are very different. Probably why I have not won the Tour De France, and never had a desire to do so.

Anyway, Lance and I both have our strengths. We just manifest them in different ways.

: )