March 30th, 2006

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Morning Check In -

This morning I talk to Jane. She leaves for Spain tomorrow, so is very busy, and without time to write, so we talk, and I realize how sad I feel this morning. I went to bed at 8 last night, and didn't watch The New Medicine, which was on at 9, here, not 6, as I had hoped, but it is recorded, and I will watch it.

Anyway, I am sad because I would prefer more energy, and I am sad to not have any hair for such a long time, and my eyes keep attracting all sorts of things without my eyelashes there as protection, so I am wearing my glasses, and I really don't like the radiation place. So, do I have any more complaints, you might ask? :) Well, I have a few pains on the state of the world, and people returning from Iraq with no legs. The image I hold is a photo from the Chronicle of a young man on a bed with his two young sons, and the man has no legs. How can I complain?

Well, I'm going to anyway, because I find it funny that I am now looking back on the chemo room as a place of some delight. It was on the second floor and I could look out the window, and I had my own space. I knew I had a staked out space for three hours the first four times, and five hours, the next four. I knew and loved the nurses. They took good care of me. I somehow felt safe. This waiting room is teeny-tiny, with people who look sick and it feels very hard to find my own space, even in the waiting room. I actually haven't yet met my machine or technician. I believe I do that today. I want to say the waiting room does look out on a meditation garden, and has a fish tank, and a jig-saw puzzle set up, so, I'm sure I will come to feel differently about it. I just find it somewhat claustrophobic right now. Each time I have been there, it has felt filled with people, people who look sick, and I am not sick, and I don't look sick. I am healthy and well!!

Yesterday, Elaine gave me a beautiful smoky-quartz stone with rainbows, and smoky-quartz helps with chemo and radiation, and so maybe today with it in my pocket, all will go more well, but it feels a bit dehumanizing to sit in a room with other people in robes, so without your own clothes, and with so many very thin, and with some, with no hair. I'm sure I will get used to it, but I am not there yet, and so, I am nervous and scared. I am not so fond of machines, and I guess I will be pals with a machine each day. I suppose today I will better understand what is going on, and so, I will look back on this day, and wonder how I ever worried, and all will seem very comforting and commonplace.

Also, once I have a fixed time, I will probably come to know the people in the waiting room. Perhaps, I find it disconcerting that there are so many people in the waiting room. Things don't yet seem to float on time. I really would love to be in and out, but I see that is probably not going to be happening. Anyway, I put my complaints here, and leave them with you. Maybe, for today, I need a few more prayers. Also, it seems I know so many people now that need prayers, so maybe I request a big rousing cheer of prayer for us all. I think we all need prayers sometimes, and maybe some are afraid to ask, because they think their problems aren't "big enough," so I am asking for everyone in the world today, HUGE PRAYER!!! I think we all need it, and today feels like the day, the day after an eclipse. May we all be well, in all the ways of health, as the ways of health circulate, pollen in the wind.
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Elaine -

Yesterday, Elaine came to my home. It was our first meeting in person. She brought me a smoky-quartz stone with rainbows for healing, and two stones she found on the beach with glorious fossilized circles. She brought them as a gift from my mother. We feel a connection there.

I feel that the major advances of mankind come from the use of fire, the printing press, and the internet. Without the internet, I probably would not have met Elaine, but when she wrote about her upcoming brain surgery, Theresa forwarded me her words, and I emailed Elaine, asking if I could put her words on my blog. From that, many emails flew back and forth, especially in the night, when we were both awake, and in that altered, and altared state, that all of this brings.

From that, yesterday, a real live person came to my house, a very beautiful person, who came to meet me and Mandu. Lulu, her dog, waited in the car, in respect of Mandu's territory. Elaine and I painted on silk. I realize now, isn't that what we are always doing, painting on silk, or perhaps another material we choose. Maybe you prefer to paint on gingham, burlap, cotton, felt, or wool, but, we are always painting, always painting our hearts, and praying someone sees. May everyone today see the great grandeur of your heart. May YOU see the great grandeur of your own heart!!! May your heart bloom like the seeds that have wintered and are now poking up to see and be seen. May we honor each seed, each bloom. May we live aware of, and in, the gardens we share.
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I like this!!

"In the measurement world, we set a goal and strive to achieve it. In the universe of possibility, we set the context and let life unfold."

-- B. Zander
The Art of Possibility
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Tears -

This morning Evelyn sends me a video. It is of an adorable little girl who when she sees her parents and brother leave the house, sits down and cuts off her hair. When they return, they are shocked. She has gathered all the hair in the bottom of her blouse, and she offers it to her brother. He takes off his red baseball cap and puts it on her head. His head is bare. The video is an ad for children with cancer. How can I ever complain? It puts it all in the sweetest perspective. May tears, if tears you have today, be those of love, comfort, and joy!
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Memory -

I am remembering now how I started kindergarten. I was four, the youngest in the class, and, perhaps, considered it a bit intimidating. My mother and her friends had cut my hair and given me a permanent. It is the only time I have had curly hair. The teacher let me sit at her feet. I believe I was perceived as a teacher's pet. I was just happy to feel safe. I wonder now about the hair. I had a new dress too.

I remember when Jeff was two, and we went to a class together. The teacher told us to observe our child and how our child began his or her interaction on the playground. She said that is how your child will meet new situations, the first day of school, college, work. I think of that now, of this apprehension with something new. Perhaps that is my way, and then, I get there, and all is fine. I find a way to make it so.

I also remember my dream of the other night, of a little girl who jumped right into new things. Perhaps, I am on the cusp of something new, holding onto an old way of being, a comfort, like a blanket, and maybe, I'm also learning to let that go, to be in a situation without the cover and comfort of my own clothes, to meet something new.

The nurse on Wednesday said how beautiful I looked. I was in my robe like everyone else. Perhaps, there is something huge there for me to know. I thought my beauty was in my hair, and, then, in my choice of clothes. Perhaps, for each of us, it resides where nothing can touch. Our treasured beauty is always, all ways here, here with us. Keats is right. "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" Touch now how very beautiful you are!
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Fullness of Support!!

Did I not say the internet equals fire and the printing press for me? Like that, emails of support pour in. Thank you, Dear Hearts, Dear Beings!! How magnificent this web we weave!
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Too funny!!

So, I walked into the radiation waiting room, and there was no one there. I changed into my robe, and came out. No one there! What does that say about expectation and worry? A great deal, and yet, I realized as I sat there, that all of this, this morning was probably a smoke screen for what was really worrying me, the Machine!! My stomach felt cramped even as I sat in the empty waiting room, and perused the up-to-date magazines. By the way, the April Gourmet has a wonderful sounding recipe for Lasagne Bolognese, though it also seems like a bit of work. Still, the article says it is the best lasagne ever. I think I will mention it to Jeff as a hint.

I am called in for my appointment on-time, and introduced to the four computers that will monitor my radiation experience. I see my picture on a portion of the screen of one computer. I meet the Machine. I lie down, and three people work with me. My placement has to exactly match the placement of Tuesday. The part I am on moves under the main part of the machine. Then, that part moves around me. I see that this ceiling has water lilies. There is no Pacman. That was just for practice. Chopin is playing, though I can choose my music each time. They take pictures, and confer with the doctor, and take more pictures. Chopin gets very excited. I can barely hear the voice instructing me when to breathe, and hold my breath. Chopin is exuberant. It is very hard to keep my breath exactly the same, while I am listening to him, but I decide he is better than the other choices. I would hate to start tapping my toes and moving my arm at a strategic part. So, I learn how well they monitor my breath. They tell me when I have not inhaled enough air, or when I inhale too much. It is hard to breathe naturally when being monitored so closely. I feel performance anxiety, and I do okay. I am tattoed, and that is certainly the minor part of the whole treatment. Four pin-pricks and they are done.

The nurse is waiting for me when I finish, and instructs me on the use of lanolin, and answers any questions. I don't smell like a sheep. She also says that I will see the doctor on Tuesdays, and that the doctors, especially Francine, stay with you as long as you need. For that reason, they do not run on time. Ah, I see, and I figured it out with my experience with the machine. They are making the appointments with the idea of an average. The machine is popular. My 30 minute appointment took almost 50 minutes. There is no way to know how it will go. Still, there is only one man in the waiting room when I leave.

Because I am not having the second operation, which all agreed, it seems, makes no sense now, they are going very deeply with the radiation. My radiated space goes all the way around to the back, and way up under my arm. I have a huge space to rub with lanolin. I'm not too thrilled with my huge area of radiation, and once again, it is better than the alternative. This is an important part. So, I am ready for my first treatment tomorrow. What a set-up this has been. They said it takes about three times to feel comfortable. I feel better already just knowing what to expect. I think that is what felt so scary to me. It felt so unknown, and yet, everyone has been so sweet and helpful all along the way, I wonder why I thought that would change. So, again, I deal with fear, and perhaps, next time, I will better know it is fear, and just observe it. I do think though the tears of today were helpful to me, and, also, the continuing support. Thank you!! I am happy and well. : )
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Chris sent this today. Both parts are well worth checking out. The first one is especially sobering. The second one goes along with what I said about the importance of the internet today. We can more easily catch politicians in their lies.

I am embarrassed to say that I pray daily for the American and Iraqi dead, but I forget that people from other countries are dying too. I remember now.

Chris's words and links:

This animated map of coalition military fatalities during the Iraq war unfolds at ten frames per second. Each frame represents one day of the war. One dot marks each casualty site. A death begins as a white flash, then grows to a larger red dot, which turns black after 30 frames (days), fading at last to permanent grey.

Turn up your sound. Also, they wanted to show total fatalities, but the information was not readily available.

Also, I don't know if anyone saw this in the news, but it's pretty funny. A guy running for congress in support of the war put up a photo of Turkey on his website to show the peaceful streets of Baghdad. Bloggers nailed him. Nice:
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The Colors of Health!!

Today, in the radiation waiting room, I picked up flyers on eating more fruits and vegetables. "For optimum health, scientists say, eat a rainbow of colors. Your plate should look like a box of Crayolas," says Janice M. Horowitz in Time magazine, January 12, 2002. Well, that is a good idea. I picked up a chart where every day you record what you eat in these categories, Blue/purple, Green, White, Yellow/Orange, and Red. Have fun coloring your chart, and filling your insides with rainbows. They should be fun to climb and slide.