The sun again shines, though I hear the heater running and worry about the plants and my PGE bill, and it is a beautiful day.
I hear from a woman who is in her breast cancer treatment exactly where I was last year. I am grateful that my chemo oncologist was so clear on how badly I would feel. This month of January was one of the toughest for me because the adrenalyn had worn off, and it was a new year, and I felt left out.
Amazingly, this morning Jane and I were working with January, and how it was for Jane as I went through the process. It seems my "letting down" this month allowed her to do so too. I gave permission for her to feel her fear and sadness with my acceptance that it was "crummy."
Ah, big breath. How deeply we connect, and we try to protect, and yet, we all need to hold hands in the need to laugh and cry.
A beautiful day to you All!
So, again, I am looking at where I was last year. This is my posting from a year ago. May it help anyone who reads it and is in treatment and wonders if what they are feeling is "normal."
Blog entry of January 16, 2006 -
My brother pointed out that I seem to have suddenly placed a lot of politics on the blog. He doesn't think politics is the best thing for my health right now.
I think the purpose was to distance myself emotionally from what is going on.
I am not doing well with the chemo. I am exhausted. I am limited in what I can do. I am worn out. I truly would love to quit. You are trying to be supportive by pointing out that I am 50% done, and, I appreciate that, but, what I am feeling is the toll that this has taken, and I try and imagine what another two months will do to me, and I cannot. Tears come as I type this. I'm just not sure I can continue. I know that tomorrow I will hear what I heard last time. "Because you are so physiologically depleted, it is affecting your mood," but, I feel I don't even have the energy to smile anymore. Even my eyes are tired. I want to do this, and I am, as always perhaps, concerned about the cost to my health. Perhaps I have no choice. I suppose that means I again lift myself from the mat and fight. The image that keeps coming is of crawling out of the sea and feeling arms and legs form. That was quite a step those amphibians took. I appreciate it much more now. I guess I feel that is where I am. I'm out of the sea, flopping on the sand, and forming arms and legs. Sometimes I do distance myself on the blog. I am trying to protect how poorly I feel.
Today, I guess I will say it. I feel depleted. I am tired. I am worn out. I am scared. I am tired of having no hair. Perhaps, this is surrender. Then, that would be a good thing. Perhaps, I need to feel this more. Steve said his perception of the poem I wrote this morning was that it was in my head, and not in my body. I know that I am avoiding being in my body. I am afraid to feel how poorly I feel, how afraid I am of this new chemo regimen. I am curled up inside against it. Perhaps I will spend today just feeling how I feel, feeling my fear, and I will see what comes from that.
Something funny in all this. I have been feeling that because I look so pitiful, the grocery clerks and everyone are offering me all this help. Someone pointed out that that is what they do now. They offer everyone help out with their groceries, but in this hyper-sensitive place, I think, "Oh, I must look so pitiful that they think I can't even carry a teeny-tiny bag of groceries by myself." I remember now that they offered before, and I don't actually think I look so pitiful right now; I just feel it inside. This is again allowing me to see what interpretation does. All those words fell off me before. Then, I began using them as a way to anchor what I am feeling. There is no reality there. I am treated as before. Hmmmm!! Can I treat myself as before? Can I see myself as I once was? Can I again find and feel my strength? Well, today, is a good day for that. Martin Luther King, Jr.! Rosa Parks! I celebrate today these role models of the heart. The word heart comes from "couer" - courage. May it be so for me today! May this give me a chance to honor the Masters of Courage, of the present and the past.
I certainly don't pretend to put myself in their category, but my own personal struggle can allow me to better appreciate what they did, and have done, to better see and feel how hard it is to pull oneself from that wonderfully comfortable warm sea and begin to grow some arms to reach, and legs to walk the talk, that formerly was just bubbles in a whirling spin.
I come across some quotes I posted last January. Again, I see how they help.
In the original version of the Tenth Duino Elegy - Rilke
.....How dear you will be to me then, you nights of anguish. Why didn't I kneel more deeply to accept you, inconsolable sisters, and, surrendering, lose myself in your loosened hair? How we squander our hours of pain. How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration to see if they have an end. Though they are really seasons of us, our winter-enduring foliage, ponds, meadows, our inborn landscape, where birds and reed-dwelling creatures are at home.
Eavan Boland - If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift.
Carola Speads - We live in a breathless culture.
I look back at what sustained me last year and every year. On these words I feed.
Words from Viktor Frankl, in his book "Man's Search for Meaning."
"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked throughout the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
"Every prisoner had a moral choice to make," he says, "to surrender one's inner self to the Nazis, or to find the meaning in one's life that would give one the strength to go on."
The anxious student asked the Zen master how long to enlightenment. The Zen Master answered a long time, at least 10 years. The student said, "Well I will work twice as hard." The Zen master said, "Then it will take 20 years." "No!" said the committed student, "I will work three times as hard." "Well then," said the Zen master, "it will take 30 years."
Happy Letting go. Let "trying" drift away like soft, fluffy clouds!!
It is beautiful outside. I warm and consider the ebb and flow of life. As I look back on my chemo days, there were some rough one and some easy ones, some rough moments and again some easy ones. It is to be there for each one and watch them change. It is quite the game.
I am feeling renewed after a little cry. Re-visiting the past brought up tears, and tears are great and the storm has washed on through and I am feeling joyfully perky today.
When I was in chemo, a publication Passager asked for comments on Hair. I sent this, and was informed it would be published. I just received my copies of the publication. As I read my comments from this place, the place of hair, I'm glad I could write this, and I am happy now to have hair.
"I have a young friend who is distraut at the loss of his hair. Mine is gone due to chemo. At first, it was a bit traumatic, but now, I wash my head and toss a hat on it, or not, depending on the temperature. I see that I am still attractive, and perhaps even more interesting without my hair. I am exotic, and I can see and hear much better without hair blocking my eyes and my ears.
A bald head frees up time and money. There are no bad hair days. The economy might suffer, but I say let us all free ourselves by offering our hair to the birds and scalps to the air."
This day is magnificent and the birds are singing. It is why we live in CA and put up with the traffic and ridiculous prices.
It is the time of the new moon, a time to gather energy and renew. It is said as the moon gathers light, so do we gather energy. May this be so until the moon is full on February 2nd.
While driving, I heard a speech by Howard Zinn. It was on the power of what each one of us can do, and how we are the ones who determine the policies of our legislators. We need to remember that.
I also finished Carter's book, Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid. There, too, I believe we need to speak. Jimmy Carter says it as it is. He has been involved in attempting peace there for many years. He knows the players and he knows what needs to be done. It is another example of how when we look away, peoples' lives are destroyed.
Well, I am actually in a hopeful mood tonight, and sure that we can step forth toward the changes to be made. I do see that the "people" want these changes. It is the leaders who hold us back. It is time to rein them in as we settle into peace.
Sleep tight tonight!
There is a study that shows that when Thai women eat Thai food which they like they absorb more iron from the meal than Swedish women who consider it too spicy. When Swedes are served "their food", hamburger, potatoes and beans, they absorb more iron. When both the Swedes and the Thais were fed food that was high in nutrition but a sticky, savorless paste, neither absorbed much iron.
I have read that if you can eat a Snicker bar with the right attitude, you will absorb the nutrition from the peanuts and it won't be as harmful as one might think. It seems sometimes we have lost our ability to enjoy our food. It seems now that is a loss in every way, so enjoy what you eat and thrive with health. I intend to do the same.