The rain of pain in LA (for just an hour)

4am, is it the rain in Los Angeles, pouring onto the stone patio outside of my window, which wakes me this hour, or is it the pain. This is a new ritual. The 4am snack and oxycodone alarm clock, though today I believe it was the soft rain, I woke up smiling as if I were home. I ate my savory cookie, took my pill and rather than dream sweet, I decide to lay awake and listen to the brief interludes that remind me of home. There is much reflection this week, here essentially by myself. Gorgeous friends helping when I need, but I am completely responsible for my own schedule, which is nice, but in all honesty, a bit wrapped up with fears. My independence, of which I wear so proudly, is a question with each step I take, each one that is a supreme ache. I’m slower than the 90 year old man walking with his cane next to me. It is interesting how this first week on my own, I feel the most physically weak and unable to do things without intense caution. There can be no. falling. down. This is a big deal for a young woman. This is the weakness I wanted to stave away. No walker, no wheelchair….not yet, please. I’m not ready to do that….but when will I be? This is the time when I say never. This, I am not accepting. Sorry cancer, you can’t take this, I want to bounce back and walk with ease. I’ll take the stylish vintage cane at a snails pace, that I can do…

Will these bones heal? As I have been awaiting four days now for a return phone call from the doctor, the big wonderments are starting to creep in, so when the drug really stabilizes things soon (with hopeful gasp) will my bones have time to heal? Can I gain some ground or did we lose too much in the waiting game of drug trials? This part of being on my ‘own’ here I hate….I hate not having the comfort zone of my doctor, my, beautiful nurses. They are an extension of my family that make it easier to heal. Here, not so much. The scattered way the office moves is frightening. My UCLA doctor will get an ear full tomorrow. Calling for four days over new pain without response should be unacceptable and certainly inhibits the positive state that I am working hard at maintaining. I’m bathed in my own light, and that of friends, I know this but there is a security blanket at work for me under the umbrella of a great oncology team. For me, I need to have that balance, the best of western medicine with my personal foundations in spiritual, thought and eastern styles. The balance can be easily tipped, especially without my weekly acupuncture and Healeo juice routine, but I make up for this with quiet meditation, breathing or just cleansing thoughts. I do not have control of the drug trail system yet. Yes, I said trail…I keep misspelling drug trial for trail and come to think that maybe that is a better way to look at things. It’s a trail that I am slowly wandering on, breathing in what comes my way….not trying it out, walking the path, I just wish those leading the walk would get a better receptionist.

The rain has subsided, back to bed…

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42 steps and then some

Few and far between the writing occurs, yet it lies within my heart and I speak it with each night. Forty steps and then some, to my house. My next challenge has become chess moves in an endless game. How many steps to take before I live again, before I leave this earth? Tomorrow it will be forty two steps and then some, carefully maneuvered down to my home, my sanctuary in the trees. With cracked hip, I will descend and ascend so I can keep my spirits in tact, and not feel as displaced physically as I can be emotionally.

Within this past week, we heard an array of news. CAT scans, bone scans, an MRI and some fluids, I am mending and breaking at the same time. The A-fortune-for drug is working! It has stabilized the cancer, the bones, and shown even some healing signs in the liver, and disappearance of those new spots that appeared in the lungs in early September. Though a long way from the finish line, it appears we are gaining back ground. However, the bones did not escape damage. I have a crack in the hip that has me immobilized until we can repair it, hopefully soon and with minimal surgery. I have fractures in the spine that unnerve me and it is true that we have forty two steps down to the entry of our house, with further steps up to my son’s bedroom. Obstacles, setbacks, and yet steps that go down, also seem to go up.

My body is aged and perhaps I will not ride a horse through the hills of Spain again, but I will see the New Year emerge with brighter tomorrows with the help of a little oblong pill that I sing to, four days a week. It’s my edge in the chess game. My voice will encourage the A-fortune-for to mend, even as my will was questioned, as I digested the news of my cracked out hip with a gulp of singeing words like “we can’t catch a break”, I bowed to the setback and summoned a chord of some bad 70’s music and remembrance of a walk in the moonlight, singing with friends just days before this news. One step ahead, one song for the soul, one step down to the house and one step up towards my sweet son’s bedroom. Forty two steps and then some towards the road to healing.

a cancer-cation

In our current culture we seem to be fond of the fusing of words. I don’t love this trend. However, at times it is mildly funny. I just had a cancer-cation, ya know, like stay-cation, or like bennifer, or jlo, or whatever.

A cancer vacation should be on the agenda for all of us going through this harried process. It would be nice for one of the several foundations that supposedly assist those with cancer to somehow provide a lavish vacation for healing. I feel blessed to have the family and some resources that gave us this time away. The past 9ish months have been taxing, and while we would have gotten through without this jaunt to sunshine, it was a most welcome and needed rejuvenation. Thank you.

Rejuvenation of the spirit and body is important in life, with or without cancer. We are a distracted culture who shortens words, and forgets to breathe…maybe that is what gives some of us this disease, who knows. Though I am currently not working and have some time (as much time as one can have with a 15 month old) to breathe and heal, it is difficult to meditate on wellness with looming appointments, schedules, and a house to attempt maintenance on, so I needed a cancer-cation. We all did. My family works hard at sustaining this cancer lifestyle, so we took a break from it, barely discussed it aside from the coughing up a lung part that was difficult to ignore, but even still, we rested. I even drank a quarter of a glass of rose cremont!

Walking the tropical paths in the warm sun reminded me to breathe and to live with this unknown future. It is in living that we thrive, I was reminded. For a better part of the last 9 months it felt as if I was just maintaining my existence. Always positive about my future, I still didn’t truly live my life. This past week while watching my son, my family completely enjoy each other, I truly realized the importance of each singular day.

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