Saturday, November 21, 2009

Who Am I . . .Where Does My Path Lead . . . .

I am from sharp yellow #2 pencils, corduroy jumpers made from McCall patterns, wool knitted mittens wet with melting snow and stacks and stacks of books to read every week.
I am from summer at the pool, pony tails, roller skates, Schwinn bicycles, and hand-me-down blue jeans.
I am from watching drive-in movies from the back of a station wagon, waffle ball tournaments in the backyard, and perfect attendance in grade school.
I am from girls camp and summer boyfriends and long car trips to the Black Hills, Utah, Texas, Montana, and Minnesota.
I am from the heart of the west, flyover country, a red state with a redder governor. The pledge of allegiance, `you are my sunshine’ and personal prayer every morning.
I am from piano lessons and band concerts and running through the sprinkler in the backyards of neighbors.
I am from hand-cranked, homemade vanilla ice cream, hot dogs and hamburgers on a charcoal grill.
I am from slumber parties and football games and pep rallies and track and field days.I am from petunias planted under bay windows with dew drops clinging to their petals every morning, long clover chains, blowing dandelion seeds to earn a wish, chasing fireflies on summer nights and putting them in a jar so they’d light up my room at bedtime.
I am from a prayer before dinner at six, served by hands that smelled like Jergens lotion.
I am from adult conversations about war and religion and neighbors and bills and politics and dreams and books and work.
I am from warm, honey buttered scones, pot roast after church on Sunday, chili, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, meat loaf, and apple pie.
I am from tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches, green beans with real bacon, tuna and noodle casserole, and spaghetti and meatballs.
I am from telling the truth even when it hurt.
I am from two brunette, both introverted and an extroverted making me something in between.I am from the careful one and the risk taker.
I am from advice like `duck and cover’ and `look both ways’ and `wash your hands’ and `pretty is as pretty does’ and `study hard’ and `work hard’ and `don’t forget to say your prayers tonight.’
I am from God. Protected by angels. And now I know I’m led by His Spirit.From the heart of it all…a place that’s good to be from.
I am from generations who grew their own food, made their own clothes, built their own homes .
I am from the ones I love still living. From a family I was born into, to a family I constructed.
I am from boxes and boxes of photographs, the names and the nameless, of generations past and present that alternately thrill me and haunt me.
I am from other people’s dreams I never shared to living my own.
I am from small successes, big failures, and multitudes of experiences between those two extremes.
I am from guilt that never quite disappears to a hope that no one can steal.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Now That My Cancer Has Returned . . . .

. . . You can't take the pain away.
One of the hardest things about being the mother, father sister, friend, aunt, or cousin of a cancer patient is being unable to take their pain away. There is no kissing of boo-boos with cancer.
As I write this blog entry I'm recovering from minor wrist surgery. That will include two weeks of PT. The very cute guy (snack and a half!) in the PT clinic has a mean streak that his long brunette hair and beautiful blue eyes doesn't hide once he has gotten hold of my arm! They like to call PT physical therapy but I know it is really physical torture! I'm sure that if I ran into my torturer at the mall or a bookstore he would not recognize me because I won't have that twisted grimace of pain on my face. It's the only way he has ever seen my face.

Today as the my PT was making my wrist go places it did not want to go. I had to wonder why God had not come up with a better way to let me know when something is wrong with my body, a better way or method than pain, like a color change or a really special ring tone.
There are times where there are actual color changes in my body. If I turn blue or yellow, I know something is wrong. There are sounds, too, Like ringing in my ears or a rumble in my bowels.

But for the most part my body has stuck with the tried and true method . . . Pain.

This is my bodies method of warning and there is a reason for it. With pain you have to take notice, you have to pay attention to it. You can for the most part ignore the color yellow or a hissing or a buzzing until it is to late. Pain has the advantage of making you stop RIGHT now. When my car makes a funny noise i don't stop I just drive on. I don't think I would drive on if my car gave me a whack in the nose instead!!

The thought of a better way got me to thinking . . .

Why not a better way of sharing pain? Most of us would gladly take on the pain of a loved one. We want to, but we can't.

On TV I see veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan whose bodies are far more worse than my wrist. These men and women must do much harder PT rehab than I do.

I would be more than willing to share their pain, but I can't. This body of mine is the only one I have. It is the only one I can do PT for.

I know that you want to share the pain that I and other cancer patients must carry for a time or even to death. But just like me you can't. Each of us has only one body and through a plan that we may not totally understand pain is not transferable. I recall when a friend of mine was killed in a motorcycle accident at the young age of twenty-seven. His grandmother was a close personal friend of mine. While visiting with here shortly after the accident she said " it makes no difference how old your child(grand) is or how old you are when your child dies it's just plain wrong." She was right than and her words are still true today.

We can share through prayer, through presence, through encouragement, but not in the body itself. We can not live without one another, but there are also points beyond which we cannot go.

This is one of life's strange paradoxes. We must have one another to create life and to give it meaning and yet we are also alone in this life.

Now that my cancer has returned there is once again no way to kiss the Boo-Boo and take my pain away.

Of course, kissing my Boo-Boo was never really intended to take away my pain . . . . . . . . . .
It takes away my loneliness.

Now that my cancer has returned, My loved ones can't trade places with me to take the pain away, but they can kiss the Boo-Boo and take the loneliness away. . . .

Monday, November 2, 2009

Now That My Cancer Has Returned. . . .

I'm Committed. . . . there are probably friends of mine who think I ought to be "committed." Like in an institution, but that's not what I mean.
Support, control, challenge and commitment, the four necessities for recovery. Commitment to self-growth and self-wellness and commitment to something beyond. . . some greater growth and greater wellness as well.
Commitment means action, a plan, doing something to get results. You can be in favor of something but not committed to it. Like democracy. I can say I'm all for democracy but If I don't vote than I'm not really committed to it. I might think it's a good idea to help the hungry, but until I do something. . . give money, volunteer at a food or homeless shelter kitchen or lobby my congressman, than I'm not really committed to easing the pain of hunger.
To resist the reemergence of my cancer I have to take action against it. It has to be my action, not someone else's. I know that chemotherapy and surgery and my other drug therapies are my commitment to action. These are my decisions to make. In the actual doing however it is the action of others. . . researchers, pharmacists, nurses and physicians. If I stop at only cooperating with or accepting actions. I have not really made the commitment to fighting cancer.
Every day I have committed to sweeping cancer cells from my body. I have a virtual broom, it is strait, red with stiff, strong bristles. An as I sweep the circle of my cancer gets smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller and smaller until it has been swept totally away. This is just like the songs I sing that help me to visualize my cancer just being washed away! By the time I am done singing and sweeping all my cancer cells will be gone! This visualization is something I can only do for myself.
I have committed myself to taking action to heal myself that is available to only myself. Visualization, meditation, and learning all I can about my disease and its treatment I will have better control and commitment to sweeping away my cancer. By sending the right message to my body and soul I have committed to healing myself.
The more I can do for myself the greater my own sense of commitment, and the better I Begin to feel about myself. This in turn increases the peace and reduces the stress in my body and gives the healing agents in my body room to work.
The best way I have found to relive my stress is through prayer and faith. These two action provide me with control of body and soul. Faith has giving me a control that I did not know I had and has made my commitment to action a reality. In turn by doing these things my spiritual health has filled all of the empty spaces cancer is trying to control. I am now in more control!
Commitment is determination and action stuck together, like peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is seeing the goal and kicking the ball toward it.
Getting well takes commitment, which isn't easy. It surely is rewarding, though!

Now That My Cancer Has Returned, I'm Committed.