Monday, December 30, 2013

I Somehow Knew

I have been going back and forth with "A" in messages today. At one point I told him I knew he was going to "leave." I knew it. I felt it. And I tried to push it away, hoping I was wrong.

I wasn't sure why I was telling him, but suggested that maybe I feel partly to blame for things happening as they did. Maybe I should have left him first?

As I think about it, running away wouldn't have helped, but maybe sharing what I felt would have. Maybe it would have again given him "permission" to do what he wanted to do. He only stuck around - despite my request for him to be honest with me - because he felt like he was doing the right thing.

On a logical level I cared about him more because he stuck around, but deep down I felt things. Deep down I knew I was going to be left alone. I freakin' knew it, but I was trying to tell myself it was my fear talking. 

Instead of the inner conversation, I probably should have been talking to him about it. Instead I did it sideways, and he danced around it, trying to avoid telling me how he really felt. If only I had been brave enough to confront him head-on, maybe things would not have turned out the way they did.

Thinking about this made me cry. But it is for so much more than what I have written here. A cancer diagnosis came as no surprise, either. And what really scares me are other feelings I get about what is coming. 

There are times I just don't want to be right.

Lesson Reflection

It has been 2 years since "A" left me some beautifully sweet, sensitive, soul touching messages. I remember closing my eyes as I listened, feeling so blessed and grateful that he was in my life.

Not long after that, something changed. We hit a bump in the road, but were able to keep going. The following May I got news of my diagnosis, and his response was "We'll make it through this." We? Wow. 

And for a while I spoke with him al most every day. It wasn't the type of relationship that is "normal." We had to Skype, as he lived elsewhere. 

There were times I wanted more of him, but was often oddly content with what I did have. There was something about our interactions that were calming and were some of the most normal during my months of chemo.

I had even told him at one point to please not stick around because of my diagnosis. I had heard stories of that happening, and while it would hurt should he choose to leave, I knew it would hurt worse if he stuck around for the wrong reason.

He stuck around. I fell in love with him more. I thought I really had something, as he wasn't going anywhere.

In December of last year, I went for a post treatment scan. The day I went for my results I found out he was sticking around because of my diagnosis. I was devastated. I told him I hated him. I was in tears all day.

We went from talking most days to not talking at all. He wouldn't talk to me. I wrote him several times, feeling like there were things I had to say. It overwhelmed him, and he pretty much told me to back off.

I had to find a way to cope. I not only lost someone I loved, I lost a friend, a confidant, a crutch. I was really devastated.

Earlier this year I got a new phone with visual voicemail. I did not realize it until then, but I still had his sweet Christmas-time messages. I had forgotten about them. I listened, and listened again. I was transported to the first moment I heard them. It was comforting to me on one level, and disconcerting on another.

He was no longer that person. He put a tremendous amount of distance between us. He acted like an ass. I wasn't sure how I felt. It was such an odd feeling. Complete in its own little moment, but incomplete in the bigger picture.

I had been so careful getting involved with him. I had been emotionally stunned more than once. I had reservations, but something about it felt pretty damn right. Logic was one thing, but my gut told me to do it.

And I got burned.

Since then I don't feel the same - on the surface. Deep down once I love someone that never changes. I have had some incredible love lessons in this lifetime. Each and every time I have loved, been hurt, and took a risk to open up to someone new, the reward has been great. At the same time, the pain when it dissolves , even greater.

I can distinguish things at a distance that I couldn't up close. "A" could have been right for me, but there were things not so right. Would they have become an issue? I see how even if he was a good guy, he also became representative of things that mattered to me. When he went away, so did they.

There are times I miss him, but there are also times I miss who he was to and for me.

He wrote me to tell me something today. He rarely says much to me any more, and what he wrote I wasn't happy about. With all that is going on with me, the timing sucked. He even acknowledged that fact in what he wrote.

I had no idea how I was going to respond, until I did. And while writing I felt the anger and disappointment I felt slowly bring replaced with love. There is so much power in speaking my mind, and saying what I feel. I even admitted to him about the messages I still have saved.

I still feel a bit emotional, but am in a much better place for having expressed myself. I had anguished over reading what he wrote. Could I handle it? The longer I delayed, the worse I felt.

Now I am "just" tired. I have a few things I need to do today, including my radio show at 4:00 eastern time. I don't feel like doing anything. I also need to pack. Saturday is the big move day, although mini moves and packing are happening all week long.

 There is so much going on, the last thing I need is to get caught in some emotional storm - for long. I am trying to look at things like this as a gift that allows me to purge things, and maybe even heal and move forward. At the same time, they suck, big time.

There have been more than a few times in the last year and a half I have chosen not to deal with someone or something. I have chosen that because I can't handle one more thing. I just can't. It is almost interesting that some of the times I am most vulnerable are the times I get some of the worst interactions with others trying to "help."

Right now I am feeling at the limit. "A's" note pushed me over for a bit, but I have reclaimed a bit of myself by what I expressed. Maybe expression is what helps us be us. Maybe it is what helps us make it through the challenges. Maybe we have many more problems and challenges because we do not say how we feel, because we don't express ourselves when we need to.

I have had to express myself more and more - despite what others think. If we could all allow others their expression without having to get defensive in some way, or going on the attack, maybe we would be more peaceful and have more peace.

Expressing how we feel does not have to have at its core a mission to change or affect how another feels. Maybe the times it does, and it fails, are the times we get angry, or feel judged. 

I have the "right" to feel however I feel, and the best gift anyone can give me is the space to express it without inhibition without a fear of being judged or needing to change or feeling wrong. And, the best gift I can give myself is to be able to express myself in the face of all of those things, any way.

The key I think is truly being true to oneself. There really is a lot of freedom there. The other day someone told me sometimes our communications need filters. I am not sure I agree at this point in my life. I think filters may in some way dilute our expression. This is not to say we shouldn't be mindful of others, but at the same time if we can't truly express ourselves, we are not being mindful of OUR self.

Something to continue considering. 

So much of the sucky stuff is teaching me so much. I hope I get to stick around for a while to use it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Moving Again.

It is official. I am moving again. The interim place I have been staying in  is now yielding to another place west of here.

Back when I moved in July, there were some who said they might be able to help. At the time I was a bit reluctant to ask for help, knowing that I would be moving again. Not only that, back in July, I was not receiving any treatment for cancer. Not knowing what was coming down the pike also added to my reserve.

About 2 weeks ago I began treatment again. It is landing me on my butt sone days, and worse, others. I could really use help this time around.

The biggest piece of furniture is a full-sized bed and box spring. There is also a twin bed and box spring. There are other things, but not particularly heavy. Some things are gradually moving over in the next week.

A 10' truck will be rented for Saturday, January 4. I think things can go pretty quickly if my friend and I have at least a couple of people helping. I have even thought that if there is anyone who wants to help even on just one end, that would be good, too.

Just like many things in life, a seemingly small contribution can make a big difference, so while a single person helping may not seem to be a big deal, it can help speed things up exponentially.

I will also add that I am paying for the truck rental and its expenses, which will likely top $200. It is the least I can do, given my friend's generosity with me, and the fact that most of the things being moved belong to me. However, I have yet to find a way to make any kind of significant income, and am nearing the bottom of my financial reserves. 

If you do not feel you can help physically, any assistance you can offer in that regard would be appreciated. Contributions can be sent to thankyou AT Jolope DOT com (spelled out to avoid spammers) on Paypal. If you are a friend, you can designate that, and no fee will come out of what you send me. If you prefer, you can send it through GoFundMe.com/Rioj8 (a bit more of a fee comes out of it. There is also a $5 minimum donation at that site). There is also the option to have your donation be tax deductible through the Cancer Support Foundation. Just click the aboce banner for details.

Alternatively, I have various creative pieces that are already made, or can be made with my Cedonaah.com designs. If interested in contributing that way, contact me, and we can discuss the options.

Contact info is in the right column, under my picture. If you are a friend on Facebook, you can just contact me there.

Thank you for any support you can offer.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Being True in Action

I am taking a risk with what I am about to write. I just hope if the person I am writing about sees this they are OK with it. I feel like I need to share, as it happened only a short time after my last post. 

I was speaking with someone I have a long history with. They were telling me things they never told me. At one point they were pissed, and I said that they didn't have to be pissed. I did not understand something, and being pissed wasn't necessary.

I was trying to "fix" something for them, in a way. Of course, I did not see it that way at the time.

As a result, I was told I was telling them how to feel. I explained that if they wanted to be pissed, they could be, but I was just not understanding, and that they could try to explain, if they wanted to.

It was also reflected back to me that I, too, could see things differently, and not get upset. I certainly agreed.

While this conversation was many things, it was more about the fact that things were being said, than what was said. Things were said in a way that made me feel closer to the person than I have in a long time.

Being open and honest - even in conflict - seemed to help things. I do not know if anything would have been different before now had something been said sooner, but the distance I have felt became shorter. 

By the time we got off the phone, we were both crying. 

I am seeing how the things we don't say put distance between us. The irony is that things are often not said so another person is not hurt. But the silence, in some ways, can hurt more.

Unless something can be said, another person may never know what another person feels or thinks or even have a chance to act differently. Sometimes saying something only benefits the person speaking. I do not know if anything changed tonight, but if the emotion I am feeling is any indication, I would say it is likely possible.

Why does it have to take possibly dying to start really living?

It also turns out that my diagnosis was impetuous for that person to make some hard, major life choices. I have seen things happen in my own life that have come as a result of the diagnosis, but it is even more interesting to me in some ways to see how the life of others is affected.

There are those who believe we have life contracts. Did I make some sort of contract with this person that when I was  diagnosed it would give them a call to action?

Maybe it is just all coincidence. Maybe nothing means anything. I saw something today about how studies are showing how what we think has power to create. I can't help but wonder about that.

If thinking made things so, then how is that so many desires are left unfulfilled? Why is it that so many prayers seem to be left unanswered?

What if life just is? What if life is like a rock? It is what is, and the things around it affect what it becomes, but at the core it is only what it ever has been, even if it becomes the tiniest of pebbles. What if we think because we think we have a say over what happens to us, but we have no more control over the storms that show up than the mountains do?

What if we have such a need to control things, that we set out to prove we have control, but we just find coincidences that masquerade as that control? What if the lives of some people just have a greater amount of coincidence? What if some people considered unsuccessful have the same desires of those considered successful, and the difference of "result" isn't the person, but a potential purpose? What if a lack of success in one way is a form of success in another way?

One summer in college I wrote something in my journal about how the sunset in one part if the world was sunrise in another part. For that reason, it seemed to me at the time that sunset was therefore analogous to a birth. (Of course, one would have to see sunrise as a birth, first.)

For those who look at things this way, my statement would not be much of a stretch. The beginning of anything is pretty much the end of something else, and vice versa.

I was just writing someone about the rollercoaster I am on. When she replied back I said, "sometimes there seems to be a certain kind of magic/unlocking to life. It is as though the time suddenly is right, and magic wafts through the air, and things happen."

I get an image akin to the movie effects you see. Suddenly everything seems effortless. Suddenly everything is right with the world, and it took nothing more than being in the moment to make it happen.

I did not intend that conversation. I never could have, as I had no idea what would be said. So it was better than I could have imagined in that it even happened in the first place.

What if life is full of those moments, and we just keep going without ever acknowledging the magic that happens within them? What if we started to acknowledge them, would it make the less tasty parts of life more tolerable? 

We can't plan for them. We can't dream them up. We can't do a dang thing to control their occurrence, and yet they are often the best moments of our lives. 

However, we still somehow think life is going to be that much better when we plan or dream or control our circumstances.

Logically this all fits and makes sense. But there are still times I want to know what is going to happen. I can't skip to the end and peak. I can't fast forward. All I can do is go moment to moment appreciating the magic that shows up along the way. 

For some that might not seem to be enough. Surely you can create more? 

What if it is exactly as it should be? What if each moment is exactly the way it needs to be? What if each moment builds upon others? What if the only way to understand health is by experiencing disease? What if the only way to appreciate life is the constant reminder of death? What if the only way to appreciate our strength is to use it?

So many freakin' questions. I am so good for those. I always say I have more questions than answers. 

Maybe life is meant to be lived in the questioning. And things happen to remind us of that.

I just have another question, though. If that truly is the case, why is it that we are so driven by certainty and a such a strong, freakin' need to know?

Of course my mind is seeking the answer...

Still thinking...

Still seeking...

We need this because...


I have no idea. But if something comes to me, I will share. If you have any thoughts on the matter, please feel free to share them with me, or below.

Thanks as always for visiting.

Have a great night.

PS My stomach area is quite bloated. I am hoping it is the gluten and cheese I had the last two days, and not something more serious. Prayers are appreciated. Thanks. 

On Being True

It comes as no surprise to me that people don't know how to talk to me, and think me "too sensitive." If I just kept my mouth shut, and didn't say how I really felt, then more people would talk to me. The problem with that, though, is that the tradeoff is that they would continue to say things to me that are disregarding of my feelings, experience or emotions. 

I never think it is with malice or ill-will, and likely have the exact opposite intention. But the good intentions doesn't mean I should just smile and say thank you.

Does it sound harsh? I bet to some it does. To some it may sound selfish, self-centered. What? The world revolves around ME?

It is a great argument for not allowing a person their experience and reality, don't you think? Shut them up by telling them they are something that is not favored or considered positive in our world. Most of us want to look good and avoid confrontation, so it likely works in a number of cases.

I haven't always been like this. I have felt or thought things, but I tried to keep my mouth shut. There were times I would open it only to wind up questioning and doubting myself, others being clear to tell me how wrong they thought I was.

I feel more isolated and alone, and at times lonely, as a result. The difference I experience now is a greater sense of inner peace. 

We have a culture that favors the gaming part of life, and incorporates behaviors and mechanisms that keep us in line. If one is outside of the acceptable matrix of things, then there are consequences from the outer world. There are also repercussions of the silencing of the inner one. Usually the latter has a greater, but somehow more acceptable, cost.

I would like to think that the way I talk these days can be a good and helpful thing. I would like to think that if I tell you my reaction to something, it will help you to have a better understanding of what another may be going through - at the very least what *I* am going through. It will help you to be supportive in a way that might have a better chance of being perceived as supportive, and not getting caught up in an unintended reaction.

I am not the only one that feels like I do. I have found many others have had similar experiences. It just might be that I am one of the few to speak up and tell it like it is. 

It is not that I want to ruffle any feathers, or piss off anyone. It is not that I don't get the good intentions behind the words. It is that I am looking to convey an experience as honestly and openly as possible while at the same time being as true to myself as possible in the process. 

I have spent too much of my life questioning, doubting and vetoing myself, and I just won't do it any more. It is sincere hope that instead of alienating people I will somehow, some way give them a key they never had before. I want those who care about me to know how best to show their care.

If you think about it, you know that you know better than anyone how you function and communicate the best. Others may think they know what is best, but just because they think they know, and try to force it upon you, doesn't make it the best or right thing. And even your best and right for another likely isn't, and often does not work out very well, either.

And yet, we have been taught not to say how we really feel when we feel something. Everyone is all doing the same thing, and it is no wonder there are so many unhappy people.

You might think that I am not much happier in the world I have created as a result. You'd be partially right. The difference, though, is that the relationship I have with myself is much more peaceful as a result. I don't spend energy any more on an inner battle, and that is an incredible relief.

I might also get people doing more to validate themselves and their experience. If we all could do it more, perhaps we would learn to see it as less of a threat when it happens. We might be willing to listen more. We might be able to give others the gift of being who they truly are. We might even be better able to accept another's differences and choices. 

More battles get waged when we think we have to not only make a point, but be sure others see how right we are, accept our opinions and experience, and successfully stifle themselves in the process of being how we think they should be. And you likely are busy doing this  with another, as it is being done to you.

We are so well-trained, aren't we?

I am sure for as much as I talk about this stuff, there are times I have been quite guilty myself. My hope is that I am getting better, at least.

For a moment I paused, and started to think about what I have written. Am I telling you how to be, as if what I say is right?

It might seem so. So let me say this: it is my experience. It is how I feel. And if it resonates for you in some way, perhaps it is something for you to consider. 

If it doesn't, then I would expect that you would do what works for you. At the core of everything, I would hope that we have a level of respect others, which would include their choices. After all that is what we would like for ourselves, isn't it?  

Having said that, I will also address the idea that because I know people have good intentions, I can just alter the way I look at things, that it is not necessary for everyone else to change.

For starters, not "everyone" else does. There are people who talk to me just fine. They listen to what I have to say, and do not take it personally. They also talk to me as me, not me filtered through an experience of cancer. We may talk about what is going on, but is only a piece of our conversation. They are comfortable-ish enough to let me know they are uncomfortable, and seek to understand and ask questions. They are empathic, and do their best to allow me to be how I am without change. If they happen to try to say something that I don't necessarily agree with, they don't push. Many will even tell me they can't possibly understand what I am going through. Some will ask what they can do to assist, instead of offering their brand of assistance. (They can't always help "my" way, and I am OK with it.)

Secondly, one day I might stop talking about it. For the moment, though, I think it serves a purpose to share, and to allow for things to be expressed as they are experienced. As with many things I write, there may be a potential to connect with another in a way that makes a difference.

No matter what impact there is, or isn't, I get to be me in the process of sharing. It is something I truly value at this point in my life, and is incredibly freeing. 

I wish I knew more about the purpose of life, although it is not like I really know anything. I just like to pretend I do sometimes. But even if I don't get "life," I am getting ME. And, maybe, just maybe, getting me is what life is all about.


Get me, and you'll get life. Ha! Sorry. Couldn't resist. :p

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Up Earlier Than I Want to Be

When I went to sleep last night, I was feeling rather numb. At one point I looked at the bottle of Melatonin I have, and wondered if, like sleeping pills, I took too many I might not wake up. I even researched it a bit online.

As I write this, I wonder if I should be as open publicly about something like this. I pause only to consider any repercussions that might come from my public sharing. But then I think about others who might be in a similar place as me, who might never say the things they are thinking, thinking they are alone in their thoughts.

On one hand I wonder what it would be like to give up, and on the other I get scared life could leave me a lot sooner than I want to leave it. Quite the paradox, actually.

After I wrote last night, my friend knocked on my door. I had thought he had gone to bed. He wanted to know if he was to wake me up this morning. I took the opportunity to ask him if he felt like I was upset with him, or felt like I felt he had done wrong in some way. I told him that if he did, what I was feeling had nothing to do with him, and that I had nothing but gratitude for him. It was just that...at this point I promptly burst into tears...I was feeling all kinds of things, which I had written about here, but was then sharing with him. I also added that I didn't like having to rely on him - or anyone else.

It scares me that this is my life now.

In the back of my mind I hear voices telling me how grateful I should be. Well. I am. But it doesn't mean I have to be OK with everything that is happening in my life. It doesn't mean I should put a smile on my face and act like all is right with the world. I can be simultaneouly grateful and unhappy. So, if perchance you want to add to that choir, please don't.

Sorry for being a bit defensive here, but I have learned in the last year when I am feeling my most vulnerable, I need to be just that. I can't handle the way people sometimes try to help. There are times it pisses me off. Imagine you were in a predicament, and instead of a single person acting like they understand (being empathic), they say the same things as many before them did, and many after them will. The same things you may logically know for yourself, but you don't give a crap about in that moment. The same things, if they really helped, that would have prevented you from going down the pike in the first place. On occasion I have pissed people off by ignoring their "help."

I am sorry for that, but I can't handle just one more thing sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I just can't. And the last thing I need to do is worry about someone else. I have heard that many times people in my predicament will wind up trying to take care of those around them, and comforting them. I have even done that a time or two, or more.

But there are times there is just no way I can do that. I have nothing left.

I had hoped to get through Christmas without being "negative" or a "downer," but it didn't obviously happen. On a logical level, I suspect that those who didn't want that, stayed miles away.  Good for them. I wish I could have, too.

I promised myself that I would write about the good, the bad, and the ugly. If I held back, I would not be true to the mission I set out for myself last May. It is probably one of the few things I have any control over right now, so I feel I need to go wherever I need to go.

Quite frankly, a part of me is really uncomfortable showing this side of me. I feel like people think I should be any number of things that I may not appear to be. I feel like in some ways I am embarassed that I can't seem to get a handle on things. That I am not together. That I am struggling. That in some way I am complaining, or going "woe is me."

I don't think I am doing that. But even if I am, I dare you to be in my position and do any better. It seems to me that anything less than having it together is negatively labelled in some way. It is no wonder no one would want to share what they really feel, if they are going to be judged harshly for it, or people will try to fix them.

it sucks, though because then people stay away. They don't know what to say, so they say nothing. It makes for a very isolating experience.

I had someone tell me that I need to let people help the way they want to. Um. No. I don't think so. Not if it doesn't work for me. I respect that they want to help, but if it is not in a way that is helpful or useful to me (by my definition) then thanks, but no thanks. I would appreciate the same respect in return if I decline their help. If a person can't assist me in a way I think is helpful, then that is OK. 

We have very little middle ground. It is no wonder people walk around with masks on. No one wants to risk how they look to others by being honest. They not only risk being looked at differently, they risk being ostrasized. 

If only I could shut up and put a smile on my face, maybe I wouldn't feel so isolated. But the cost at this moment would be too great. I also do not think I I have the energy to hold back. Do you realze how much it takes from you to be something you are not? I never knew. And now thar I do, I can't go back. I want to say I wish I could go back, but the fact is even if I could, knowing what I know now, no way. In some ways it really sucks, but no freaking way.

I am not in the best place today. I am also tired, and need to get moving. I have things I need to do today. Maybe it is a good thing. But I also feel emotionally on edge. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Night

Feeling really sad right now. It is Christmas night, and it has been an emotional day for all kinds of reasons. For starters, no one in my family reached out to me. Why didn't I reach out to them? I don't know about you, but it seems in my family that because I am not married, with no children, the onus falls on me, and there are times I am just not up for it.

Plus today I did not feel good, and slept good part of the day, so I did not care - mostly. Although it did cross my mind to wonder why, if this could be my last Christmas, why no one did. Of course it could be anyone's last Christmas, but if I knew someone was by themselves, I would like to think I would reach out and see how they were - especially if they were dealing with the kinds of things I am dealing with. Maybe they didn't want to bother me, who knows?

I haven't done much in relation to Christmas for years, but I find myself wondering what it would have been like to have been festive. To have places to go, people to see. Things to make, things to bake. To have the energy to do it all, or at the very least to have a good exhaustion at the end. I miss the magical feel of the holiday. It really feels like just another day.

All of these things have wandered through my mind. I was kinda making it ok, though, until tonight. Tonight my friend and I were talking about where I could set things up in his new house. One thing about my friend that drives me a bit crazy is he says something in an absolute way, only to change it later.

For the most part, it is something I accept, and roll with. In all fairness, he didn't exactly do that tonight, but he kinda, sorta did. I thought I was going to get some furniture that was left behind at the house. Well somewhere between me thinking I was getting it, and me actually getting it, it seems he may have changed his mind.

No big deal, right? Not really. 

But here's the thing. I used to have a 2 bedroom apartment. One bedroom was my office. I work from home, and I needed the space. I went from that to a less than ideal environment for working when I moved in with my friend when I was trying to pay down some bills.  My friend sweetly gave me some accomodation in his last house, but it never really worked for me, and many of my things stayed in boxes.

I had only planned to stay a year, a year and a half, at most.

Freaking cancer showed up. And then he decided to sell his house and move. We have been living in a less than ideal situation in an apartment for the last 6 months, and I am ever grateful for him that I had this opportunity. 

But here's another thing: I am frustrated. It is his house. He can do whatever he likes with it, including restricting where I do certain things - but it does not mean I have to be happy about it. I think what bothers me more is that I do not have any other viable option. As much as this option seems to suck at the moment, it is the best of all possible choices.

Add to this the vulnerability I feel health-wise, and I find myself uncertain as to how much longer I will even be here. Maybe none of this matters. I think I am sad, in a way, because I found something that might just be viable in terms of trying to make money, and it feeds my spirit. However,  in order to respect his wishes, I just don't know how it is going to work. 

In the end, it may be no issue at all.  I keep thinking I won't be living there long. I wondered if it would be for health reasons. Maybe it will be for these reasons. I can only hope it is for these reasons.

I almost cried in front of him, but I grabbed my phone, expressed my appreciation for being able to live with him, my frustration about not being able to live alone, and then stopped talking. What can I say? At this point it needs to be however he wants it, whether I like it, or not. Maybe it will be OK. I just don't know it yet.

There is so much more going on than meets the eye. It is so hard to feel like I am living in "borrowed" space. In some ways, I cannot fully relax. I am sure I am more upset about how my life is with the financial screws and physical limitations than I am about anything else. There are times I get scared this is the way it all ends, with my world growing smaller and smaller until the light goes out.

I hope it is not. But it takes every last part of me to try to stay optimistic. Tonight just pushed me over the edge. 

I am sitting here, crying. I am trying to do it softly. My friend has done so mch for me, I don't want him to feel badly about his choice to let me stay with him. This is not about him. It is about me. At the same time I really need to let it out. Maybe at some point I will go out to my car. I really feel like I am stifling things, and that can't be good.

There are too many questions in my life right now. And silly me wants a relationship with someone. So what do I do? Find a guy that I barely know who has jumped into my picture without blinking. He has tried to communicate with me a lot in the last couple of days, but I have been trying to keep it minimal until we meet. He has no idea what I am dealing with, but tells me he wants to know, as I have hinted at things being not so great. 

He has been a bit much. At the same time, it might be good to have someone that engaged with me. The problem is that at this moment, it just becomes one more thing to deal with, and I don't like that. I get tempted to blurt everything to him, but I also get tempted to back off completely. Both are reactionary, so I don't really like, either. It also takes energy I have to deal with whatever he is creating by me not telling him what is up. One text message even questioned if I was "testing" him. 

Man. I just don't need more stuff to deal with...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

1000 entries and counting...

Well. Today, this at this moment, my 1000th blog entry begins.

I just happened to notice that my next blog entry would be number 1000 earlier today. I don't always notice the number of entries, so I think in some ways it may mean something that I did.

On an Angel number blog that (coincidentally) uses the same background as I do, it says, "Angel Number 1000 encourages you to look to new beginnings and the start of a new cycle or phase in your life with optimism and enthusiasm.  These new opportunities will bring you much happiness and fulfilment (sic) as it will see you in a position to use your personal skills and talents to your advantage."

It sounds good, doesn't it?

So how do I correlate this moment with how I have been feeling? I am not feeling too great. I am all too aware of how the Avastin seems to be affecting me. Yesterday there was a networking meeting that would have been good to go to, for a few reasons, but I didn't.

For starters, I didn't wake up until late. I couldn't sleep the night before. Then, if I am honest, I realized that I might have not wanted to go because I was afraid I would cry.

Some might think "so what?" After all, it would not have been the first time I was emotional in front of a bunch of people. I am so open about how I feel, why would I care? Others, who do not know me, would probably relate for their own reasons, I would imagine.

I think deep down inside of me I was hoping that the tide was changing. I was feeling better. I was trying to move forward without the help of others. Without asking for it, and acting like I didn't need it. I wanted to be "normal" again. A part of me is embarrassed by the fact that I "can't seem to get it together."

Of course that is stupid. I know it consciously. *I* of all people know better. But the thing is that many people want me to be OK if for no other reason, I can stop needing help. I can stop asking for help. I can stop putting my discomfort and problems in their face. I can seem to be OK so then they don't have to worry about me.

It may not be a fair comparison, and I almost hesitate to use it because it isn't exactly the same, but I feel a bit like the person on the street who many walk by. It is all too easy for other people to walk by and just keep going. It is difficult. What do you say? What can you do? Apparently when you don't know answers, it is easier to pretend like there are no questions.

I have been holding back a bit on my pleas for help. After all, it is Christmas. No one wants to hear about depressing things on Christmas. It is all about fun and presents and joy and all kinds of stuff, just as long as it fits the way Christmas is supposed to look. I could imagine some might even think that they'll just focus on the good; it's their right to, after all. And then after Christmas maybe they'll look at the things that aren't so comfortable. Maybe.

I would be willing to bet that most who don't want to look at it now didn't want to look at it before now, and likely won't be looking at it after now, either.

cancer is not anything that anyone wants to look at. I have seen a few cancer stories lately, but the focus isn't so much on the cancer as much as it is the story around cancer. It is about the part of the story that has the uplift. Yes. cancer happened, but let's get to the "good" part.

I am wondering how I sound. I imagine I could sound quite down, negative, cynical. And is that my intention? No. So what is my intention in sharing this, exactly? Is it to judge others? No. It, I think, is to just share what I observe just like I do any other time of the year. Just because it is the holidays it doesn't mean that anyone dealing with cancer gets a holiday from what is happening in their life. If anything, I would imagine for many it probably even makes it worse.

I don't care so much about how I sound, but what I do care about is how I feel. I feel sad and frustrated. I feel embarrassed and I feel warn out. I went back to sleep after getting up this morning and I dreamt that I was coughing up a lot of blood. When I looked online, I found a dream resource that said, "To dream that you are bleeding or losing blood signifies that you are suffering from exhaustion or that you are feeling emotionally drained." Um. Yeah.

Except. I didn't realize how deeply I was feeling it. It was suggested to me by Julie Griffiths, a very fun and talented and intuitive healer, that the Avastin was helping to stir up the unconscious stuff to the surface, and that crying would be a good thing if I felt I needed to do it.

I suspect my ego wants to feel like, and act like, it has it together. People try to help, and when I respond in a way that might sound like I am making excuses, it bothers me. I begin to feel defensive. Inferior. I really get why people don't want to talk about this stuff and why there are so many charades and masks. It is a lot easier to pretend like all is right with the world.

The problem for me is that I can't remain silent. I can't refrain from saying things. I can't refrain from trying to explain myself and I think it is because there is a bigger picture here, and it is not just about me. At the same time, there is something about it that is very much for me. Remaining silent does not serve me, nor does it help me. It only feeds my discomfort. As uncomfortable as it is in sharing things, my silence is even worse.

4 more days. If I had only made it 4 more days without saying anything. Oh well. I guess it just needed to come out and be said. I am just gonna go with the idea that if someone found their way to this entry then they had to see it for some reason. There is more than seeming negativity here. I wonder how many will hear it.

Putting that aside, I have often said this blog is primarily for me. It is like a private journal that others get to read. When you read another's private thoughts, they aren't always pretty. That, in part, is why they're often private. The people know better than to say what they really feel to those around them. The "problem" is that the silence is not our friend. The things we leave unexpressed eat away at us. They fester.

I have really hated saying some things. But once said, they weren't as bad any more. It was like a steam valve was released. Long before my diagnosis I would talk to people about "being true to themselves." On some level I was there, but it was no where near where I am now. There truly is a lot of freedom in expressing oneself.

According to someone who did a lot of work with those dying, the NUMBER 1 regret people had was not being true to themselves. If I have any regrets when my time comes, it certainly is not going to be that. I may ruffle feathers, but I have a deeper sense of inner peace about myself than I ever have. It is something I couldn't be more grateful for.

If my sharing in any way helps others to be more true and open about themselves, then that is a bonus. I think it is one of my life's gifts that is intended to be shared. 999 blog entries ago I had no idea what I was going to write, nor where this blog would go. I had no idea if anyone would even read it, and I wasn't even sure I wanted anyone to. Now there have been 30K+ visits. Many come and say nothing, so I don't know what - if anything - they get here. Occasionally I will receive a message of great impact from someone who reads what I share.

In the end, which in some way is always a beginning, we may never know exactly what will come of something that we say or do. But there are just some things that must be said and done.

I think about the movie It's a Wonderful Life. If you are one who hasn't seen it, do yourself a favor and watch. I had thought EVERYONE had seen it, but apparently some have slipped through the cracks. From what I understand, it wasn't a successful or popular movie when it was made. I think it has much more success all these many years later. Maybe those who made it knew on some level how important and worthwhile the message was. Maybe they knew something others didn't seem to know at the time. Maybe it was just a paycheck, and I am making this all up.

Who knows, really?

Who really knows anything?

All we can truly know is what we know in THIS moment and what feels like the thing we should do - for whatever reason we choose it. And for as much as I would have consciously thought it better to write anything like this at different time, it came out now.

cancer is a part of my life. There is just no getting around it. Provided I manage to have a miracle, it still will be. It is a part of my story. It is a part of who I am and who I have become and who I continue to evolve to be. It is the same for almost 50 percent of our population. Wouldn't a greater understanding and compassion of it be a great gift for us all? And I may be talking about cancer here and now, but I tend to think that much of what plays out with cancer related issues plays out in similar and yet different ways with other people and their issues.

At the core is our humanity. At the core are the same types of emotions and feelings. They may come from seemingly different sources, but it's all the same. They all function the same. It's like clothing. We all wear it, and it comes from different places and different designers, but in the end, it is still clothing. It still serves a certain, familiar function.

As I think about it, I think there is a great metaphor here: Clothing as Emotions. Two people may experience love, but like two different shirts, they wear it differently. Like two different shirts, they own their own experience of it. They could lose their shirt, lose their sense of love, but then get another one, and a whole different dimension of what love is.

A part of me wants to think this through more, but I am feeling a greater challenge than I am capable of at the moment. I guess what I am thinking is that things serve a purpose, whether those things are something tangible like a thing, or seemingly intangible like a feeling. And many things and feelings can bring us to the core of who we are, which as humans, is the same place. It is not like one thing is any better or worse than another, although I am sure many would certainly question and dispute that.

I think if we are in tune with our humanity, if we are empathic, we can find ways to be with each other even when we are uncomfortable and don't consciously have a clue of what to say or do. But we not only have to say we are willing to go there, we need to do just that - not only when we are uncomfortable, but especially when we are.

I am feeling better now than when I started this blog entry. There are times when I feel a nagging need to write. Today was one of those days. It really does feel good to express what I really feel. If you are not yet there, know that when you arrive it will be difficult - if not impossible - to go back.

And that is a good thing.

I just was thinking about the next 1000 entries. I couldn't imagine being here so I can't help but wonder where I will go from here. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed that it is somewhere special, and that I get to live for thousands more.

I hope all your days are special, not just the ones the calendar says are.

With JoLoPe*,


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Power of Prayer

Some may question whether there is power in prayer. I know I would like to think there is.

On my journey, many people have offered their prayerful support, which I have greatly appreciated. I have always believed that if someone wanted to wish me well, there was absolutely zero reason not to take it.

I have had people tell me they are not believers in God, but in my case, they would reconsider their position, and put in their request to support me and my well being.

I felt that much of the reason I came back to relatively good news was all of the wonderful energy I met on the road, I am now back in my daily life, and the energy is different. I am not out meeting people every day, and when I am it is a challenge to reach out when I don't feel well.

Daily life with considerations and issues is a lot different than a life on the road going from Point A to Point B. I have been trying to maintain as much as I can from the road, but it is different.

If you are reading this, I would appreciate your good thoughts of my good health. If you pray, your prayers are appreciated. If  you have a community of those who would pray for me, I would be appreciative of that, as well.  

I feel like I have more to do before I leave this place, and I really hope to have that opportunity, but there are times I get scared I may not.

Thanks for whatever good you may be able to contribute on my behalf.


When I got the "bad" news back in early October,  decided not to do the Avastin treatment. I wanted to be as clear as I could be for what came next. My last treatment had been 3 weeks before, and the longer I travelled, the better I felt.

I had forgotten how Avastin makes me feel. In short, crappy. I don't like the way I feel, and even worse, I feel emotional, heavy, and depressed. Being that I was away from it, I am clearly seeing what it is doing to me, and it takes great, conscious effort to bring myself back from the edge. I was nearly in tears yesterday.

I suppose it could be a delayed reaction to the recent news, but I do not think so. I really think it is the Avastin.

How in the world did things get better on my trip, only to dive bomb in the last 3 weeks? I do not understand. I had hoped things were still in a good place, and even getting better.

It is taking all I have to be up, moving around, doing things. I would much rather be in bed, asleep. Last night I went out to celebrate my friend's new home, and I was feeling kinda out of it. I did not feel like myself. At some point I had the thought that unless people knew what was going on with me, they likely had no clue, which made me think about how many people we come into contact with every day that might be in a similar place. "cancer" looks like a lot more than people realize.

I am a lot less patient now. Perhaps saying I am impatient is more accurate. I had to deal with my health insurance today, and after a couple of hours it is still not resolved. It needs to be done by tomorrow, though, for me to have coverage January 1. 

And this is "just" Avastin affecting me. There is not much of a chance I will do chemo at this point. I can't. It will take me away from me even more. I really don't think people know what this stuff does.

I was revisiting today the alternative stuff I was doing. It is a minimum of $300 per month. I will be saving a bit of money when I change plans, so perhaps I can try to pick up on it again. But I was stressing before because I am still without an income. How can I make it? How?

This Avastin makes me feel beaten down. It makes me feel helpless. I am tired. It is hard to function. I have to survive, but I don't know how. I really wish I could get some breathing room. In January I am going to check on Disability. I can only hope that will come through. It would be a good cushion for me to have. Someone told me about a lawyer who can help. The only "problem" is that he gets a 1/3 cut. But if I don't get one, and the government doesn't do what they can on their own, 3/3s of nothing isn't terribly helpful.

A part of me didn't want to write, but another part wanted me to get stuff out. 

Outside I hear the machines and workers that were working on the roof today as I was trying to get stuff done. I am sure that didn't help in the least. What also didn't help were the "helpful" people who kept trying to tell me to go through the damn exchange. There is no subsidy for someone with no income. All there is is Medicaid. And even after I told someone that I can't be treated where I want to with Medicaid, she still wasted my time trying to convince me to check ot out/sign up for it. Why does it seem that people don't freaking listen sometimes?

I am not feeling too great, and I think I am going to go to sleep. It isn't even 6:00 yet, but my eyes just want to close. On top of everything else, my head has been hurting on and off today. 

Not in the best place or mood, can you tell?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Empathy and Sympathy and Brene Brown (Video)


I just saw this video, with audio from Brene Brown, and boy, do I have to say thank you to her for putting labels on things and expressing them in a way that I can relate to - and can now share. Many of the things she is saying I have tried to address in the last year and a half, but I didn't have the distinctions that she has created.

I didn't realize that what I have been doing is seeking EMPATHY because more times than not I am getting SYMPATHY from those who interact with me. The way she explains it, I am not sure anyone would want sympathy from anyone else. My guess is that most would rather have empathy because within in there is a relatedness, a connection. Another guess is that because many do not know any better, sympathy is mistaken for something that should feel like empathy, but is so no where near.

I also didn't realize that by experiencing what I have, I have become much more empathic when it comes to others. I consciously choose to interact the way that she describes as empathic because I know how it feels to be the recipient of some of what I sometimes call "cheerleading."

I am not really a fan of labels or boxes, but...sometimes it seems they can really be helpful in explaining something in a way that can be valuable. Being the recipient of the attention of others, I have often felt that I have the possibility of being judged if I don't appear grateful for what often amounts to sympathy (at least by Brene's definition).

If you go by Brene's definition, it is very difficult to be grateful for what is often offered me. I realize that people have good intentions, but the thing is that those good intentions can often rub me the wrong way when I am in my darkest, most desperate places. Those good intentions don't give me what I need, but empathy likely would come a lot closer.

If you can make the time to watch this short video, I think it will be worth your time, and has a good shot at offering you some powerful perspective. If you watch, see if you can relate it to how you relate to others who are coping with stressful and seemingly frustrating and impossible situations. Are you being empathic or sympathetic? And which do you think you'd rather be the recipient of? Has anyone ever reacted negatively to your sympathy? Perhaps this will help you better understand why that was the case.

Thanks so much Brene Brown!

Monday, December 16, 2013

An Unexpected Calm

I am sitting here, fiddling. Fiddling like I do when I start to zone out, but not enough to get up and go to bed. It seems as though I am perhaps meant to write this while it is still quasi on my mind. Maybe. At least that is what I will tell myself as I slightly trance-like stare at the screen while I type.

Today was such a mixed bag. As I said earlier, it was going to be my last visit at this particular facility. Well, as it turns out, I may have one more. It may take as much as a month after my new insurance is registered with them to get me moved over. As a result, I am not able to get my next Avastin treatment at the new place when I am supposed to, in about three weeks.

I was saying many good byes today. Now it seems it may be a long good bye. I feel like I am losing some friends. Some said it was more like I was gaining some new ones. Perhaps I would feel more that way if I had contact with those I know there outside of the environment. Maybe after today I will, who knows?

More than one person said something to me about "knowing you," I would find a way to make this transition into something great. It was something I was even considering on my own. Maybe there are people I need to meet elsewhere that I won't get to meet any other way. It sure seems like a pretty sizable inconvenience, but I have to believe it is in some way not only worth it, but necessary.

I also met some very wonderful people. It is always what happens when I speak to those around me. I was giving out the postcard that I created for the event I recently attended. While it is a marketing/advertising piece, it is also a piece of art with a beautiful message, so I was leaving a "piece of me" with those I have enjoyed knowing there.

Then there was the "BIG" thing: my tumor marker.

I had hoped, given the way I felt, that the news was going to be good. In the back of my mind, I wondered if it might not be as good as I might hope for, but I certainly wasn't feeling like it would be "bad."

Well. I was not exactly right. I saw the oncologist without knowing the marker reading, and we spoke a bit about what the possibilities would be, depending on what the number was. I had an expectation that it would be good, although, interestingly, when they drew blood through my port, I had them leave the access in - just in case I was going to get Avastin. I truly did not anticipate getting it, though.

But then, I was told that the number was not only higher, it was outside of the "normal" range. I was so sure I wasn't going to get the treatment that I did not know how to respond. I basically said I wanted to go to my other appointments, consider it, and then decide.

I started to feel like I would do it, but I wanted to percolate on it just a bit. By the time I was done, I felt OK about the treatment. I wasn't anxious. It didn't upset me. My body felt like it would be OK, and because it felt that way, I decided to proceed.

It is only a 30-minute treatment, but it took forever for them to get what they needed to get things going. Then, about 20 minutes into it, the nurse handed me paperwork that included my blood work. I went to look at the tumor marker section and was shocked to see a different tumor marker number - for breast cancer! It was a little high outside of normal, too.

What the heck?!

I immediately called the nurse. I asked if she could pause the treatment. I wanted to know what the CA-125 number was, not the one listed. And did the one listed mean something to me? Did it mean something about breast cancer? Was it a mistake? Was it supposed to be someone else's blood work? I was confused. I was also hopeful. Was it possible I could have a lower number than previously thought? Is it possible I was getting the treatment for no reason?

I looked online and saw that the marker listed can sometimes be affected by someone who is dealing with ovarian cancer. When someone came to explain things to me I was told that both markers have to do with hormones, and that if one was elevated, the other one likely was, too. I was offered the CA-125 number tomorrow. But I wanted it, like everything else, today. I had made a decision for treatment based on information that was potentially inaccurate, and I wanted to know if I should continue.

It was supposed to take half an hour to find out. I think it wound up being much longer. I say "think" because I really did not notice the time. It just kept getting later and later.

At some point the nurse returned, and told me the number. I think it was 29.something (about 10 below what I was told it was with the other marker reading). It is the highest it has been since my hysterectomy. Back in July it was 24.something. It has been fairly constant, and in two months it barely budged - even as I travelled and was off treatment. But in the last month alone it jumped about 10 points.

I decided to finish the treatment. I wasn't particularly happy about it, but it felt "OK" to my body to do. It would be inconvenient with a pending move, and with how it zaps me of energy, but it did feel like the right thing to do at that moment. I had gone there pretty much absolutely certain I would not go back on it, but given how OK it all felt, the change of course felt like the right thing to do.

It is one thing I definitely learned on my trip. One moment I would think and plan something, only to have it uprooted by what came in the next moment. I have learned that it is quite possibly unlikely that the something I think I know in this moment will be what I will choose in the future and it has made it a lot easier for me to roll with the changes and unexpected glitches.

I have to say that for as much as it made me a bit emotional and upset, I was mostly calm today. I even took the mistake in markers mostly in stride. It felt pretty empowering to ask the questions I did, and to make the decisions I made - not on a doctor's stern suggestion and say-so, but from a place within myself. It was a place that I even felt peaceful about, even as I wasn't exactly happy about the choice I was making.

It was kind of surreal really. I feel like I could have, perhaps, should have, been more upset. More worried. More concerned. More, oh no! But I wasn't there. I was just present, and I rolled with the "punches" that came my way.

Deep down inside of me I keep feeling like things are looking up, and looking good. In some way I am unable to fathom the news I got today. It wasn't "supposed" to go that way.

I posted on Facebook about what happened in very short form. I am so appreciative of the incredible support of those who posted a response. I normally wouldn't necessarily be as appreciative of "cheerleading" in the face of something that I felt devastated by. But the thing is, I did not feel devastated. This feels like a bump, and it feels to me like the things people are saying fit me and what is going on right now. At the moment, what could potentially at another time be seen as "cheerleading" feels more like validation for me.

I feel like I can be here for a good long while. That feeling at times feels so strong. I suppose it could be wrong, but it just feels so right, I can't even imagine it being wrong.

If this is a test, I so want to pass. If this is a test, I am wondering if I already have.

I am sticking my tongue out at you cancer with my fingers in my ears and my other fingers waving. My body and me, we have no time, nor desire, for you. Thank you for your contribution to the cause. Now please just be on your way. I want to be here. I need to be here. I need to be heard. I need to do so many things before I leave this place. Please understand that you just need to go now to make room for the person who is healthy and capable of being all that she is meant to be in the world touching, and being touched by, others.

Na, Na, Na, Na. Despite everything I am still here and I have lasted this long. You've done your job, and I am truer to myself than I have ever been. I have said things I would have never said before. I have taken risks I would never have taken. I have been a person I never imagined being. Everything you tried to do to stop me has failed. Your attempts were valiant. They were bold. They caught my attention, my time, my energies.

What you did worked. I say thank you with a smile. I appreciate life more than ever. I am more alive than ever.

Please just go now.

Pretty please, with sugar on top?

(We all know how much you just love sugar!)

Thank you.

On My Way to the Oncologist

This morning I am pretty tired. Can you tell?  (I look at this picture, and I can!) I did not go to sleep until late, and then I did not sleep very well. I said yesterday that I was feeling calm-ish about everything. Given how I slept (rather, barely slept) last night, I am wondering if I am doing as well as I thought I was.

A part of me is anxious and sad as this will be my last time at this treatment facility, thanks to having to change my health insurance starting next month. Obama had told insurance companies and states that they had the option to keep plans for a year. Not surprisingly, when I asked my insurance company about it, I was told they did not opt for that option. Apparently, the If You Like it You Can Keep It amendment never got very far. I heard it was not likely to go for a vote in the other house, and even if it did, Obama would not have signed it.

Reluctantly, and without a choice, I am making a change. It won't be a comfortable one for several reasons, but for several other reasons I feel like it is the best choice for me to make for myself at this moment in time. I had held off as long as I could, hoping for a miracle, but if I do not sign up by December 20, I will not be covered until February 1. Quite frankly, I have wondered if I should gamble, and be without insurance for a month, and save myself a bit of money. But then I would be possibly penny wise, pound foolish, if there turns out to be a reason I really need it.

But what is the alternative? Chemo. Surgery. Nothing.There really are not many medical options for me at this point. And none of them tell me the cancer will be taken care of. The first go-round everyone acted like the chemo would work. And it did - for a short time, or so it seemed. But now, it is a different story, and not one medically that seems to have a good conclusion.

I have even wondered what would happen if I took out the port and walked away from the medical all together. If things are going to take a certain course, why make things worse by the medical play-by-play? And if they're not going to take that "certain" course, then what do I need them for any way?

I feel fairly calm. That comes from not "knowing" anything terrible. I think about the visit I had in the beginning of October, and it was devastating. I try to remember how I felt going to that appointment, but I can't. I remember how I felt before the first spots showed up post treatment, and it was like I knew something was up. I could feel something was off/"wrong."

Today, despite being tired, I feel like it will be OK. I really hope I am right about that. I have seen more than one person in my Facebook timeline talking about good news in relation to their cancer situations. I would love to add mine to the mix. Even when I wonder if I will be the exception, a part of me says it will all be OK. I so want to trust my feelings and gut, so I really hope I wind up having "proof" that I am right to listen because it is accurate.

It was a great deal of what my trip was about, and I am striving to keep it as an active part of my life. It hasn't been all that easy, but I just keep reminding myself how calm and clear I feel when I am listening. I strongly suspect that the times we are the most anxious and confused are the times we are logically at odds with our intuition, and often times we say we don't know something when we actually do, but are unwilling or fearful to act on what we know. And we say we don't know because we have cleverly blocked ourselves from seeing the thing we know, so it really doesn't seem to be an option. 

It is like looking for a hat in a box, we pick up everything around it, but none of it is a hat. We even pick up the hat at some point, but see it as something else, so we keep looking because it either doesn't look like what we think it should, or we just can't figure out that what we are looking at is what we have been wanting or needing. 

So how much do we know that we don't know we know?

(It is now the end of the day. I never really "finished" writing this entry earlier. At this point, I will declare this one complete, and move on to what happened today)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Feeling Calm-ish (and thoughtful)

Feeling calm-ish about seeing the doctor this week. Kinda like how I felt before. The thing is, just like last time, I am hoping that the news suits the calmness and certainty I feel. I have been doing the best I can to continue to listen to the things I am being told. I am feeling guided, and really hope that the path is the one I consciously want to be on.

I am ever mindful that there are times that desire does not seem to match the reality that comes about. In speaking with Oceana recently, it seems that there could be a "script" that life follows that can be so much better and more purposeful than what we think we want or want to create or have in mind. It could very well be "this" all was meant to happen - that it all serves a purpose.

I am so much more me now than I have ever been, and it is because of what has happened since being diagnosed. I am not really one who likes the "whole" cancer is a gift thing, but it could certainly come across that way. What I am grateful for is that with all that has transpired some pretty amazing things have as well. I hope to be here a while to enjoy them. But, if not, I am grateful for what has been able to be created.

I feel like there is a lot of work and talking yet to be done. So many people do not know what the cancer experience is like. I am sure I am not alone in many of my issues and dilemmas. When I speak I feel like I am speaking on behalf of those who feel they can't speak, or do not feel like they want to.

I really don't like calling attention to my situation, and yet, if I don't, who will? It is a tightrope that I walk, and most would willingly assume that all must be well with me if I look and sound well. I don't blame them. It is a much more comfortable place to be than one that doesn't know what to say, and one that is worried about me, and is fearful about what cancer might do.

There may even be some who would say that it is in my best interest to NOT think about it. I don't think it is possible. Don't think about the Pink Elephant. Kinda impossible. Living with a diagnosis of cancer is very different than living without one. Once it is in the equation, it isn't easily removed - if it can be removed at all.

It is my desire to remove the disabling discomfort that people feel so that interacting with cancer is something that is possible, just like most anything else that is a part of life. I am often told I talk about things differently than most. For whatever that adds to the conversation, I am grateful.

I am grateful, too, for those of you who have helped in the sharing of the conversation. One person in particular, Lynn, who has even taken it upon herself to distribute the ovarian cancer symptom cards that I created. I SOOO love that. It stirs up many things, not the least of which is a conversation about ovarian cancer. She is already having her own stories to share about the conversations that have come as a result.

Even still, perhaps the fact that it can not be removed is actually a GOOD thing, it just as of yet, hasn't been described and appreciated as such. As often is the case, I don't really know. I am just guessing. But I kind of like the way the guesses sound.

There is an expression what you resist persists. Maybe by wanting to be in denial of something that is so much a part of so many people's lives only in some way makes things a whole heck of a lot worse. What if instead of running in fear from a person affected, we ran toward them, embraced them, loved them, appreciated them, engaged them. What if instead of thinking of ourselves and our fears and our discomfort we thought about the person who needed the comfort of those in their lives? I am pretty sure it would be rewarding and fulfilling and would add something positive to the mix. There is a lot to be said for moments and connections like those.

This started out as a status update for Facebook, and the longer it got, the more I realized that it should be a blog entry. A lot is definitely on my mind these days. Can you tell?

Recipe (Tuna and Pasta)

Sharing what I came up with tonight because I want to know that it is somewhere that I can find it to stir my memory, should I need it. :)

One thing that I have enjoyed for a long time is pasta with mayo, tunafish, pasta, and tomato. Given that I am trying to be more mindful and aware of what I am eating, it is altering things.

In addition, I had a doctor tell me to stay away from nightshade veggies, of which tomato is one. I have been reluctant to stop eating them, but I have noticed lately that my stomach does not seem to handle peppers or tomatoes very well.

I have also been trying to be creative with avocados, as I have heard that they are a good "fat" substitute. I made honey mustard dressing recently with an avocado. It was quite yummy. 

I had a thought today to replace the mayo with an avocado. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, but I figured I wouldn't have much to lose by trying it. I mixed avocado with onion and fresh garlic and tunafish with a bit of lime juice. I then mixed in brown rice gluten free pasta and served it over a bed of fresh spinach. The raw, fresh onion and garlic was a bit much...but overall, I think I have a substitute I like.

It has been a long few days. I have been barely able to do much. I think I overdid it when I was gearing up for the recent event. At least that is what I am hoping is the case. I will be seeing the oncologist this week, and getting blood work. Fingers crossed all is still going in a positive direction.


Tonight I will be the interviewee for a change. Martine Joseph will be interviewing me. You can click here to join us (or listen at a later time). The show airs at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

Tomorrow I will be interviewing Oceana LeBlanc on my World of Perspective Radio Show airing at 4:00 PM Eastern. I recently did a session with her, and think she is awesome. Perhaps you will, too.