In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
~ Albert Camus
It was late on December 20th, 2014 and I was still recovering from my surgery. I read an email from my friend Gail in which she asked if the Junior League of Phoenix (JLP) would be interested in hosting a movie screening. Gail works at The Arizona Partnership for Immunization.
It was this movie screening:
I watched the trailer.
I called her to talk on the phone.
I pretty much told her that I didn’t know but I would find a way. We talked about how I could manage this in my capacity as the member training committee chair and we came up with a plan. The next morning I sent out some emails to my Team Leader in the Junior League and my co-chair. Both were supportive. Gail and I discussed venues and what options we had. We decided that my cousin, who is Lead pastor at Scottsdale First Church of the Nazarene, would be a good person to approach. So an email went to him. I received immediate replies and all were supportive.
Here I am 2 months later. The JLP team lead I serve under, has allowed for this to become a bigger deal within the JLP. More partnerships have developed and are included below.
Our goal is to provide one large movie screening with a panel that is targeting about 200 viewers.
If you are local – please save the date:
Thursday, April 9th 2015
Scottsdale First Church of the Nazarene
2340 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257
5:30 – 9:00 pm / Movie starts at approx 6:30
Sign in opens with a meet and greet: 5:30
Movie and topic is introduced and screened 6:30
(movie is 80 minutes long)
Panel discussion at end of film
closing meet and greet
Yes, I decided to come back here. I figured out how to un-subcribe people and did so…
I did that because this chronicles my life for the last 10 years.. and a lot has happened.
But those ten yea
|thank you deviantart|
rs all had my Squink in them. And even when I did not mention him, it happened around him.
But it also feels like a new beginning and how wonderful that it coincides with the first day of Lent.
So, I am following after Kelli at AfricanKelli with a commitment to Calculated Acts of Kindness…
I will post updates on:
and of course HERE (and on my other site)!!!!
What a wonderful way to start
If you consider things like Facebook, Twitter, or even blogs you can see how there is a modicum of backlash. Will we learn how to do this better?
I suppose my last post was a bit premature, though it was true. It is amazing how something gentle can shift everything, even if it is only temporary.
After my post, I went to a meeting for an organization I belong to. I expected to get lots of hugs and inquiries about my health and my status. I was looking forward to thanking people in person for their kindness, but felt shy about the possible attention.
The hugs were nice, the kind words and gestures were appreciated. I was glad to have gone and it was not as much of a burden to my shy side as I thought it might be,
But at the end, as I was walking away. One of the friends who was there often for me asked me how I was and I replied with my usual. I am good, lots to be thankful for, one day at a time. She grabbed my arm and said lets sit and tell me what you mean by this one day at a time thing?
I was stunned, she had latched on the the subtle nuance of such an expression and knew that my words were far cheerier than I felt.
So we sat down, and I tried to explain that navigating the whole thing is complex. Yes, I fully see that there is so much that is good but that there is still the tough that needs to be dealt with. Being told you have cancer is more complex that I had thought, especially given the provisions that no chemo or radiation is needed, like those somehow would allow (key word here is allow) someone to feel like shit. Please don’t think I am trying to diminish chemo or radiation and that people who have to go through that are somehow exception in some regard… because they actually are exception. What I feel like I am missing is permission to grieve this process and that my grieving is allowed to be more than just sad. After I feebly tried to communicate these ideas to her, I just looked at the hands in my lap and said, I want to be allowed my pity party, I just don’t know how.
She touched my arm and said you are allowed a pity party and I want to be invited, lets go get some wine together soon.
It was so beautiful being allowed to feel this way instead of being held to strict gratitude. My heart filled with something, I would hope it was grace.
I am not sure she knew what I was talking about or understood what I was trying to say, but she asked and then listened… holy moly… what a gift. She asked, she allowed me to tell her something closer to the truth about how I am feeling, In a world dependent on daily platitudes (“How are you?” – “I am OK”) it was mind altering to pass that realm and move in to more of the brutal truth.
It is part of the dynamic between celebrating that I don’t need chemo or radiation or that my tumor was so freakishly small AND the whole truth in that it was fucking cancer and it robbed me of some things that I held dear. I am grieving.
I don’t think I am headed to deterioration. I know I will be fine, but this is a part of what has happened and is happening to me. I own it.
“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” ~ William Shakespeare
After the sincere gesture of my dear friend, I felt more lighthearted yesterday. It was a busy day, work with extra duties, rush to help Squink finish his homework, a school meeting for an exchange program, and cub scouts.
I was too busy to notice much more than the heaviness of my surgery site.
A dash of 9
We all woke up early, and in good moods. I even served Squink some oatmeal and let him eat it in bed. On my way to the kitchen, I noticed how amazingly pretty my orchid plant was.
It was beautiful.
Yesterday was tough, it is a tough spot right now.
In my attempt to find the beauty, I failed… I mean, I had that poem, but I really found it the day before… and the rest seemed average and even hard.
It all, life, feels sorta like that – hard.
I feel completely helpless in some ways (some very new ways) because I am just in a state… angry, mad, desolate to name but a few and all of them in one big huge swirling mass of emotional baggage.
I have no patience for this kind of nonsense. I have too much to do.
And, people keep calling me back to earth and reminding me that my behaviour is inappropriate. Which adds to this feeling of mixed mass emotions swirling and boiling and festering. Shame, I suppose. I am better than being an angry person.
I have moments of average, and when I see my son or husband I can claim joy. But that seems so selfish, in a way, to allow my son and husband to be my bringers of joy… what a HUGE burden to place on them. Guilt, I suppose.
I am trying to remember to breathe, to mediate, to pray… but the words that come to mind when I do this are hard, and angry, and as my family reminds me… inappropriate.
I have and see so much to be grateful for, but these crazy emotions are so difficult to manage.
How does one throw themselves a gentle pity party?
So let me conclude by stating that I suppose that the beauty I was able to find is that (#6) I am alive and (#7) I have people who love me. There is comfort in that. But, there is a tinge of insincerity in my heart with these right now. impatience, I suppose.
The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within – strength, courage, dignity. ~ Ruby Dee
1. Having my mother, brother, and nephews over for a dinner of Wiener Schnitzel.
2. A gentle and quiet day in bed, watching Netflix and having my husband make some more surprise Wiener Schnitzel for lunch.
|Some Wiener Schnitzel being pan fried (photo stolen from Schatzy’s “The Facebook” page” – Thank you Schatz|
3. Seeing my mom for dinner, drinking a strong margarita with her. Laughing.
4. Getting my first test results back and having them be normal.
Find the beautiful
is my theme for this year.
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Finding the beautiful… it is very present in the external.
But as I navigated just how ugly it was to go through this cancer thing, how easy it was for people to forget that it is my battle, and I had to find myself repeatedly trying to forgive… I lost my place. And I was so hurt by people that I am close to (who are ashamed of my diagnosis, who couldn’t/can’t talk to me about what was/is happening, who took things from me with out asking, who made things harder for me….) that I forgot to stop and find the beautiful.
So, fuck the folks who take away from this… they can live with their choices.
And I am so lucky, because I have people in my life who can help me do that. So, I have to let them in and help me see what I need to see.
I, am so excited. Because, you see, this year, 2015, I get to find the beautiful.
is really my theme for this year.
I feel a little better today. I still am working hard in my brain as to what to do about everything in my post yesterday. I am sure it will come to me.
One of the images I use when I want to feel better is one from my life back in Ecuador.
Specifically, being on our ranch and sitting on the grass higher up on the mountain.
This is the mountain our ranch was on:
I have no idea where our ranch was in relation to that picture, but I have many good memories there.
The one that I am calling to mind is about sitting on the soft mossy grass, just above the tree line. There is a grass there that is soft like moss, but is a very small almost light green ground cover. It has these tiny pink berries, berries so small you can’t even see them unless you are looking closely. I can feel the high Andean wind burning my cheeks a bright red. I feel like I can hear the sound of God in that rush of wind blowing past my ears. I weave my finger in to the soft plants, smelling the earth. Listening to my horse hobbled nearby, and the chit-chat of my family enjoying a picnic. I feel connected to the earth, an extension of her, like a small dendrite-like messenger. I feel my hair blow across my face and whip around wildly in the wind. I pick the tiny pink berries and put them in my other hand, which is cupped in my lap… filling my cupped palm slowly with these little light pink jewels. Fairy food, I am certain it is fairy food. I put them in my mouth, one by one. tasting their faintly sweet juice. I watch our cattle off in the distance, grazing.
There is something about that moment that is so gentle, so peaceful, that it can still evoke a certain calm when I am weathering a storm.
So, after feeling a down due to yesterdays ramblings and self flagellation I find I need to pick myself back up.
The other day someone came to me and asked how I was. I told her that is is a day by day process. That I feel good, that I am grateful for so much.
She went on to ask if I had experienced any dark moments, any depression, and tears. She added that her sister is a doctor and had told her to expect me to get to that point at sometime.
I cried when I got the first message. there is something about being told to call an oncologist that puts a certain indescribable pressure on your heart. To hear it while alone in an office, is hard because it means that you have to call people and share the news – and I will be very, very honest, that I was tempted to not tell anyone. Though I imagined that my husband and mom would have been extremely upset with me had I gone this route – in spite of that though, I can’t tell you how tempted I was.
I even called the oncologist first. I called my physician back and asked for a copy of the pathology report we talked about the long wait until my oncology appointment and then what the report meant in terms of what was happening inside my body. I went and sat by the fax and waited for the report to arrive (he was sending it right after we hung up). I got it and sat in my office, reading (memorizing) and mulling the news, tears in my eyes. I dried them, and decided I had to call my husband and so… I called my husband and told him the news. He was devastated (he had been a young boy when his mother had gone through two cancer diagnoses, I think that what was happening to me brought all those memories back) and I had to be strong and reassuring. After I hung up, I sat in the office some more, tears in my eyes again. Bracing myself for the call to my mom. She was walking into a meeting when she answered. I heard that stop in her voice. It was the same stop when I felt when I had to schedule an appointment with a hematologist oncologist for Squink after he was born. Granted that was just for some jaundice we did not seem to be able to get rid of, and I knew that it was the hematology part we were seeing rather than the oncology part, but still – it isn’t something you want to deal with as a mom, your babies should never see an oncologist, that should be the rule.
So that was a quick conversation and I sat in my office again, a sense of “why me?” prevailed. My boss who had gone through that cancer route walked by and noticed I was upset, came in and I shared the news with her. After that, the next 24 hours are kind of a blur. I know I called my dad, and he was probably the hardest one to tell… but only because I had no idea how he would react, and he has a tendency to avoid bad things and go on and pretend as if they did not happen so the idea that he would ignore me in this was something I considered highly probable. I only remember that at some point by the end of that night, I was sick of talking to people. Wait, I love talking to people what it was is that I was sick of re-telling the story, the news. I just did not want to have to say that damned word again.
That has been the darkest point so far.
The days following are still a blur. I talked to my siblings, texted with Prima. Made arrangements for all the responsibilities in my life that would be put on hold. Sent out a group email to women who I adore. Friends put me on prayer lists, and I got through the interminable wait until that appointment. Once I saw the oncologist, it felt so much better, because there was a plan. I knew what was happening and it felt good.
I would even say that I was a bit jubilant the day before my surgery, because that mass of mutating cells was getting removed.
I was in the hospital almost a week, determined that this whole thing would not bring me down. I have managed to stay positive through the rest, even that horrid backslide where, through projectile vomiting and other effluvia, fever spikes and chills all intertwined with a general sense of feeling horrid, I lost over 10 pounds, got dark circles around my eyes and began to lose hair. I was still in a good place.
I have these moments that seem to want to step in to those dark shadows; when I noticed that there is an area near my incision is numb (normal, but a strange feeling), talking to someone else who has gone through this process evokes some teariness, after time spent wondering if I am avoiding dealing with something, being told I hurt peoples feelings all brought forth some form of gloom to my mindset.
Thankfully, they are able to be beaten back. And I think that is my job right now.