Friday, July 12, 2013

Get Busy Living

LATEST NEWS: You might remember that I was looking forward to the end of chemo. Well, doctor called on Wednesday night and said he was cancelling my chemo. That was easy! Why now? He emphasized some key points with me. 

1. This cancer cannot be cured. 

2. This cancer has been beaten down. I have had an excellent clinical response to treatment, my scan is good and my CA-125 marker is as low as ever. 

3. Myelodysplasia is bad. You might remember all the delays and house arrests I had during these last cycles. That's because the side effects of chemo are cumulative and pretty much don't go away. My bone marrow is suffering and cannot keep up with the demands for RBCs, WBCs and platelets. Doctor wants to preserve as much function as possible while also giving me options for the future. If my bone marrow is blasted, I will not have the same treatment options in the future. I will need treatment in the future at some point. 

4.  So, if we stop now when I have good response and good test results, I can restore my health and my life and also maintain future options. 

So, Yay! chemo is over for now. I am giddy! So, pardon me while I get busy living. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hope through Reiki

     My health center, the Institute for Cancer and Center of Hope, offers Reiki sessions at no charge for those in cancer treatment. Reiki is a Japanese spiritual practice of hands-on healing that transfers universal energy, known as chi, through the palms of the practitioner to the body of the patient in the belief that such energy can promote healing and equilibrium. (Don't be distracted by the terminology, which in this case is eastern Buddhist. If you want western Christian terminology, Reiki is where a healer lays his hands on a believer and heals him through the power and spirit of God. Same thing.) I have had 2 sessions and have an appointment  this afternoon for my third.
    At the least, my sessions have provided an hour of relaxation and distraction from my disease. At the most, my sessions have given me moments of inspiration, flashes of understanding, where the meaning of the whole is suddenly clear. These moments are fleeting, but unforgettable. My written words will do little justice to the power of the moment, in the same way a photograph cannot wholly convey an experience. I will try, none the less.

    I seek healing. Notice I do not say "cure". Healing is about my body and my spirit. The body and spirit are complexly intertwined and feed each other. Physical pain can damage your spirit and spiritual pain can damage your body. Think about the last time you had a toothache and how grumpy you were because of the pain. It's that simple. Just as I would seek to treat the pain in my body with analgesics, I seek to treat the pain in my spirit, to heal my spirit in order to bring balance into my body (and heal my body) simultaneously. It's simple, but not easy.

     My sessions have helped me realize that I have some anger hiding in there. Anger at being sick, anger at my setback, anger at myself for letting myself slip back. How silly, I am mad at myself for letting me get cancer, again. Now that I can see that, I can acknowledge it and let go of anger's damaging effects. I have been depressed, sulky, ungracious and miserable these past few months. These are all outward expressions of my anger, I am acting out. My belly has been miserable too. I have painful cramping, sudden diarrhea, excess acid, general indigestion. I now chose to let go of my anger. When I notice my angry behavior, I can stop. I can change my focus to my target and find some compassion. My selfish anger can go. I can be done with that and I can heal. I can heal. Imagine that.

    P.S.  Imagining healing restores my hope. I didn't recognize that my hope was lost until this moment. Wow. My heart just might burst open. Um, thanks for listening to my breakthrough.