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Getting it.

Today, I’ll go into the hospital for Round 3 of chemo. This
is 3 of 5 rounds, and so, I’m almost halfway there. I’m psyched. I feel like
there’s an end to this. Or this portion of it at least.
This morning, I tried a different style of meditation. It’s
one that my friend said she does: she lights a candle, and sits, writing down
whatever comes. I’ve never “written” during meditation before – but, I’ll tell
you, it worked.
Sure, there are all the initial thoughts about stuff that
needs to be done, etc. Some of which I wrote down, some of which was just
chatter. But, then I got to some good stuff, and was writing down some new
prompt questions for my workshop that I’m facilitating this morning for some of
my women friends.
I didn’t “have it in me” prior to this morning to think up
new questions, and so it was a marvelous thing to just have these new questions
come – there’s a journaling portion at the beginning of the workshop to explore some of our ideas around creativity and spirituality (hence the name of the
workshop!), and I’ve used the same prompts for over a year, but wasn’t sure how
I’d “get” new ones. I’ve been so tired, I even thought about canceling today,
but I am actually feeling more enthusiastic about the whole thing now.
This morning, it was raining kennels, rather than cats and
dogs, and I interpreted the aching, raging winds and the slap of the rain
against my windows as a show of this Universal power that I’ve been trying to
become open to. That the show of that kind of roar of the elements is proof, or
evidence, or a sample of what is available to me, should I allow myself to be
available.
Last night, I looked up the cancer blog “Life, Interrupted.”
I identified like gangbusters. And, too, I recognize a hint – well, maybe more
than a hint – of jealousy. Which sounds preposterous. Being jealous of a woman
with Leukemia. But… She’s got a blog on the New York Times website. She’s got a
boyfriend supporting her. She gets to occasionally stay in the home she grew up in, in the town she grew up in, with both parents present to care for her. And, she got to save some of her
eggs.
So, yeah. I’m envious of that. But, I don’t envy what she
talks about for her bone marrow transplant or her experience of chemo. She had to go with transplant, as her cancer didn’t go into
remission after the first round of chemo, as mine did. I don’t envy her nausea,
mouth sores, or physical pain.
Instead, what I “get”
are friends who come to help me pack up for this next round. I get people
texting me to ask what they can bring me and when they can see me. I get to
acknowledge that I’ve puked
once
in this whole process and that nausea has been at a minimum, if at all. And I get to state that I got my period this month,
which bodes well for how my soldiering ovaries are bearing forth through the
chemo.
Also, I’m in remission.
I get to have my brother arrive next Saturday, and know that
he’ll play me guitar, and we’ll sing together, no matter how well or not this
round goes. I get to have my best friend from New Jersey come out right after
Christmas. I get to have my friend Debby deliver a prayer I’m writing to Israel,
where she’s going this week.
I don’t have to envy
her. I do envy her her blog, but, really, I also get to have people continue to tell me
that my own writing means something to them – and no matter the scale, that
actually
is what is important to
me. I have a friend, too, who’s offered to help me if I want to “take my
writing to the next level,” and put me in touch with people she knows.
I am not devoid or absent of resources. And these are all external ones. I’ve been trying so hard to dig deep within myself to “make
it work,” to make decisions, to do my own cooking, laundry, walk to places that
I can get rides to instead. I’ve been trying to hold the ache and the hurt of
what’s happened with my dad all by myself. I’ve been trying to figure out what
happens when Round 5 will be done – who I will be, what I will do, where I will
live.
I don’t need to do this.
My friend came by to do acupuncture on me yesterday, and he
confirmed physically what I’ve been expressing emotionally – my systems are exhausted. They/I am tired on so many levels. I don’t need to
do more on my own.
I’ve been using coffee to back-balance the fatigue I feel,
which makes me a little chagrined, as coffee creates an acidic environment in
your body, which means it’s a breeding ground for cancer.
I could identify so much with what the Life, Interrupted
author talks about – asking the question with everything you do, Is this the best? Is this the best choice of food or activity? Is this the best use of my time, is this the best
thing on the menu, is this the best restaurant, is this the best conversation,
is this the best movie to see? Is this the best way to spend this precious Tick
Tocking time? No wonder I’m exhausted.
So much of what she talks about, I can relate to. It was
strange to read her sentence, I assume that people with cancer will know what
I’m talking about. I do. I am a person, I won’t say “with,” but who has had cancer. I do
get it. I am part, now, of a club that I never wanted to be a member of, but
which has allowed me to see and experience things that the majority of the
population doesn’t.
I don’t take pride in this, but I do take it as a chance to greatly expand my capacity for empathy. There is
a whole portion of humans now whom I can relate to, and understand. I know
before all this, I would read these touching and emotional stories and
accounts, or I would hear of someone with cancer, survived or not, and I would
momentarily feel affected. And then I’d move on. That’s someone else’s
experience, not mine (“Thank G-d,” perhaps I’d add, if I were feeling aware).
But, it is different now. I “get,” as in understand, things
that I never would or have. I don’t admire my position, but I recognize the
quasi-unique place that I am now in.
What this means, or will mean, I don’t know. It doesn’t
really have to “mean” anything. Just
that I feel more attuned to a larger part of the human race. And I guess that
does “mean” something. 

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3 thoughts on “Getting it.

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