Thursday, June 26, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Here's an article for you, from Wendy Harpham, a physician who has long been dealing with lymphoma. (Click here for the article.)

I've decided when I face sweet Dr. Schauer, my oncologist, and he has to utter the (for him, as well as me) painful words telling me I've run out of options, I will simply ask him if I can be a high as possible from then on. It's reasonable, don't you think?

(Is she serious? Whaddaya think? Maybe it's just a toxic muse. Had chemo today, after all.)

Having serious stomach pain, which the onc thinks is gastritis due to the chemo. He suggests the possibility, if my scans are still negative next time, of going off chemo. This is scary as hell for me. The first genuine weighing of quality of life against length of life. Dr. Schauer has prescribed another stomach med for me, in hopes the bunch of them together will give me some relief. He has also faxed a referral to the Brownstone Gastroenterology Clinic, which accepts Medicare and Medicaid so that I can see someone before I blow a hole in my stomach.

John is surprised that I do not complain, as he does. It just doesn't give me any satisfaction.

The pain in my stomach has given me the first inkling that I might actually choose QOL in the end.

With metta,

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm having one of those nights. As usual, I've taken enough sedatives to put a Clydesdale to sleep, and I'm wide awake.

These are invariably transformative nights that come after a period of mood swings and general craziness. If you've read my last couple of posts, you know what I mean.

The thing that really confuses me is that my sense of humor seems to be taking a long nap, and is possibly at this point comatose. I've always called on humor for perspective in my life, and now I don't seem to be able to do that. My blogs are boring and my social life is humdrum. I feel like putting on a clown face and seeing if I can make others' reactions make me laugh.

Letting go. I used to feel something like contempt for the AA saying, "Let go, let God". Now, I'm not so sure about the God part, but I sure do know that I've got to let go. It's the only way I'm going to stay sane, and that, to me, means not being overcome by the old beast of depression, or worse, addiction.

I don't expect to drink--not that most people do. But I really don't think that's the danger. I think the danger is becoming addicted, again, to the emotional patterns that make me miserable. They still afford some degree of familiarity, and therefore a weird sort of comfort. That means I can choose: misery or facing the demons. I don't feel very courageous at the moment, or very clear on how to do the latter.

I'm planning on going back to a regular spiritual practice. While spiritual seeking is a worthwhile activity, it's not one that brings me back into harmony with the truths I've found over the years. Only a ritual practice of some sort will do that.

I splurged and ordered a Persephone statue for myself. I am setting up my altar upstairs so that I will be reminded daily to face my inevitable end. This is not morbid. This is where I am in life.

I might even get a bumper sticker that reminds me to let go. If I let go, Mother Earth will take care of me. If I empty myself, I will be filled.

With metta,

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Well, Ann, whom I spoke about in my last blog post, died yesterday, in peace at home.

The funny thing is that I feel better today. I feel sad for Ann's family and friends, but I think I've let go again. I just said to myself: it's okay if I don't live another five years, or a year, or five months. I'll just live while I'm alive.

Why can't I let go like that at will?

Friday, June 13, 2008

I hate hope.

A woman I met at the Breast Cancer List's get-together in Boston a couple of years ago has just entered Hospice. She had recurred with liver metastases shortly before I did, and had a long remission, just as I did. She responded to Herceptin, being positive for the Her2neu oncogene, just as I am.

It can happen so fast.

The problem with hope is that I'm not paying attention to living. And when I get news like this, I get depressed.

It's hard to plant a perennial garden when you know you may not see it bloom next year.

Yes, I'm angry. And sad for Ann, and for myself. And scared.