MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2017

Health and Events Update

As noted in my last post, my regular posting schedule has been suspended due to health issues.  It turns out that I have cervical cancer in addition to the ovarian cyst (which grew in the month between its first sighting via ultrasound and the CT scan that followed), and ovarian cancer is also a possibility due both to troubling markings and the cyst having attached itself to the nearby intestinal wall.  I will be having surgery on the 25th of July, during which the ovary will be biopsied to determine whether or not ovarian cancer is indeed part of the picture, although the probability of both cancers having developed simultaneously is minimal, thankfully.  After I’ve recovered from the surgery I will have radiation and chemo, and while all of these treatments have their risks, I am still grateful that now there is a treatment plan, and a light at the end of the tunnel – like any good Capricorn, I am much happier when I have concrete facts and actions to ground me, and I feel like I can face anything so long as I have a plan.

This has forced me to cancel my appearances at events in June and July, and another appearance in early August, but it looks like I’ve managed to schedule the surgery with just enough recovery time to still be able to make it to Many Gods West, where I will be vending and teaching a mead brewing seminar, though I will need to take some steps to make sure that I don’t overdo it, and probably won’t be as lively at the conference as I would otherwise like to be.  I will not be scheduling further event appearances until I make it through this.

I am very grateful for the love, support, and prayers of my friends, and particularly for the aid of my maternal aunts, Dorothy, Linda, and Lucy, who have formed what Dorothy calls “The Assembly of Auspicious Aunties.” They have indeed been living up to that name and have been helping to coordinate getting me to my medical appointments and acting as clear-headed backup brains to help make up for my brain fog resulting from pain, meds, reduced appetite, and chronic sleep deprivation.  They have also been wonderful to talk to and reconnect with after many years of separation due to my stepmother’s fear and dislike of my mother’s family resulting in her actively preventing them from seeing me combined with her poisonously divisive programming of my young mind, that taught me that they didn’t want me or care about me.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m also deeply grateful for my stepmother’s two caregivers who tend to her personal care on an alternating schedule, Cathy and Grace, with whom I have developed a friendship.  I try not to worry them with my situation, but both of them check in on me and try to help me with finding ways to manage my own care while making sure that my stepmother continues to be well tended to.  They are both immigrants, so my interactions with them over the past few years have helped to educate me on the experiences of immigrants now in the era of Trump, and I find myself feeling fiercely protective of them and their families.  Their stories, their strength, their kindness and dedication and compassion move me deeply.  Even if I hadn’t grown so close to them as a result of living in the same house with each of them for half the week, I would find them admirable, but in the midst of this illness I am continually reminded that women and men like them are the people who build this country from the ground up.  My job here would be infinitely harder without them even if I wasn’t sick, and now that I am, I know that it would be impossible to get through this if I didn’t have their support.

Experiencing the loving care of these two extraordinary ladies and my amazing aunts has been the silver lining in all of this.

As has the change in my perspective.  When faced with my own mortality and even greater physical limitations than those caused by my usual autoimmune issues, priorities change.  I’ve actually become more obsessively creative, but in tiny doses throughout the day, whenever I can either beat the pain and fog enough to draw, or via knitting to distract myself from the pain when it’s bad but not incapacitating – knitting the patterns I know by heart requires even less brain power than drawing, and it’s remarkable how far you can get knitting a few stitches here, another few after the worst of the pain subsides.

For the most part, I can still woman up enough to haul myself out of bed and do what I need to in order to manage my stepmother’s care, but these days more and more of that work is conducted from my bed, with the caregivers keeping me posted on what needs to be done, reminding me of whatever my foggy brain has forgotten and making sure I stay on-task.  One of the more frustrating aspects of this is that between the brain fog and the constant pain, everything I do is much, much slower – to put things in perspective, I started this post shortly before the end of June, and have struggled each week since to try to finish it and get it posted.  If not for my extreme stubbornness, I wouldn’t get anything done at all, but I am stubborn, and each day I tackle the most crucial tasks in bite-sized pieces until those pieces add up to something complete.  Even if it’s only one small thing complete, at least it’s something.  It’s ironic that I came out here to care for a terminally ill woman, and now find myself a patient as well.  I am lucky that I can extend my influence from my bed through the computer, that I can do so many tasks electronically, even if painfully slowly.  I am lucky that I am only afflicted with brain fog and not the full-blown dementia from which she suffers, and that this illness is treatable and therefore temporary, however scary it may be.  Watching my muscle mass shrink due to my inability to eat reminds me of watching her wither due to her emotional lack of appetite when the dementia really began to become serious, though unlike her I am still actively trying to make sure that I get good nutrition, even if it is all liquids and purees.

A few months back a fellow astrologer and numerologist pointed out the combination of both the Sun and Mercury in my natal chart at 22 degrees that he saw as indicating that I would need to become a “guide” to a family member.  Since this is the area of Capricorn that Pluto will be transiting in another couple of years (a couple of years before the United States’ Pluto return), I have given much thought to how this corresponds to my efforts to help my stepmother during her lengthy process of dying.  While I am not going to assume that this disease was divinely given in order to make me more compassionate toward her by giving me an inside look at the experience of a debilitating illness, nonetheless it is perhaps a side benefit in the midst of the pain and disruption of my life, something to give me more understanding and hopefully help me to help her better during her final days (weeks, months, years…).  If all goes well with my treatment, then perhaps I will be better equipped with the empathy to help her face her own mortality.  In the meantime, like her I am becoming intimately familiar with the view from my bedroom window, and with the process of waiting.

 

 

 

Comments

Kimberly 19-07-2017, 22:04

Blessings my wise friend , you are a force of nature and your spirit will bring a reckoning upon this disease that has dared to tarnish your temple. You will come out the other side whole in Spirit and Essence even if not in body parts. I will keep you in my healing thoughts,vibes and prayers. Love You

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Leila 19-07-2017, 22:51

Love and hugs to you, as always.

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Verna Knapp 20-07-2017, 15:23

Your plate is way too full! Too many miserable things going on at once. I hope your surgery goes well and that you will recover quickly despite it all.

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Dorothy Cordochorea 20-07-2017, 21:44

I love you, dear niece, and I am so proud of you.

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Linda Knapp 23-07-2017, 04:06

We are preparing your nest here. Filling it with happy thoughts and decreasing the dog fur 😉 you will get through this.

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