MONDAY, AUGUST 21, 2017

Posts Tagged ‘Cancer’

Cancellations

As noted in my last post, I had expected that I would be appearing at Many Gods West 2017 to vend and read, as well as to teach a seminar on Mead Brewing as a Spiritual Practice, but it turns out that this is not to be.  Though my recent surgery was successful in removing the ovarian cyst and revealed that it was benign, the cervical cancer itself is the source of the majority of the pain I’ve been experiencing and that has been worsening rather than improving, to the point that even after ratcheting up my medications I am still in too much pain to effectively manage most of my usual day-to-day tasks, let alone vend and teach a class, and what pain relief can be achieved with medication comes at the expense of much cognitive function.  Therefore it is with a heavy heart that I have cancelled my appearance at Many Gods West, along with my other August events.

What light there is at the end of the tunnel comes in the form of the hope that the pain will begin to be reduced by my upcoming regimen of daily radiation and weekly chemo.  I appreciate the kind wishes and prayers that so many have extended to me during this time, and hope that within a few weeks I will be able to muster an update with better news.

 

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.

 

 

 

Cardinal Grand Cross 2014

Today is the day of a long-anticipated Grand Cross in Cardinal signs, with Pluto in Capricorn opposing Jupiter in Cancer, both squared to Uranus in Aries opposing Mars retrograde in Libra.  This configuration is highlighting where we have been stuck in our lives, what is in need of changing, and what can no longer remain if we are to move forward.  With my natal Uranus in Libra, Sun/Mercury/Venus in Capricorn, Black Moon Lilith/Part of Fortune in Cancer, Moon in Aries, and most notably my Vertex at 13 degrees Aries being conjuncted by transiting Uranus in this Grand Cross, and all of these in my angular houses (the houses with the Ascendant, Descendant, Imum Coeli, and Midheaven at their cusps), it has a strong significance for me as a turning point in the series of Uranus/Pluto squares that has been grinding through all of our lives since June of 2012 and that has wrought a special havoc in mine.  Since transiting Pluto during this time has ground its way across my fourth house toward the Imum Coeli and back and will be scouring my Venus and then Sun/Mercury during the next couple of years, Pluto in this configuration is of particular interest for me.

Lately I’ve been exploring Pluto issues in natal charts, in large part because my own chart is filled with challenging Pluto contacts and placements, and Pluto issues keep coming up in my life and the lives of others around me.  For those not familiar with Pluto’s significance in astrology, it is one of the “transcendental” outer planets/dwarf planets, staying in a single sign for many years and thus defining generations by its passage.  It rules the 8th house, one of the three houses of ending, which is ruled by Scorpio, the fixed water sign concerned with the deep, dark areas of human experience – death, money, politics, psychology, religion, sex, and most of all power (to which all of those other topics can be seen as an end).  There is a compulsive quality to Pluto, and strong Pluto contacts in a natal chart increase the likelihood of compulsive behaviors (including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), and histories of abuse, violence, and death, particularly in one’s family of origin, cycles which may be repeated throughout the native’s life until these Pluto issues are acknowledged and worked through consciously.  Those of us with highly Plutonian charts seem to draw other Pluto types to us (go figure) and the resulting dynamics can be intense, to say the least.  Since a lot of my own Pluto challenges relate heavily to my upbringing, I decided to take a look at the natal chart of my stepmother (my father died before I could get my hands on his birth data, and I’m still waiting on my birth mother’s information).  And of course I found an incredibly challenging Pluto dynamic there, both for her and for her interactions with me.  I’d been aware of the challenging Mars/Saturn aspects between us, but this was the first time that I’d really paid attention to the Pluto aspects between us, as well as how those heightened our other personal and interpersonal challenges.

One of the things that I have found fascinating in my studies of astrology is the way that it can lead to a broader and more compassionate perspective.  Yes, one can certainly become fatalistic or use the circumstances of one’s natal chart as an excuse for poor behavior, but astrology can also help one to see interpersonal interactions in less black-and-white terms – someone who has treated you poorly may not be making a conscious or moral/immoral choice, but instead feels compelled by a perfect storm of challenging aspects within their own chart and with yours to react to you in ways that in turn, you react poorly to.  Put two people with challenging charts together that challenge each other in turn, and things can get very messy very quickly.  And while it is very easy to get fatalistic about such interactions, when you become aware of these challenges by consciously working with natal, synastry, and composite charts, it can be incredibly empowering to not simply try to buck fate but rather work with it for a deeper, richer interaction with someone you might otherwise be blindly antagonistic toward.   I cannot tell you how much I wish I’d had this information earlier in my life!

Given the intensity of the challenges posed by today’s Cardinal Grand Cross, particularly with the planets involved, many astrologers (myself included) have been looking at this aspect with some trepidation – Marina Macario of Darkstar Astrology has gone so far as to call it “the most dangerous day of the year.”  Since I do tarot readings at Andromeda’s Alley on Wednesdays and Thursdays, I wasn’t about to hide completely today, but after the next step in my ongoing astrologically-timed mead-brewing process I’d planned to go to my studio and hole up there working for the night.  But the restlessness in the air has other plans, and I’m feeling strangely social.  Perhaps that’s part of the change that the Grand Cross has in store for me this spring – I’ve been too much of a hermit for a while now, which has felt necessary for processing all of the changes and Pluto-related work, but maybe it’s time to emerge from my Plutonian realm for a spell and be a little less solitary.