2017 began with an innate sense that if we don’t connect with nature, we will lose our way. Inspiration jolted me from bed most mornings before the 5:30 alarm clock mimicked the chimes of London. I wrote with passion and unleashed a part of me that I had reigned in and kept silent.
This project consumed me. It caused me to run late working on an important fundraiser that Spouse and I, along with a small army of volunteers began seven years ago. But, the fundraiser did come together and successfully ran in early November. We put over $20,000 into Pacific Wildlife Care’s bank account. That warmed my heart.
Our political world grew in further separation, which saddened me. It was as if some cancer had taken over American society’s common sense that simply refuses to understand that when one leans too far left or right, the danger of tipping over into dangerous waters increases exponentially. I’ve watched the abortion of important words like compassion and empathy — but at the same time watched people come together in the face of a multitude of tragedies that riddled this year with bullets, floods, storms and fires.
Through these 12 months, a medical cancer did strike my friends and colleagues. It was as if a deluge of rogue cells from what I call cancer-world rained on many people I know. And at the same time it never dawned on me that, I, a breast cancer survivor, should have kept my umbrella at hand.
Oh, I had a few physical things that I easily brushed off as signs of aging, like maybe pulling one too many deep rooted weeds from the garden, or the result of over exertion during a hike through nature. I made regular check up visits to the doctor, had annual blood tests, the mammogram, and it was assumed that I was doing quite well for a woman approaching her seventh decade.
By October, however, there were bouts of complete exhaustion, and I noticed that the occasional spotting (vaginal blood) was becoming more pronounced. It’s embarrassing and I kept it to myself, making note that once this big November fundraiser was over, I would go see an ob/gyn.
By mid December I was finally able to get an appointment. On my 69th birthday this year, I received news that I have cancer. Three days later I learned that it’s not a simple cancer, but a malignant and rare form of uterine cancer — uterine sarcoma.
Well, this changes things, doesn’t it? Fortunately, I am now under treatment by an gynecologic oncologist who has bumped me way up the treatment ladder for surgery this January.
What happens next? I have no idea. January’s toast, however. Much of my earlier plans are now erased. For the moment, I am trying to process this end of year notice and find my way to what ever purpose I was born.
I’ll never fully understand why life brings these twists and turns. But it does. I’m back in cancer-world — but I am in good company.
This brings me to my plea to stop the vitriol and the armed resistance to truth and fact. Impermanence reigns, and it is up to you and I to assume that each step we take has meaning, and that each step be soft in kindness, compassion and empathy for each other. There is no one single highway in life and we are fools to believe that to be so. We exist in an elliptical circle that renders north, south, east, west, up and down. Truth has many directions. Truth does not end in an ism.
And so begins another year. I am grateful for the loves of my life. I am grateful for the dear ones of my life. I am grateful for those with whom I associate. I am grateful for those who wish to challenge my points of view. I am grateful that this cancer within me has been found. I am grateful for every moment when the madness of words overcomes me and I am compelled to put them to paper. I am grateful to have another learning opportunity.
I’ve begun the chronicle of my second visit into cancer-world.
What’s ahead? Surgery and three to five days of hospitalization. Four to six weeks recuperation. To be continued.