Yes, cancer changes everything. Things I did two years ago are not even possible now. Is this a worse-case scenario? Yes and no. Yes because I love to cook, hike, and explore the world around me. I can’t do that right now. No because I’ve an opportunity to learn new ways and new perspectives.
But by this June, the bad boy tumor grew back from its reduced 6 cm to 8 cm. In other words, my continued digestive discomfort was not from a stuck camera capsule. Actually, the CT scan showed that the capsule had left my system.
I’m coming closer to grasping that Zen concept of the temporary. It’s liberating both my mind and heart. Nearly 50 years later, I’m actually understanding the words of the late philosopher, Alan Watts. This is a good thing. And it is not such a good thing.
Photographers like this hillside. It’s juxtaposition. It’s unique. It’s a challenge to photograph because one must be mindful of traffic, mud, holes and lord knows what else to get that perfect photo.
For me this moment paralleled how I feel these days: Like a poppy seeking the sun and holding my delicate bloom together against a hard and rocky environment.
This was a call to war. And the war ignited into full regalia when my guardian angels pulled the plug on my body on Halloween 2018 while I was in a second-opinion consult with a Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncologist. As pale as white paper, and barely able to breath, and worse — unable to control myself, I hurled and splattered volumes of gastrointestinal debris all over her office. Rushed to the ER, the final report read: severe anemia, hemorrhage gostrointestinal upper, malignant neoplasm of endocervix (HCC), and dyspnea — NOS (labored breathing).
“Sometimes I give up hope until I come back to this casita and see five miracles living right here.”
Finally, we stood face to face (as it were), You reminded me of a Star Wars character, the kind I might meet in a faraway bar — not purposefully harmful, just looking for somewhere to blow your wad. Well, aren’t all penetrators following the same mission?
“What island am I on?” I asked myself. Outside is a leader belittling countries of dark-skinned humans. Outside is a legion of angry white men at war with themselves and a changing world. Outside is a living contradiction of faith. Outside we’re told that it is us versus them. But I was on an island where ethnicity and social station did not matter. This island’s mission was human kindness.
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.
I tossed and turned so much last night, that the cat grumbled a harumph and hopped off the bed. I joined him […]