#SoSC: abash – my voice

I have been absent from not only SoCS but my entire WP community for quite awhile now. I’ve lately submitted a couple of entries in the last few months…half-heartedly. I have this half I ‘want to connect’ and write with this ‘nothing to say’ half of me. I am admittedly one who doesn’t speak from an ownership perspective…almost everything I say is “we” or “our”…I don’t always speak from the heart. Somewhere along the developmental stage I learned the my voice was something for which I was to  be abashed; unworthy and of no value. I am nothing.

I am learning at this transitional stage of my (middle-age) life that I am equally important and of significance as everyone else on this planet; no more, no less.

I am not alone. We all bash ourselves for our aspirations that are different from what those close to us expect of us, from our culture, from our own self-learned entrenched ‘beliefs’…and we, therefore, don’t live to our soul-inspired potential. I am grappling with the “responsible” expectations of our my life in this un-united states and the ‘wtf am I here for’ questions.

My friend today asked; “do you think you might be over-thinking this?”

Why, yes, I might very well be “over-thinking” this…the purpose of my life, what my soul desires beyond paying the bills, what I might regret on my ‘death-bed’, and what-the-fuck do I want to do with the remaining years?! Why is it so fucking hard!!!!!!!

I want to escape into the woods with my backpack….

I want to have intimate, vertical (deep) conversations with people who are at the same cross-roads I am now lingering at…can we talk here?! Can we be real?

I want to fly…..

Maybe I want to die….

Has the cure been worth it?

I don’t know…I can only deal with one moment at a time…and I cry at the sweet simplicity of it all…why can’t I be satisfied with just this moment?

 

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SOCS “ABASH”

maybe the purpose is to ‘just be’

lone tree
permission to use by Phil Koch Photography (via Facebook)

This is how I’ve felt the last few weeks: alone and naked in the deserted landscape (of snow) trying to suck up the meager energy from the only source available. It’s getting better. I’ve gotten over the hurt (I mentioned in my last post)…mostly and I’m moving on to thinking about what I want to do with the remainder of my life.

I went to see a therapist. I thought it would be a good idea and, not that I needed an excuse but, post cancer treatment/surgery is a good time to seek the ear of an unbiased  professional. One of my most frustrating issues is why am I here, what am I supposed to do, what’s my passion? I don’t care about ‘leaving a legacy’ (she inquired), it’s about having something to do (employment/work mainly) that I enjoy and to feel respected and valued. I don’t feel that about my work; my work is a job that pays my bills and that’s all. I’m sufficiently self-aware that I have no great gifts to offer the world/mankind; I’ll not accomplish some feat, write a great book, start a business, or any other good thing that will make me feel like I’ve “done something.” I know this but it’s hard to accept it. I wondered if I’m alone – apparently not, by her response – plus, what I’ve just gone through naturally makes me more present and aware about the brevity of life and how I might want to spend my time…now, now that I’ve gone through all I have to have more time.

That was the question: it’s not a new one or one I hadn’t thought of but hearing someone else ask it made it sound different, reframed it: now that I’ve gone to these extreme measures to ‘save’ my life, Why did I do it? If I’m not going to have or do something extraordinary with my life, and there’s no reason to think I would, why am I so fixated on it?

I went home and resumed my audio book: A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle, and shortly after, these words were spoken:

Some feel a strong urge…to make an impact upon the world. … Others…lead an outwardly unremarkable, seemingly more passive and relatively uneventful existence. … Some of them find it hard to fit into this world. … Their function is to anchor the frequency of the new consciousness on this planet. … They are here to generate consciousness through the activities of ‘daily life,’ through their interactions with others as well as through “just being”. … they affect the world much more deeply than is visible on the surface of their lives.

That was two pages summed up and it really described me. I don’t know how much of this is “true” but I was, am impressed and a little relieved by the coincidence of my question and an answer. If I don’t have a passion, if I don’t feel a pull in any one direction, if I don’t know what I want to do, apparently I need to focus on my daily activities – especially spending time doing things that I enjoy, creating and being joyful in what I can do, places I can go and (positive) people with whom I can spend time…and just enjoy having a life.

The ability to think about ‘the end’ and how I’d like to reflect on – at least – the last few years of my life, I’d like to be able to feel that I spent it consciously, I enjoyed simple pleasures and I’d like to have no regrets about it.  ~ I’d like to be content.

Accept the pain and use it to make a scar.

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I just got back from visiting with my mother in SC for eight days. I had my reservations about going; I was in a ‘funk’ and I don’t like to afflict others when I’m in that mood nor am I at my best when being challenged but my mother and sister were anticipating seeing me (I hadn’t seen my sister in about three years and my mother in several months) so I went..thinking at least it will be a change of scenery.

Well, I’m back here in NH and worse for the wear. I don’t like to write posts that are all about pissing and moaning and dirty laundry so I’m going to “sum up,” in the words of Inigo Montoya. My daughter and husband who have been living in my house for six years with their two children for peanuts on the dollar so they can save and buy a home unloaded on me Monday morning (four days before my flight to SC). First I was blindsided and dumbfounded, then confused, then hurt, then angry. Then I spent four days unable to focus on anything but what landed in my lap and I did what I’ve been training myself to do for the last few years: I analyzed the information from both my perspective and theirs, I re-thought out particular events in recent history and, to avoid harboring hurt feelings and grudges and negative energy, I decided to cut them loose — emotionally and physically (they are moving ‘soon’). They are no longer my children, they are now independent adults and it’s not my responsibility to care for them or about them, to support them nor expect any support from them (because I’m also an independent adult who has to be responsible for myself; physically, financially and emotionally). They’ve shown me that, during all their lives and most of mine, my prioritizing their needs and comfort above my own, they wasted no time lambasting me post chemo, post double-mastectomy and making me realize that they are not available for me — even at this, the worst time for me thus far — and subsequently they never will be. That realization hurt — it fucking hurt deeply. 

So after being bashed I went to SC to hang with my mother (my sister was there for two days). I hadn’t spent concentrated time with my mother since I left home and there’s been years where we haven’t talked at all. I’m older now and so is she and last summer I made the effort to visit her more (at her camp in VT) which is when she asked about living me sometime in the future when she can’t be on her own. I pushed that unpalatable thought away with the reply that my house is already full and I may not keep it once it’s empty but inwardly I thought it might be okay. My eight days sharing space with her proved to me otherwise. My mother is still — and is too old to change — the critical and unavailable person, mother, she’s always been. I spent the whole fucking week inner-talking myself off the cliff – I had to physically get away from her a few times just to take some deep breaths and remind myself to not allow her to get in my head. By the time I left I was exhausted and, unfortunately, headed back to the “home” where I am apparently a selfish, inconsiderate, embarrassing person who doesn’t DO enough for her kids. And all these years I overlooked their behavior or things I didn’t like because that’s what cohabiting adults do but they stored up resentment and anger at what they felt that they had to tolerate. Ironically they never moved out though.

Today is the re-beginning of re-building myself from being torn down and torn apart. The media photo (which I got from my FB wall) sums it up….THANK YOU UNIVERSE FOR THE PAIN THAT MADE ME FINALLY SEE THAT THE TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS HAVE TO BE REMOVED FROM MY LIFE. While I was spending those four days focused on all I was accused of from the people living in my home (read here “financially support” and to whom I surrendered my home space) it came to me about 2:00 a.m. Wednesday that my breast cancer may well have been triggered and grew in ‘strength’ from the relationships & environment in which I’ve been living. All the times I forced the knot in my throat down, down, down…all the times I squeezed back the tears and pushed those hurt feelings down…all the times I rationalized what I was seeing and feeling and all the benefit-of-the-doubts I gave to others…all the times I tried to make myself small and ‘out of the way’ so I wasn’t imposing on them and their space and time…all those feelings shoved down, down into my chest for my children (because someday they’ll understand, right?). It finally triggered several mutant cells to recruit their neighbors and form lumps. A lump in my throat, a lump in my chest – isn’t that what strong emotions do? They make us feel that lump and we force those feelings ‘down’. Where do we suppose that hurt (or negative) energy goes? That energy triggers the mutant but dormant cells our bodies already have into “on” mode, it wakes them up. That’s what toxic relationships and environments do…they make us sick.

Today…today I build up my inner strength, my inner warrior and continue the battle against the ‘spread’ of cancer in my body … and part of that means being a warrior on the outside too. It’s my house, my money and my remaining time on earth and no one is going to make me feel bad about myself, my home and my hard work. Scars are the toughest part of the skin and I accept this painful time to create a tougher me; through adversities we gain strength.

 

still counting: post-op mind-fuck

 

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January 10.

January ten was the date of my bilateral mastectomy and left axillary dissection (multiple lymph nodes removed).

January 21.

Day eleven was my follow up appointment with my surgeon to have the drains (3) removed (sutures snipped and drainage tubing ripped from inside my chest wall) and have the dressings taken off. It hurt. I didn’t look because I can’t see my own FLAT chest without a mirror while lying down on the table. She said everything looks good.       <sweet>                                                                                                                                                                   She said I could take a shower now. <great>

January 22.

Day twelve I take my first look at myself with the help of a mirror (because when I look down all I see are skin-hills; the undulating hills and valleys topography of my new chest…with puckering…where the sutures are still holding my skin together over the scraped out chest wall….two horizontal pinched up lines from mid chest to underarms. I’m not surprised. I look and touch and think: this is my newest version of me. I get into the shower and lather up my palms and run my hands over my chest and under arms, I let my fingers trail over the sutures, the swells and depressions, the puckers and bruises. I get light-headed and have to get out.

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January 23.

Day thirteen I decide that my body needs healing, vitamin D is being showered down without the hinderance of clouds so I open my windows without screens and make myself comfortable in my chair in front of the window. I put on some olive oil – why not? and I sit in the sun and fall asleep.

January 27.

Day seventeen I start feeling a little down, bored, useless, hobbled, in pain and hopeless. I’ve tried range-of-motion exercises and probed gently with my fingers under my left arm…the ropes that hinder my progress…what the fuck are those?! I can’t move my arm very far in any direction without a knife being jabbed into it. I join a FaceBook group and find out that the ‘ropes’ I feel are called “cords” that form due to lymph blockage due to the surgery and the lymph nodes taken out. Some say, “see a lymph massage specialist.” I just close out and go to sleep. The thought of anyone touching, much less ‘massaging’ or probing my underarm makes me queasy.

January 28.

Day eighteen I sit in the sun again…no oil this time. Again, I fall asleep. I get into bed. I get out and shower and get back into bed. I binge on some show. I take some oxycodone and an ambien and I go back to sleep.

January 29.

Day nineteen and I know something is happening. I’ve managed to go about eight months in flight….do what I gotta dobest not to think about it….just get shit done. But now I can’t really DO anything….I’m waiting; waiting to ‘feel better’, waiting to be ‘normal’ again…and wondering if that’s not going to happen.

~~~~ “Oh, your being melodramatic! Of course it’s going to happen, you just have to give it time.”  

Yes, it will happen. One day I’ll be…better; not ‘normal’, not ‘myself’, but a new, healthier version of me.

One day.

 

cancer and waiting for a surgery date:

I’ve been pretty busy with two jobs for two reasons: I want to get my house paid off as soon as possible and it keeps me busy physically and mentally so I don’t obsess with my diagnosis. Because of this I have yet to really research cancer surgery and, more specifically, THE TYPICAL time lapse between confirmed diagnosis and surgery date.

I met with the surgeon about a week ago for the second consultation after more tumors were found via MRI. My decision hasn’t changed regarding what I want so we agreed to proceed – just awaiting a date. I didn’t hear back for a few days so I sent an email to the office inquiring. I got a response from the surgery coordinator that my surgery will be sometime in October.

O-C-T-O-B-E-R!

Now, I’m not in a hurry to have my chest removed and more biopsies to see how extensive the cancer is but…well, I wasn’t expecting to WAIT two months. Today is Saturday and the coordinator isn’t back until Tuesday. My mind is vacillating between:

  • Do I go with the flow because they know what they’re doing and this is the way it is?   OR…
  • Do I call Monday and inquire as to why someone with multiple tumors and questionable mets is expected to wait at least two months for surgery to GET RID OF THE BLASTED DISEASE?

I know everyone’s problems and surgeries are important to them and I am not insinuating that I should take precedent over other patients but…yes, there’s always a “but” ~ elective cosmetic surgery shouldn’t take precedent over a necessary surgery, IMHO. Allegedly, the “problem” with a surgery date sooner is that the general surgeon’s and the cosmetic surgeon’s schedules have to coordinate for this procedure. And I’m wondering (since NH has the highest rate of breast cancer in the US) why these two surgeons don’t have one day per week or every two weeks a combined surgery day for people who need procedures (expediently)?

Anyway….my original thought and question to anyone out there who knows, has experience or knows of someone who’s gone through this …. is waiting three more months (in addition to the two months already passed for ‘workups’) normal?

#SoCS: call

my gift from the universe (edited)

I’ve spent a lot of my life being concerned about my “old age” and retirement: what if there is no medicare or social security, what if I am disabled, what if I haven’t saved enough money? Being single and having jobs that don’t provide any real long-term security but being physically labor intensive and emotionally depleting, I’ve more than once thought/said that dying of cancer before I get too old and homeless would be a blessing. Karmically speaking, I think the universe answered my “prayers” by replying, “Hey Karyn, don’t worry, I got this.”

Ironically, now that I find myself on this particular path, I am a little chagrined that I very well may have brought this upon myself. Well, so be it. I guess I’ll have to do some positive thinking and praying double time. It’s not that I mind possibly dying sooner rather than later but I have things I want to get done first and that will take some time.

All I want is a little more time.

How often those words have been said by people who have come to a bridge that they didn’t anticipate so soon. The silver lining is that EVERY DAY IS TO BE CHERISHED; every moment means so much more than they ever did before. Sunrises and sunsets are more bitter-sweet, mother nature is so much more marvelous, meaningful relationships are so much more poignant, and it’s so much easier not giving two thoughts to the things that don’t really matter in life’s scheme.

Contemplating energy and how it moves, what we draw to ourselves, does make me feel more optimistic and that I possibly have more control over my body and my future than I have ever realized. No matter what happens, I can control how I react and what I do with the events that unfold in my life. This “gift” makes me live in the moment while working on my faith and hope for the future.

7/30 – Edit: I was listening to Adyashanti and he reiterated exactly what I have thought about and wrote about above: We are not taught to examine difficult moments in life as, not only opportunities to learn but also to accept responsibility for the part we played in the situation. Difficult times can have a profound, meaningful and transformative effect on us if we are unconditionally open to it. All our decisions in life, all our thoughts and actions have effects on ourselves and others; series of events unfold based on each choice we make. If we are open to see how the minutia of events in our lives have been, not ALL but in part our own doing – and this is HARD, to own our actions, thoughts and words – we can take responsibility for where we are but, more importantly, we can NOW see how we have control in our lives….our lives are not happening TO us. It’s liberating to realize that we do play a huge role in what happens in our life; the keys to our happiness are not in the pockets of other people. We have the keys.

…meanwhile…

Still alive, still having tests and scans, still waiting for the plan.

Meanwhile I have started my part-time job so it’s been six days since I’ve had a day off. I am finding that the momentum isn’t bad – it keeps my mind occupied with something other than, “How is this all going to turn out? what kind of treatment/’therapy’ am I going to need?” Besides, I’m making money which, as we all know with the state of unhealthy-care these days and the lack of support from insurance companies, I’ll need. I am also still debating/thinking of trying to pay off my house (when I die – sometime WAY in the future – it’s all the “life insurance” my family will get).

Otherwise, my spare time is spent walking the dogs, laundry, reading either my boob-cancer book or something more benign but uplifting. I have a lot of thoughts for stuff to write but I am unable to focus long enough to type it out so it will have to wait. I am feeling pretty good emotionally and spiritually which is really most of the battle before surgery. I am not looking forward to post-surgery so I am not thinking about it.

I hope everyone who reads me is doing well. I have not been on here much at all – sometimes I just scroll through but don’t settle on any one thing. I hope you are enjoying your summer! The weather has been very good except for that couple of unbearable H&H weeks – ugh.

Take care all…and talk to you soon 🙂