Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yup. Been four months since last post. Along with everything else I've become, add inconsistent, a procrastinator, and an organized person who likes structure and schedules now structure and schedule free (and with nothing to organize!).

1. Rent

 Jon and I went to Portland to see Broadway tour of the musical Rent. It was awe-inspiring and beautiful and sad. We both sat crying through the second act. If you’re not familiar with Rent, it tells the story of an exuberant family of friends and lovers living illegally in an industrial loft in New York City, while AIDS is ravaging their community and the world.

2. Eyes
This might seem like a whine, but my eyes SUCK! I’m told I have “dry eye,” and that my medications cause it. (My nose - another faucet, due to my chemo drug.) They itch, they’re red, they
I picture myself like this.
run like faucets, which doesn’t seem dry but apparently that’s the body trying to compensate. I’ve used every drop known to personkind, I even had my tear ducts “plugged,” which helps some. I think
the situation is as good as it’s going to get. Also, I wear prescription glasses for the first time in my life, at age 53. When I was little I wished I wore glasses.  

In the scheme of things, I’m super “healthy:” no radiologic evidence of disease in my body; the ability to practice yoga, and
And this
Me and my eyes in tree pose.
go running if I feel like it; no pain. But the annoyance of the eyes can be indescribable. Living daily and nightly with this and for many, much worse annoyances - knowing we
And this.
are not going to heal, knowing that overflowing facial orifices and/or coughing, shortness of breath, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, headaches, diarrhea, and worse - is how metsters live in the minutia  of day to day life. Oh, and the two pesky little brain mets I’m carrying around right now - no biggie, we’re just going to keep an eye on them. It’s all relative, which brings me to my next chapter.

3. Relative

If, five years ago, you’d told me “...two tiny brain tumors; we’ll watch them and see what they do…,” the drama and terror I felt might have exploded said brain. I was told this right before Christmas and frankly it felt like pretty good news.  It’s crazy how tolerance changes. It’s surreal - the changing definitions of good news and bad. At least my body is clear of visible cancer; at least the tumors aren’t making me sick right now. The scale of things in my weak and tired brain has literally and figuratively changed. My cognitive issues from radiation to my brain beginning in June of 2015 (and probably not ending) have worsened. Even Jon notices how out there and incapable of certain things I am. I don’t drive out of town any more; I veer around while walking on sidewalks; I can’t remember what you just told me, or what I said I was going to do; and maybe most sadly I have trouble reading and concentrating. As I wrote in one morning’s “5-minute journaling sessions” (a habit I was trying to cultivate at which I am currently failing), IS THIS SUPPOSED TO TEACH ME SOMETHING I REALLY NEEDED TO KNOW?

4. Voldemort

I’m scared, as are many of my metster friends, about the election of He Who Shall Not Be Named. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act may include putting lifetime spending caps on all of our insurance plans, whether ACA plans or not. Everyone may also not qualify for insurance with pre-existing conditions. I and many more have already passed lifetime spending caps by getting cancer, and duh, incurable cancer is kind of a pre-existing condition. Add just these two items, to the fact that my family’s awesome insurance (I’m one very lucky cancer patient - all relative, right?) comes from a federally funded U.S. Department of Education grant. My husband runs our county’s federal program, which helps kids in poverty get to college and beyond. If programs in Dept. of Ed. are eliminated, or hell, if the Dept. of Ed. is eliminated, our family and many others would be screwed, not to mention all the students that have been helped and inspired by this War on Poverty program.

5. Poem


a sand dune
disappearing grain
by grain in wind
and pounding waves

wet leaves transforming into slick mulch
thickening the ground
unrecognizable now as the life giving force
they were
(though mulch gives life in its own way)

a cliffside receding as rocks fall
roots unearthed by a raging storm

i too am disappearing 
in my way


  1. Wow. What a lovely and generous gift you made to us in the form of this beautiful essay/poem. Thank you so much. We all send love and prayers winging your way. Xoxoxooxoxo

  2. <3 you! Thanks for the updates, it is amazing how much our expectations and perceptions change with experience. May your body remain NED and your brain mets magically whisked away, bodies are wonderful things sometimes,

  3. Your poem about dissolving reminds me of a Tibetan teaching session that I got to attend one time. In it, a Tibetan Rinpoche (like a Bishop in the Catholic church) taught about meditation. He said that you first empty your brain of thoughts. You can picture your thoughts as soldiers marching down a road, and picture a deep ravine cutting across the road. As the thoughts/soldiers proceed to the ravine, picture them all marching over the edge and disappearing. Personally, I like to close my eyes very tight and then watch the colors and forms floating about on the back of my eyelids. Another way is to start at the tips of your toes and squeeze that muscle, then relax it, then squeeze it, and do this 3 times. then proceed on to the next muscle, progressing up to the top of your head. Though this feels tedious, it is all about discipline of the mind. If you want your body to work well, you exercise it. If you want your mind to behave, this is the type of exercise that is necessary. Basically, it is all about allowing the brain that runs 24-7 to have some time out. Anything that gets you out of your thoughts, and into your body will do.
    Anyway, then the Rinpoche said that after you have cleared your thoughts out, then you bring in an idea that you wish to contemplate. He said that the first thought that he recommends is "impermanence." That the person standing next to you (and you) is slowly moving into old age and on to death, that the chair that you are sitting on will someday be dust, that anything that you are leaning on will be gone, at some point. And, consequently, that the only thing that you can rely on is the eternal, in whatever form you find that. Many call it God, but I have found that everyone has some small voice, or intuition that they use to make decisions. This is what I am referring to! (in my opinion, religion has done more for keeping people clear of god than any other thing!)
    Anyway, at this point you are in need of comfort. Follow whatever brings you any modicum of such, and you may be surprised. Love to you and yours! Robyn Truax

  4. My friend. I feel your unsettled mind.
    I love your poem....
    I am right there in your heart, walking with you each and every day.....
    This was exceptional.💕💕💕

  5. Thank you for being you. The you that you are today is the one I love so much. You teach us and show us the way all the time. Kiss kiss.