Awe, Gratitude, Acceptance

Lughnasa and the Moon of the First Harvest

Awe and gratitude. Then, acceptance. Awe sees, hears, feels, smells, tastes the Otherworld always with us but so often made invisible by habit of thought, by custom, by hurry, by dullness. Gratitude blossoms on its own when we see the Otherworld of which we are a part. Constant gratitude embeds us in the mystical, sacred world that awe presents to us.

Once we know the Otherworld for what it is, there even if today we are blind and deaf, gratitude becomes our way. We then accept our embeddedness in it. We are not other, rather we are part of this pulsing, dynamic whole. Acceptance and gratitude are not only for the wonderful, the special, the good. Acceptance and gratitude have to include things like cancer, divorce, death, decay for they are part of the sacred world, too.

What? Grateful for cancer? Why not? It’s challenged me to rethink my life, to carve out what’s important from the usual block of cultural granite given at birth and accreted over the years. The experience has reaffirmed cherished views, too. My friends do care. My family does love me. The medical system has many people who care a lot, who know a lot, who can help. (OK. There was bad Amanda and the axumin scan business, but, hey!)

How can I not be awed at the living marvel of cancer. It adapts, changes, strives for immortality. It feeds and grows. Its reach is wide, stretching across many species. It’s no worse an actor than heart disease or old age or stroke. It is the Big C, yes; but, it’s role in the Great Wheel turning of our lives is no different from any agent of decay or decomposition.

Am I ok with its plans for my body right now? No. Not even a little. In order to counter it though I first have to accept it. Not deny it. Not turn in fear or arrogance. Cancer’s reality is awesome, even has that yirah tinge of fear attached. I’m grateful I found it in me, learned about it and have means to halt or stop its progress.

Accepting it gives me power. Strength. When I accept it, I say that it is not the final word for my health, my worth, my life. Even if it proves fatal, it will not have determined my life.

Final Week

Lughnasa and the Moon of the First Harvest

The road so far

The final week. 5 more fractions. How many photons, I wonder, in a fraction? How much light does it take to banish the darkness of cancer?

Giddy? Yes, getting there. No more two hour trips to Lone Tree each weekday. No more CyberKnife clicking and clacking, moving, shifting, always pointing at my abdomen. Hopeful? Yes. The weirdness of hope here being how long it will take to know whether the radiation did kill the cancer.

Anxious? A bit. From the first lab report showing my PSA had begun to rise to June 17th, the beginning of my treatment, until now, I’ve moved in a progression. More labs. Imaging scans. Treatment options. Start radiation. I was doing something active. The “take arms against a sea of troubles” approach. At the end of this week I’ll not have the useful metric of trips to Lone Tree. Each trip was a stand against this inner enemy.

Since June 17th

After will be the Lupron. And waiting. Another injection on October 1. Lab tests every few months. Waiting for the end of ADT therapy. (Androgen Deprivation Therapy) Then wait three more months. A PSA then will probably show whether the radiation worked.

Waiting means moving into the wu wei of cancer. Living with an inner mystery. Flowing with it, letting it become whatever it will be.