The Secret of Life

Scene Setting: Today is chemo #5 of 6. I am heavy hearted and angry about the deaths in Orlando.To rant for  a second, how in the world can we continue to justify a law that makes it so easy for people to purchase weapons ? The excuse that makes me the most angry is, “if everyone has a gun then there would be no violence” even though there is tons of evidence to the contrary. 310 million guns in the U.S. and no one was equipped or ready to pulled a gun on the shooter. And the solution is that we need more guns?

Unbelievable and awful.

I am in the St. Charles infusion room. Chemo treatment #5 is in full swing, pre-meds are done and Rituxan is going in at 100mg/hr on the way up to 400 mg/hr if I don’t start shaking or break out in a rash (I won’t, incidentally). Today appears to be “back to the 70’s and 80’s day” in terms of the music mix they are playing.  Elton John – Candle in the Wind,  King Harvest  – Dancin’ in the Moonlight, Procol Harum – White Shade of Pale, etc.  Moe is here with me, we’re both working on our computers but we’re breathing the same air and that’ll do for me.

It’s as if I picked the mix.  Every third song is James Taylor.  Yes, that’s right, James is my go – to artist. Laugh if you like, but what’s so is so.  James is the singer/musician who’s music I can listen to any time and any place and feel good about it.

On comes “The Secret of Life” and I start crying.  Moe asks me what the words are stirring up in me and I can’t talk about it. I think she feels rejected because I have said that several times recently.    I can feel the end of my treatment approaching, and it feels great, but I don’t feel emotionally prepared or equipped to handle what comes next, which is a return to “normal” life, as if there is such a thing.  I am full-up with emotions I can’t describe, but as so often it happens,  James’ words hit the center of my heart:

The secret of love is in opening up your heart
It’s okay to feel afraid
But don’t let that stand in your way
’cause anyone knows that love is the only road
And since we’re only here for a while
Might as well show some style
Give us a smile

Isn’t it a lovely ride
Sliding down
Gliding down
Try not to try too hard
It’s just a lovely ride

Listen for yourself: James Taylor – Secret O’ Life Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Heavy hearted for the victims and their families and loved ones in Orlando.  If love is the only road, than when does it get to win a big one?



Risking My Significance

Our friend Bob MacArthur has his own blog. In it he posted this poem by Dawna Markova. The poem was aimed at me.  Thanks Bob.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear

of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

Dawna Markova

Hospital View

The view from my hospital room.  Thanks Moe.

I am finishing up my second hospital stay where I receive treatment  designed to keep the cancer from ever going to my brain.  It’s Friday, the Dr. just released me and I can go home. I got here Monday and I am ready to be out and to breathe real fresh air.  Things have been going well in general. There are many days when the dark cloud of this treatment or the specter of cancer and the unknown is much diminished compared to the happiness I feel with the family, friends and love that is regular part of my life.

Privately, I have been working  on finding the mind sets and practices that will help me to stay present in life without letting anxiety and fear of  a recurrence dominate my mood or thinking.   I only have 6 more weeks of treatment left. When I began I had 18 weeks. I can feel the end of this phase approaching. The end of this treatment will be a moment to mark for me, and I am looking forward to it.

I have done some things lately that surprise me.  I joined the Unitarian Fellowship in Bend. I’m not a joiner and I certainly don’t have “faith” in the Christian sense, but I like the brand of activism the Unitarians  partake in and it’s easier to join in with what they are doing than it is to have always find my own ways to contribute and agitate.  Call it lazy, I’m calling it efficient and more social.  I also like the intentional process of going to a Sunday service and quieting my brain for an hour to think pensively and mindfully.  It feels right, but weird.

Another surprise was going to an Al-Anon meeting with Moe last week and finding it enormously refreshing.  Something I know to be true about me – but I don’t know what to do about it – is that my co-dependent behaviors can disrupt my most intimate relationships. The third step of AA is about “turning it over” as in “We have made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him.”  Of course this expression doesn’t exactly square with my beliefs, but I do like the implicit assumption that some things are just worth turning over or deciding not to try and solve. If turning it over is connected to “give it break” I definitely am in for that, too.  Everything has a time I suppose.  Some things are either unsolvable or it’s just not the right time to work on them, so turn them over.  Amen.

Re-reading these words, I think what is actually going on for me is all about time; how I use it and what it means to me. It’s good work for me I think, but for now I think I shall just turn it over and focus my thoughts on having a nice weekend outdoors with family and friends and music.

Wishing the same for you.