Wednesday, September 30, 2009


By request, here is my address in MA...

38 Sunset Dr
Milford, MA 01757

Body Change Faster Than Puberty

I am fascinated by anatomy and physiology. Melany and I used to stay after school to dissect more of our anatomy class cat. One year I gave Melany a horses leg that I got from a workshop I went to at Tufts for her birthday and we dissected it in my basement. When I think back, that was really amazing that the vets let me keep the leg. I would expect that in institutions things are so regulated that they wouldn't have let me. Just recently I uncovered Mayas now clean bones and explored her skull. My obsession with anatomy has not changed much over the years.

I frequently watch different bodies (alive ones) and how they move. I wonder what it would be like to be really skinny or to be really heavy. I am now getting to experience the skinny side. When my friends have been pregnant I ask them... how is it for you to have your body change faster than any other time in your life maybe besides prenatal and newborn stages, maybe even including puberty. How can a body change so fast and still be okay? Over the last month I have lost about 17 pounds. I don't recommend this weight loss program. Besides the part where it comes with feeling badly and have tumors in my vital organs (some people argue that the pancreas isn't exactly vital but I disagree) it has been really fun to explore the changes.

I have found that many of the ways that movement seems different between skinny bodies and my normal body are actually true. For example I am finding sitting with my legs crossed to be exceptionally comfortable, even more I find sitting with them double crossed, the way I used to watch Annie do in AP English class (It was English class but I clearly much preferred to think about anatomy) and I could only barely do after having an 8 year regular yoga practice, to be really comfortable. My joints are more flexible, I can squat more fully without heavy muscling behind my legs, clothing is more comfortable. I also notice that my knees and ankles hurt each other when I lie on my side because the bones are not padded well, my watch is too big (I thought my wrists were already skinny, who knew that they too had fat on them), I can feel more clearly the undulations in my skull, I cant stop playing with my fingers if I cross my hands because there is so much more accessible to feel, I can no longer use the rolls of fat in my belly to talk (sorry Sharon we wont be able to make our bellies talk to each other for a while, mine is on silent meditation retreat), I can explore my ribs and spine more fully, and all that underwear I packed is now too big on me, guess I will have to buy more.

Emotionally it has been fun to explore skinny but things do come up. I am appreciating the curves I used to have more than I did before and the padding that protected me from my own bones. I finally believe all the people who used to tell me they love my belly.When I look at my body I feel a little disoriented because it feels a little bit juvenile compared to the way my body has been for the last 14 years. When I did a breast self exam I got startled because I had cancer on the mind and all of a sudden there were all sorts of "bumps" that hadn't been there before.....most people call them ribs.

There are some other changes that are interesting to me. My hair has gotten bouncier and has started parting on the opposite side and my nails are growing faster. Hmmmm.

Pain WIthout Fear

I have felt this way before also. Today I am having pain similar to pain I have been feeling other days. I am finding comfort in having felt it before. I find even more comfort in having had it prove to me that it changes (probably Vipassana should be helping me with that but so far my connection to it has been evading me). I am now having pain without the fear of the unknown that I had before. I find it a lot easier to take now. Its kind of a bummer because it was such a nice day but I still got some nice connecting goodbye time with friends and got my house changed into its winter state. I tried the running trick.... it didn't reallyy help this time. Overall not bad really.

I Have Felt This Way Before

Today was a great day. I woke up with no pain and it stayed that way pretty much the whole day. My energy was way higher than it has been. I almost felt like I have felt in the past. I almost played ultimate frisbee.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happiness of Water

Today was a super intense day. It was filled with so many lessons and new experiences. I am in awe at how a whole new world has opened up to me right here in the place I have been living and exploring for 8 years.

I woke up feeling good, surrounded by the distinct crispness that comes with fall here and usually sets me and many others into a bit of a panic/scared/super-efficient mode. Houses need to get closed in, wood needs stacking, tender garden crops needs covering to extend the season. This year I needed to take a walk. Lesson one: taking a walk is hard work these days, appreciate every step.
I have been wanting to walk to Red Earth Farms for a month now and have not managed to do it.

Ali joined me on my very slow walk. She helped me keep my slow pace, accepted when I needed to stop and sit down, and allowed me to be a somewhat silent observer to our "conversation." After some excited kisses by Alyson when we arrived I crashed out on Alyson's bed and proceeded to head into a dark space. My pancreas hurt, the rest of my body was tired, and I started to be able to imagine the situation in which the stent doesn't cut it because it is not draining my pancreas sufficiently. I imagined the situation in which my organs start failing before I have a chance to help them heal. It wasn't so much scary as matter of fact feeling. In this part of my journey I question every painful that something I should have checked out, is that a new tumor, should I be paying more attention to that one..... for now there is no more "just stretch it out" when it comes to pain. With Alyson by my side I worked through this, eventually sitting up and realizing that maybe it was just gas moving through my system.

After dragging myself up the hill to check out the plaster party that was happening at the barn which I had not even seen all baled in yet. I headed home. The release with Alyson, crisp breeze, and sunshine helped lift my spirits but it still felt like a long way home. Half way up the hill I had to stop to take a break. I watched the clouds whisk by in the windy sky and let the sunshine warm my body before starting again. As I neared the village I wondered, "what if I try to run. Am I even able to run anymore? I already feel low, it couldn't hurt." So I ran, and I ran... all 30 feet. It was like running a marathon. While I ran my pain eased and my limbs felt refreshed. When I stopped I wondered if I would make it back to my house. Panting and dragging I headed home. Gave Kurt a hug, said a few words to Nathan and asked Liat for help (I am getting better at asking for help) with food. I got to my house and threw myself onto my bed. After about 5 minutes I checked in with my body "body whats going on for you?" My body responded "I fell great." I said "what" in disbelief. Again my body responded "I feel great...get up eat something and enjoy it."

For about two hours I felt energized, pain free, and excited. What a day of learning new edges, boundaries, limits, and freedom.

Juan came down for a quick visit before leaving to Florida for a funeral. He did a quick tarot reading. The results were super to the point and uplifting...... the final card located in the position "the outcome" read....

Ace of Cups.

Happiness of Water

A good chance to experience and use the whole potential of love the imagination intuition and the emotions. Complete self-confidence, spirituality, vitality, healing, great love and happiness. To feel closely attached.

Email Updates

And now, the thing you have all been waiting for (okay some of you). The ability to get email notification when I post a new entry. Thanks Ziggy for your blogging prowess.

If there are any posts that seem like they are not written by me you can assume that Ziggy wrote them now that he know how to log on to my blog whenever he wants. Probably they will seem way more funny than any that I write and they might have photos involved......

So Easy to Take it Out on the Ones I Love The Most

I am feeling sad. Why is it that with all of the studying of communication I have done over the last eight years and all the comments on how impressed people are with my communication skills it breaks down so easily when it comes to family. (you don't need to answer that I know its not an uncommon phenomenon).

In general I have a great relationship with my mom. We can connect around a lot of things. I think that over time we have been changing and growing together to better understand one another and to be able to move through frustrating times with each other faster. We can chant together while we plant 10 year old tomato seeds saved by my grandmother when she was alive in hopes that the will grow (they did), we can talk about my few and far between experiences with illegal drugs, she can tolerate and maybe even like visiting me in this wacky ecovillage I live in (she is even willing to poop in a bucket now when she visits), recently we sang together at my cousins wedding and while practicing we were able to feel the connection that comes with getting the pitches just right (it is very hard for me to stay on pitch), she is a great sport when Sharon (how do you make an accent mark on the computer?) and I take her hiking, she can sometimes read my mind, her love is strong and consistent..... so why is she the first person through this whole thing who I feel super frustrated with? (again, no need to answer).

I think it would be most moms worst nightmare to go through what she is now going through. Imagining the very real possibility that she will outlive another child of hers. She has still not been able to see or touch me to see that although my energy is a fraction of what it has been, I am still alive and fairly functional. I want to be showing her more compassion maybe than anyone and instead today I found myself super pissed off. I felt so frustrated that I couldn't even articulate it to her when she called. I didn't get frustrated like this when the technicians in the hospital woke me up every two hours in the hospital to take vital signs (doesn't healthy sleep come in three hour cycles?), or when they came in a 4 to take blood, or when a group of not quite doctors yet came in at 7 to wake me up and tell me something that contradicts what my doctors said the day before, or when I waited for hours for a procedure to happen and then it was canceled meaning that I had to stay int he hospital even longer with no guarantee of when the procedures would actually happen, etc....

The things that sparked it were a couple of emails. I feel sooo frustrated with myself because I failed to set a boundary early on when I felt myself getting frustrated. Both emails were about things I did not need or want to be thinking about. I want to understand what the actual underlying need is. I want her to feel heard and supported. I find myself wanting perfection from myself in communication with her. I wish that I could ask her the questions I would ask most other people to find out what their needs are.

I guess when it comes to my mother I have higher expectations than with most people. She is supposed to read my mind in addition to all the other amazing things she does.

And once again I learn some lessons that i need to learn over and over. I am human and I will get frustrated with people. When I do it is helpful to allow it, experience it, get it out. I spent the time following my frustration talking to Nathan who helped me figure out what it is that I am wanting from my mother, watching the sensations in my body, ranting to Tereza and getting out some of the physical parts of the emotions, and then having an all womens healing session. I am now in touch with the love, able to see my part in my frustration, and am feeling much better overall.

Maybe my mother offers me a gift in being able to find the things that I respond to with frustration. It felt really good to release that kind of energy, especially when it was no longer feeling directed towards her. Welcome to my world frustration.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baditude Adjustment

WOW. Holy shit. Woah!!!

Thank you to everyone who attended the healing sessions. Tonights was mens hands on and womens distance healing. I do not even think that I could begin to do it justice and also the details feel too sacred for words.

I wish that everybody could experience this sort of thing. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many people who I feel such a deep trust for that I feel totally comfortable laying my ailing body down in the middle of them and saying "do whatever feels right to you."

Prior to all of this starting. I felt so great about my community. I felt love and support, I knew my place, and I felt respected for things I wanted to be respected for. The one piece that I was unsure of was how to create healing in my community. How to manifest a sense of security within myself and others that if we were in need the community would come together to help. How to manifest healers and healing and ease of this exchange. I now know that all I needed to do was open my eyes and trust.

I went into this healing session tonight with a super baditude. I could barely drag myself to it. I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that I didn't even notice that most of the day the lingering pain in my left ribs had dissipated. I now feel renewed, rejuvenated, and ready to persevere on this journey. I also have a new plan and that is to take it slow like I said I wanted to. I am going to stop the supplements until I am in MA. For right now it is more important to me to feel as good as possible for my last days here and for my reuniting with my family later this week and the road trip to follow. My body has been through a lot this last week and is now integrating a major diet change. I think it deserves a break and I think that my overall feeling of well being will be more healing than the herbs for this week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Today started out as a pretty good day. I felt energetic even though I didn't sleep well. I made a finally decision about when to let my family come to bring me to MA. I took my first 17 pills and then the next 7 with breakfast. Things generally felt good.

I then decided that I was going to cook for myself and in the process for Tom, Tereza, Mary Beth and Dan because it was easy to modify just a portion of the recipe to work for my diet. I realized when I was out harvesting veggies that maybe I wasn't really up for this task I was so excited about. So I found help.

By the time round three of pills was in the works I knew that my body was not liking this regimen. Basically I felt nasty.

I wasn't ready for a day of feeling nasty. It took me by surprise after feeling so great yesterday. When I made the decision to follow a natural route to healing I didn't ever consider that that too might make me feel sick. I am sure it is nothing compared with chemo or radiation but it is already a challenge to keep putting things into my body that don't feel good and it has only been one day.

Some of the realities of my situation are starting to set in and it is going to take some work to find acceptance of them. The diet is started to loose its charm (maybe it will get reinvigorated once I get some delicious homemade raw crackers that my friend Stef is sending) all I want to eat that is on it is avocado and nori and avocado is marginal in its placement on the diet. The idea of natural supplements is not exciting tonight. I am starting to look at things like bread and really want them. I had my first little pang of noticing envy when someone was talking about what she was going to do tomorrow because it would not be something that I can do for a long time, going out to eat at a French restaurant or morover going anywhere and knowing that most liekly I will feel good enough to enjoy it.

Tonight I have an all mens (except me) hands on healing session. I was feeling like I needed some testosterone energy. Right now I just feel like being alone and working on accepting that I am going through a hard spot but I bet the healing session will be great.


I have always loved the phenomenon when I think about someone a lot and then they contact me. It happens a lot in my life and I never take it for granted. Each time it happens I revel in the mystery of the energetics that allow such things to happen.

The other day I was looking at Lambikins sitting on my windowsill. Lambikins is a doll I rescued from the Milkweeds trash.

Aside.... I think its time to introduce the word co because today I found out that everyone who sees Lambikins has a different idea about what pronoun to use with co. Co being a gender neutral pronoun to use in place of him, her, or any others that you would insert.

Anyway, I always coveted Lambikins when Jeffrey and I house and dog sat for the Milkweeds so I was pretty excited that the Milkweeds didn't want co anymore because co was too scary. Lambikins was made by Shining Unicorn and is one of a number of dolls she made that I got really excited about. I had dreams of finding a funky gallery in New York City where we could sell Shining Unicorns dolls for lots of money so that she could follow her passion of becoming a no-good layabout.

Okay back to the point.... I was looking at Lambikins thinking "if I die, who is going to want Lambikins." I also thought "should Lambikins come with me when I go to MA? No, co is too scary, not the right energy."

The very next day Sharon brought me a package that had come in the mail. A pink shoebox from Shining Unicorn. Inside I found Lolo The Room who has a consistently excellent attitude and MizDah her butterfly friend. So now I not only have a doll to accompany me on my journey, but I also get to revel in the co-energetics that I had with Shining Unicorn.

If you have been coveting Lambikins, you should let me know so that I can put co in my will for you. I think my will might be kind of funny when I get to writing it. No car, no big house, not really any jewelry (okay there are a few things but I don't know where they are) but things like handmade dolls painted with rancid paint and my falling apart black and white dress that dates back from before Dana and Ed's wedding (where I think I wore it with red tights to my moms chagrin) or the enameled cast iron pan with lid that I bought for Sharon and Rachel for their wedding but then didn't feel like traveling with it to MA, or that really cool weathered cabinet that I got out of the toxic shed, or.......

ps. I am considering getting even higher tech and trying to post some photos so you too can see Lambikins and Lolo The Room and MizDah.

Friday, September 25, 2009

When People Help You Pack Your Underwear

Today I learned something new about myself. Alyson and Tereza helped me see it. Can you see the theme here that Tereza is a wise woman in my life who helps me see things I might otherwise miss or block out.

When we were packing up my stuff and trying to decide what to bring to MA and what to put in my shed to make room in my house for others to use it I learned that I have an abundance thing about underwear.

In the past, people have commented on the number of underwear that I have (small community, line drying). I always explain that I only do laundry once a month (I also have a lot of clothing apparently) and the limiting factor is underwear. To me this seems to make a lot of sense because laundry here relies on a number of factors coinciding; enough sun so that the power system can handle it, enough rain so that the cistern is full enough, and sharing the one laundry machine with 50 other people so hoping that it is available when I want to do my laundry.

As I was trying to choose which underwear to bring, the stack kept getting bigger and bigger. Even with coaching I couldn't make the stack get very small. Even with the reminder that it is easier to do laundry in the places that I will be, the stack did not get much smaller. Even when the stack got small enough to pass my coaches strict standards I knew that I still had some underwear hidden in the laundry that could also come with me once I do my laundry......

I generally think of myself as someone who has few if any addictions...... now I know better. One of the bits of advice I got from a friend when all of this was starting was to let go of any ideas I have about who I am. So maybe I am someone who has some addictions.

There is Nothing I like More Than Being Able to Breathe

Sometimes I take breathing for granted. I imagine I take it for granted less than the average person because I used to experience asthma as a kid and teenager and occasionally in the last few years and also because of allergies. I definitely notice when I am breathing in my yoga practice and the breath is clear and available. It was just today though that it really hit me how big of an impact the pain I have been experiencing has had on me since I returned from the hospital.

It is not that I have been in a lot of pain mostly. On a scale of 1-10.......grrr.... an aside: my least favorite hospital question and for that matter question in general is "What is your pain level on a scale of 1-10." I dislike this question because I don't know how to answer it. I spend some of my time helping women with natural childbirth, compared with that how can I say my pain rates anything? I used to run with a volunteer rescue team... how does my pain rate? I have a ton of tumors inside my crucial organs, how much pain do I have? Finally I realized that what they were really asking was "Do you want any pain medication?" I also felt confused by this because if I take pain medication, how do I know it will wear off in time for when the doctors come in and ask me about the pain in order to understand what is going on with my body?...... anyway, the one big issue with the pain I have been feeling is that it sends nerve impulses that make my lungs not want to take deep breaths because that is when it hurts. Dont worry I also did accept pain medication twice during my hospital stay because I was unable to stop the racing of my mind in order to sleep when the pain was in the picture. I understood for the first time how pain medication could be helpful.

Last night I experienced the most pain so far. I went to tri-community potluck dinner at Sandhill and instead of being social ended up lying on the couch and then eating in silence because I felt so short of breath (and scared of the pain, hello again fear). I came home and went to bed. After a wonderful bedtime story read to me by Sharon I went to sleep. At some point in the night I rolled over and found myself in severe pain...maybe a 6, no 7 no, 3.4567..... I realized that I couldn't really move to get to the phone even if I wanted help and so began coaching myself like I learned from Alyssa how to guide laboring women..... dive beneath the waves of the pain.... it wasn't long, maybe 20 seconds really and then I felt a shift and the pain subsided. Not only that, also I could breathe fully.

Today was the best day yet I think since I knew I was sick. I could both breathe and eat mostly without any pain. I realized that the fatigue I had been feeling just walking 100 feet was not a whole body issue but rather just because I couldn't breathe fully. I am not doomed to waste away without getting any physical activity. The combination of breathing, sunshine, and good bad news made for a super day. I threw a frisbee with Nathan (sadly I am not yet ready for ultimate again), sat in the sun with Ziggy, April, Tereza, and Meadow playing with Pug the wacky black (get this) Pug, harvested the salad that was so carefully tended by friends in my absence and is now growing faster than we can eat it, started packing up my house with help from Alyson, Tereza, and Sara, the superpackers, getting ready for an unknown amount of time in MA, ate dinner with the folks in Sunflower, played fiddle with Dave for this evenings Waltz lessons, danced with Dan and Nathan (I was even able to swing dance), and got a foot and hand rub from Sparky. It feels so great to be able to do again and although I am sore from all the activity I can still breathe.

I feel like a queen. No not a queen..... I feel more like a revered elder in a tribal village. Or maybe I feel like (watch out I am going to try to make a movie reference and I don't remember the name of the movie and I am not sure I know the actors name but here goes) Jim Carey? in the movie where his life is set up to run a certain way because he is actually on television, or something like that. People are working so hard behind the scenes to make my life right now have as little stress as possible. I go about my day and everything runs smoothly and there is a definitely awareness of my presence as I walk through the village in a way that I feel the love coming at me but its not uncomfortable.

Why would anyone ever heal when they are getting this kind of treatment for being sick......(that is a joke).

53 Pills

I have never taken 53 pills in one day before. Tomorrow morning I will try this for the first time. Maybe I should just peletize all of my food too and just eat pellets all day long.

The challenge I think is going to be remembering to take some before eating, some during eating, and some after eating. I thought I was going to have all sorts of free time but between eating and taking pills there is not much time left in the day.

I am learning that cancer doesn't make more hours in the day. My last few days have gone by so fast. My schedule is packed as it always is. I have been working all year to keep a more free schedule and even when I do nothing that I did before somehow I manage to pack it full.

The Best of the Worst

Okay so just quickly because there is no part of me that wants to be on the computer right now.

The good news is the cancer is Neurendocrine Pancreatic cancer. This is the slower growing of the pancreatic cancer options.

Clearly I have a lot to write about that... like about how when everything is so bleak that hearing that my cancer is stage 4 pancreatic cancer is super exciting.

I will post more later but the sun is out, I had a shift such that now I can breathe better, and the gamble on my life is about years not months or weeks.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Phone Call

One of the things that is going on for me right now is that I am waiting to receive a phone call telling me the results of the biopsies. Tereza helped me realize that I am actually scared of this phone call. Up until now I mostly thought well its really bad regardless and I think I will still do the same thing in any case. I hadn't thought of all of the possible scenarios that might come from that phone call. I also realized that the information that will come from this phone call feels like the end of the first chapter "Diagnosis" of the journey. This leaves me with no choice but to step towards the next be named once I experience it.

The main possibilities are that it will be the faster or less fast but still fast moving kinds of pancreatic cancer. Now I realize that there is some possibility that it could be originating in the uterus, or they could have inconclusive findings and want to do more tests, or maybe its not cancer at all.

I am recognizing that I am scared of the results suggesting adenosarcoma. The super fast kind. I recognize that my biggest fear is getting through the challenge of this news in order to regain my composure and strength of mind and spirit to continue on the path that I have set out on. I feel certain that I will but I don't feel welcoming of the possible hard time in between now and then. Thankfully I know I will be well supported in getting through this.

If it originates in the uterus it means a whole new round of research to understand the different implications of this. I am getting tired of research and I have barely done any of it. I am sure my amazing internet research team will make quick work of this but I feel tired when I think about it. Are they going to try to take my uterus? I sometimes imagine that they (that is the doctors and surgeons) will try to get my organs so they can sell them next to the bear gall on the black market. I wonder how much tumerous uterus sells for these days.

If the results are inconclusive. I think I will feel angry that my liver was a pin cushion and that it didn't tell us anything. I also fear that they will try to get me to accept more invasive tests. I think it will be hard for my family when I take a lot of time to search my heart to see if I am willing to have my body invaded again. I am still feeling the effects of the first invasions I think. I am thankful because I believe that one of the procedures saved my life by virtue of relieving the bilirubin buildup that turned me yellow and zapped my energy and pained my digestive system. I am not sure I will accept anymore. It doesn't feel conducive to healing.

If it is not cancer at all then what is it.... is it worse? More than that talk about the "boy who cried wolf." I can imagine feeling a bit sheepish to put you all through this and then say, guess what it was all just a little extra gas but now I let out a big fart and everything is okay. I think it is unlikely but it sure would be weird to have experienced cancer without having to experience cancer.

Every time the phone rings I feel the fear rise in my body in the form of heat starting at my toes and moving upwards. My breathing increases and I both hope it is the doctors so I can be done with this step and also hope it is anyone else because they will not be the doctors.

Yes, Alyson. Between 6:00 and 6:15 sounds great to go to Sandhill dinner. Thank goodness, not the doctors.

There is only a half hour left until I think that they will not call today. Tonight I will focus on welcoming their news and welcoming the next step of the journey.

Tamar Blogging?

I never thought I would be a blogger. I never thought I would be a blogger even more than I never thought I would be dealing with cancer at age 31. I sure hope that the origin of this cancer is not from using my laptop computer because then my sudden desire to blog might be coming straight from the minds of the cancer cells, "use your computer more Tamar, you know its good for you."

I guess I am not really starting this blog at the beginning of the journey because I am not at the beginning anymore. It is underway and had been now for a few weeks.

Anyway, I think this will be a better venue of keeping you informed because I do not feel comfortable bombarding your inbox with my cancer musings. I am getting lots of great feedback from my emails so far but I would rather give you the opportunity to decide when you want information from me.

Please feel free to share this blog with anyone you want. I am not a private person and it has been amazing to see how many people want to share this information and how strong the response has been of kindness, love, and healing energy.