Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Finding My Balance and Joy

Okay so I have some big tumors in my liver. Funny thing is I don't feel worried about that. I certainly did and probably will again and have had some big cries on various shoulders...Sharon, dad, mom, Ashley, Melany (okay not on her shoulder but under her healing touch) and on the phone with various people.... Even as the fear creeps in and my life seems turned upside down again I am in touch with how amazing it is to be able to cry... to feel the fear, the confusion, the despair...... I can feel it and that is so much better than when I couldn't feel it. The point is though that already I am paddling down this new tributary of the river smoother than I thought I would. Smoother than I would have BC (before cancer).

The thing that is getting me the most down right now is leaving Northampton. I loved living close to Sharon and Rachel. It was great to see Melany more and I had lots of ideas that included health and helping out with Ada and Willow, living something closer to our teenage dreams of how we would live together on a piece of land and heal animals together. I was loving the seeming magic that was happening for me. Reconnecting with people (Ashley, Bob, Daniel), meeting people who I had wanted to meet (Ruthie), meeting people who I didn't know I wanted to meet but did (Paige, Shira, Madelynne, Angie, Seth, someone at Sirius). Connecting with group meditation, kirtan. There was a flow, a zone, I was in it. I could feel it. Fun. Exciting. Magical.
There was a underlying thing that wasn't working though.... that was my body. I could feel it. I hoped that it would gone when the stent came out...a little bit of the sensation went away but other arts of it increased. I hoped that it was just that I needed to heal from the procedure.... but then even when I took it really really easy it became clear that it was something else. Some of the sensation was familiar. When I can weed out the different sensations that were all lumped together at the beginning of all of this I can tell now that some of the sensations are the same. In fact I could tell all along. My healers were telling me no to worry and that I shouldn't always think the worst and that things would be okay.... my body was telling me differently.

Which brings me to the part of things that has been clear to me ll along but that I need to learn how to navigate. How do I have healers that I respect and believe can help my body return to its healthy state but still be able to listen to my body and what my body says. How do I determine if I am just thinking too much. If my mind is falling into its old patterns of negative thinking or if my body and heart are telling me a clear message that I need to listen to. I feel confident that I am learning and that not much harm was done by waiting past wen my body was giving a clear message. In fact if I had listened I would have missed out on a great month of learning who I am now as an adult outside of intentional community... of learning that maybe I am not so shy, that it is not hard for me to meet people, that connecting with people feeds my soul and that I feel deeply passionate about it even outside of community. So they probably would have found the tumors when they were smaller (is it really possible that I can feel this okay and have so much of my liver taken over by tumors..... the liver is one crazy organ). I am not sure I was ready to submit and move to Boston at that point. So maybe being slowed down by my healers even though they were not exactly right that everything was okay was key to my journey. Slowing down...getting a sense of spaciousness around time. I do believe that it will be okay again, by okay I mean that my liver will resume its healthy state and that the other organs will maintain their healthy state. In that way I think my healers are right.

So I was thinking that I was out of the zone.... the zone in which my life is full of abundance and things are going my way.... but now I don't really think I am out of it. For example..... I expressed some concern about how to make living in Boston work..... I immediately find out that there is still a room at Kevins, that Rebecca and Tom are willing to super squish in their apartment to make room for me, and that Lea is still offering a room at her place. Lea is someone who I barely know but feel a really nice connection with. A year or two ago mom sent me a message from Lea that was sent to the B'nai Or email list about an earthbag building she was going to be working on. I almost always disregard forwarded emails from my mom because usually I feel some kind of internal pressure to be interested when I am not and then I end up feeling annoyed. This time I read it and was excited that finally there was an email that I understood why she was sending it and found it useful. I keep in the back of my mind a plan for what I would do if I decided to live closer to family. One of the parts of the plan included community building through natural building. So I contacted Lea and made plans to meet and talk about the building the nest time I was going to be in MA. Turns out that building was only a small part of our lives that had overlap and common interest. I enjoyed our conversation a included beekeeping, spirituality, death, and various other topics. I felt that I had a lot to learn from Lea. She is one of the women at the service that I went to who fills the role of elder in my eyes. A role in which I am more and more recognizing that value in this role in my life and also in a healthy society. Since I got sick Lea has been making herself very available if I needed anything. When I put out that my liver is not doing so well Lea once again offered a space in her house. It feels like such a huge offer and I am having to remind myself that part of the learning that I am doing through this is to ask for and accept help. I am again having to work through feelings of wonder as to why I deserve such an offer, guilt about privilege, fear about inequality and debt, etc. I feel excited by the possibility that it will work out to live with Lea for a while. Maybe we will garden together, maybe I will learn about bees, maybe we will play music together, maybe we will silently flow around each other, maybe we will have great conversation, hopefully she will benefit from my presence. I am going to check out her space today to make sure that it feels right for both of us but if it does then.... Dorchester here I come. I have long thought that I should live in a city someday even though I don't really want to.... I guess now is the time....

Some things I feel excited for by the possibility..... healing, studying with Tom and others. Connecting with Rebecca, Suzanne, Kevin and who knows who else but I feel certain that they will show up. Maybe Rebecca and I will sing and play music together, maybe we will make art, maybe we will take a pottery class. Maybe I will finally get to see Eleanors place in Gloucester and hang out outside of our healer healee connection. Maybe I will actually be in the area when Etta, Ethan, and Sara are in Gloucester and can get a tour of the bay where Ethan and his friends used to go iceberging (crazy shit). Maybe I will to see Ethan's spitfire mom again.

Today I had an amazing healing session with a new to me healer, Adel. Monica had to cancel because her mom is in the hospital. I felt that I needed to get tuina so I called Adel who does it out of the Quincy office where I was planning to be for tong ren classes. I thought Monica was hard core in her treatments but now I know that the pain during her treatments is nothing. Adel pretty much tried to reach through my flesh in order to undo the blockages. After just a few minutes of him working on my neck I felt my liver lighten up. Ease. I think I could even feel the tumors shrinking.... not that I really know what that would feel like. I had eaten before seeing him and was concerned that I wouldn't be comfortable lying on my stomach... after he treated my neck I was totally comfortable lying on my stomach. I had to ask him many many times to give me a break from the spot he was working on and now I feel super sore but it felt so deeply right the way it felt so deeply right when I first went to see Tom and he and Monica worked on me and I was screaming in pain. After the treatment I felt energized, happy, relaxed.... in fact the up until this paragraph, this post was written right after the treatment. There were some spots in my sacrum and tail bone that I always wish that someone would access that Adel accessed. Makes me think that maybe someday I will not have that old pain in my tailbone when I sit too long, and my lower back wont hurt after I do pretty much anything physical.

I just got back from meeting with Lea. I feel so so lucky to have a place to stay. It is a beautiful old house in a beautiful neighborhood in Dorchester. Lea seems super laid back and used to having people around. I will have two dog friends. I am moving in on Monday. Wow, I am going to live in a city. I could already feel my wild animal self preparing to hunker down for a bit and just look around from one place and also felt like I have to hurry up and figure out how to be a city biker and such..... no rush Tamar..... just hunker down if you need to. In time you will settle in to yet another new life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Shit is Hitting The Fan again

Wow, here I am again. Tumors in the liver. Big tumors in the liver. They can see 4 in the 8-12 cm size. FUCK......

I have been waiting all weekend, knowing that the news would be bad. I could tell when I had the ultrasound on Friday that she was measuring tumors.... they didn't look like the original tumors... they pretty much looked huge. Like they were the whole liver....

Looks like my plans might be changing. I am thinking that I need to go live in Boston and be closer to my healers.

I am also once again taking suggestions and ideas.

I imagine that if I move to Boston I will check out Kevins place. It is cheap and located in an okay place and I would be living with someone I know and feel comfortable with. Maybe there will be some kind of housesitting situation that comes up.

Damn, was it too good to be true? Can it work again? What about the part where I have been continuing to get tong ren treatment..... and the tumors grew? What about all the people who have been so moved by my story that they decided to try tong ren..... maybe I shouldn't have stopped drinking the breastmilk.... could the success really have been breast milk?

How long do I have to get them to shrink before they start making me sick?

The doctor thinks I should go back on chemo..... this time I think I will be able to say no with conviction....

The spring here is so beautiful.... so many flowers......

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Where are you Tamar?"

I just spend the last few hours going through my photos all the way back to when I went digital in about 2003. I am trying to make a presentation about natural building for the cob workshop that I am helping with in May. I am making an assumption that this current blip in my health will clear soon and I will again be available for such things.

There are a lot of memories that come up for me in looking at my photos. I am recognizing that I have let go of a lot of the pain that used to be tied up in some of those memories and the fulfillment that I got from my life at Dancing Rabbit is shining through stronger than the struggles.

I just checked my email before stopping this project for the night and I got one from Liat telling me that the chalk board says "Where are you Tamar?"

I am here, trying again/still to heal. Still loving it and wishing I could be here, there, and everywhere. Still scared and uncertain. Still joyful.... and imagining being there at DR with all of you who I miss very very much.

Friday, April 16, 2010

In the course of a day

I woke up today feeling very sad and fearful. I have been taking it super easy for the past few days thinking that my level of activity was causing the tenderness in my abdomen. I expected that this morning I would wake up and feel a discernible difference in how I felt. Alas, I did not. I tried for a while to convince myself that it felt different but it really didn't.

I felt myself going to a place of thinking that I should check out the western medicine scene and try to figure out what is going on inside. This is the part of healing that feels like a full time job to me. Sometimes I make light of it because I feel so privileged to be able to take this time, generally free of responsibility, to heal. When I feel physically good it is like a dream come true to just be able to live and explore and learn what it means to heal. Those are the days when the job is easy and joyful. The other days when I find myself caught in what has become a place I have visited a number of times in the past 7 months, a place where I am not sure if I am hearing the wisdom of my heart, a place where being raised in a society where western medicine is the norm, a place where the sensations in my body remind me of the severity of the pain I experienced and want to avoid if at all possible, a place of doubt and indecision, a place where the pressures of the opinions of others weigh heavily upon me, the job is hard. This is also a place where I need help and part of being in this place is that it becomes more challenging to ask for help.

Thankfully today the help manifested and I am ending my day feeling more confident and centered and ready for another day. This morning when I logged on to the tong ren class my internet was working well enough that I got most of the class clearly. I decided to go ahead and get a referral from my GI doctor to get a blood test and to have someone palpate my abdomen. I am not sure that I really think either of these things are going to be conclusive except to make the doctor want to do a CT scan which I want to avoid but what did happen is that I was able to cry when I got off the phone with the doctor. Crying has not been an easy thing for me throughout this journey and I value every time I am able. Then Melany took time away from writing her thesis to give me a treatment. Her treatment brought me deep relaxation and then helped release more tears and crying. She also accompanied me to the doctors office which is something that I wanted but didn't want to ask for. I then got tong ren and verbal support over the phone from my mom and from Eleanor and Hilary. Then I heated up some rocks and held them to my abdomen while I tried to log on to tong ren class with Monica (internet connection didn't really allow this though but they say the chi knows where to go). Then Ashley came over and we shared a mellow evening with miso soup, conversation, and some tong ren.

I am now feeling so much stronger and more able to believe that my body can heal from whatever this blip in the road is.

I also see how I still need to work on my ability to ask for help when I need it. Just when I thought I had this down.....

Today was a long day at the office.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stent Removal

Last week I got the stent out. It took me a while to decide to do it. I felt stuck between what the doctors said which was that I definitely needed to get it out because it had already been in there way too long and what the people who saved my life said which was, wait and see if my body can deal with it.

I realized that having a piece of plastic in me would make it so that any time I felt anything I would be worried about something going wrong with the plastic thing. I spent a lot of time worring that the pain I was feeling was becuase of it.... so finally I decided to get it out. The problem is that I coudnt find a doctor who would promise not to put another one in. The idea is that if the bile duct didnt drain when they took out the stent they would put two in its place to stretch out any scar tissue that was there and then eventually either put in a third or take out the two if it drains. It sound like a bad idea to me. I took the risk and it was worth it because everything drained. The tissue apparently looked great and the docotr seemed very pleased and somewhat shocked.

The nurse brought my tong ren doll and laser inot the operating room with me. She was super nice and supportive. I really appreciate her. My mom tapped on a doll in the waiting room during my procedure.

So why am I still feeling discomfort. Grrr..... I thought this would be done......

The Secret Cell Phone Number

Okay I am ready for calls...... and here is the secret cell phone number..... i am not attached to it though and treat it more like a landline.... so don't expect me to answer it every second...


Living Alone

I have been living in Northampton for a couple of weeks now. I really love it and feel very grateful for the situation. I am houssitting in a super cute bungalow. Wow, more than one room all to myself. I was prepared to face loneliness but so far I have not felt lonely. Sharon and Rachel are nearby, as is Melany, Ashley, and come to find out that Bob Cook is my neighbor. On the weekends a bike lab is run out of this house so its like instant connections.

The chickens that I am taking care of are sweet. I am not so into responsibility right now though and I could do without having to be back at dusk to close them in for the night. Luckily the neighbors are willing to help out sometimes.

Things are nearly perfect here... well they are perfect except that I am having some pain in my gall bladder area that concerns me. Its mild but hurts more when I do things like say.... go for a 12 mile bike ride or to a dance event. It doesnt feel like a big deal when I am not thinking about how I really want to play ultimate frisbee. I have been thinking that once I got the stent out it would be about a week and then I would be ready.... it is a week today and I hink it wouldnt be a good idea to play right now. There is the opportunity three times a week (well more than that but I dont want to play on a team). I am having to learn again about taking it easy.

I talked to my GI doctor yesterday. He wants me to get blood tests to check my liver enzymes. I dont think that will tell what is going on. I told him that I didnt think that would tell us anything and he told me that he knows that I like to do things my own way and think that I can heal myself and that it is my body but that I really need to listen to the doctors and do what they tell me should be done. Hmmm... thats the number one way to get me to not do what he wants me to do. I am considering trying to get my oncologist to order an ultrasound.

In general I feel a huge abundance in my life. I feel super lucky to have the time right now to focus on healing. I am happy to once again have a lot of ideas of htings I want to do but cant do them all at the same time. I love being here, I want to go live in Portland for a while, I want to be at Dancing Rabbit, I want to go on a tour to visit friends. I am feeling joy like I have never felt it before.