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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 Card

Elegant Noel Script Christmas Card
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hot Lava

So I'm not very good at this blogging thing am I? Where do the months go? Today is Sunday, and I'm meeting with a friend soon to talk about some trouble she's having, then I should head over to my women's group that meets every other week...we'll be discussing our new book: Leaving Egypt; Finding God in the Wilderness Places (the author is connected with our former church in SF which I find exciting for some reason.) I've already finished the first 2 chapters and took the blessing of a lazy Sun. morning with coffee in bed to review the 2nd one - about how addictions aren't just the obvious ones -  and came across this passage:

...a quote from Thomas Merton: "To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence."

I am convicted and intrigued by this idea. The verb "allow" is key I think. It reminds me of the other day when I was telling my daughter "You always have a choice. You can always say no." Her reply? "Nuh uh Mom! What if you're about to fall into hot lava and die?!"

Ah, the wisdom of a 9 year-old. But she kind of got the "violence" thing didn't she. I guess the idea is to stay away from the hot lava, which is what Thomas Merton is trying to say.  I'm going to keep this in mind this week as I face my multitude of conflicting concerns. I've already surrendered to too many demands and committed to too many projects! (Can I get an amen sister? I know I'm not alone!) But I think I'll start saying no for a little while after this and see what happens. Because I really don't want to fall in hot lava and die! ;)

Psychologically, addiction uses up desire. It is like a psychic malignancy sucking our life energy into specific obsessions and compulsions, leaving less and less energy available for other people and other pursuits." 
- Gerald May

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Of battles and glory

A year already?! So many times I felt the urge to write a new post but didn't. So, here I am, a year later. My lymph edema left arm still flares up and is wrapped up like a mummy at the moment, but my breast MRI last month was all clear so...yay! I guess. No, really, I'm very relieved. But my oncologist has said that, because the cancer had broken out of the lymph node they found it in, if I go two years with no return of cancer my chance of 10+ year survival is good. If I go five years with no return, long-term survival looks very good.
So it turns out that making it through the cancer-treatment battle, doesn't win the war. Yet.

My left armpit is battle-scarred as are what's left of any lymph nodes on that side of my chest. But now the "adjunct" treatment (daily Tamoxifen pill) is attacking my hormones by shocking my body into full-blown menopause. Preventing any cell of estrogen (i.e. my cancer fertilizer) is smart, but it turns out that estrogen is usually very desirable for helping prevent wrinkles, muffin tops, arthritis aches, and uterine cancer, among other things.

So, one's mind can become slightly wasted at this point: "Is that arthritis in my hips or did the cancer make it to my bones? Am I going to bed at 7pm so often because I'm worn out or because the cancer made it to another organ in my body?" You have to make an intentional decision not to live like that every day, which reminds you to be thankful just to be here...right now...hearing your daughter laugh hysterically as her dad imitates a dog, feeling her tight squeeze around your neck, each of you waiting to see who lets go first and not wanting to ever let go! That's when the joy comes back and cancer takes a backseat. There's too much to be grateful for everyday to worry it away.

So that's my job these days...adjusting to an attitude of gratitude, as I swallow that bitter pill and tug that ugly sleeve up my arm. It's a "big ol' goofy world," this side of heaven. Makes me want to listen to some John Prine, sip some wine, and remember that all the glory is Thine Lord (not meant to be pithy, but the rhyme just happened, really!) 

So if it's not all about ME, then resting in that knowledge is the purest form of rest I know. That, and a Psalm a day...can go a long making me feel okay! (ahhh I can't quit...must be the hormones.) Peace out.