What A Girl Needs

It’s 3:33 am.

I’m having one of those moments….the type that come upon me on and off through out the day…or night….and leave me feeling very alone.  

One of the unexpected side effects from this journey I’m on is that it’s revealing to me who is really “there” for me, who is kinda sorta “there”, and who is MIA completely.  

It’s showing me who my friends really are…who I can count on and – more importantly – who I can lean on for emotional and spiritual support when times are tough.

Sadly, apparently not that many…at least, not in the way I need right now.  I’m actually getting more encouragement and support from virtual strangers than from my “friends” at the moment. How ironic is that? 

And how grateful I am for these new women in my life.  So very very grateful.  They are literally God sends.  And they get what I am going through because they’ve are either breast cancer survivors themselves, or supported someone who went through it.  Caron.  Elissabeth.  And most recently, Marnie. 

It’s my nature to want to analyze all the “Whys” of things, and this new development in my relationships is no different.  I know my friends love me and want the best for me.  I know this from the depth of my being. But is a 2 hour get together once or twice a month really enough right now? Are they frightened?  Do they think cancer is contagious? Are they too busy or too preoccupied with their own lives to check in with me?

Or do they have in their minds that I don’t need more than that because I am “strong”, and capable and appear to be handling everything OK without their constant emotional support?

I am not discounting the accumulative effects of these bi-monthly visits.  Multiply them by the 3 gals I do this with and it adds up.  I love our times together.

I guess I mistakenly thought that I would have at least one friend who would be at my side, emotionally speaking, walking through this with me a little more closely.  A little more consistently with, say, a text message very now and then.  A phone call during the inbetweens.  An email  to say, “How is your day going?”

I mistakenly thought they would act like I would if the tables were turned.

This is a HUGE eye opener for me.  This is one of those things that alters you forever, because it shows you the true nature of things.  Truth sets you free, but sometimes it hurts like hell first.   My relationships are undergoing a radical transformation as well as my body and my soul.  And rightly so, in the Big Scheme Of Things.    It will be the ones who didn’t leave me to face this alone, who didn’t wait for me to reach out to them for “help”, but took the initiative to move towards me that I will be bonded to.  That I will remember and put my trust in.  That I can count on.

I may be a strong capable woman, but I have moments of fear and dread when I feel anything but courageous.  Especially as things get closer.  How I long for someone I could call anytime of the day, and say, “I m having a meltdown here!  I don’t want to so this!” And have them be there for me…to cry with me and pray with me and hold me until the storm passes.

No one in my immediate circle has gone through an illness like this.  But if and when they do, I will know…from the depth of personal experience….how important being there will be.  And I will be there.  I will do the things for them that I wished someone had done for me.

And today, I will spend more time cultivating these new friendships that have come into my life…women who have told me they are there for me…really there for me…24/7.   I will reach out and let them know how I am feeling, because I know they are available and I know they care.  

Thank you, Mother, for bringing these women into my life.  They have come to be my sisters.  The sisters I never had.  You heard my prayers. 

And thank You for being here with me as well, especially as my own mother is essentially absent.  I need my Mom right now, and You are always here for me, when no one else is.

Wednesday Words

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
                            Wendell Berry, ‘The Real Work’

I am on a journey that I, quite shockingly, have no impulse to blog about.  Write about, YES!  I spend an hour most mornings – more when time allows – with my books and my steno pad and the pre-dawn quiet, journaling. 

As I wait for the date for a lumpectomy  (as soon as next week and, I’m told, to be followed by 4-6 months of chemo, a year of Herceptin, and another month or so of radiation….we will see about that *smile*) my non-work hours are filled with long stretches of Silence, meditation, and prayer.  A tremendous amount of healing has been transpiring in my life since the end of January when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Tripple Positive breast cancer.  So much so that I will not be the least surprised (albiet extremely grateful) if, after I am cut open, my lovely doctor doesn’t find any sign of a tumor whatsoever!

GRACE heals like that….and I am deeply and whole-soulfully engaged in the healing, transformative power of grace on every level.

My son got married a week and a half ago, and it was one of the most glorious, blessed days of my life.  It was perfect and beautiful and a deeply meaningful time for my entire family.  Two days later I quietly celebrated my 58th birthday, my Love Cup still overflowing from the prior weekends’ events and this weekend my grandson comes for a visit.

All is well.

I am feeling amazing and feel healthier and more joyful than I’ve been in ages.  Something that is surprising to a lot of people.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have had moments of gut wrenching fear, confusion, and grief as I’ve struggled to get my arms around this and decide what course of action was best. There have been and continue to be wakeful hours in which I fight to keep myself in the present, and it fall over a cliff of “what ifs”. 

 And yet, those moments are much outweighed by the awesome sense of God permeating my life, including more and more moments when I step out of this realm and become fully wrapped up in the sacred Mystery.

 I read that a cancer diagnosis creates a very solitary journey for the one diagnosed.  While that is very true, it is also true that I have never felt more loved and supported – by those seen and Unseen – than I do today. 

 I am not alone.

People tell me I glow, and look 10 years younger and I have to agree.  I’m 20 lbs lighter, for example, and my body has been healing itself of a number of little issues I’ve had for ages.  Roseacea, some little precancerous skin afflictions, acid reflux.  It’s been the result of a combination to a resurrected spiritual practice, major lifestyle and dietary changes and going all organic with my skin care products (just this past weekend I made some body and facial cleansers and a whipped body butter, all from organic and raw ingredients).  For the first time in my life, self care has become my priority, and it is quickly showing benefits.

But the most important healing I’m undergoing…more than my health, even….is the one I am experiencing in my relationship with and to The Creator.  My divine Mother/Father.  For that, I can thank the Messenger named cancer. 

Today I have a day off – another change I made!   I now work only 4 days a week, and never more then two days in a row unless I want to.  What a BLESSING that is!  And don’t tell the boss, but I have every intention on quitting my job after I m done with what I need to do.  Whether I find other work or not isn’t the question.  Leaving a toxic workplace (after I gleen the benefits of my health insurance and medical leave) IS.

What comes after that, I haven’t a clue.

But I’m becoming much more comfortable with the unknown and I WILL live a lifestyle fully congruent with my Souls’ longing and purpose.

That’s all I need to know for now…