AlienNation

wigIt’s 1 a.m. and I can’t sleep.

It’s the steroids.  Tomorrow is Round 2  (I always think of boxing every time I use that phrase.  It’s SO apropos, I should get a pair of boxing gloves to wear when I go in!).  I have to take steroids the day before, during and after the treatment.  They are actually one of my least favorite of the non-favorite parts of of this but they somehow prime the cells to take the chemo better.

Whatever….

So here I am, in  front of my keyboard, looking for some more release.  This has been another week of highs and lows.  The last couple of days I’ve been feeling pretty good physically – almost back to “normal”.  which has been awesome.  Especially since I shaved my head yesterday.   Not sure what I would see with the Big Reveal, I ended up quite relieved and barely shed a tear.  For months I’ve been worried I’d have some weird flat spot or lumps, or would look like a giant embryo.

Praise the BBC Gods (that’s Bald By Chemo, btw…),  it’s actually quite shapely! Yay! My husband even called me beautiful (OK, he’s just a good guy anyway, but still…).  Note to anyone out there facing this: being shaved is FAR less traumatic than running your fingers through your hair and pulling back something that looks like a Tribble. tribbles

When I was finished, off to the wig shop I went and ended up finding a super cute one.  It’s actually in the same style that I’ve been wanting, in a color I’ve worn before.  And thanks to a fabulous tip from one of my favorite Drag Queens, Pandora Boxx, I knew exactly what to do with it to help it look even more natural.  That’s right, Pandora messaged me on her InstaGram account.  We’re BFFs like that. Pandora Boxx

One of the challenges of the week was the letter that came from my employer telling me they were terminating my health insurance at the end of the month.  Sure, I’d be offer the same plan via COBRA, but if you’ve had to deal with COBRA, you know how expensive it can be.  Fortunately, I can get onto my husbands plan.  It’s not too much extra a month in premiums, but I suddenly have an annual deductible to meet.  Like I needed another Change to navigate….Oh, well.  It will get done and from what I hear, with the meds they’re pumping into me, it shouldn’t take too long to meet that deductible.  One drug alone is $10,000 a pop.  Thankfully, for now, we have the money to pay.

What a world we live in, where, right in the middle of a health crises, your employer can legally term your benefits and tell you they are going to have to fill your position.  Sure, when/if I go back, they will put me at the top of the list for any “future vacancies” (uh, I was the only one who did what I did),  but I’m not holding my breath.  That’s just so much legal speak which really means, Girl, you is OUT and when you come back, there won’t be anything for you.  Maybe they’ll hoping I will quit so they don’t have to lay me off.

The irony is, I don’t ever want to work for this company again.  Seriously.  I just want to stay employed so that I can continue to collect State Disability until done with my treatments.  And then?

THEN I want to do what I talked about, and written about here, for ages.  I want a whole new career path.  Something where I can spend my time, talents and energy making a positive impact on the world – and not just on some cold, morally challenged corporate bottom line.  I want to be of SERVICE.   To bring a little light into someone’s darkness, or provide a product or service that helps someone in their every day lives.

I want to do what I love, with people I love doing it with, for the highest good of all of us.

And, most importantly, I want to have FUN and experience JOY while I’m doing it!!

So, this letter is actually a push in the right direction.  Sure, it would have been nice to have the company I’ve worked for for nearly a decade put a little more value on my life, my livelihood, and my contribution to the company.  But I’m not surprised in the least.   We don’t vibrate the same, if you know what I mean.  I’m truly alien there, just trying to keep my space – and my spirit – clear of all the toxicity and drama.  Being an honest and upright person in the midst of ass kissers, double talkers and promise breakers is stressful.

Breast cancer has not only been a wake up call, but a call to action.

Now, all I have to do is figure out what that new life might look like.  Since I still have several months of treatments to go through, and a bunch more healing to accomplish, I’m not ready to start putting out applications.  But I can live my life and see what happens.

And I can DREAM.

Speaking of dreaming, my husband told me that while I was napping the other evening, something quite extraordinary happened outside my bedroom window.  He said that at least a hundred dragonflies swooped in out of nowhere and were swarming around and around.  This is NOT something that happens here, although I did find a dragonfly vortex on my driveway many weeks back.  Oh, how I wish I had been awake to see this!!

The DRAGONFLY has shown up in my life during some other very transformational periods in my life.  I wrote about my conversation with one here in fact.  Reading her words again brings such comfort and assurance.  They ring as true tonight as they did over a decade ago when this happened.  Knowing that a 100 dragonflies were involved this time, well…that only makes me feel even better.

Yes, it’s time to dream.

When The Wild Things Speak

Continued from the previous post…

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Sitting in the shade of the old olive tree in her back yard, her eyes red and swollen from crying and the weed she had smoked, The Woman stared off into inner space and pondered her next move.

After a year of soul wrenching self-examination, spiritual inquiry, and marital counseling, it still wasn’t enough to save her marriage and she knew she needed out. No longer a matter of “IF”, her brain whirled with all the other questions of “When”, “How” and “OMG Can I Do This?”

Middle-aged with two teenagers to support, the prospect of starting over again was damn scary. Was it right to jump off the cliff into the unknown because SHE was miserable? Because SHE needed a new life? While The Woman understood that life couldn’t go on the way that it had been, she longed for some sign that she was making the right decision. That she could have – and deserved – a different sort of life.

And that’s when she saw it.

It appeared from behind the house, a small blood-colored streak that came to a sudden stop in perfect parallel to the ground – a gymnast using all six hands to firmly grasp the Agapanthus growing in the planter not more than 10 feet away from where she sat.

It stayed motionless for several minutes while she looked on, afraid to move lest her little visitor startle and fly off. Eyes wide in excitement, smiling from ear to ear,  The Woman boggled at the biggest, reddest dragonfly that she had ever seen. What a beauty!

As she watched, the insect shifted slightly to get a better hold on the plant, it’s translucent wings sparkling under the summer sun like they were webs of gold dust.

“Hiya, little buddy!” She greeted her winsome guest internally, not wanting to scare it away by speaking out loud. “Oh, aren’t you a beauty!”

“Hello!”

A tinkling bell of a word that was at once human and Other floated across the space between them, landing in her mind. Or was it her heart? The Woman’s eyes widened at the sound, and her insides instantly snapped to attention.

The dragonfly remained still on its perch. Alien eyes, round and dark, appeared to be looking directly at her, penetrating and knowing.

“HELLO!” A little louder, a little more emphatic this time.

And just like that, all thoughts of trouble and despair were replaced with a joy so profound, so…unusual…it caught her breath at the intensity. The dragonfly was speaking to her!

“Yes, I am speaking. I’ve been sent to tell you that All Is Well. Even though you can’t see it now, even though you don’t know how everything will work or what you will do, life will not always be this hard…this painful. Better days are coming and healing is here. You and your children are safe and will be cared for. A deep transformation is happening in you – So deep that one day you will look back at this time and it will be as if it had happened to another person. Do not be afraid. Trust.  Do the next right thing. Forgive and bless your journey. You are not alone, and you are so dearly and forever loved.”

Whether a minute passed, or an hour, she didn’t know and didn’t care. The Woman smiled while tears streamed down her face, unabated. Tears of wonder…of release….

Of hope.

While her mind tried to analyze away the magic and miracle of what was happening, her heart told her that it was TRUE.  God had sent a messenger to her, and with renewed faith in a future she couldn’t see, she felt peace envelop her like a warm embrace.

The dragonfly rearranged it’s wings, turned it’s head, and lifted two front legs in a gesture that resembled hands in Prayer. After several more minutes in companionable silence, the woman in her chair and the dragonfly on her stem, the crimson messenger lifted up and flew away.

Thank you! The Woman’s heart whispered after her new friend. Thank you!!! 

Getting up slowly, not wanting to break the mood, she went inside to lay down and slept like she hadn’t slept in months. She knew now what she had to do.

And she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they would be alright.

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This is a true story. It happened to me.  Before you Poo Poo the thought of an animal speaking or dismiss it as the hallucinations of a stoner, I would encourage you to keep an open mind.  We don’t know what we miss through unbelief. (smiling) Life is far more magical and mysterious than we know. 

That wasn’t the last time that an animal spoke to me.  I have more stories.  Just remember: All living things have a voice – we only need to listen!

This is a photo of a red dragonfly that I took in 2007 while visiting the Huntington Library with my then ex-husband. We had divorced 2 years earlier, and remained friends through the process. 3 more years, and all of the kids grown and on their own, we reconciled completely and remarried Easter weekend, 2012.  The Dragonfly’s message was absolutely spot on.  Better days did come.

dragonfly