Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Life & Death

From Elizabeth Edwards, "Resilience": "Could there be a reason to die? 'No' is the obvious answer, and it would be easy for me to say the conventional no, there is no reason to die. But if you had lost a child--as I had two weeks short of eleven years before I sat in that hospital room waiting for the results of the bone scans--you might see it a different way. Death looks different to someone who has placed a child in the ground. It is not as frightening. In fact, it is in some way buried deep within you almost a relief...It is not a death wish. It is an appreciation that there might be in death some relief that life itself could never offer."


She lived for 6 years after her first diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer.

I'll bet you thought about me when you heard the news of Elizabeth's passing. Well, if you didn't, then I thought lots about me for you! Her death brought up lots of fear for me and I kept rereading her book in order to see hints of differences between us....differences that I would take to mean that what happened to her wouldn't happen to me. When I realized I'd been going down that road, I told Geoff about my fears and cried.

I've been going to an aftercare support group through WomenCare twice a month. It was nice to be able to talk about Elizabeth's passing with other women in the same position as me. I know that my life and death are not totally in my own control and that there is a plan for me and that whatever happens will be for the best but I really want to will myself into Life.

The quote I copied above from Elizabeth Edwards' book, "Resilience", touched me deeply because I've experienced depression and know what it feels like to see death as a relief. I want to stay as far away from depression as possible. I want to believe that Elizabeth had many more stresses than I ever have had and so maybe I won't die in 6 years because I don't need to seek relief from the pain of a straying husband and a buried son...

Since I am facing another scan next month, it's natural that Elizabeth's death hit me hard. I've had thoughts about the coming year and all the new business that will come to me and yet I wonder if instead of life going on like it always does, my life will change again to one of chemo, challenge and dread. I have an appointment with my oncologist at the end of the year to discuss the next series of tests I need to take.

I know that I can't believe that my thoughts totally control my reality because if I get a recurrence, it cannot be my fault. But I'm finding myself doing things this week that seem like the things I've always done to try to live into my 90's like both of my grandmas: Diet, exercise, gratitude.

So I joined a gym and am enjoying all the classes and exercise. I even got Aimee to join me there. I love yoga - today I had the thought that if I really stick with yoga, I can push away death because it helps me really listen in to my body and take better care of it... I also enjoy all the machines and circuit and zumba. I go after walking with Geoff or I go on rainy days or when Geoff's not available to walk. Today I'm picking up Aimee and going there with her after school.

I know I sound morbid but those thoughts for someone in my position are only natural. Truly when I am in a good place mentally, I check in with my body and can feel that I'm all clear and the next scan will just confirm that. I've been taking good care of myself and feel strong.

I'm joining an 8 week writing class starting in January. Hobbies are another thing that keep me going and enjoying every day. Writing is something I love doing but want to do it more regularly.

I am listening to tons of audios online that inspire me and keep me thinking positively. I found an authentic Kabbalah teacher, Shifra Hendrie, who has lots of interviews recorded online, some free, some not. I highly recommend listening to her classes. Her own story about her journey to Chabad is really fascinating and awesome.

Next Monday we are flying to Palm Springs for a week with my parents and Rachel. We are all looking forward to our time together. Jason will unfortunately be getting his wisdom teeth out, but it will be at my Dad's office, so that takes the edge off. Looking forward to seeing my parents again (haven't seen them since August), relaxation, good reading, movies, and eating great food.

I hope you all had a Light & miracle-filled Chanukah and wish you all a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

I'll keep you posted on my next scan results.