Unbound Pagan Blog

Monday, September 5, 2016

And Then There Are Other Days

Now that I am five months into this whole new lifestyle, I find that it can be hard to describe what a typical day is like for me. Friends often ask if the cancer is giving me any pain, and while the answer to that is yes, it's definitely a qualified "yes." As in, well, I'm not sure if it's the cancer, or the colostomy, or the bladder or just the fact that I didn't eat anything yet, or something different that I ate or what. And I have to try to figure it out each time, because that helps me figure out what I need for the pain, if I need anything for the pain, and how to keep it from happening again, if possible. And here's the thing about managing pain: if you let it get away from you, it becomes much harder to control. They call it "chasing the pain," because you've waited too long and now the pain pill you took has to catch up to what you are already feeling, as well as keeping the pain from getting any worse. Take today, for example.

I've had some pain lately that could best be described as an achy coochy. (Is this a good time to remind you that sometimes my blog will tell you more than you wanted to know? Consider this a secondary warning.) What I mean is that when I sit down, I can feel an ache in the area from my colon to the front of my body where my bladder would be. I can't tell you exactly which thing is causing the pain, just that it sort of aches. Sometimes it isn't too bad. Other times I have to go sit on my bed on my hands and knees and rock myself back and forth while hoping that the pain pill I just took kicks in soon. Now, the usual plan is that I take a long-term pain pill in the morning that will last me through the day and then I can take another in 12 hours that will last me through the night. If I need something more, I can take a short-term pill that will hopefully keep me from "chasing the pain." When the pain is managed properly, I might notice an occasional twinge, but in general it isn't anything to keep me from doing things around the house or going places. I do, however, have some part of every single day where I feel some of this pain, so I'm still working on how to manage it properly.

Today I felt pretty good when I woke up, which was wonderful, because I was unable to sleep last night due to the pain until around 12:30 am. So to wake up and not feel too bad was great. I was able to straighten the house, put away dishes, clean out the fridge, clean out a shelf in my pantry, do some writing and a few other things. Then I felt tired, so I laid down for a little bit and took about an hour nap. When I woke up, I could feel the twinge that meant I would have some pain heading my way after a while. I tried not taking anything this time, and I can tell you that was the wrong choice. I've now lost about four hours to: take the long-term pill you didn't take in the morning, take a short-term pill to chase the pain, lay down and rock yourself to sleep for a little bit, drink a bunch of water in case that helps wash anything away that might be hurting you, eat an everything bagel in the hopes that will settle your stomach and keep it from getting any worse with the addition of heartburn or indigestion, lay back down again, try to watch some TV, change out all of your colostomy stuff, lay back down again, take an ibuprofen.

I have found in just the past couple of days that whatever this achy thing is, an ibuprofen or two does help it ease for a while. I think that's why it eased up during the night, because I finally took two ibuprofen (not one of my usual pills). So now it is mid-afternoon, and at this rate I doubt I'll get anything much done for the rest of the day, but I can at least sit here for a bit without crying or rocking myself. There are bubbles going back and forth in my colostomy, so I suspect I have some sort of upset going on with that. The goal now is to keep myself in balance by taking my evening pill on time as I should and monitoring the rest of it in case I need another ibuprofen. I think some of this is nutritional as well, as I've eaten differently over the past few days and I haven't made my organic juice as I should. It's easy to say you are going to do everything perfectly to heal yourself when you are in this situation, but trust me, you will have days where you just cannot bring yourself to make juice or sort pills or whatever, and you have to force yourself to do the right thing and say no to that dessert or yes to getting up and making that juice in the morning.

And then, after a few hours of feeling like crap and fighting the pain, you will rededicate yourself to the plan you have built to cure your disease. As in, tomorrow morning I can guarantee you that I will be back on the straight and narrow when it comes to making and drinking my organic juice. There is almost nothing that three days of organic juice fasting won't set right again, so that's what I will do. It helps to continually evaluate your goals as well. For me, it isn't enough to see myself healed at some random point in the future. I have family moving in with me in October, so my goals are built around that. What I would really like to happen is to continue with my protocols through September and October and then have a scan in November that will show NO tumor in my abdomen. And once that tumor is gone, that means I can have the colostomy re-routed back to where colons are supposed to go. It also means I could have the stent removed from my left ureter. With the stent removed and the colon back to normal, that would remove two serious causes of pain in my abdomen, making it a lot easier to define what is hurting me and what is healing and coming back to "normal." And since I would then have family living here, I would have the help I needed for taking care of dogs and house and such, if I have those surgeries. And you know I love it when a plan comes together.

I feel very positive, despite the hours of pain and the daily efforts to figure out my body, that I can heal, that the tumor in my abdomen right now is shrinking and will disappear, that I may need to spend a lifetime staying on top of these bad cells but that it CAN be done. I don't know what it will mean in the long term, as it does seem odd to get a death sentence only to find myself healthier at the end of it than ever before. Not sure how I will explain that to everyone, but I know my loved ones will be happy for it, even if it is unexpected. And if I got run over by a Dolly Madison truck tomorrow crossing the street? Well, at least I was happy and hopeful today! And that's what counts.

Some days all you can do is nap until you feel better.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How Can It Already Be September?

It seems, these days, that my life is segmented by "when I got the news" or "how long since I got the news." It's hard to behave otherwise, even when you have no intention of bowing to some random prognosis on how long you should live.

The BIG DATE for me is really April 10th, when I woke up from surgery to find that I was supposed to think completely differently about my own lifespan. And now that I look back on those first few days, I realize I was so determined to accept whatever fate I had in store that I was quite abrupt when telling others. I needed my friends and family to immediately accept that I might evolve more quickly than I would want, because I didn't want anyone to fight me on it, or tell me every time they saw me that maybe I wouldn't die after all. And it's actually pretty easy, when in pain, to keep your mind on moving along and not getting stuck in some painful life of disease or injury. Very matter-of-fact, this-is-it, after a while I won't be here anymore. But then you start to work on what you can...nutrition, exercise, emotional health, even just sleeping well. And before you know it, your mind is on what else you can do to better your health and cure yourself, and that date they gave you...the one that hovers in the back of your mind all of the time...kind of fades away.

August came and went mostly in a haze of sleepiness. When the month started, I had every intention of at least finishing my current novel, and potentially doing many things around the house as well. But each day I would get up and take care of my babies, and then I would lay down for a mid-morning nap, and somehow I fell into a routine of sleeping where I was only awake every few hours. I worried over this some, but my lovely Hosparus ladies assured me that if I felt like sleeping I should just sleep, that it wasn't going to harm me to nap throughout the day. So that's what I did. Before I knew it, August was mostly over and somehow I wasn't sleeping as much during the day anymore. To be honest, I can barely remember June and July. I know that I only had one more colostomy issue and that Hosparus came and helped me through it, so I didn't end up in the ER again. And I visited the urologist again because the stent was giving me some pain. (Apparently that's what stents do, and they just didn't mention it before, so of course I am now praying the tumor goes away so that the stent can be removed and I won't have to feel that anymore. I would also like to reverse the colostomy, but that will depend on the tumor, and my general health, as well. Most of the powers that be don't want to discuss anything like that because I'm supposed to be accepting my fate and not wishing for healing instead, but tell you what: I'll wish for what I want and to hell with what I'm supposed to be doing. And what I want is to heal and not be in pain anymore.)

I had the usual wonderful visitors, friends who came to chat for a while of an early evening, or who got together with me during a weekend day to get out for a while. One set of friends came and picked me up and took me to the gambling boat, where they wheeled me around in a wheelchair and I had a fabulous time without getting worn out. Another friend, after hearing me go on and on about the possibility of living in an RV if I make it through this cancer thing, found a toy RV that I could play with..you can rearrange the furniture and layout and take off the roof of the RV...too much fun.

I had other friends I hadn't seen yet who came with flowers or food to cheer me up, not that I've turned lugubrious. I'm actually in pretty good spirits most of the time. I'm looking forward to the fall, because I will have some family moving in, thus providing companionship whenever I want. I'm trying to make sure I get out and about socially at least once every two weeks, which is more than I was doing before all this happened. I've gone out to the movies (proving that I can go sit for a couple of hours somewhere without it being too much for me) and out to eat. And I regularly now get my own groceries, gas, various and sundry without any help. I'm still having a bit of trouble with getting yard work done, but that has to do more with the hot weather than my energy levels. I just can't do as much when it's hot. The next few days are supposed to be cooler, so I'm hoping to do a little each day and get the yard shaped up a bit. I know I can call on friends to help if I want, but I'm hoping to have some energy to do it myself this time around.

And everyone keeps asking for updates, because I've been bad about keeping this blog updated. It's hard to explain that I'm doing well, but slept too much to write in my blog the day before. Or that I really don't have much to tell since I haven't been anywhere or done anything. I will make a concerted effort to post the minutia, now that September is already here and asking what is next. Now that my energy seems to be returning somewhat, I'm hopeful I will have more to tell. Since I haven't done much in the past couple of months, most of my news is simply what I've done to try to help cure myself. In July and August, I followed several cancer protocols pretty strictly. I have a list of supplements that are supposed to help combat the cancerous cells and strengthen my immunity and nutrition, so I've been taking those daily. I got a little old lady's weekly pill box to put the pills in, things like D3, Vitamin C, CoQ10, resveratrol, aged garlic, and the CBD oil I found at the local health food store (think marijuana without the THC high...it would be better with the high, but much less legal). I also found a water pitcher with a filter that removes flouride, chlorine, etc. from tap water, because everything I was reading said to stop drinking tap water and drink spring water instead. No way I'm buying all those plastic bottles, so finding the pitcher was a real coup. One filter should last me six months, and I'm drinking as much water as I can to flush my system. I've also just added the Budwig Protocol, which was discovered by a doctor. It consists of blending flax seed oil with cottage cheese and eating it immediately so that the nutrients and oxygen make their way into your cancerous cells. And no sugar! Sugar feeds cancer cells and makes them nice and strong, so I've had to cut out sugar as much as possible. I have been eating an organic watermelon every week though, counting that as a good sugar because I have gotten addicted to them. But watermelon season is almost over, so that will end soon. Oh, and I have an organic juice every day, usually 48 to 64 ounces. So yummy!

So I do have a plan for September, now that I'm thinking in terms of "plans" again. I want to adhere to my cancer protocols strictly so that I give my body the best chance of healing. I want to add some exercise, since I haven't been moving around much at all. Even to just lift some arm weights while watching TV would help me (and thanks to my pal David for that advice, as well as the yummy cranberry juice he brought over). Getting an occasional walk around the block would be even better! While focusing on my health, nutrition and exercise, I want to finish "The Bob Hollow Girls," so that I can get that novel out in October and have that as an accomplishment at least. And I will need to do some work on the house for my niece and her husband before they move in. I would be so very happy if the fall brings me a surcease from some of the abdominal and bladder pain that I have along with some extra energy to keep going.

I don't really see any reason I shouldn't be able to help heal myself. All of these protocols will make me stronger without bringing me to any harm. And what's the alternative? To do nothing? That would just be silly. My body needs strong nutrients and that's what I'm going to give it. Hopefully along the way will be more tales of friendly visits, finished books and connection with family. I think I'll get back to my photography as well and start posting a photo a day to Instagram or Ello. Think of it this way: I can't go to work at a regular job. I can't really do anything but the very things I've wanted to do for the last few years anyway, which are to write and to create art. Maybe rather than looking at this with some defeatist attitude I should look at it as getting exactly what I asked for, only now I do have to work on optimal health as well. We should all treat life like this, yes? Do the things you love while focusing on your health and nutrition? Yes! That's it exactly.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ginger Ale Quick Update

Thank the Goddess for friends who will bring you a Ginger Ale when you ask, even after you ask them to please not stay because you are all "throw-uppy" today.

Just a quick update to note that I am still alive. It is just over two months since I got my proclamation, and after my recent in-and-out-hospital-stays, it has been somewhat tricky to try to get myself in balance. However, I am very happy to report that until today, I had almost five full days in a row of "cancer pain is managed, colostomy is moving, I have a little energy, and I can eat some food." It. Was. Spectacular. It was everything I remember "feeling okay" being.

Today, however, my system caught up with me again, and it was a day of very few chores, throwing up, and sleeping. It's finally easing a bit, thanks to two visits from friends: one to bring me soup and one to bring me Ginger Ale. I am blessed.

Yesterday I had one of the best days in the last two-and-a-half months. I got to see three different friends AND go to the juice bar to get a couple of juices. I DROVE MYSELF!!! Yes, it was amazing. Driving is so much fun when you don't feel as if you might die eminently.

Anyway, this was just a quickie to give thanks to the universe, and to all of you, for getting me through it thus far. XXOO

Sunday, June 12, 2016

In the End, It's Really All About Love

I haven't known what to say for a couple of days. At first glance, I have the same news as of the past few months...how to keep my body in balance and working smoothly so that I am not in pain and not in the ER. And with two trips to the ER for the colostomy, plus a day in to get a stent in my left ureter in the last couple of weeks, you can probably see how that's mostly what's on my mind. But today...oy. What a day.

Someone filled with hate went into a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killed over 50 people, wounding a like number. Did I forget to mention that it was a gay and lesbian nightclub? There are reports it was backed by ISIS, or because of religion, or maybe it was some repressed issue in this man's psyche, but what does any of that really matter, in the end, to the families of those who died in the shooting? Their loved one is still gone.

We have had so many shootings, and for many seemingly different reasons, but they all stem from one place; they all stem from hate. Normally I would immediately be on Facebook or chatting with friends about the horrible loss. But today I could find nothing to say at first. It seemed to me to be so shocking, so unexpected, so unreal, like maybe it didn't really happen. It has taken me the entire day to figure out why.

I am dying, or so they tell me. But I don't feel like I am dying. Oh, don't get me wrong...I feel bad often enough to know that something is wrong with me. But I really just feel like I'm evolving, sort of getting rid of some things I didn't need anymore, like extra weight, and am instead settling into my core self. Emotionally the changes are even more profound. Most of the things that would have bothered or upset me six months ago no longer have any significance at all. It wasn't that I didn't know what was important. Not at all. It's just that my list of what is important was too long. It has been whittled down from a fairly reasonable list to just one thing: Love.

And this is why I couldn't react properly to the news of the shooting this morning. Since I have been going through my own metamorphosis, my life has been filled with love. From my family, from my friends, and even from strangers. I now have the ability to look into a stranger's face and smile and have the love I am sending to them come straight back to me. My heart has never been so full. When I saw the morning news, I was astonished. How could anyone do this? Walk into a club where people were having fun and bring death? Did he even know anyone there? Does he even have any friends who are gay or lesbian? I do. Plenty of them. I will not name names in my blog, as I haven't asked for that permission, but one couple with a young child is everything that I think is right in the world. They have all of the graces and kindnesses of those who have found their lives full with all that they want and have only the desire to share that happiness with everyone they meet. And you can tell in the way they are raising their daughter that she always have love and empathy for others and compassion. Another friend consistently looks for that "one true love," and his only constant complaint is that he fears he isn't good enough to be loved the way he wants to love another person. He is so wrong. When I look at him, I see nothing but beauty and love and compassion, everything a good person would be drawn to and look for in another.

I never think of these friends as "gay" or "lesbian." Just as "friends." And I can't imagine someone hating them for this one aspect of their lives, this one thing that has nothing to do with anyone else, a thing that is their private life. And now, I can't even understand any of the hate in the world. It's as if, with everyone in my life showing me love and compassion for my own situation, I can no longer conceive of hating anyone for any reason, even the ones whose politics or beliefs I dislike. Hate is like putting concrete in a cake. It's certainly filling, but it will weigh you down, gives you no nutrition, and you're going to have a hard time getting rid of it. Just imagine instead that you use love. You let love fill you up and shine out of you onto whatever it is you wanted to hate. Imagine that our little differences are no longer important, and suddenly you are still filled up, but with something that lifts you instead of weighing you down.

A man filled with hate walked into a club full of people he saw as different from him in some significant way. He saw a room full of people looking for love, and in his fear he tried to control that by killing it. The only proper response is to fill your heart with love and to send that out to everyone. Because I can tell you that, in the end, it's really all about the love. Nothing else matters.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day and Sore Throats

Did you know that Memorial Day started as "Decorations Day" and was intended to be a day for everyone to put out remembrances of those lost in armed service? The date was picked because at the time there were no significant battles fought on that date. I don't know of any relatives of mine who died in battle (unless my dreams of being a descendant of Boudicca are true), so I choose to celebrate the secondary aspect of the holiday, which is just to honor those who served. And I choose to celebrate by doing nothing except maybe playing a video game and "resting" throughout the day, possibly mixed with a little socializing.

I had every intention of getting out and about this weekend. Seems I've been in the ER (or getting prepared for a hospital visit) every weekend for weeks now. This is a long holiday weekend, and the perfect time to prove I am already fighting back against my timeline. Except that at some point along the past week, I picked up a virus that gave me a sore throat for a couple of days, followed by congestion and some coughing today. Now, I'm not blaming my sister, even though those were her exact symptoms when she showed up to stay the night last Tuesday. I'm just saying that SOMEWHERE I picked up a bug that wiped me out this weekend. So, yeah...not going anywhere or doing anything.

I have really big hopes for next weekend.