Unbound Pagan Blog

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.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

O.V.E.R. the E.R.

This is a little story about how stupidity (mine) and White Castle's new menu put me back in the emergency room at my favorite hospital. 

See, I have this whole colostomy thing and it requires that I pay close attention to what different foods will do to my "waste management system." Some foods produce small, firm pieces that pop out like they are on an industrial conveyor belt. Other foods provide higher "yields" but of a more mud-like consistency. The ones you DON'T want are those that think your body still works as it always did before and thus a large pickle is worth way more than a nickel.

I speak in code, of course. Also, you do NOT want to try to bag up a large pickle. What will happen is that the pickle will get stuck in the newly renovated highway bypass and then you will have things like sharp pain and vomiting when you try to eat. This is what happened to me over the past few days. 

About three days ago I began telling friends and family about my upcoming juice fast, which is highly recommended for those of us dying from cancer. Well, you can't just up and start a juice fast one day. That will make you feel weak and sad and awful. You have to eat lightly for two to three days, THEN do your juice fast. Two days ago was to be my second day of eating lightly, so I had a banana, some pineapple, some watermelon and ... and then I saw the commercial for White Castle touting the new "Cheese Curd Nibblers." Boy do I love me some cheese curds. My thinking was that it was still pretty light, since I had nothing else but fruit so far that day. So I drive on through and order me up a medium (insert the words "bag of crap-curds" here) helping.

They weren't even that good, of course, since they were a fried and salty version of one of Wisconsin's gifts to the world (at least that's the only place I've ever seen cheese curds in the wild, so I assume that is from whence they came). But eat them up I did. I remember feeling proud that I was finally hungry again. By later in the evening, I was not only NOT hungry, but actually feeling a little sickly. I fell asleep over and over again. I was asleep on the couch when a friend stopped by for a short visit, and after she left I went to bed early, before waking up a couple of hours later for an epic "heave and hurl." The rest of the night was a blur of trying not to throw up anymore, trying to sleep, and trying to figure out why my tummy hurt right in the middle. I decided if I threw up again the next day, I would go see someone about it.

When I got up on Saturday, I didn't feel too bad. Still tired though. Then I tried to eat just half a banana. Twenty minutes later I was violently relieved of both the banana and most of the water I had tried to drink that morning. I still had sharp pains in my abdomen as well, and became horribly worried that I had torn another hole in my colon. So I call sis to come up (in case I needed another damn surgery) and called a friend for a ride to the ER. Around seven hours later, I was on my way back home, full of medicines that make life seem a little dreamy, thanking my sister profusely for coming up to stay with me, and much wiser about how cautious I need to be when eating now. I was fortunate in that there was no tear in the colon, and it wasn't completely blocked. It was, however, "moving very slowly." It needed plenty of water, a "softener," and some anti-nausea medicine. Because it was stopping up, my body was rejecting anything I ate, I guess so that it doesn't get even worse. I am quite relieved that's all it was.

But damn the cheese curds, man. Never again. They shall forevermore be known as "pipeblockers." And I feel stupid, because what a ridiculous choice for an "eating light" day. Seriously? I'm an idiot. Back to the drawing board. Today I managed to eat maybe one egg scrambled (I made them for our breakfast but didn't eat much), then a baked potato for lunch (but none of the peel...just the inside scooped out with a little sour cream and chives on it). And I had a very small and healthy cookie type treat from a friend. All of that has stayed down, so to speak. I will continue to eat light for a few more days, until after I get the stent inserted on Tuesday (a stent to open the left ureter, which is being squeezed by a tumor and causing the left kidney to swell because damn ain't that a fun thing). After that I will attempt the juice fast with no cheese curds or other fast food treats of any kind.

That might work a little better. Sincerely, a much wiser Pagan.

Friday, May 13, 2016

CT Scans and What Not

Last Tuesday I had a CT scan with contrast at the request of my urologist. I was happy to do so, because the doctors who did my surgery were a little vague as to exactly where the remaining cancer was located, and I knew the CT scan would light up those bad cells like an overdone Christmas tree. I returned to my urologist this morning for the results.

He came into the room, sweet and kind as always, and began reading through the report from the scan. After a long moment, he asked how my pain pills were working and I told him truthfully that I get maybe three hours without pain then I have to just tough it out until it's time to take another one. He was already writing out a new prescription as I spoke. This one is twice the strength of the other, and he said if I still felt pain to take two.

Yikes. I really wanted to see what was in that report, so he gave me a copy. It is about three pages long and lists a litany of "there's a bunch of cancer in your abdomen" information. I have a cancerous mass like a four-inch square that is surrounding the ureter descending from the left kidney and obstructing it. My lymph nodes in my pelvis are compromised. I have several cysts, one in my liver and one in the left kidney. There is a stone in the bladder and possible cancerous cells in the bladder. There are multiple locations of random cancerous cells throughout the pelvic area. None of which, of course, is exactly good news.

But we already knew I had cancer in my abdomen, right? So really, this is just the specifics of what I've already accepted. My urologist will get me in within the next 7 to 10 days and put me under to put a stent in the ureter and that will relieve some of the left side pain coming from that kidney. There may or may not have been a discussion about the efficacy of "weed" and whether or not I could get some from my friends. I guess in a way I'm happy to know that I'm not just crazy and thinking I'm in pain when I'm not. But I'm unhappy to think that this is what cancer is, and now I will need to be constantly trying to treat the pain.

All of this new information doesn't change any of my plans, though. I will blast my body with everything I can find in nature that is intended to help; juicing organic vegetables, eating only organic, eating more asparagus. I might even get the cesium chloride I've been researching. I mean, what other choice do I have but to do what I can for myself? I still feel blessed that I have some time to do a few more things. That whole "drive across the country in an RV" thing might still happen after all!

Peace and love.