The Ups & Downs of Life

Nature walk on the trails next to our new house.

Nature walk on the trails next to our new house.

It’s definitely been an insane couple of weeks…  Ups and downs…  Pain and joy…  A little bit of everything.  I guess that’s life, eh?

On a high note, I am absolutely LOVING our new home in Connecticut.  We’re slowly settling in.  Finally unpacking the last few boxes.  Making this house our home.  Getting to know the neighbours (who are lovely).  Bicycling down to the beach.  Getting used to the oceanside weather.

People thought I was crazy to let hubby put an offer in on this house sight unseen.  But I know my man.  I know he has good taste.  I know he understands what’s important to Miss M and I.  I trust him.  And he knocked the ball right outta the park.  This little seaside home is truly our little piece of heaven.

On a slightly lower note…  I’ve been in some serious pain the last few weeks.  From a dull ache in my left arm, through some major cricks in my neck, pains in my shoulder and breast, and lots of swelling.  Ugh!  Originally I’d assumed it was just from the stress of the move or sleeping the wrong way.  But when it persisted I started to get worried.

Luckily I had two doctors appointments on the calendar last week.  The first with my plastic surgeon in NYC who said I looked fantastic and that the swelling was likely related to the blood clot and not the surgery or overexertion.  We measured my arms.  Confirmed the swelling.  And agreed I needed to speak with an oncologist.

Fortunately, three days later I was scheduled to meet with my next potential oncologist.  Dr. H.  Oncologist #2.  With Oncologist #1 being such a disaster, I was praying this one would be better.  And thank god she was.

Dr. H was gentle, calm, knowledgeable, and kind.  She respected my choices and my time.  She had read my file before our appointment so I didn’t have to waste time telling my whole story again.  And she agreed with my plastic surgeon that it was probably an unresolved blood clot in my arm that was causing all the drama.  She told me Coumadin doesn’t work with all cancer patients and switched me to a new injectable blood thinner: Arixtra.  It’s been three days since I started the new meds and I swear the swelling and redness and pain is getting better.  Hallelujah!

But I’m still thinking, “What the hell is this blood clot situation all about?  Why does it keep coming back?”

My darling Louise Hay (who now has an app for finding the underlying roots of physical symptoms) says it’s all about “closing down the flow of joy”.  And my nutritionist too suggested I try to figure out “what is blocking my flow”.  So I am trying to dig deep and figure out the answers, find my flow, and open up to joy.   And I will speak more to these questions in my next post on our other blog – Be Your Truth Pact – in the coming week.  So stay posted.

But for starters, I’m tackling items on my bucket list and getting back to my social work roots.  I signed up for piano lessons and next week I start a training course with the Prison Mindfulness Institute.  They bring meditation and mindfulness practices (including yoga!) to local prisons in order to help prisoners grow, transform, and heal.  It’s not a full-time social work job – but it’s a start.  I’m also joining Bernie Siegel’s famed ECaP support group (which I’m over-the-moon excited about).  So lots of good things on the horizon.

But of course the recent health issues took hubby and I back down the path of fear.  Realizing how quickly things can take a turn for the worse.  Thinking about the possibility of chemo again, or even death.  Reminding us how important it is to prioritize self-care.  So we agreed I need to take a little time-out from all my trips and traveling.  Just stay put for a while.  Batten down the hatches.  Get settled in to our new life here.  Get back into a routine.  Back into juicing, exercising, meditating, resting, nesting, and finding more balance.

Which means, unfortunately, that I have to cancel trips to NY (including my Gestalt psychoanalytic program plans and my cousin’s husband’s next gallery showing in Chelsea with its kickin’ afterparty)…   Plus a long over-due trip to Bowen that I’ll have to postpone.  Sigh…  Such is life.

The other thing I continue to do is analyze my dreams.  I believe our dreams are a window to our soul and subconscious.  (And since we operate close to 80% of the time from the subconscious I figure it’s important to get in touch with what’s going on in there).  My dreams this week all involved difficult or horrible situations that I was able to overcome (getting my car unstuck from the sand…  rebuilding a brand new kitchen in a burned down house…  and successfully kicking out home invaders).  My subconscious seems to be telling me that life is gonna be tough but I will overcome.  Which is exactly what I’ve always felt deep in my soul.  From the time I was diagnosed.  That this is one crazy difficult road to go down…  But it won’t kill me.  Not yet anyway.  Not for a long time.

It ain’t gonna be easy.  But I’m up for the challenge.

Peace.  – T

Hubby & MIss M frolicking at our beach on Long Island Sound.

Hubby & MIss M frolicking at our beach on Long Island Sound.

Miss M & I at the top of the Empire State Building!

Miss M & I at the top of the Empire State Building!

Hubby & I celebrating our 10 year anniversary.

Hubby & I celebrating our 10 year anniversary.

10 Responses

  1. Your house sounds wonderful, T. Just what the doctor ordered for peaceful meditation and healing with your family. I’m so glad your new doctor is open-minded and willing to actually listen to your decisions without judging.

    Your upcoming plans sound like they will keep your mind busy and your spirit happily engaged. I’m excited for you.

  2. thanks. your post fed me today;-) i woke feeling in a good place to act on the myriad of items on my should list [ start doing much less, or no sugar, wear the wieght vest! walk early and all those good things], and your words really feel supportive: Louise Hay reminders, dream reminders, Siegal links , your gut feelings, and much more. and sooo glad for you to have found a ‘good’ doc. Just hearing that she read your file beforehand is wonderful! great start.
    btw: we used to live in guilford, ct and really enjoyed it and new haven ‘stuff’. i love being close to salt water.

  3. What a great post. Glad the swelling thing is starting to respond, and I’m overjoyed that you’ve found an onco you like. And heartiest congratulations to you and Heron on your 10th anniversary! You made a good marriage….

  4. I’m thrilled for you that the new digs are working out so wonderfully. Well done Hubby!! Also wonderful news that you found a new doctor that you feel comfortable with and that can work with you on your terms. I’m so glad you didn’t settle with the first one that did not feel right. What a relief the new meds seem to be helping, I hope the next few days continue to feel better and better. Annnnd… best wishes with the next phase of getting settled and back on track. Thinking of you all. xoxo

  5. Terri, you don’t know me; I discovered your mum and dad’s writing last year; from there was led to Alex Grey’s work and also to your blog. I’ve had friends with the same cancer who overcame it; also by combining standard medicine and alternative approaches. Thanks for leading me to Lissa Rankin. I bought her book after I read your post that mentioned her.

    My own theory is that we all have stuff to deal with here; sometimes it doesn’t seem like much to outsiders, other times it seems huge. But it’s all in the curriculum. I had a cousin who stayed in great health, was an awesome person, etc. She was killed by a drunk driver two years ago and it was devastating to her 80+ mother. So we don’t really know, do we?

    I love your approach to healing and your focus on finding balance; something I am still working on myself. Hang in there, eh? You are on my prayer list, not for specifics (I don’t know you, after all), but to increase your courage, strength and guidance as you go along.

    Thanks for sharing your journey. You continue to inspire me. ~ Linne

  6. So glad you’re settling in to the home you love, with good neighbors – that means the world! With the beautiful walking path. And a listening, supportive oncologist who took the time to read up before you met… medical relationships are so primary. Sorry you’re going to miss some delightful events; a regret I face every day, but that’s true for all of us. Having to make choices among too many wonderful options is perhaps not the worst way to live ;-). When faced with my own background health fears, I do get seen if some problem hangs on and on, but mostly I choose denial – not entirely sure that’s bad, either. Congratulations on your and Heron’s ten year anniversary; an accomplishment any which way you look at it – and it says a lot about your centering that you two chose so well :-). Good to hear from you! And I *love* the photos. <3

  7. Hello Admin thanks a lot for this blog

    I am regular reader for your blog. I know Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and occurs in rare cases in men. Last month i got this major illness in my body really i am so disappointed. I am looking and doing more search about this critical illness. I found one book A Cancer Survivor by Julia Fortune its amazing book i found this book using google search . if you have any reference books or any solution please share with me

    Thanks Linda

  8. Just got around to looking at my email and saw your new posts and stopped to read them all. When you found your dream place and cried, I cried too. I still say there is still wonder, beauty, joy, and love all around us, we just have to find it. I’ve had an unpleasant summer, but a local cancer survivors’ yearly “camp” was so uplifting. 125 women who had all faced cancer down and not only survived, but are all taking the lessons they learned from their battles and passing them along to the new people it is amazing to watch.

    I’m facing surgery on Tues for a kidney stone, the fourth time trying to get the surgery done and the stone out. When my therapist responded to the news I couldn’t have the surgery last week, with a text of “this is ridiculous!” I just sent her a text to laugh about it, that was what I was doing.

    I take such inspiration from your writings, you have no idea how many times I’ve reread posts when I was down, because I knew your words would help.

    Good luck with getting your new home just the way you want it. I’ve been slowly moving into my late mother’s house and sorting through her things is stressful, but I put a painting I made at camp up on the wall, and it helps.

    Keep up your balancing act.

  9. My SIL with lymphoma had to stop her chemo. She’s now on a detox diet that is raw vegan/low sugar. Do you have ideas/websites/book suggestions I could forward to her?

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