It’s official. I’m going to Europe!! Woohoo!
Got the green light from my oncologist yesterday but didn’t make the final decision until I got into the chemo chair for treatment #4 on Thursday and happened to sit beside a lovely lady named Vivian. Turns out Vivian’s family just happens to be from the town of San Giovonni Rotundo in Italy where Padre Pio’s shrine is. Padre Pio is the reason for my whole trip. Vivian’s family personally knew Padre Pio and used to regularly bring fruit from their trees to keep the friars nourished. The moment I heard Vivian’s story I knew it was the Universe telling me to take this trip. Do it now. Don’t wait. So I’m going. I leave tomorrow! And i’m over-the-moon thrilled!
My itinerary includes a few days in Lisbon, a visit to Our Lady of Fatima, a stop-over in Rome, some serious time with Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotundo, and a final pit-stop in Venice. The challenge will be to honour my body, rest when I need to, and go with the flow instead of pushing myself to see and do it all.
On another positive note, I think I’m finally starting to feel better again. Pulling myself out of the depressive funk. It helps that the pain has been more manageable. And I’m back to exercising again (low-key walks instead of running though). I’m also starting to eat healthier. My head space is clearing. My confidence and inner strength seem to be returning.
Plus grandpa has arrived!!! And he’ll be here for the next 6 weeks. Hooray! Having my dad here is a gift. Just watching the joy in Miss M’s face as they play rhyming games and tell each other stories totally warms my heart. Miss M loves her grandpa. And I couldn’t go on this trip without his help. Thanks dad!
All of this good news despite the fact that my tumor markers don’t seem to be getting much better. We’re four weeks into chemo and already talking about changing up the drugs or adding new ones in. My oncologist and I specifically talked about Perjeta (aka: pertuzumab) and Lapatinib. I’ve gotta do more research before I decide. Plus, I had an MRI done this week and the results came back with two tiny suspicious spots on my prefrontal cortex that are not confirmed to be cancer but definitely something we want to keep our eyes on in the future. Oh joy!
Much to think about… Thank god I have an 8-day solo spiritual journey ahead of me to contemplate what’s next.
In addition to the ‘standard’ treatment, I’m also consulting with an oriental medicine professional that my acupuncturist referred me to. He’s based in Hawaii and specializes in integrative oncology that blends both conventional and natural/chinese medicine. Right up my ally. I’m curious to see what his recommendations will be. And I have an appointment with a physical therapist when I get back to start dealing with the lymphadema.
Otherwise I continue to go to reiki, take my supplements, drink my green juice, make time to meditate, and see my acupuncturist two times a week. I am always fascinated by my acupuncture sessions and the inherent wisdom that is contained in our bodies. This week’s pain in the back of my shoulder corresponded with the acupuncture point for guilt in relationships (as I struggle with my guilty feelings about leaving Miss M for 8 whole days). Plus, all my tumors and aches and pains keep appearing on the same chinese meridian – the large intestine. And the main focus of that meridian is to surrender. Which has been one of the most difficult things for me lately. Fasciniating!
I realized last night just how much i’ve been operating from a place of fear lately. I guess it’s hard not to when your body provides a painful reminder each day of your own mortality. And even harder still when those around you are drowning in fear and leaking their fearful energy all over you. But it’s gotta stop. I gotta surrender this fear. Give it to God. Reclaim my faith. Trust that the Universe has a splendid and beautiful plan for me. For all of us.
While I recognize the need to visit the dark places of life. I also realize that staying there is not where I want to be. Once again, I thank all of you for your tough love, your supportive and insightful comments, and wisdom… The reality checks… The reminders not to be so tough on myself… To let go of trying to be so perfect… To not beat myself up over the emotional eating… You guys are some seriously insightful and caring folks!! And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
On Friday I met with my fantastic naturopath (and was accompanied by Auntie L who loved her just as much as I do!). She is thrilled for my upcoming trip to Europe. At the end of our session she reminded me to stay open on my journey. To be aware. To be fully present to all that is around me. I am asking the Universe for guidance so I better be ready to receive it. And to recognize that the answers and lessons may appear in unexpected packages.
All my prayers lately have been the same… Show me the next step on my path… Help my ‘family’ heal. I can no longer live in fear. It is not a fun place to be. Just gotta keep focusing on the present moment. Appreciating the beauty around me… My daughter’s giggle as grandpa tells her funny stories… The setting sun… The smell of the ocean… Watching the local holiday light parade… The moments when my body is not in pain… The thrill of traveling to new places.
Watch out Europe. Here I come!