Unravel Cancer: Experiences with family battling cancer: December 2009
31 December 2009
22:38   2009 Gratitude List

1) My mom & brother are both still alive
2) Me health is good; I don't have cancer
3) My dad's health is good
4) All the rest of my family are alive & kicking, in reasonable health, and are not in financial dire straights
5) My mom & brother's cancer: if they didn't get sick, a new pathway to spiritual healing would not have opened up to me
6) I've been employed throughout the entire year, surviving 2 layoffs and an acquisition (knock on wood)
7) I was able to take off work to help my mom through treatment
8) My mom & I reconciled our relationship
9) I could afford to fly to see my dad & aunts
10) Tons of awesome rock climbing! Especially the Joshua Tree trip
11) Starting a new 12-step program for relationships
12) Working the 12-steps, and making amends to many people
13) Bought a pickup!
14) Moving in with my best friend
15) The love, support, and encouragement of friends, program friends, & family throughout the year
16) Visiting my mom, brother, and nieces in October
17) Getting a new sponsor who is loving, caring, and amazing
18) The amazing people I met in Denver over the summer
19) No major injuries to my body this year, after lots of motobike riding, climbing, and now skiing
20) My tenants pay their rent every month.
21) My brother skied with his kids for the first time last week.
22) I'm not filthy rich, but I'm making a decent wage, where I can live comfortably.
23) I have healthcare through my job.
24) I live 15min by car from my work, with no freeways.
25) I've got cool, nice neighbors.
26) My roommate's mechanic is awesome, and offered me great advice on my pickup.
27) I've reconciled with an old, dear, high school friend.
28) I've committed to leave the Bay Area in two years, and built a plan to accomplish this goal.
29) I have a 12-step program to guide me & support me through the ups & downs of life
30) I have a Higher Power
31) I finally learned not to take things so personally. (This is still a work in progress, but made a huge leap forward on this topic in 2009)
32) A group of pals came to my house with fabulous gifts, fun, & love for my birthday.
33) My yoga teacher went on a 4-month silent retreat.
34) The world didn't end; we're still here!
35) The Bears beat the Vikings in OT last Monday night. :)

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22:08   Ring in 2010, Wring Out Fear

Happy New Year to everyone! Thank you to all who offered tremendous support through a very tough year.

In 2008, I couldn't wait to get to 2009. Now that 2009 is quickly coming to a close, and the "naught's", I'm not so eager for the change.

Yeah, it's been a helluva year, cancer notwithstanding. But, the difference this time around is a lack of fear.

A few weeks back, my favorite radio station KALW, played a show called Binah. The show featured Rabbi Harold Kushner, and his book "Conquering Fear". (Both podcast links are listed b/c I'm not sure which one will still have the show).

The lecture blew me away, as the key message was "God doesn't want us to be afraid". He went on to describe the phrase "put the fear of God in you" was a mistranslation of Hebrew that instead meant something like, "have respect & awe for the divine".

I've been reading a lot about people wishing for 2009 to be over, since it was such a crappy year financially. But banks and economists won't solve our nation's or world's problems. Being afraid for the future will only make matters worse.

So, as I come into this next year, I'm humbled by the tragedies in my family this year, and walk forward with a peace, a trust, in a power greater than me, that all will be ok. No longer do I have that despairing, deeply-rooted fear that only misery & suffering await me and all other creatures. No longer do I see not only a glass half empty, but stained with the blackness of dried blood from pure, unadulterated hopelessness. It's just not there anymore.

No matter what wrench gets thrown in my machine, everything will work out ok. Life isn't just good, it's great! And no tragedy or awful thing can shake that greatness.

What do any of us have to be afraid of anyway, a bad hair day? Losing our jobs? Losing our lives? My worst nightmares may happen, or they may not! So, why bother worrying about the worst, when I can simply enjoy the best of each moment?

A good friend who studies meditation asked me one time, when I was fretting about losing my job, "And then what happens?". I said blah-de-blah, etc, and he said "And then what happens?". He kept saying it again & again no matter what my response was. It was a huge learning experience that no matter what my fears were, there was always a next step, another option, another place that moment would go.

As friends with newborn babies, and elder grandparents, and all other people I know & love in-between cast a new net in the coming year, take heart of Rabbi Harold Kushner's words, "God doesn't want us to be afraid." Our fear is a product of our own minds. It's fueled by propganda news, and horrible "end-of-the-world" movies, and psuedo-reality TV showing humans at their worst. Just switch that dial off in your head (and on your TV), and let go of the fear. We all create our own happiness, just as much as we create our own misery through fear.

May your 2010 year be fear-free, joy-filled, and hella-fun. Cheers to all!


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07 December 2009
10:47   What matters

Still feeling crusty & tired & low from yesterday's grand situation. (The term "gut-wrenched" has taken on a new meaning. Could have been the spicy sausage I ate...) The reason I'm still giving it more energy, and not moving on is this: family.

Family matters more to me now than it ever has. The biggest struggle since returning from helping my mom, is knowing that I'm living a very boring, stade life with no family in it. I would really like my own family.

Last night my roommate said, "Right person, wrong timing". This is true. Nobody has done anything bad or wrong.

Meeting someone who could potentially be that family person, is what makes this hard. Since my fulfillment in life isn't coming from my career at the moment, regardless of whether I change that or not, it's the comfort of family, having people to care for & rely on you, that seems to matter most to me these days. Somehow, this seems to be the "God-sized whole" in my heart.

So I remind myself to trust. God has something more in store for me. I'm not sure what it is yet. But, at least now it's out for all to see & hear: I want to have a family of my own. Dang it.

Meanwhile, I will try my sponsor's suggestion, and be "family" for my friend who had twin baby girls not to long ago. There's family to be had all around me, if I just keep my eyes & heart open to let it in...

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06 December 2009
22:37   Continuing Amends to myself

I've been contemplating joining a second twelve step group in recent weeks, and it seems inevitable that I do. Today was a day met with much intensity and heartache.

I had been seeing a fellow since Halloween, and he decided to end it. We had a very respectful and integrity-based conversation. There were so many things to celebrate! But, yet it was so bittersweet, too.

At first, I returned home from these meetings quite emotionally raw. In the spirit of thee fellowships, I reached out to call some people in the group. With relief, a gal answered, and I told her about my situation.

The main emotions were not those surrounding the dude politely dumping me, but around my fear of surrendering to this new program. It had been quite terrifying to be "new" at something again, something of these deep spiritual levels. Frankly, I don't want to take the time to work Yet Another Bloody 12-Step Program. I thought I could dabble in this as a "supplement" to my other program.

But, I see, once again, how much my own actions contributed to this situation with this guy. My own lack of boundaries on the physical stuff intimacy; my own clingy behavior as I felt him pull away; my own deep sense of mistrust & sensitivity.

On the flip side, things to celebrate are: we didn't hop in the sack the first month! We ended the situation with compassion, respect, and care for each other. I set an example of taking responsibility for my feelings, and not making it his problem. I'm mostly not taking this all personally.

Turns out his ex got in touch with him & wanted to get back together. It really threw him for a loop. He wanted to be respectful of me & not hurt my feelings by stringing me along. This was one quality I really admired in him. He has a high sense of integrity.

There were plenty of other things I respected & liked about this person. You can bring a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink. If he didn't like me back well enough, I can't make him. I can't make him want a long-term relationship if he doesn't want it.

Going back to the meeting, it brought up so much about my fears, my intimacy issues, and my patterns & habits. How come I chose to date someone who, yet again, was not emotionally available? He revealed today that this ex & he had tried to get back together several times over the last year.

The resounding answer I've gotten today, and much of the last week regarding other topics like work, is to trust. Trust in my HP to guide me to the next right person and/or situation. The thing that was so hard to accept tonight was that my HP was guiding me to this second 12-step program. It seems hard to face this area of my life, and I'm scared.

But, what's the worse that could happen? I get happy? I start to respect myself more? I clean house & heal enough to get into a stable, long-term relationship? If that's the worse, sign me up!

So, here I am, on step one of a new program, trying to be gentle to myself, and have compassion for him too. It's truly a sign of integrity to admit that what you have to offer someone isn't what they deserve, that they deserve better.

My loneliness marches on. At least now I have a safe place to go to carry that heavy weight, and use the tools of this new program and the fellowship there to ease the burden.

Again, my ego has been severely checked, and I've humbly got on my knees, asking for help. It's something I know I have to do, but it's with a lot of begrudgement. *sigh*

I almost forgot how to tie this to the topic - forgiving myself for being imperfect, treating myself with respect & self-care, and not being so hard on myself are all ways of making amends to myself. Joining this second program is a way to do this, too. That was the point, thanks. :)

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about this blog

I'm a 30-something professional woman who's mother & brother were both diagnosed with Grade 3 Astrocytoma tumors within about a week of each other. My mother's tumor is in her brain, and my brother's tumor is in his spinal cord, causing him to lose feeling in his arms & legs. These writings are about my experiences dealing with them, coping, loving them, loving myself, and living my life knowing that they are both dying. I hope you find inspiration and courage from my writings to help you get through whatever is going on in your life.

Lady Vroom


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