Unravel Cancer: Experiences with family battling cancer: December 2010
16 December 2010
08:16   Stanley Cup for Cancer: Everything Update

Holy moly! Long time..er, no blog? Uh, chat? Whatever.

From before Halloween til now it's been non-stop Life, primarily my creative writing class (now completed), and a nutso crazy workload.

The Deep Stuff
Currently, my brother is now a complete quadripeligic. His left arm is completely a dead weight, and he only has 5% mobility in his right arm. After 7 weeks at acute rehab, he's back home in an electric wheelchair. He's unable to transfer himself to & from the chair.

Needless to say, it's hit him pretty hard. He's unsure about how much longer he can hold on, and we're desperately trying to get my mom out to see him.

My mom's cancer came back; we found out Monday. She also has Parkinson's disease, officially. She's also in a rehab facility, and is scheduled to be moved to a sub-acute facility on the 28th. It's unclear whether she'll ever be able to move back with my oldest brother. He has steep stairs and stuff, and she may not have the strength or mobility to handle that environment.

The horrible part (like the other stuff isn't bad enough), is if my mom leaves any of these facilities to visit my brother in Denver, she will lose her insurance. The insurance companies say, if she's healthy enough to travel, she doesn't need rehab.

This is such a horrible thing to face. Insurance companies clearly don't plan for a tsunami of illness like the kind that hit my family. As far as we can tell, there is no exception for when a person has a child who is dying, and they want to see them.

Insurance companies are about making money, not saving people's lives. They're about the bottom line, not the pulse line. Life does not fit easily into spreadsheets and revenue numbers. The entire US health care system does not accommodate "exception". The system then traps doctors and nurses, like a fly in a spiderweb, who likely have good intentions to help people. But, they too, have to play the game that is the US healthcare insurance market. I don't say "system" because it truly is a "market" when money is to be made, exactly what the insurance companies are doing, goaded by Wall Street. It just plain sucks.

Meanwhile, I could whine about a lot of things, like my manipulative boss at work who is not very compassionate. But instead, I'll just write about my experiences.

The Dreamtime Stuff
Been having a lot of very intense dreams over the last 2 months. Mostly they are about falling. Several times I've dreamt about falling down stairs, and then woken up from the fright as my face approaches the ground. One time I had a very realistic dream about flying. I was attacked by armed forces for my superpower. I think I had escaped from a secret lab or something. Several times I "fell" in that dream: once out of a window, once out of a plane, & a few other times. That dream was neat because as I came closer to the ground, I remembered I could fly & stopped myself before being flattened on the ground, because I was no longer scared.

My massage lady suggested it was a good thing, that it meant I was letting go. Fox knows there's a ton to let go of at the moment. A pal suggested the other day that I was mellowing out. A couple friends at Thanksgiving said the same thing, pals I hadn't seen in about a year.

When people you love are dying, breaking your cell phone, getting cut off, slow-ass grannie drivers, crap bosses, and lousy roommates really don't matter as much. It offers a perspective. I just hope I can carry this relaxed perspective with me the rest of my life. My life & my whole being is better for it.

The New Stuff
Been making great progress on a new project I'm launching, hopefully next year. It will also be cancer related, but more epic. I've hired a web design/brand team, and will hopefully polish off my business plan over the holiday.

The more I write, the more I spend time with writers, the better I feel. The final class recital for my creative writing class was really great. People liked what I wrote! That was quite a thrill. My heart is telling me exactly where to go, and there's no stopping me now!

The Learning Stuff
Sometimes still the self-pity & wallowing come. When I feel like crying, I just try to let myself cry. But, I try not to wallow. A good friend in a far-away land told me about his dad. He said that when his dad would feel like a wreck about something, he would drive someplace quiet & pull over. Then he'd let himself cry for exactly 15 minutes. After that, he'd turn on the car, put it in gear, and keep going.

This was such an inspiring story. I have to be careful not to keep things all bottled up. But, if it's 15 minutes or 1 hour, at least I know there will be a limit on the crying. From there, I pray for strength to put one foot in front of the other. I pray for what the next step should be in that moment. I pray for the ability to let all this go.

The Body Stuff
Meanwhile, my body is not at its best, despite my head being better. I still have tremendous stress reactions. My ribcage is not responding well. There is tremendous overgripping in the left shoulder area. My pelvis is still often out of alignment. These are all way old patterns from when I was a kid. They were developed in times of great stress in my family environment, which was pretty much all the time.

I have no idea what to do about this. Other than regular acupuncture, massage, & yoga, it's a total mystery to me. Clearly the deeper aspects of grief, anxiety, fear, etc. are entering into my body unconsciously. So, how does a person become conscious of it? I can only think of just breathing, and paying attention to the aches & pains that arise. Anybody else have ideas on how to protect one's body from stress & heavy emotions?

Anyway, more posts to follow with some of my writings on grief & being present. Thanks for reading - enjoy your holidays, tell your spouse/partner you love them, buy a bunch of flowers for your table while you're at the grocery store, give a doggie a scratch behind his ear, and enjoy being alive. Happy Holidays to you & yours.

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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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