Gobble Gobble Toil and Trouble

Happy Holidays! I just love this time of year, truly the fall and winter and early spring just my favorite time of year. Something about fall makes everyone seem happier. People do more random acts of kindness, something about the holidays make people realize they are humans, we are all humans and being kind to your fellow humans feels good. I’ve never understood it, but the power of it is palpabile. It helps people feel better, stronger, and heal, or atleast me 🙂

I had planned a pre-thanksgiving day event. I love having parties, they are a labour of love, especially now when my energy is just often times so dynamically low, because parties are super high energy. Thanksgiving has always been a holiday I have enjoyed, turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin, family, friends, happy memories, and so so many things to be thankful for… whats not to love. I decided back in August that I wanted to plan a party for this year. This year has been a hard year for me, it isn’t the last hard year (at least not that I’m allowing yet) but it is a hard year, so many health things on a difficult path, I wanted a chance to get lots of hugs, and to celebrate life.

It was a fun exercise to plan this party. To pick out cute invitations, to plan for the count, and send them, and then to see who would be able to attend. I planned this for the weekend before the actual holiday, because I know the holiday is kinda difficult and tricky for alot of my family and friends – with inlaws and so many family, sometimes the actual holiday becomes an exercise in planning. I figured with it on a Saturday, it would be so much easier for people to negotiate, and while I knew that it being the weekend before it might work out better or worse for some. Just all the best of hopes.

In past years, I have really enjoyed cooking for this holiday. I love the pagendry of preparing a turkey and a feast. Its alot of work, but the labour always feels somehow satisfying in a way that many other things do not. This year however, I am recognizing my limitations, and physically being able to do this work was beyond my current capacity. I started looking at alternative options, because I didn’t want my invitees to need to do anything other than attend and enjoy. I was blessed by finding an incredible helpful site, that had amazing reviews (https://www.bestmobilechef.com/ ) I got connected with a really great lady, and it was both reasonable, and overall amazing. She helped develop a menu and get me a quote that was – well it was more than if I’d have bought all the individual components and cooked it myself, but it wasn’t double that cost, which really felt remarkable.

We have paid for the “get it from the grocery store” type of thanksgiving spread in the past, but since it requires you to do all the cooking, I’ve been very let down with that in the past, because it seemed like “oh here we are going to charge you a little more than if you just bought the stuff, and oh the only time savings you will have really is that you can be dumb and not know how to cook things, and we will give you step by step instructions.” Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t horrible, but most of the stuff they gave us was heavily processed, with a ton of preservatives, and so it ended up tasting much less delicious than when I did it myself, so it was both more expensive, and no real time savings. Overall, not the way to go for “the best”.

This catering option, which was something I’d never really considered is a different type of situation. I am not going to say that I would absolutely repeat it – if I were able it would always be my preference to buy, prepare, cook it myself – its just more satisfying. I will say however, this option was serendipitously perfect. I had a chef show up at my house about an hour before our planned meal time, with all of the food, hot and ready to eat. The chef had made a menu I knew precisely what to expect, and accommodated my vegetarian and vegan guests, as well as the specific number of RSVP I had made. Overall 10/10 of experiences.

The party itself was magical. Just what I had hoped for when I was envisioning it in my mind. There were many of the people I had invited that were not able to attend. We had invited a few folks last minute that were not on my original invite list. We had a good blend of family and friends. We had a good blend of generational mix, we had happy people that showed up, we enjoyed each others company, we laughed, we gamed, we ate, and then they left and went home. Due to the catering, the clean up was pretty straight forward, and there were a few left overs but not too much, just the right amount.

I went to bed after the party feeling both exhausted and satisfied in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. It was a happy pleasant feeling. Those types of feelings that you want to linger, but your also glad when you get to rest like a bear hibernating thru winter.

Happy Thanksgiving.

This week I am recovering, because I also used this day of my party as an official, planned, and hedonistic cheat day. I had so much horribly bad for me foods that day, that it will be a week or more to fully recover. I had round rock donuts, something I haven’t done in like two years. I had butter beer (thank you to my sister, and the universe for making both warm and hot) – which I also tried alcoholic – something I haven’t enjoyed in probably closer to 4 years… I had pie – so so glorious pie. I just love pumpkin. All of it made me feel pretty sick, but enjoying it and enjoying time with family and friends was worth every moment.

This week is about recovering. Getting my tummy back to its happy place, so it can keep healing cancer. Detoxing from all the carbs, and the sugar of the cheating day, and generally getting myself ready for the upcoming treatment tomorrow, and then surgery in 2 weeks. I have a plan, we are back to working the plan.

While I’m happy for the rest of the world for the holiday this week, for me, my thanksgiving was on Saturday. I am thankful for all the loves, and family in my life. I am happy for those that attended, and I am happy for those that were unable. I am happy that life is good for so many of the ones I love. I am happy that life is so good for me.

I am thankful for being able to celebrate life being good.

Odd things, that have given me pause.

I’m going to have surgery. Dec 10th to be exact. Going to have a full hysterectomy. Originally the discussion was about just doing an ovary removal, the surgeon has encouraged the full hysterectomy and after some review, consideration, general prayer, and practical intuition I was led to the general opinion that this is for the best.

There are several reasons.

First, after several years of avoiding/opting out of the genetic testing for cancer, I went ahead and pursued it, only to find I am in the 1%. Yes, you heard me right. I won the proverbial lottery sports fans. It was wildly believed years ago that cancer was a genetic disease, however it has recently been widely confirmed that it is generally a metabolic disease – meaning not so much genes as lifestyle controlling whether or not you get cancer.

The particular gene which I am in this rare minority of cancer sufferers to have, is also one of the more rare genetic mutations. Its one that causes a 14% increased risk of Ovarian Cancer (as well as 5% increased risk of breast cancer – but I am still of a quite consistently content mind that my particular cancer was caused from too many poor lifestyle choices catching up with me)

This is one of the reasons for the surgery. About the worst possible comically morbidly sad thing would be for me to be completely successful at eliminating all of the breast cancer in my body, only to have my body spontaneously develop ovarian cancer. No Ovaries, no ovarian cancer.

My particular breast cancer is triple positive. This means it has a plethora of food sources in my body, and the most prevalent and common is hormones, which I’m really not able to control. My body has done a bang up job my entire life of producing much and many more of these than I have ever needed, and my cancer has found them as a buffet of a food source. The particular chemos I am doing right now, struggle at blocking off the cancer, but with the fact that the cancer in the brain doesn’t seem to particularly be overly receptive to the chemo, or rather I’m just too healthy to allow the chemo to act on the brain, eliminating this food source is sort of a really good idea if your goal is to slow down and starve cancer.

Also practically speaking, I’m over 45. I have had radiation, and chemo for many years at this point. Prior to the first chemo they did warn me about the fact that if i were planning to have children, it was probably the best choice to fast track that at that moment. While it isn’t that I ever really decided to not have children, I feel alot more comfortable in the decision that its not something that is going to happen this lifetime for me. I have recently recognized and embraced the concept that while it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, I am pretty consciously happy with the decision. Its not so much that I have any issues specifically with children more that I am acutely comfortable with never being personally responsible for their rearing or parenting.

The surgeon, in our discussions pointed out that the difference in the surgery for the ovary removal, or the full hysterectomy is a 7 minute difference of time. The surgery is a laparoscopic surgery, meaning they will open 5 small holes across my abdomen, inflate my stomach, and then use cameras to remove the parts, and perform the surgery. I will have 5 scars about the size of my port across my stomach.

The ovaries are supported by the fallopian tubes, and the uterus. While the ovaries have many functions in my body, the tubes & the uterus are somewhat sympathetic organs that work with the ovaries to assist in reproduction and growing babies. As these are not things I intend to do, it makes sense to remove them to prevent a dormant organ from producing possible negative things in my already compromised body.

The odd thing about all this logical things, about this entire thought, is that I’m weirdly happy about this surgery. I can’t imagine a time or a thing of being “happy” to have a surgery like this, but I am, somehow overly happy about the prospect that I’m doing this… It was suggested to me today by my psychologist that maybe its my feeling like I’m taking the attack on the the offensive, maybe I’m being proactive, and I feel that maybe this is accurate. I felt this same way, happy about doing keto… where I was starving the cancer of sugar. There is something cathartic about feeling like some part of your body is causing you more harm than good, and feeling like you have the power to slow it down, or break it or remove it.

So while I am apprehensive and casually optimistic about this surgery, overall I am weirdly happy to be having it upcoming. Now my focus is just still recovering from the radiation and chemo to make a fast recovery from the surgery.

I have been finding some things with balance more prevalent lately. I made a promise to my doctor that if/when a fall actually occurs, I’ll look at walker options or some type of cane to help me be steadier. Its rather a difficult thing to consider, particularly when I’ve just always been overly clumsy the entirety of my life.

Some of the other symptom things that are less, actively visible, but equally troubling are the difficulty in finding the right words more frequently. Again, this is something I’ve had the entirety of my life, however now it is often occuring where I don’t’ notice I spoke or typed the wrong word, and the word I was intending is no where near my mind. Pulling words has become significantly harder, and what I mean by this is that I have always had a very robust mental library system of cataloguing concepts and phrases, and when a word has been misplaced I have been able to locate it thru many filing cabinets of knowledge that were linked. My brain is not working the same anymore, and while the filing cabinets are still there, and I still have access to them, they are scatterbrained, it takes longer if I’m able to use them and often times the information is just not there. Luckily I recognize this is partially chemo, partially radiation, partially age, and partially cancer. Not just a one hit wonder type of thing, and there is also very precious little that it is worth doing anything other than “letting it go” and moving on to something else.

Living in the moment has somewhat become more of a mantra. I still have tons of personality tendencies that want to drive me towards planning or organizing or dewling in what will becoming, and what I have learned in the past, but somehow these brain things are helping me spend more time just being in the present.

Hopefully things will work out like I hope, and I’ll just keep on finding new things to fight the good fight for a much longer period of years. Because of the surgery, I’ve opted to go against my previous decision, and I’ll be getting new scans before the end of the year, this way I can see what happens in a few months from the surgery by having a good baseline from around/before its impact.

In every generation there is one man with a vision….

Since I have started this blog, the title has nearly always come first. Today I feel like talking, but I’m not sure precisely where I’m going with these thoughts. There are some things I went to document for myself, that while they aren’t new concepts or strange things, they somehow link together and form this interesting quilt in my head right now, and I want to remember them.

First, energy, neither created nor destroyed, it just is, and it changes form, shape and position. It doesn’t go away, it just moves to somewhere else.

Second, concept of what you surround yourself with you get more of…. Like the adage that the people you surround yourself with, your closest friends are a reflection of what you are… Like begets like…. Yawns are contagious, tired makes tired, happy makes happy… it all coalesced into a sameness in a particular spot.

Third concept, self care. Fastening your own seat belt, or putting on your own oxygen before you try and help others. It logically makes sense, but its a concept I struggle with sometimes, because Love makes me feel that someone else is more worth of my efforts for saving than necessarily myself.

So, I have all of these loving well meaning people in my life, that thru the nature of my situation, and condition “ARE” my “people” I am spending my time with them more and more, day in and day out, and it means that reflexively I am a reflection of them… their ideals, their strengths, their weaknesses. There struggles are mine, as mine are theirs.

We are all connected, all aligned, that concept of energy is so true, it isn’t lost or seperate. We are all connected. When the mother is rushing to an appt, and she cuts you off, and nearly causes an accident, when the guy is distracted by a song on the radio and almost runs into the pedestrian. When we hear or see someone do something we know they shouldn’t have, or maybe it causes us to feel someway we would rather not. We are all connected. These things are not random, they are not chance. They are energy.

Lifeforce, and a reminder that just because we are having an XYZ – maybe its good maybe its bad, day… someone else maybe having a ABC day, that is not ours to experience, but somehow with us having our day and them having their day, its all connected.

There is a balance in life. For every action there is an opposite reaction. (Physics)

Life is filled with small little moments of time, where we make choices. Each of these choices has an impact on us, and a ripple to our circle of influence, and then outwards to the circles of influence that our energy impacts. Whether its with our words, spoken in harsh tones, or our thoughts and actions in positive harmony of help. Each of us has an impact, each of us has a voice, we all are energy concentrated into a chaotic messy package of body, mind, heart and spirit.

Its not so much why we are this way… but what we will allow ourselves to do with this knowledge, this insight, this infinite cosmic power. We have infinite cosmic power, there is no limitation on what we “can” do… there are only limitations on what we believe we are capable of doing, and often the reasons for those are not only ambiguous, but false. The time for limitations was often in childhood to allow for growth. I suppose there is something to be said for the fact that we are always in childhood – as there is always someone older, wiser, and more mature than we are… but the limitations for safety of getting to adulthood are over.

I’m requesting the universe to attract more stronger healing energy my direction. I want people with this strength, that have healed, that are strong, that are healthy and that want to keep growing thru helping heal into my circle.

To people in my circle of influence I will echo the same drum, the best support you can give to me is to take care of yourself. Your energy example of self care is the love and sustenance I need to help me keep strong.

Peace of Pie?

I started this place list called playlist for peace, its songs that somehow elicit that sense of value in me when they play, they aren’t necessarily the traditional ones, maybe some of them are, but some of them are a little off the reservation as it were.

Had the final radiation last week, and I have to say, as anticipated, planned, forecast, I feel pretty much like crap. While I recognize this is “all according to design” with the plan to compromise my immune system to allow the chemo today to get into the brain and help me fight this, it doesn’t change the fact that feeling like crap even when you understand the why and the goal, is still pretty rough.

We had more quiche the other day from the new bakery restaurant I found recently Papi’s Pies. So so good, and they make pies and croissants. I’ve been doing primarily keto for a long while now, with alot more flexibility in it, but steering generally away from carbs. With the radiation, its a pleasant thing to allow my body to indulge, or rather specific “carb loading” type of a frame for it. I got to have one of their strawberry rhubarb pie slices.

My grandmother on my fathers side was a cook she made the most amazing strawberry rhubarb, and I have been craving that for sometime, because its just not one of those things that most people make especially well. This pie from Papi’s was nostalgic and was the closest I’ve found to her crumble in terms of flavor profile of the strawberry and rhubarb. It was a few minutes of peaceful memories for me.

Have not felt much like doing much of anything the past few days, my body is weak and weary right now from the treatments, and this treatment today is no exception. I will have a couple weeks to relax, while trying to let it do its magic and I can focus on healing and getting strong.

One of the hardest things for me right now, is being weak. Its surprising to me how that breaks me down into tears. Trying to open a lid, that I sealed, so I know its not over tight, and struggling. Or trying to lift up a bed that I had lifted a few months back and didn’t struggle with. Or a clothes basket, or a pot, and just feeling my muscles struggle with the effort, somehow it just hits me at a core part of my being and makes me overcome with a wave of intense sadness that just doesn’t’ really have a good source or a good resolution.

I have faith, that the best possible outcome will be the result of all of these struggles. In my life, I have found over and over again, that the harder the struggle the greater the reward. The more I endured and suffered the more amazing the vistas at the end of the journey. I feel strongly this is no exception, and I try perpetually to take comfort in this knowledge.

There are many joys these days. Small little treasures that come to me in small presents of happiness. Spending time with my family, and just laughing, the pure bliss of being alive. The weather change, and watching Starbuck, my schipperke, run paces in the yard, the cold enhancing his feeling of being alive and thriving in this crazy place and time. The joy of amazon prime offering free delivery for whole foods, a god send of a method to fix a small problem I have been struggling with of not making my support system fetch and carry so much for me.

Overall life is good, I have my meditation/guest room being painted this week, we are getting Phil’s hot tub fixed, all for us, but also in time for our family gathering for Thanksgiving in a few weeks. Heard of another family member on Phil’s side that is going to make the trip, pretty excited, and we are still a little under the count for our plan.

I am thankful for all the people in my life that check in with me on Facebook, messenger, or any of the other medium to see how I’m doing, but its hard sometimes to answer you when I am doing so poorly and while I know you care, and I care so much about the fact that you took time, I don’t want to tell you I’m doing badly, even if it is for a reason of intent that I need to be doing badly so I can be doing much better again soon.

I am thankful for sunshine, and cold days, and OM chanting music to help me keep my chakra open and in alignment. Thank you universe for insights and intuitions and keeping me strong in spirit along this difficult physical road.

Enough for now, going to go enjoy some coffee, a sunrise, a meditation, and get ready for the chemo treatment today.