Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Doom and Gloom

I’m doomed. I don’t say the rosary every day – don’t even go to church. I don’t believe in God, at least not the God most people attach to. I am on the fence about miracles. I am not a vegan and do not pop tons of supplements every day (they don’t go well with chemo). I am taking chemo – allowing all those evil toxins into my body. I don’t visualize enough and sometimes have trouble seeing the cancer completely disappearing and I don’t spend a lot of time self-reflecting.

It has been coming at me from all sides this past week. First there was a conversation over dinner about miracles and prayer, and how if you don’t believe, you won’t be the recipient of a miracle. The second topic which left me feeling a bit doomed was an email about a woman who appears cured of rectal cancer after a pretty grim diagnosis. She attributes the cure to self-reflection. Now, to be fair, the woman with the rectal cancer truly believes that “for her,” and I want to emphasize that she stressed that this process worked for “her,” self-reflection and visualization helped cure her cancer, which she believes sprung from her internal struggles. She also had special radiation treatments – in other words, she did it all, but she truly believes it was her self-reflection and recognition of internal struggles which had the greatest influence on her health.

So, what have I done to help myself? I actually have prayed – to whomever and to all the saints known to cure cancer. I put my trust in my doctors. I have tried to enjoy each day. I eat whatever goes down and is not a turn-off due to the chemo and makes me feel good. I have tried not to worry about the cancer itself by keeping busy and not focusing on the disease. I sporadically do some visualization and meditation (the phone rings off the hook every time I lie down to do this) and go to bed with good thoughts and envision being with my granddaughter.

I know that this information is passed along with good intentions. I am being presented with alternatives and options to help me get through this time. Intellectually I get that, and, deep down, believe in the power of creating your own reality. But, and it is a big but, when you feel tumors growing inside of you and awaken each day to a new pain in a different part of your body, these ideas also make one feel like a bit of a failure. Because a couple of dozen people in the same number of years had a serious cancer that went into remission (or was “cured”) and who happened to practice some form of alternative treatment, we are all presented with the notion that this can be us.

I don’t want to die. I never thought I would die young, although I worried at a young age about breast cancer. Did I create my cancer? Did my early fear of cancer (my aunt died of BC when I was in my 30s and another aunt was diagnosed shortly after) cause this disease to grow in my body? Is this whole thing ultimately my fault, and is the fact that I have had several different treatments with limited results due to the fact that I really have a death wish and haven’t focused on the right things.

This totally is not where I want my head to be right now.


Margaret said...

YOU ARE NOT DOOMED. Let the pray-ers pray and the church-goers go to church.. You are an uber intelligent woman who has approached cancer with all the knowledge you could accumulate and are using it wisely. We all have gloomy days. That's ok but continue to enjoy the good ones just as you have with vim, vigor and vinegar (when necessary) You are an inspiration and the 1st person I would turn to if I needed your expertise. Margaret

susie said...

We all do what we can each day within the bounds of our own beliefs and needs trying to balance our moral and ethical approach to life and death.

For many years I have read theses accounts of people thinking positively to cure cancer. If that really worked I don't think we would suffer taking theses noxious cocktails of chemicals.

Instead we would spend time hooked up to some machine where we we would do nothing but visualize our diseased cells shrinking away.

As I mentioned the other day, you have taken as much mastery of a disease process as anyone can. I find you eligible for a degree in cell biology! I find you awe inspiring. Susie

ann mcn said...

Mary, for as long as I've known you, I've loved you because you live life every day with joy and delight. Putting your trust where you think it will do the most good is the best you can do.

You are doing the best you can do. Only you can know what is 'right' for you. From my vantage point, you are doing everything right.

You are teaching us all about living life fully.

luv ya, dear friend...

Anonymous said...

Dear Mary

I sat with my dear sister, Barbara, a mother of 5. Her youngest were 6 and 7. We had just got back from the hospital where we had received the terrible news that she had secondary cancer and that cancer had gone into her hips. She sat with me in the garden, the sun was shining, the children were playing and she said to me "whatever did I do to deserve this"? She was 47 and she had everything to fight for. This was a very low moment but then she came to a very good decision, to take each day as it came, good or bad and to enjoy what she could (especially cream cakes and lots of them). I believe survival is que sera sera and that sometimes you can have something terrible hanging over you but see others snatched away, when there was no cause for concern or worry. You are inspirational and I love the way you are still living life. Be strong. x Terry x