Monthly Archives: February 2015

A Big Wrench

800px-MonkeyWrenchAs Burns said (after his language was updated) “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”    According to Murphy, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”   One way or the other, as the idiom goes, “someone has thrown a wrench in the works.”

I really wanted to spend last weekend in California at Pantheacon.  I was scheduled as a presenter and I was really excited about the workshop I planned.  It was about energy management, specifically in ritual settings, called “Sitting down or sitting out”.  Maybe the universe thought I needed a refresher course first!

It has been a busy month with lots of medical appointments.  My regular readers have heard me talk about dealing with a DVT (blood clot) and blood thinners and anemia.  Every single appointment I’ve had since the beginning of the year has started with the statement, “You need to know I’m getting on a plane February 13th.”

Orion taking me to the doctor.  That's the hospital in the background.

Orion taking me to the doctor. That’s the hospital in the background.

I didn’t get on the plane.  Instead I got scheduled for surgery.  In fact, if you’re reading this on President’s Day Monday, I’m certainly at the hospital and may be “under the knife” even now.  Scheduled publishing is one of those handy WordPress features.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve known for several weeks that surgery was the plan.  I just insisted that I get the California trip out of the way first.  In looking for ways to address the anemia I was referred to a Gynecologist who, as part of a standard exam, did a biopsy.  It turns out that I have endometrial cancer.

It’s been 24 years (to the MONTH!) since the last time someone told me I had cancer.  Back then it was colon cancer and I was relieved to get the news that being sick wasn’t just in my head.  There was a little bit of relief this time as well.  My first thought was that my PAP smear was off, and it was cervical cancer – which is really nasty.   Endometrial cancer tends to stay localized.  Most of the time it’s an easy fix.  Have a hysterectomy and you’re good to go.

Even the idea of a hysterectomy is kind of a relief.  I’ve been experiencing peri-menapausal symptoms for a very long time.  I have ZERO interest in more children.  I’m a lousy candidate, medically, for any kind of pregnancy.  Happy to be done with all of that.

In the ER getting fluids and told I can't go to California.  Trying to look on the bright side.

In the ER getting fluids and told I can’t go to California. Trying to look on the bright side.

The concern is that it’s a second occurrence of cancer.  The concern is that this cancer doesn’t explain the blood clot.  The concern is that maybe I’m one of those people who is prone to getting clots and cancers.  Unless you’re me, in which case the concern is missing the trip to Pantheacon.

I’m not a great candidate for surgery either.  This will be my (count them) sixth abdominal surgery.  The last one was the bariatric surgery less than a year ago.  The nutritional complications from both the bariatric surgery and the cancer can impact recovery time.  The scar tissue could prevent the procedure from being done laparoscopically – significantly impacting recovery.  The blood thinners and anemia add additional complications.

So please send warm thoughts and prayers for an easy surgery and rapid recovery.  I’ll add an update a little later in the week so you’ll know how I’m doing.   I may take a bit of a blogging break while I process all of this and try and get a handle on another version of “my new life.”

And if you’re interested in what I’m missing, here are links to the blogs I’ve written about Pantheacon and flying to California in years past.

https://lisaspiral.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/pantheacon-2014/https://lisaspiral.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/california-2/https://lisaspiral.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/california/

 

Home from the hospital.  Everything went really well.  They managed to do the surgery both laproscopically and robotically!  Got everything and no surprises.  Now it’s recovery.   I hurt and I’m really tired, but I’m glad to have that part behind me.  Thanks for the well wishes!

Travel

 

The Polaroid when I started at Gilda's in June 2014.  I finally made them take a new one.

The Polaroid when I started at Gilda’s in June 2014. I finally made them take a new one.

A friend at Gilda’s club asked me if I planned to have a big party when I hit my goal weight.  It hadn’t occurred to me at all, so I gave it a moment’s thought.  No, I could take or leave a big party.  What I’d really like to do is travel.  I want to go somewhere and do something fun.  Like go dancing, or take a hike in the mountains or something I haven’t been able to do for years.   Maybe New Orleans, maybe Italy, maybe my dream trip taking the train across Australia.

It’s fun to dream about travel, even when coming up with the money seems impossible.  But it’s travel season.  The stores are stocked with “sale on cruise wear” for people who stayed through the holidays and want to get out of the cold now that family obligations have been met.  This month the tags on my car and my drivers license need to be renewed.  Maybe I should take a look at my passport while I’m at it.

She really is sweet, when she's sweet.

She really is sweet, when she’s sweet.

Karina was off on a short trip, not too far from home, this weekend.  This means I had Miss Minnie.  She looks sweet and adorable all cuddled up in a blanket on the couch.  That’s because she’s all worn out from running away from me every chance she got!

Pantheacon is coming up again in San Jose.  I’m trying to get all packed, making lists and making arrangements for Orion.  I’m excited about doing another workshop this year.   This one is about mobility issues and energy management.  I think I could use a refresher!

Here's me and Jesse before.  He's got big ideas!

Here’s me and Jesse before. He’s got big ideas!

I’m fighting anemia while I’m trying to pull this all together.  My brain doesn’t work at 100% and I get “the dizzy”.   The extra doctor appointments haven’t helped either.  I start every one of them with, “You need to understand that I AM getting on a plane.”  It’s all about managing the blood thinners and continuing to dissolve the DVT without setting off a thrombosis.

To give myself a boost I made Karina make me an appointment with her fancy hair dresser.  Jesse at Hair Police is a dear.   He was very sweet, fussed over me, didn’t mind that I am incapable of making any decisions about my hair and I think he did a nice job.  It certainly brightened my mood.  It will also look a lot better in California!

It took me a minute, but I do like it.

It took me a minute, but I do like it.

Hope

The thaw sometimes confuses the plants

The thaw sometimes confuses the plants

It is that time of year when it becomes really apparent that the days are getting longer, light is returning.  Groundhog’s day may be a big deal in some places, but here we are pretty well guaranteed another 6 weeks of winter.   Usually we see a “midwinter thaw” around this time of year.  With climate change it seems that thaw is coming earlier.  Much of our snow cover melted a few weeks ago with temps in the 40’s.  Now it’s cold again.

I’ve written blogs in previous years about the light and about seasonal celebrations.   I’ve written about our long winters and how easy it is to get cabin fever.  What I haven’t written much about, at least not here, is hope.

This is a time of year when hope is in short supply.  Historically, stores are starting to deplete and some household rationing sets in.  In the natural world food is scarce.  It is not uncommon to see herd die off in this late winter season, before the new shoots sprout.  Likewise, in a harsh year predators will struggle to find enough calories to continue to hunt.

Hens start laying again with the return of the light.  Some of us think of this as the dairy fat, fish and smoked meat sabbat.

Hens start laying again with the return of the light. Some of us think of this as the dairy fat, fish and smoked meat sabbat.

In the British Isles and in the Southern and Eastern United States this marks the time of year when there are signs that spring will come again.  Siberian squill, crocus, magnolia – the early bloomers are sprouting.   None of these first blossoms are food plants.  They are precursors.  Signs of hope.

In an interfaith analogy I liken our northern climate Imbolc to the story of the rainbow after the flood.   There was no land in sight, but there is a promise of hope in the light.  It is a time to prepare, a time to invite hope in.  The cleaning that goes along with this time of year is a little like Field of Dreams.   “If you clean it, spring will come.”

There is a metaphor that circulates in the Sufi and the Buddhist communities about hearts breaking open.  The notion is that it takes experiencing true heartbreak to be open to compassion, to shared human experience.  If you’ve never felt it, you are not fully human.  Those breaks, those scars, become the windows in your heart and soul that allow the light of the sacred to shine through you.    By allowing the pain, and not resisting, you also allow the opening.

Spring will come again

Spring will come again

The midwinter thaw is like that for me.  The days are so dark and so cold and everything is frozen into ice.  And then the ice breaks, and the light seeps in and the warmth can begin to reach the waters.  It is a moment.  The ice will come again, just like heartbreak will come again.  But it is also an opening to hope, that after the ice there will also be spring.

It’s a good time to have that reminder of hope in the world.

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