Notes from my jounal on my Cancer (and related life experiences)

Friday May 1, 1998

Heading down to Baltimore. I didn't think I was going today. Car got together and Mike said he wanted to hang out with me so that's good. Once again I'm in a dynamic time period. Tuesday I go under anesthesia to get biopsies of my throat. I guess I've got a tumor in the neck. Don't know if it's cancer or not. I'm not sure if I even buy into that model. I'm not sure what I'd do if the doctor recommended that I go under chemotherapy. I'm not inclined to do it.

I don't know if I have the emotional enthusiasm to go on some kind of dietary regimen. I'm not afraid of death. In a way I look forward to it. In a way, these latest health developments are kind of exciting, I have to admit. What if it's my time?

It's also very interesting that during my Vision I had an image of throat cancer. The image of cancer was very clear and I felt like I was going to come down with it. Of course, so much of my vision was about the "latter days" and that I would have to wait for the "great transformative process". Maybe this is the time now. Maybe this is the time of completion. Maybe I will get very ill. I don't know.

I get a sort of "freedom" quality about all of this. Why get upset about anything? That's the way I look at it. Why not enjoy life, why not be all I can be? Maybe I can get more of my creative expression out.

I would like to be here for others, I would like to make a difference for people. I don't know how realistic this is but I would like to try. I believe in service and saying that now I feel like a novice. I don't know how far I've gotten. I don't how much of my spirituality is bullshit, just conceptualization. How much have I actually been able to live up to? I don't know, I've tried here and there.

Sunday May 3, 1998

Heading back from Baltimore. It was a good few days. I'm fortunate to have made it down given the circumstances of my car breaking down on Thursday. There was a lot of content to my trip - a lot of meetings, a lot of good interaction.

I enjoyed being with Mike. He's a strange bird like I am. We have similarities and differences. He's pretty disorganized, though perhaps not to the degree that I am. I'm more of an information junkie. Of course I have the net connection. Mike may organize his information more efficiently - certainly he is putting out quality writing - but he certainly shows some disconnection to consensus reality. He's also pretty hyper at times. I think a little less relaxed than I am in ways. I think the meditation experience for me is significant in this regard.

Yesterday at the march I hooked up with a young lady named Kristie. She's about 35 I would guess. She's a beautiful lady and very intelligent. She almost has her PhD and has a label of "manic-depressive". I've met several like her who have significant credentials yet have problems working in the system. She has anger and problems getting a job. They don't want to hire her.

This morning I woke up in Michael's Baltimore row home, an older brick structure built in the 19th century. The neighborhood has character. I did some meditation and heard Michael moving in an out of his office room, sort of like my office room. He had his computer setup and was typing away.

I've gotta find the way to complete. I think it's really doable to do these completion cycles. I have so much in potentia. I've worked and touched into so many areas and they've had time to age for sure. Can't I just complete this stuff and put it out there? I get Jung's image of the crested sun. Mike spoke about taking so much information in from reading. When is the time to stop taking in?

Tuesday I go for a biopsy at Pottstown Hospital. I guess this is the next step. I pray that my voice doesn't get affected. Even now I feel a slight sore throat. I know I've had significant throat problems over the past year. So I don't know what will be with this tumor here. We'll just have to see.

Tuesday May 5, 1998

It's Mira's birthday and I'm waiting for surgery in a gown, in a hospital room at the Pottstown outpatient center. Don't know what the effects of this procedure will be - will I be in pain? Will I have physical effects?

This medical experience has put me in touch with images from my encounters of 28 years ago. One image that came up this morning was of my self-imaging as compared with images of others. I am naked in a hospital gown, inside the medical infrastructure. I'm in a timeless place. Others are outside living and enjoying their lives. I am separate from them.

Wednesday May 6, 1998

So now it looks like I have throat cancer.

Friday May 8, 1998

I've got cancer now.

This morning I woke up and felt tired. Like I didn't want to fight. I think I've felt this a lot in my life. But I also have felt other energies, the energies of wanting to live and make a difference and get things done. I think the energy of wanting to live is superior. So now I'm on a path of movement. The awareness of weariness sometimes comes forward and persuades me to lay down. But the life energy inspires me to get up and keep going.

It's a rainy night. With this cancer I'm given the opportunity to come into touch with my mortality. I may die. There's a lot of beauty to be experienced in the moment. Still, we seek the distraction.

Saturday May 9, 1998

Here I am. I've got cancer. What am I going to do with this? Gotta let the process unfold and just take one day at a time. There are some fears. What if I lose all my energy? What if I'm unable to work? Somehow I'll get through. I have some good support, some good friends.

Strange that I have cancer. I could die. I'm pretty young. Always thought of myself as healthy. I guess I'm not so healthy. Weil says cancer represents a breakdown of the immune system.

Gotta keep moving. Writing's a part of movement, just keep my fingers working.

I feel like I'm coming right up to the deadlines. I meet with oncologists next week. Wednesday, only a few days away really. They might want to start chemo or radiation right away. And where will that put me? Might really lay me out, change my life. Might disfigure me. I gotta accept all of this. Although alternatives may be effective I'm not really in a strong place vis a vis body. My body's systems have broken down to this point.

And what about my kids? And what about my work? Gotta take it all one step at a time. It's putting me in touch with the real limitations. I'll only get done what I get done while in a body. How can I benefit others with what I have done? Then again, I might move through and recover, perhaps even recover completely. I might be in a whole new place.

Sunday May 10, 1998

Ladybear writes that she's "with me". That's such a precious gift. I think others are with me too. Some are afraid to say they want to be with me.

So much to say and I'm only gonna be able to say a piece of it. Still it's important to say what I can. I'm thinking of Mike S's biology of fragility. It seems my infrastructure is very fragile in some ways. However, there are powerful energies at root. So I may have to move through some of these structurings, like the PMHCA connection and I don't know what other relations. The good news is that there is transcendent beauty behind all of it.

I'm moving into the completion of that original shamanic image of "cancer ward" and our tumor infested bodies being thrown together into a tank to be placed in the center of the earth. A shamanic communion. A lot is manifesting. It's really time to tell my story in terms of shamanic crisis.

Monday May 11, 1998

This is it. H told me today that she's no longer sure she wants to support me through my cancer. This is news. Big news. What am I going to do now?

Despite the high degree of "voidness" or insecurity or lack of objects to cling to I'm still present and I can move through. Or not. Whatever happens it is true that I still need to let go, to be present. The teachings still apply. I'm called to put some radical stuff into place.

But who am I? Lots of folks have been called to "give it all up". The Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. The Tibetans that had to flee Tibet on a moment's notice. Really there are many others who have had it far worse than me. I'm lucky.

I'm still alive. I still have good things happening. I can rebuild. Perhaps things are best this way.

Kenny is one of my main concerns. Doesn't look feasible to hang around here in Reading. Should I go to Harrisburg? Should I take Drew up on his offer? Should I try to get a place of my own together around here? I wanted to stay in place for Kenny. But from here it looks well nigh impossible. I don't know whether I'll be able to support him adequately with my health situation. I don't know whether I'll be working. Lots of "I don't knows".

Wednesday I confer with the doctors. I'll know some more about further possibilities and course of treatment from there.

I gotta stay present with my responsibilities. It's a challenge but doable. I gotta keep my job and work going.

I gotta call on my special energies. I gotta call on God. I gotta see this through. I gotta focus on my work. It's definitely doable but I can't fuck around.

Wednesday May 13, 1998

Not doing too well this morning. For sure I'm confronted with my human limitations. One major fears are that half my throat is going to be cut out or some other such severe physical trauma. Gotta give that up and I can.

Another fear is that I'm losing touch with my "work". I put a lot of time in over the years to get to the point where I'm at with my creative expressions. This cancer situation is just too much. I don't feel as though I can balance it. But I'm dependent on income.

On my way to Pottstown to meet with two oncologists. I guess I get more information. I guess I get clearer on the steps for me to take. It's hard for me to see options since Heather told me that she didn't feel moved to stay with me the other day. I felt my support pulled away and felt confronted with a whole range of options. At times I didn't even see them as options but just kind of void instability. Actually this is a kind of global perception and I've gone for the "global", I've been oriented towards the global for most of my life. The important thing for me to remember in this is that the clarity comes in making the steps. I'll know what to do when the time comes or I'll have a clearer set of choices and options. This is the process of life, of being present in a body, of having the 3 dimensional circumstance to work with.

The other thing for me is my fear of making the wrong choice and this wrong choice having major consequences. I sure don't want to give myself up into the hands of medical incompetence. I can only do the best I can with choice. An important point to remember here is something that Ladybear said - the choices are presented as they come up. Really, there are no accidents in this. I don't know whether this idea of "no accidents" is entirely true, but I think there are definite synchronicities and intelligences at play. These are kind of behind the scenes and not always apparent.

It's up to me to make the choices as I can. It's up to me to educate myself, to inform myself, to try to understand and then to let go to the process, accept the process and decide from a place of intuition.

Casteneda speaks of controlled folly. Last night the idea of just packing it in and going to New Jersey to work for my dad again presented itself. And this idea or image has presented itself to me over the years at various juctures. I don't know if it is such a good idea, because there is another valid perspective that Heather shared with me. This is that we would just get sucked into the situation as it is. The co-dependence, the limitations that each of us have. I know this has been one of the fears in my life. It's less of a fear because I've developed strength on my own. But with this situation I don't really know, I don't know what will be, I don't know what will be best. From here, I can only take things one step at a time. A great challenge, a great adventure.

Once again, the image of the witch coming up from behind while I throw the seeds over my shoulder containing great forests to impede her progress. The witch is the desirable merger in my particular case. I guess it's knowing the witch intimately. The witch has been a powerful archetype in my life. She's the crone, the feminine wisdom.

I guess in a way this cancer is for me an advanced course in survival. I've been through quite a bit in my life - madness, near-death, divorce, lost jobs, bankruptcy, lyme disease. The cancer falls right into place, I guess depending on the severity. I might have a fairly advanced case. I sure don't wish it to be anymore than it needs to be. Like I say, I have my limitations. I don't know what my limitations are. It's not just the cancer, but really the synthesis of several circumstances such as lack of fulfilling relationship, lack of solid financial self-support, and perhaps some other factors. There's no doubt that I'm in challenging circumstances.

Friday May 15, 1998

Yesterday was rough in dealing with the idea of going on a leave of absence from PMHCA. What am going to fucking do? I'm really kind of freaked. I gotta move out from here, but how am I going to make it? I have some money put away, $3000, even a little more. I was going to get a new car. I need a new car. But I'm not going to have the money coming in for the next few months like I've had.

It's important to realize that even though there are major changes happening here with the cancer and life situations like needing to move and putting together my work, I am in new places with my ability to deal with these things. I have new abilities and am not so subject to old patterns and conditioning.

On my way to the doctor in Pottstown. It's a beautiful day like it's been for the past several days. Haven't really been in a place to appreciate it though. Again I feel like I've fallen into a crevasse. I'm not going to wait around to be rescued. I'm gonna make the steps to get out on my own. There's no one to rescue me. This aspect, of falling down on the path, is pretty difficult for me. For the past several months, I'd actually felt consistently like I was getting somewhere and know I've got to let go of that context.

I hear wonderful stories of transformation through illness. I'm just about done with the book The Healing Path by Barasch. There's a few stories in there that are the kinds of things I would love. The transformational stories. I want to transform my abilities here. I'm still patchwork in places although I think I'm further along than I was in the past. At any rate, I still have difficulties with my work, with coming to terms with effort. I seem to make my projects more than they are. I take an emotional fix of difficulty and then kind of stop. This pattern has been happening for me the past couple of days. I've got to find the way through. This cancer is intense.

Just got done seeing Feiner, B's associate. I guess it will be B and Feiner who do the surgery procedure. The surgery would be about 2 to 3 hours long and will be a radical neck dissection. There may be a further surgery which would be more involved with skin grafts. This would take out the primary throat cancer. The second procdure is a possibility if the radiation doesn't work. This could be quite an ordeal, involving whole sections of mouth and throat. The cancer may be cured with radiation. According to Feiner, I have 25% chance of 5-year survival.

Prognosis is not good. With the surgery there are side-effects. Looks like I would lose some control of my right shoulder and arm. That makes a big difference for me. I don't want to lose my strength in my shoulder and arm. I always related to being strong, and now this is being threatened to be taken away. I might have some hoarseness depending on whether particular nerves are involved.

Feiner said that many are in denial of their cancer situation. I can understand that. Things seem dreamlike to me but at least I feel I'm willing to look at and accept what is happening. I guess I'm going through with this procedure. If I wouldn't, it seems I might have severe deterioration anyway. Feiner wants to treat aggressively. I don't think this is the only way, but I don't think I have a choice available.

Sunday May 17, 1998

Yesterday I went up to Shartlesville with Heather. We hung out for awhile streamside not too far from the parking lot, then proceeded up to sand spring. First time I had been there in about 2 years. Don't know when I'll go again. Consideration of this puts me in touch with the limitations of experience being in a body. There's sadness, but not too much. No regrets. Heather and I had some good times up in those parts. We went hiking together fairly often. Don't know that we'll be doing much more.

A pretty day. I have 8 hours to drive for the pizza service. So far it's pretty good, but I've just started. This may be one of the last days I drive. Maybe I'll pick up again after surgery, I don't know. I think it's really important to heal myself and to marshall my resources to focus on this task. That includes diet. I hope I can see the perspective that's necessary to carry this through. I want my perspective to be based on healing and light.

This morning, just sitting around the pizza service I got images of angels. I experienced chills just visualizing angels. I want them to be here for me. I don't think that's selfish, I think there are plenty of angels available to be present for everyone. I've just gotta make this the reality.

Wednesday May 20, 1998

Michael called this morning. I'm sure he had heard from Ginger. People do get well. Are they getting well because of the material substance, because of their belief, the energy of the healer, or what? Or a combination? No one has been able to pin any of this down.

And what do I do with my own healing? I do believe I'm gonna get through this. The fear is, get through with what kind of damage? I feel I'm like a focus of forces, not all good forces. Who do I trust? I don't have any Master Healer here. The best I can do is give it to God. (The fact that I'm in this position, with these serious choices, may be a good thing anyway.)

I'm in a very vulnerable place. I'll be even more vulnerable going under these treatments. On the operating table the surgeons will do what they please.

Michael said that he thought the western aggressive approach would be effective to take out the cancer. But he brought up the quality of life, the serious consequences and after-effects of the treatment.

What's the price of being here gonna be for me? My kids want me here. That's most important. Will I be able to be here for others? My parents want me here too. But they don't really know significant parts of me.

What Michael said brings up doubts in me that I'm going the right course. I told him it was a question of timing for me. The cancer is spreading in the neck. They'll probably want to operate soon. The tumors could spill into the blood stream. When could that happen? Michael says that there are chinese herbs that could work to reverse the tumor in a month's time. He said I should definitely feel the herbs working in a week.

I have choice. I don't have to go through this western medicine process. I'm not doing this for anyone else but me. But I truly have to know. I need clear signs of what to do.

Thursday May 21, 1998

Heading up to Dr. S's. Yesterday wasn't such a good day. I felt kind of overwhelmed.

Lots of changes after seeing the surgeons. Looks like I'll be doing chemo and radiation. Won't be doing the surgery, at least just yet, and that's good news. Interesting some of my talk with Dr. B. He spoke of how the younger guys sometimes don't relate to the longer term consequences of treatment. He seemed to be talking about Dr. F. Surgery could have much more radical consequences. Seems the situation now will be easier to take. Low doses of chemo and lower doses of radiation than first anticipated. I believe the drugs I'll be taking are fairly new.

Friday May 22, 1998

I need to enjoy my life. How am I going to do this? Would I enjoy working for my dad's printing company? Maybe. I know that I'm not happy now. Even with the PMHCA work. I try to talk myself into being happy. I can identify some aspects that make me happy and some that don't. I enjoy interacting with the people, sharing my experiences, planning, fixing things. I don't like the overwhelm, working alone.

Reading a bit more of Cancer as the Turning Point. Makes sense. LeShan makes the point that often folks with cancer have had some sorts of strong emotional suffering, like unfulfillment and grief. I'm being forced to change my ways. Can I find the way that works? Got to.

Gonna meet Mira. Gonna spend some quality time with her and enjoy ourselves. Cut loose.

I feel like I've been so strictured in my life. Maybe this stricturing has helped to bring on cancer. How have I been strictured? I don't know, kind of in a reversal way. In many ways I've not bought into the system. That's a kind of freedom. However, in other ways I've been conceptually hard on myself. I've looked for discipline in the wrong ways. I've looked to force myself. True freedom is in the real happiness of letting go....somehow. I can't quite find the words but the sense is here somewhere.

Saturday May 23, 1998

Not doing so well this morning. I think I have to let go of everything, but what does that mean? It means I've got to depend on whatever is here inside already. It remains to be seen whether what is here already is enough to overcome this disease.

I've looked at so much in my life. I've processed so much. In the end it all seems rather empty. I don't own any of it. I don't even own what I've considered to be my visions. I've gotta let go of them too. I don't feel like doing some of the things that I think may be helpful or even crucial. Like meditation and diet. I've tried much of my life to discipline myself.

Monday May 25, 1998

It's a gorgeous day and I'm walking in the park. These situations are here to deal with. I'm more attached than I would have thought. These things aren't so easy to let go of. I know I've judged others for my perception of their inability to let go.

The passage in the bible where Jesus carries his cross on the way to Gesthemane comes up comes up for me. He has to do all the work to accomplish his own crucifixion, more than just having things done to him.

I've gotta find the way to bring all the good into being. I've gotta focus on my practice. My practice is spirituality. My practice is construction. I gotta do it right. I need grace for support and breakthrough. I've been deficient in my manifestation realms, the physical realms, my ability to accomplish Malkuth. It's all coming home to me here right now. This is it.

Tuesday May 26, 1998

This place of effort with making moves and not breaking through seems the place of my visions that was represented by a horizontal realm. I suppose lifetimes could be spent in one particular horizontal realm.

Maybe I should just own all of this as my own bad karma. I've asked repeatedly to come to terms with my karma. Lots is coming up now. Why should I complain? Just gotta go through my process. Could be that this is actually good news. I get to deal with the underlying realities.

This radiation treatment will definitely compromise my natural healing process. That's what the doctor said to me today. I will have permanent damage to the microvasculature of the lower jaw. The ph of my jaw will change along with the natural flora provided by the saliva. Not so good news.

Dr. L is optimistic about my chances of healing the cancer through the com bination of radiation and chemo.

Wednesday May 27, 1998

Taking a quick walk in the park. Soon I have to leave to make it up to Allentown to see David for consultation and herbs. I gotta keep moving. I want to do creative work. I feel like I've been too shaky to do the creative work. I want to do the creative work that is closest to my heart.

There's no one around here who shows up in the form of master healer so I gotta be this for me here. I call on the Buddha presence. I call on Christ to be here with me. Heal me as is appropriate for the highest good.

This process is what is given to me and there is good that can come out of it. Right now I am engaged with what is a critical choice - whether to do the radiation and chemo. I'm pre-occupied with damage control. I'm forced to be specific. That's a good thing, I think. Today I feel more in touch with the implications of all of this. But this is a trap too, because really I don't know the implications, they are only probabilities. Having probabilities is only one frame of reference. There's a lot more to life than probabilities. Meaning is important to me. Now, as has been through my life.

Coming back from Allentown. I asked David what he would do if he were in my predicament. He said he would go to Mexico. He says it would cost $10 - 20 thousand. Or $5000 for a week to explore the various clinics down there. Ming Ming ran tests with an electrical instrument on my ear and said "You have cancer. Sorry." But some of the bad bodily signs don't show up for me. My tongue looked OK. My fingernails don't bounce back with blood flow.

According to David the German studies show that root canals are harmful and invasive and the body keeps trying to fight them off.

David suggests that I try the chemo for 2 weeks or a month. And if it doesn't work to arrest or reverse the growth of the tumor I should possibly try radiation.

Michael and David argue for quality of life. David says he would go "have fun". I don't necessarily agree with having fun per se. I try to help people. However, I can't help people if I'm dead.

David made the point that 25% survival chance is based on a lot of people who just say "fix me" and aren't particularly interested in diet or other means.

Thursday May 28, 1998

dream - long tunnels of dark. Tony lives in these tunnels and conducts his computer business. I've brought my hard drive for repair. I'm working with wires on the back of the drive. One snaps off near the drive case as I try to twist it with another. I want Tony to fix it. Tony takes the drive and I'm waiting around while a few folks are moving through the tunnels. One of Tony's employees comes out and says the drive isn't there and I need to go to some kind of warehouse. I'm now in a library which I'm surprised to realize is open at night. Now I'm at the warehouse. Various vehicles are being put together with large scale precision machinery as probably exists in an automobile assembly line. My disk drive isn't there.

Friday May 29, 1998

On my way to Chuck's. The morning has gone beautifully. The major part has been communications with Dr. L about my course of treatment. He's supportive of me only going through chemo. I feel my healing is a long-term process. I want to see how it goes with the chemo and I want to continue with the herbs as my choice. I'll see how things go.

I suppose there is risk. My risk is about quality of life. I need to tune to my spirituality and intuition. These are very important to me, and proceeding from here, I sit at the center of my life mandala and sit with my treatment options. I want to live.

Saturday May 30, 1998

This cancer is here to sharpen my practice and bring me deeper.

Sunday May 31, 1998

Heading out to New Jersey. I'm gonna setup my old 486 computer at the print shop. This feels good. A good start. I'll be overnight to Monday, and then Tuesday I start the chemo.

Now on the Pennsylvania turnpike around route 309. I'm feeling good. I've been doing some mantra. I feel really good about doing the Printing thing. This is happening. I've got some time to shift and move forward. It's like the cancer isn't really predominant. It's like my life needs to be a healing context. I'm a whole person, with a whole body and I want to preserve this wholeness as best I can. And I think healing comes out of this wholeness. I have a wholistic healing system and this feels good and right to me.

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