Tag Archive 'chemotherapy'

May 09 2010

Finding a Natural High in the Midst of the Storm – Issue #51

I’ve been feeling like an immigrant from olden times, sailing on a ship across the ocean – once inspired by a dream of a new life, but unable to feel that inspiration because I’m too darn seasick! I want to touch solid ground. I want to feel good again. I want to enjoy food. I want to remember the dream.

Today I have landed on an island of solid ground, and reconnected with inspiration and my dream of health, and I ate delicious, nutritious waffles for breakfast! Usually by the weekend, the further away from chemo I get, the better I begin to feel. But chemo rolls around again tomorrow, every Monday, another wave, as I resume my ocean voyage.

Last week I had high hopes for a new anti-nausea pill that I was trying out. I felt a little bit naughty – it’s called Marinol, a synthetic form of marijuana containing THC. It is supposed to improve appetite and reduce nausea (and I was also secretly hoping for a nice mellow high). I’d only smoked marijuana about 3 times in my life, in my twenties, and I didn’t like it – I felt paranoid. Now we were to meet again, legally. I wondered how we would get along.

As I took the pill last Tuesday, I was writing this newsletter. Within minutes I found myself reading the same sentence over and over again, unable to get a grip on it — the Marinol had kicked in! My eyes started spinning like little pinwheels and I quickly shut them. Crap! I was trapped in this dizzy spinning wheel for the duration of the dose. I held perfectly still, eyes clamped shut for 2 to 3 hours, with creative ideas like fireflies flickering in and out, then gone forever. I was dizzy for days afterward — so much for my ‘high’ hopes for this drug.

As I rest on this island of solid ground today, I am taking deep, slow breaths, evoking a natural high, the remembrance and feeling that I am right where I’m supposed to be — simply being still and quiet and resting in this spacious place.

I have been reading my Bartholomew book by Mary Margaret Moore, and I’m reminded that, “We have misidentified ourselves as the clouds, when in fact we are the vast sky.” I am focusing on identifying myself as the sky, and peacefully watching the clouds go by.

Last Monday, as I sat in my 3rd chemotherapy session, I closed my eyes and became the sky, witnessing my inner clouds. What I saw was a lifelong pervasive story of mine that was clouding up, coming up to be healed. When I first enter the chemo room I search for the perfect chair where I can plant myself for the 3-hour intravenous treatment. I want a nice, private area. I don’t want to chat with people, I want to be quiet and read and meditate.

The ‘clouds’ gather as I imagine the nurses watching me and judging me as a difficult, fussy, unsociable patient. Then I witness myself trying to counter their imagined bad opinion of me, trying to be ‘good’, trying not to be a ‘problem’ — in other words, not asking for things I need and want, like a pillow or a blanket or water. I get mad at myself for being such a wuss — why shouldn’t I ask for what I want? That’s what these nurses are here for, to help, right?

I begin to judge the nurses – nobody really looks at me or offers to help, except when the buzzer goes off and they come over and press some buttons and dash away. I watch them chat and joke with friendlier patients. Oh, I AM the problem. Now I am in high school comparing myself to the outgoing, cool kids.

Thoughts come like: Why can’t they meet me where I am? Why can’t they ask how I’m feeling? As I witness my thoughts, I know that I am projecting my story onto the nurses. I am amused at myself as I watch the ‘clouds’ drift by, and I become more and more the observing sky.

In this witnessing place I realize that I AM MEETING MYSELF right where I am — I don’t need the nurses to do that. I am celebrating my quiet nature, my need for privacy and time to reflect and being still. I imagine like-minded friends meeting me in this spacious place. I imagine my husband Tom and all the people who love me just as I am.

I open my eyes and high school and uncaring nurses have disappeared. There are only efficient nurses waiting for me to ask for what I want. I ask and they happily give it to me. These clouds were just wisps of past programming, the old core belief that my very nature is a “problem” for those around me. In the clearness of this vast blue sky, I appreciate that some very fine healing happened at last week’s chemotherapy session.

Tomorrow is Monday, another chemo day. My goal is to anchor myself in the feeling that I am the vast sky, even in the midst of gathering clouds and stormy seas and seasickness. Finding peace within the storm is a challenge that inspires me. It is a dream worth remembering.

What are ways that you re-inspire yourself and remember your dreams in the midst of life’s cloudy skies and stormy seas?

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Apr 24 2010

“You Are So Loved” – Issue #50

I’ve heard that some people sail through chemotherapy. I was hoping I would be one of those fortunate sailors. Alas, I am a seasick sailor. I started chemo last Monday and it has shivered me timbers and left me a bit woozy and bluesy.

I have felt myself shlumping like an old gray mare this week, suffering with a queasy stomach and no appetite. I’m trying to remember my chemo sabe attitude of last week, but instead I’m feeling chemo sobby — as in boo hoo, this sucks. I don’t want to get stuck in the energy of that old gray (night)mare. But I also don’t want to be “false positive”.

I went to a doctor appointment yesterday, and while in the waiting room I eavesdropped on a concerned father who was talking on his cell phone to his obviously distraught daughter:

“I want you to know I love you very much,” he said to her. “I love all of you, just the way you are, the good and the not so good, every single thing about you I love. It’s okay to cry. Tears are good. Things grow in a wet environment. Let yourself cry all that you want. It’s helping you grow. I am so proud of you. I know this is hard for you, and you’re doing wonderful. Just put one foot in front of the other, one step at time, that’s all you have to do. I love you so very much.”

Tears came to my eyes. He was like an angel father from heaven, talking to her so tenderly, showing how supremely precious she was to him, saying all the things a suffering daughter craves to hear, allowing her to be right where she was. I imagined that he was my angel father speaking to me so lovingly and tenderly. Angels are all around us.

Several years ago, during a ‘dark night of my soul’, feeling down about myself, I prayed for help. At that moment a card, that was displayed on the shelf beside me, floated to the floor. I picked it up and on it was a big rainbow heart, and the words “You are so loved.” That was such a powerful reminder to me that I am not alone, I am being watched over, I am loved. A few weeks ago I taped that card to my mirror so I can see it everyday and be reminded of that.

I am now being an angel to myself, talking to myself in a loving way, like that father talked to his precious daughter. “I love you very much. You are being so brave. You are facing your worst fears. Just take one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. It’s okay to cry. Let it out. You are doing great. I am so proud of you. Know how very loved you are.”

I opened the Pema Chodron book I’ve been reading, “The Places that Scare You”, to this angel-sent quote: “The ‘secret’ of life that we are all looking for is just this: to develop the power and the courage to return to that which we have spent a lifetime hiding from, to rest in the bodily experience of the present moment – even if it is a feeling of being humiliated, of failing, of abandonment, of unfairness.” (Charlotte Joko Beck)

And then laughing angels flipped the book open to this quote, “In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.” (Chogyan Trungpa Rinpoche). I love that! I am being bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness! “Wake up and love yourself right where you are. Breathe into this moment, allowing, accepting, embracing all that is happening, crying when you need to, and laughing too.”

The funny thing is, as I do this, I begin to breathe and relax, and the queasy feeling becomes a more easy feeling. My resistance to what is happening has created more discomfort and queasiness than the chemo itself. Resistance is a powerful force – and so is acceptance.

Is there something in your life that you’ve been resisting? Is there something that’s been rocking your boat? Be an angel, and love love love yourself just as you are, right where you are.

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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