Archives for category: healing

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It is so lame to come to this party so late, but here I am. (Hangs head in shame.) Trying to catch up on Game of Thrones, as Season 7 is days away. Just days away, I tell you!

I have a task.

I had to work to enter Game of Thrones. It is not a friendly land. At my daughter’s insistence and with her guidance I crossed over the threshold. We were two episodes into the first season, when she paused the show, looked at me and said, “right now….this is as happy as these people are ever going to be.” She was not kidding. That is sobering.

The last two weeks in my reality have been rough. The creepy physical fallout of chemo has fortunately remained within the same bandwidth through out this round of treatment, but the psychological/emotional mind fucking that had skipped me for the most part this last 12 weeks, unexpectedly popped up like a leering demonic jack in the box and punched me in the face. Ouch.

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Rest assured, there is much writing flowing from this time. Stay tuned.

The last two days the smoke has cleared and I found level footing again.

Today was the final chemo. 12 of 12. I will continue to have an infusion of herceptin every three weeks, but without the taxol which is the component that kicks your ass the hardest. I will be finished with that in April.

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So what the hell does Game of Thrones have to do with any of this? I had started writing this thesis worthy discertation on why the show is so great and compelling. (Yeah, yeah, everyone else on the planet already knows this and has for years. Sit down and be quiet and watch the episodes!) I discovered that once you get past the Primary B’s of the show (beheadings and butt sex) it is the feel good show of the year!

Who knew?!

Thank freaking god I do not live in Ye Olde Times of Yore dealing with that bleak and hopeless nightmare wondering how and when you will be dismembered. Shit, I am just chillin’ in my air-conditioned house baking in some chemo. This is mild in comparison.

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I have the next eight weeks off to heal, and work, regain my health and work out before I start 6 weeks of radiation. A brand new unknown fire to walk through. Radiation coupled with the continuing infusions of herceptin. Then I shall emerge into a new life and a new routine and I am reasonably sure that being on the Night Watch fighting white walkers is not part of that, but then, you never know what’s in store in your life.

You see, I have these dragon eggs….

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Okay, “tear out your hair” is a bit harsh. How about “let loose your hair”? Being a veteran of the chemo process, this being my second go round, I was familiar with the hair loss part of the show. I like this part. Really. I find it fascinating that your hair begins to come out of your head just by running your fingers through it. Bigger handfuls, bigger payoff. The last time I was obsessed with the process and left it out in my garden for birds and squirrels to make nests with. I loved this process of release, of re-purposing. Shedding your past.

It took till the third treatment round for the hair to begin to go. About three days in, you can actually gently pull small handfuls out. It is deeply satisfying, like peeling a perfect sheet of sunburned skin. I am allowing you to peer entirely too deep into my psyche….

After a few days of pulling and combing and shedding, I went to my hairfresser and had my head shaved. I kept a bag of hair and a dear friend of mine put it into an encaustic art piece that hangs in my living room. (See my blog, “ I am not like I was before” https://jodeenrevere.wordpress.com)

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So, as I geared up to fo through this second round, I was secretly thrilled to go through the hair release again. I wanted to have that experience first and then shave my head. I didn’t want to skip any of the parts, and, well, I like it. It appeals to my delight in the sensory. I scare my friends.

On the day of my third treatment it was the full moon and my hair had just begun to release its hold on my scalp the day before. Of course I played with it all day. Observing the color, the texture. The shine of the silver and grey strands, the auburn/brunettey blondness of the bulk of it. Later that night I was getting ready to go to bed, but realized I had not yet seen the full moon and thought I would wait to see it rise.

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It was a perfectly still and warm night, right before we got the 30 degree plummet two days later. I walked outside in my bare feet, padding down the block, watching her slow ascent between the roof lines of the houses and the leafy trees. Breathing deeply of the late spring to summer air. Breathing in the transition fullness. Making my way back to my yard I stood in the grass, feeling the pulse of the earth underneath me and stood still as the moon rose into view. You could almost hear it move through the night sky. As I stood there in the moonlight, all of my witchy DNA snapped to attention and I did the most obvious normal thing. I began to walk the perimeter of my house and mark every tree and shrub with strands of my hair. Combing my hands through, taking a small handful and the gentle tug and release as the hair came out. I draped it over the tree branches, tucked it into the bushes, sprinkled it on the ground and in the flower beds. “This is my home. This is my place of healing and rebirth. I willingly relinquish this way of being for something new, clear and expansive. I say “yes” to the unknown.” All the way around the house I walked, talking quietly to myself leaving a trail behind me. Gifts of me to the night.

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I felt shifted that night. Ready for the next phase. Two days later, before I could look like a Barbie doll who had her hair done by someones sadistic little brother, I went in and shaved my head. The sense of lightness. I felt the last 6 years of my life with all of the over extension, emotional exhaustion, relationship turmoil and not feeling quite right in my body, slide off of me in a pool at my feet. Yes, I have it in a bag in my room and it shall be released into the wild. Duh.

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In many mystical traditions hair is thought to be a source of a persons power and strength. The longer the hair the greater the power. It is an antennae towards the heavens, connection to the ancestors, and a testament to your past. There is a certain duality in that idea (always intriguing) both the cumulative wisdom and foundation that we develop during our lives that we carry with us, as well as the weight, trauma and habitual patterns we drag around with us, that are stored in our cellular body, that are stored in our tissue, our hair.

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As the hair fell to floor I felt the heaviness fall away. Saw my self emerge, my light brighter, even more hi-def (as if that is possible, apparently it is) Although I love my long hair and I do derive a sense of power, my femininity and my sexuality from that expression, shaving my head holds all of the same intensity but from a different perspective. The power of not being stuck in your past, not dragging everything forward, but shrugging off a heavy cloak and stepping out naked into the world on a fresh path. Your past has helped inform who you and will forever be an integral part of your makeup, and now, you can move forward making different inspired choices, not patterned responses. The antennae is turned inward to listen, not outward be told.

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What if my DNA are being rewired through the chemo and I am being enhanced, upgraded for an entirely new chapter of my life? “I am not like I was before”, and why would I want to be the same person I was six years ago, or 10, or 20 or 30 or…..? I am being challenged to shift, to adapt, to see what’s next. When I am complete with my treatment, I will not go back to how things were before. It will be even better, and my life was pretty great before. I don’t know what that is, but it will be fresh and expansive and I am ready to start anew with my sleek aerodynamic self.

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(the sun rising out of my morning cup of matcha)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was building an outdoor fire in the morning and watching the sun come up. I did it 3 times and then the rains came, and then the morning brought other priorities and now, today on this full moon morning, I built a fire again. it feels magical to build a fire outside in the morning. as if the flames you start light the fire of the sun as it rises. like you helped start the day, somehow.

I am an aries, a fire sign, anyone who knows me would roll their eyes and say “of course she is a fire sign. duh.” although my mother is a water sign, she has always in my world been the fire keeper. we have never lived in a house that did not have a fireplace. ever. my constant morning memory is coming into the living room and seeing my mother perched in front of the fire with a coffee cup in one hand and toast in the other.

I find it difficult if not down right impossible to live in a house that does not have a fireplace. it feels wrong.

fire is alive. it needs oxygen. it is beautiful, mesmerizing, comforting, passionate, exciting, warming and cleansing. I have burned and released many things into the fire over the years. the other night I released the heaviness of the initial cancer diagnosis and the hospital system , by burning all of my medical bills…

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I know right?! I grew up when you were told to keep 5 years of all of your bank statements and bills, receipts in a shoe box, carefully labeled and to not, repeat NOT, dispose of them for any reason until this magical 5 year milestone had been met. I remember panicking over whether or not to keep them, had I kept them long enough? would the same guy who shows up to take you to jail if  you remove your mattress tags come to arrest me if I did? now i figure that we are all modern and computerized and stuff, if they really need to find these records, they certainly can and probably find them more efficiently than I could in trying to dig them up in  my house.

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these are all of the bills from the first go round 18 months ago. the lumpectomy, the untold amounts of medical bills and paperwork and financial assistance applications and …..all of these accounts are settled. they are finished and they were taking up an extraordinary amount of room, physically and emotionally. this was not something I wished to carry forward into my life. I have been cleaning closets, going thru files, creating a massive yard sale/donation pile. stream lining my life. taking up less space with my stuff that I might fill more space with me. so 4 days ago I burned all the paperwork.

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I sat in front of my glorious wood stove and fed the papers in small amounts to the flames, allowing the burn cycle to complete before adding the next. the heat that was generated was impressive. each layer stacking on the next until it now looked like this book of ash. some plump ledger from hell. as it burned I relived and released this time frame in my life. not to erase it, but to give it space to turn into something else. to take all of the gifts that have come from this experience and to move forward with my life. cancer is a part of my story, but it is not all of my story.

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my story is just getting started… this girl is on fire…

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