Rewiring the System

Day 10 with 7 zaps

Day 10 of my adventure, though technically it is the 7th radiation treatment.

People have a messy time with time.

I arrive at scheduled time for my appointment and find that there is a man stuck in the place where they position me. He was the appointment before mine and things just needed more attention than usual. His doctor had to be called and everything stopped until then.

There is no way they can alert me that they will be late since everything can change in a few minutes up to a half hour. I would be in transit with no interest in turning back for a few more minutes idle meditation or conscious focus here in my chair. I might as well do the same thing with my mind there in their chair. I know that going to the doctor is a time consuming event.

I have life experience that proves to me that being impatient is a waste of my energy.

What is of interest is the secret code to talk to the medial profession and get a answer that is both the response to the requested subject and that it gives information that actually moved the process forward and helps me, or what I am called in this equation, ‘the patient.’

The weird thing is that three days ago, when I asked the Main Doctor about my swelling and redness, she changed the subject.

I find I have to be a more strident advocate than I have the energy to effect. So, yesterday, I again asked if there was anything I could do on my own to work in concert with the treatments and not develop side effects such as swelling.

I have this swelling from after my surgery. I was told it would ‘reabsorb’ . Alas, It has not reabsorbed because the treatments happened before the amount of time it takes for the body to process the fluids.

I have something called Edema not only in my left breast but in my left arm with a nexus of lymph fluid in mid bicep. This is flashing pain from behind my left ear all the way down to my fingers. The original Edema was expressed as swelling from my left hip down to my toes.

So basically I am displacing unbalanced hemispheres in my body and energy which is effecting my thinking. The right is relatively regular and the left is puffed.

Unbalanced is how I feel. It is hard to ask the same question over and made to feel like you are talking to a blank wall. It is similar in other conversations especially when I say ‘I am not able to have this conversation now’ and have the other person ignore my request for grace.

The Nurse gave me a print out about the qualities of edema, how it happens and how to both lessen edema and reduce its growth and consequent pain. This is what I wanted from the first conversation with the doctor last week.

What I was told repeatedly was that I should not have these symptoms this early in the treatment. It was such a marginalizing statement: that since I did not fit into their ‘feed lot’ experience they were not going to treat me until I squeaked so they could tell I was not the common farm animal!

I am very drained feeling, it is almost tired. My body is in some altered state. The nurse said that I should listen to my body. That I should rest when ever I feel that certain tired which she could not label yet I fully understood.

She admonished me to go to sleep early! I do not know how to go to sleep early.

My creative personality, first as a painter then as a Journalist and now a writer, I stay up with a creative project until I am completed or comatose.

I meditate regularly, so, perhaps, she says that might be what gives me more sensitiveness to the treatment?
Interesting Very Interesting! I am in a breast cancer remake of the Pink Panther?

My Cancer of transformation is going to get me from where I actually am interested in the people who do not respect me to where I make new connections with people who would always treat me with delight and grace as I treat them.

I take a deep breath in and let it out and think how fortunate I am to have this difficulty. I know that many people do not have to experience such drama to bring about internal change. So many are more self aware. I see people checking in with their own internal feelings and living out of self worth …

Today in the shower before the pool a woman brushed into me. With my heightened sensations from the treatments her small but direct contact was momentarily painful. I looked at her and asked did she hear me say to her, ‘Please excuse me’. ‘No’ She did not hear me or have a sense that she was taking up two isles of space in the walkway. (I did not say anything about her being right in the middle of the walkway, I just wanted to give you an imaginary picture)

I walked into the shower holding my hurting breast and a lovely woman in the next stall said directly to me, ‘ Its not you.’ ‘You are fine and not invisible, many people are just un-awake un-aware of where they are at any moment or in their life. They speak out of their own oblivion.’

Imagine that! She was a guardian angel speaking to me about how I am not asleep at my life. She was able verbally to harmonize my emotion at that moment with what I know to be true about myself. Later I thanked her and told her I was so glad she spoke to me with such directness. A virtual stranger becomes an acquaintance in the act of caring for one another. She said, ” I will see you again.”

Other things happened today but they are on the back burner. Now I have to listen to Don Giovanni on PBS and slip into this Peace through Beauty.

This is the First Opera Production I took my daughter to see and hear. We were living in Princeton NJ where the June Opera Company recruits top voices from around the country to preform at the Lawerenceville School on the Princeton Road during their summer break. The Company put on three Operas each summer and a person could afford to attend more than once. This is funded by the big corporations that have head quarters in the Princeton area.

We saw Don Geovini twice or was it three times? On the opening night, my then just four year old in her Shirley Temple curls, her hand made Waldorf style doll dressed in a matching pink flowered print with a white lace collar, said to the public relations director, ‘in the second orchestral section was the melody for the major Cello concerto.’ or something from the opera was the seed for another major well known piece of music. Then she proceeded to hum the 16 or more bars that were, to her, the most important. Serena hummed and stayed in tune with the notes and rhythm. She did this in the large entry chamber to the concert hall surrounded by hundreds of talking adults. I listen to a lot of music and love different tunes but I could not connect the dots as the fruit of my loins did that memorable night 23 years ago!

We were in a circle of about a dozen musicians and members of the Opera staff. In a small town we could know this sort of person. She knew her audience. She knew this circle of people would know what she was talking about. People were amazed but I was simply delighted to have such a nice person in my family.

Tonight, yes just a short time ago, Serena brought some goodies for me to eat to lift my strength. The soup is delicious. I really like soup!

She walks in with wrapped goodies to the lilting tunes from her first opera! She smiled and started to move with the knowledge of the arias. I am cheered that I have raised a woman who can have culture, beauty and grace in her very core which to bring out to her world, the future.

Mozart’s words fill my home and heart: ‘Dry her tears, Dry Her tears’. The tune is Mozart’s. The tears are mine shed in the shock of the diagnoses, surgery and now this trial of stamina in the face of my waining energy. This music tonight is a gift of the great Mother of the Universe working with the Mother of our World holding my hand and comforting me with the synchronicity of the great Mozart Opera as a sonic presence at the end of this day fraught with my living Opera.

I put the ice pack on my flaming breast and lessen the pain. I am ready for the last act of the Opera as well for another day in the continuing saga. I am very fortunate to live in a time and place where I can get the best treatment from accomplished doctors who are top of their game. I talked with the director of the ‘Friend to Friend’ Shop, next to the Resource Center, about how different and sublime the treatment and other services which are provided for cancer patients here at UCSF. She said the most telling thing is that this service and all the programs are thought of and put in place by the Cancer Doctors! Thank You UCSF.


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