Archive for the ‘witch’s cancer journey’ Category

It’s been a while since I’ve shared the cancer journey here as it seemed that things were on a good track, especially considering the prognosis for Stage 4 ovarian cancer. The thing I’ve learned this year is that sometimes you need to let yourself feel anger instead of suppressing it. 

A little catchup: last year, the local oncologist switched me from the second chemo treatment we tried (which was having mixed results) and I was put on a simple and inexpensive estrogen-blocking pill. Things seemed to be going well and I felt good. Because of that, the oncology center at the specialist hospital two hours away didn’t see the need to reassign me to a specialist when mine left their hospital. 

Ten months later I was scheduled for some corrective surgeries, which we knew was going to be difficult due to a lot of scar tissue that showed up in scans. When the surgeons opened me up, they discovered it wasn’t scar tissue – it was the spread of the cancer in a thin layer over my abdomen. The good doctors immediately shut me back up and called one of the gynecological oncologists to get me on her patient list. Upon talking to her while I recovered in the hospital, she told me she never would have put me on the estrogen blocker as a treatment (as a maintenance drug when the cancer is gone, yes). 

I was frustrated, to say the least.

For ten months I took a drug that only slowed the growth but did not actively fight it – because things “seemed” OK and it was deemed I didn’t need a specialist. 

Despite frustration with the medical world, I’ve been blessed with supportive friends and family!

Throughout my journey with cancer, I’ve tried to focus on the positive and to just do whatever I can to help myself, physically and mentally. I refused to become fixated on the statistics, which aren’t good. That’s not how I work. But in the weeks after my non-surgery, anger came to the fore. I tried not to let it rule me, but I was pissed off at being handed around by the medical system in a way that could have set me back. I was upset that getting scans from one hospital to another was an uphill battle and that even when they got them, they weren’t read correctly (that, or the scans weren’t that good to begin with). 

I finally realized that much like when I did shadow work focused on my family, I needed to honor my anger in order to let it go. Holding onto it and suppressing it was not helping my body fight this battle. Even the poets tell us this is true, from Whitman’s “barbaric yawps over the roofs of the world” to Dylan Thomas’ “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” 

So, off I went into the backyard and looked around for a way to get out my angry energy. In the past, I might take a shovel and dug up a new flower bed or dug out a stubborn stump. But my abdominal staples had just been taken out and physical exertion was off limits. Frustrated and feeling a bit silly, I literally bellowed my anger into the air. It was midmorning on a weekday, so luckily there weren’t any neighbors at home that felt the need to report strange yelling to the police department. With a weakened core, of course, I may not have yelled as loudly as I think, but it was cathartic, nonetheless. Thanks for that, Walt. 

It might seem silly or simple, but this act really did help me move on and focus on what was needed – healing.

Statue of Guanyin (Kuan Yin) at the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum.

Not long after this yawp in the backyard, Allen and I visited the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City. While strolling through the Chinese exhibit, there was a room dedicated to bodhisattvas, or enlightened souls who put off entering paradise in order to help others achieve enlightenment. The central figure was a large statue of Guanyin (this was a masculine version of Kuan Yin, beloved goddess of compassion). Standing in his/her presence, I could feel peace radiating all around and through me. I’m not sure I would have appreciated this special room and felt the intention of it if I hadn’t dealt with my anger.

I try to carry that peace with me and to deal with my anger when it bubbles up. I have no idea how long I get on this earth, but I want to be present with my all my lovelies and loved ones – from distant family and amazing friends and our many fur critters – until the end.



Thistle and fur baby Maddie.

Note: The poems mentioned here have more complex meanings than what is shared here. Sometimes, focusing on a line or two has helped me with my own fight, though that fight is completely different than the poet’s. 

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