Posts Tagged ‘witch’s cancer journey’

Note: This is a continuation of my January post and the February update about dealing with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. 


Sometimes wise reminders come from the most unlikely of places, a thing I was reminded of recently.

I was sitting in my local cancer center, speaking to the local oncologist who administers my chemo treatments (as opposed to the oncologist at the University of Kansas who did my surgery and directs my treatment overall) as once again I could not receive treatment for a pesky lung nodule due to an elevated white blood cell count. I was also experiencing my fourth UTI since my surgery on March 4. 

Since these infections had been recurring – and because my spleen was removed during the surgery, which further weakens my immune system – I asked what I could do to improve that system. I expected a suggestion of supplements, diet, and so forth. 

Imagine my surprise when she said, “You must find the source of life.” 

She went on to say she wasn’t referring to religion necessarily, but to what it is that makes life meaningful to me. 

Immediately, tears came to my eyes. Not because what she said made me sad or was a revelation, but because I already knew that and had lost sight of it. I know that we cannot just treat a body, and I’ve focused on keeping a positive outlook. Plus, the Avalonian tradition that is my spiritual home is, first and foremost, a healing tradition. 

Hiking in nature, alone or with loved ones, is always a source of joy for me.

But . . . the fact remains that I had stopped doing many things that bring joy and meaning to my life. Some of it is due to physical limitations. Hiking the longer trails into nature would be difficult right now, and I’m supposed to avoid getting into dirt, which limits gardening. Going on short adventures with the family pretty much ground to a halt because travel has been uncomfortable with surgical drains and such (and COVID-19 didn’t help). I haven’t even listened to music much, which tells me perhaps I was heading into a slight depressive state.

Gardening proves rewarding as well as a connection to the Earth.

Well, enough is enough. 

For gardening, there are gloves. 

For hiking deeper into nature, there is taking my time and plenty of breaks until I rebuild endurance.

For adventures, we’ve restarted short local excursions to a nearby lake and trails. COVID or not, natural outdoor areas and picnics are very doable.

For music, there is remembering to turn on the radio. And figuring out how to connect the iTunes from my computer to the iPad for easy listening around the house.

Another thing I miss a great deal was actively learning and sharing the learning – and helping people connect to the information they seek is satisfying work under the same umbrella. Before health issues and the pandemic began, I worked part-time at the local library. I had enjoyed this aspect of the job immensely. Frankly, I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed it. The pandemic has taken that away for now as my library only does curbside and bookmobile deliveries and most part-time staff is on furlough. I don’t blame the director a bit for keeping it locked down – our area isn’t the safest as far as people needing to do their part. But still, I miss it so much. 

The local hearth of the Daughters of the Sacred Grail is another missing piece of this learning/sharing element. The hearth usually meets every Wednesday evening and is a place of studies and sharing as well as sisterhood, and has been a part of my life for 15 years. The pandemic has shut down our in-person meetings, and online group chats really don’t cut it for a group like ours. Yes, it’s nice for seeing the beautiful faces and hearing their voices, but a group meeting with a lot of back-and-forth among six or more women is difficult on Zoom. 

So, until this cranky year is done messing with us all, I will be continuing to do what I can to find a way to fulfill this mental and emotional need. Some of it may come through this blog, which has been a bit neglected other than the card of the day. Perhaps one good thing to come from months of limited activity is a refocus on this online outlet as well as a few other projects. I’ve got a Yule Oracle deck on the backburner as well as the idea for a compilation-style book about experiences with the Crone (both everyday women we know and goddesses). Plus a few fiction stories to complete. We shall see. 

Regardless of the steps I take to tap into my “source of life,” I know that this expression from my doctor will come up in the future when I see others struggling in one way or the other. It doesn’t matter if we are suffering, as I am, from Stage 4 ovarian cancer or severe depression or the loss of family or friend: without tapping into our source of life, we are all lost. Here’s hoping we all can connect to our source in these difficult times. 

Blessings of Avalon to you all,



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Today we have a powerful figure from the Wildwood deck, and though she is serious I shall take her as a good omen.

Today is the last day I will post a card for a while. Tomorrow I have an early doctor’s appointment in Kansas City and the few days following it are days I’m taking for myself and my family as I prepare for major surgery next week with a hospital stay of at least 3-4 days followed by a 6-8 week recovery.

Though surgery of this magnitude is a bit scary, it is possible because the three rounds of chemotherapy I had for the Stage 4 Ovarian cancer did its job: shrinking the mass and the spread of the cancer enough that surgery is possible. This could have taken 6 or 9 treatments – or treatments might not have worked at all. Given I have had no complications and just a few side effects from treatment, I feel blessed and as though the Universe has my back.

It’s not just the universe. The family, spiritual family, and friends who have risen up and supported me far beyond what I ever imagined has surprised me and warmed my heart. So many cards, care packages, and messages of support and comfort! My sister created a “Team Peej” shirt (my nickname is PJ and becomes Peej to many) for family and friends who wanted to wear their support literally, and the $10 per shirt that she charged was sent to me to help pay bills. My coworkers and the library where I work were amazing, with a kick-cancer’s-butt bag, covering shifts I couldn’t work after chemo treatments, and keeping a positive attitude in the forefront.

My boyfriend and his daughter, our Kiddo, have followed my lead with the positive, I’m-beating-this attitude that I needed through this journey. They are my heart and a huge part of what I’m fighting for; we have too many adventures and hiking trips to do yet. Allen also created my own personal Ovarian cancer mascot (teal is the color for that, just FYI): A heartfelt Bigfoot!

Art by Allen Childers at ChildersArt Studios

I have heard from many of YOU, the blog readers, as well – messages of hope and support when I shared my cancer journey a couple months ago. So no matter how much negativity you see and hear on the news and social media, do not be fooled – there is so much love and help out there just waiting to be acknowledged.

Now, here is your card of the day:


READING POINTS: Appearing at a time of rich nurturing and protection, of learning and initiation, when loving and fertile relationships, both human and universal, abound, the Green Woman mediates the sacred sovereignty of the Earth’s soul and can show the path to understanding and communion with nature. But with this blessing comes responsibility. Remember that this glorious, magnanimous and generous spirit can live through you, radiated by the sacred breath of life and given to others who need guidance and healing. Learn from the abundant and joyous spirit of the Earth and be at one with the world and your true self.

DESCRIPTION: The Green Woman, disgorger of nature, crowned with ferns and wild roses, breaths the divine word of life. Her calm, serene expression is steady and full of graceful sovereignty. Around her neck is the golden Celtic gorget representing the sun throughout the year. The golden amber cup before her has within it the milk of love and nurturing and the sheela-na-gig on its side represents the life force of all women. The Green Woman symbolizes the forest at midsummer. Here, amide the luxuriant foliage, small animals and birds of the Wildwood live and build their homes, creating a whole ecosystem within the branches and a safe haven for the innocent and vulnerable beneath its roots.

MEANING: The Green Woman encompasses the female archetype of wildness and green energy. Her presence balances that of the wild man and represents the earthly manifestation of female solar energy and the rich bounty of the Great Mother. She also represents the goddess of the land, sometimes expressed as Sovereignty, who challenges all comers to brave her tests and to offer those who succeed the gifts of inner kingship and love and a deepening bond to the riches of the Earth. From her pours the glorious light of the midsummer sun, blessing everything it touches with life and boundless energy.

This figure is complex and subtle but highly dynamic in her interaction with anyone who seeks to understand the nature of the Wildwood mythos. She mediates the sacred blessing of earthly fertility, and the beasts that inhabit it, and forms a deep bond with the seeker who wishes to attune to the rhythm of the Wheel of the Year.

In the Arthurian tradition, she validates the kingship of Arthur by bringing him the sacred sword and establishes him as a guardian of the Hallows of Britain, sometimes appearing as the Lady of the Lake, who fosters both Arthur himself as well as the young hero Lancelot. In other stories she manifests as the Flower Bride, sought after by more than one of Arthur’s great knights and offering the deep bonds of matrimony and joy to those with whom she shares her bounty. At its heart, her sacred role is the initiator of the human individual into the realm of the Wildwood.

The Wildwood Tarot by authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews and artist Will Worthington

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The last week has brought about the typical scene on social media with folks sharing their New Year resolutions. While I haven’t made a resolution in a few years, I usually like to encourage others. This year, all I could think of everytime a friend asked about resolutions was this: to live.

No, not to live as in living fully or intentionally – as in living in the physical sense. 

Some who follow the blog may have noticed I’ve been irregular with daily card posts, which is something I’m good at doing even if meatier posts might be less common. That’s because of a personal health issue that has rocked my family.

I have cancer, specifically Stage 4 ovarian cancer. 

When I first learned this news, I didn’t intend to share it here at all. But as the weeks went by and after the reality of my first chemo treatment hit, I realized that accepting, fearing, and fighting this is strongly linked to my spiritual life and beliefs. 

My local clinic gave me the news about the ovarian mass and that it was likely cancerous on Halloween. They quickly referred me to an oncologist at Kansas State University Medical Center. After getting such news on Samhain eve, one’s perspective of the ancestor altar and the holy day shifts a bit. Somehow, I felt closer to those whose photos and memorial cards graced our family altar – I felt their whispers in my ears more than normal. 

On the other hand, seeing the altar was also a motivator to do what was needed to be as healthy as possible going into treatments. I’m simply not ready to join these ancestors! So, chug a couple protein shakes a day (as my body is not processing regular protein correctly and I’ve lost 40 pounds) – check (though I have to admit it’s been difficult with our holiday schedule the last couple weeks)! Driving to and from Kansas City for consultations, a colonoscopy, and biopsy – check! (Though I didn’t have to do any of those alone – my boyfriend or my sister were with me.) Try to walk or do yoga as well as some arm weight exercises to rebuild muscle – check! 

Receiving my educational meeting about the chemotherapy was eye opening. Of course, there are many possible side effects and a 90% chance of losing my hair. As I’ve approached the two-week point after my first chemo treatment, when I was told to expect the hair loss, every time I run my hands through my hair or comb my hair, I’m thinking “will it start falling out now?” The hair loss actually started this weekend, and is a bit of a downer even though I was prepared for it. 

Aside from the typical identity issues women often have with their hair, my mind ran to the very witchy concern of my hair falling out in public places where people could easily get a piece of it (I dare say that’s not a typical cancer patient thought). Though I’ve cut my hair short to prepare for this change, it’s still in the back of my mind. I took to wearing a knit hat when going out this weekend. 

Another side effect is neuropathy, which has happened in my toes, bottom of the feet, and fingertips. Handling my cards for the first time after the neuropathy kicked in, I was stunned that I did not feel the energies of the cards as easily. I have no idea whether it’s the physical neuropathy or my mindset about my digits that is causing it, but it definitely sat me back in my seat a bit. 

On the bright side, my spiritual community (as well as family, friends, and coworkers) has been incredibly supportive and generous. I’ve received many care packages that spoke to my spirit as well as my physical needs, and I know there is a ton of healing energy coming my way. From “Suck It, Cancer” coloring book and healing stones to teas and warm socks and hats, my family and community is taking care of me in a way that is both humbling and encouraging. Trust me when I say there is a lot of love and kindness in this world – no matter how much you see in the news that suggests otherwise. 

Learn Symptoms to Catch it Early!

OK, I’m using the end of the post to share some of the symptoms of ovarian cancer because it can be really subtle and confused with other issues. If you have a few of these symptoms and they aren’t going away, please see your doctor or clinic! I thought I was experiencing serious digestive issues combined with premenopause; I had NO IDEA my health problem was so dangerous. Please don’t take your life for granted, ladies, and pay attention to these signs:

  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Increased size of abdomen or swelling 
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Feeling full after eating a small amount
  • Pain during sex
  • Urinary changes, such as frequency or urgency

Thank you for patience with my posting and hijacking the blog for the day. Blessings of Avalon to you all!



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