Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Deepening the Learning

I came home from witch camp with some new promises: I promise to write more. I promise to dance more. I promise to take better care of the earth that is my body and the earth that is all around. So I am writing and letting go of attachment to outcome.

The day after coming home, I had scans. Today I got the results.

Here is what the doctor said, "Your scans are…Stablish." My cancer is growing, there has been a little growth in the past six weeks. I knew this day was coming--but it was not possible to predict how living with this information would feel. Feelings are complicated. I feel ready to "deal" with cancer. I feel sad that cancer is progressing. I feel scared about telling people. Especially my daughter. And I feel pissed that I didn't wear the socks that Willow made me. Every other time I have been in this office I have had them on. Every other time, the news has been good.

When this drug that I am on stops working (which I knew from the get go that it would), I have other drugs to try. They are coming out with new drugs for the ALK mutation that I have--this time last year there were only two oral drugs, now there are four. Plus, (lucky me) failure of my drug qualifies me for a trial study of an aggressive chemo drug. 

Last year at witch camp, I learned that I wanted to chose life. I gave myself permission to want the things I wanted and step into the center of the life I am building. And live there. Embodied and unafraid to fully experience life even if it hurts myself and others. This year, I see ways that full living has happened and ways that it has not.

This year, my camp focus was on grief work. I was excited to bring all the fruits of my grief labor over the past year to offer others. (It is humbling to even write this down!) I was excited to connect with others through their grief. It didn't work that way. Instead, I tapped into a grief that was deeper than any I have experienced this past year. Cancer has made me feel like an outsider in many ways with people. I hate the identities of cancer and terminal illness and I can't shake them. It is painful.

I came through the hard grief and left camp knowing that my learning is deepening through my life with cancer. I still want to have that embodied living. I still want to build a life and live it. And, I am called to the difficult work of accepting cancer as it is right now. Right now, it is growing. (Fuck, that is hard work.) Don't get me wrong--I am not throwing in the towel. I am still ready to stick around a long, long time.

I don't want to say I choose cancer, because I don't. I want to say, "I choose life and accept the grief that comes with it." For me, today, cancer is my grief. But it won't stop me from making plans to go dancing this weekend. <3


  1. Big love and gratitude for you.

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey. May you be surrounded by people with great enough hearts to hold you, your big joy, and your big grief.

  3. As ever, your words are strikingly profound. There is no response of course--nothing that would help. I'm sorry your illness makes you feel like an "outsider" --particularly from a place of deep grief. Sorry to hear that the fight is on once again; but pleased to know you are prepared to battle and that new treatments are available. I'd hoped to see you when Miles and Eva were here but that didn't happen and not sure when they'll return for a visit. Until then, I'd really love a chance to see you soon--your choice of place and time of course. Starting new prayers of healing to send your way. Open your heart to the healing of the universe and we'll all pray for it to reach you. Love and Blessings, Cat

  4. It was so good to see you at Camp! I was inspired by you as a most powerful woman, taking control of her life with all it brings. You are on my healing altar and will remain there. Much love to you. And wear those socks!

  5. I am stuck with awe and the profundity of your words. The presence of life and death in the same spirit space, is I think, grace and hope embodied.

    May we all grow into the spirit filled space you inhabit.