Sunday, May 24, 2009

Here's to Laughter Yoga!

And now two months have passed since I last wrote. I can't say that I am really back into the swing of things, but at last, I have started. Today I conducted my first laughter yoga class in nearly a year (how does time pass so quickly?). I was contacted while I was in California by a man wanting to know if I would possibly be interested in having a laughter yoga class at an AIDS retreat in May. At the time, I wasn't sure what my condition might be, but I agreed.....and also filled him in on my situation.

Am I ever glad I agreed to do this! Yesterday I drove over to the other side of the state, was rather surprised when I met the group last evening to find I would be the only female in their midst. I greeted them and then ran off to the shores of Lake Michigan to see a breath-taking sunset. The cottage where I was staying was tucked into a lush woods - a little scary at first, but I left a light on and fell asleep immediately. During the night, there was a crack-banging thunder storm, but the rain lulled me back to sleep and I awoke after a peaceful 8 hours....something that never happens at home. Old-fashioned oats, raisins, and bananas for breakfast and the guys were chomping at the bit for laughter yoga.

The session was, as they told me to say, fabulous! One guy was totally out of control, rolling with laughter on the floor....major belly laughs for everyone. For me, the best Sunday I have had in a very long time, bless you, Madan!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Best is Yet to Be.......

Yes, it has again been a long time since last I wrote. Both of my brothers visited for a period of about 5 weeks, in fact for the first 4 weeks of radiation, my younger brother, Kevin, drove me each morning to Stanford which was really wonderful. He had driven out from North Carolina to work in the cottage at my cousin's where I have been living these past 6 months. As it turned out, instead of being without a bathroom for 2 weeks, we were without one for 4. I learned very quickly how to become a "pioneer" woman! The "new" cottage is really beautiful and will be a lovely little home for my cousin's mother-in-law once I leave....

Which will be in exactly 10 days! Having my brother here and all the activity going on in the cottage really helped me sail through radiation. I still have 6 treatments next week and then I will be finished. My daughter is flying in from NYC March 25 in order to drive back with me....we will be leaving bright and early the following morning. My bags are packed and I'm ready to go!

For years I have had Browning's poem hanging on my wall, "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be - the last of life for which the first was made." After my divorce, I couldn't look at those words for a very long time, but eventually I hung it back on my wall and felt that perhaps someone would come along who might grow old with me, but that hasn't happened. Many years were spent being seriously depressed about that....and then cancer came to call.

How is it possible that something so devastating could turn a life around? Had I stayed alone in my home in Michigan, I am not sure that would have happened, but surrounded with happy, caring people in this lovely environment, my mind has had the chance to wrap itself around the entire situation and I find I am happier and more at peace than I can ever remember being.

I love my elderly business in Michigan and will continue to consult with them, but I am ready to pass the leadership on to someone younger. My heart is in holistic healing, a path I have been on for the past 7 years since the divorce and one I hope to expand on in the near future.

"The last of life for which the first was made"....this is where I am, standing ready to embrace each moment fully. Ready to share and grow old with others whose lives I hope I can in some way positively influence through the healing power of touch, laughter, and nutrition. Who would have ever thought....the best is yet to be!

Monday, February 16, 2009

At Last!

Has it really been two and a half months since I last wrote? Early December I rented a car and headed north to one of my favorite spots on earth, Mendocino. The drive there winds through vineyards, redwood forests, ending at last with the rugged California coast.....breath-taking!

Making my way alone, in the midst of chemo, was something I felt I needed to do. The trip was in no means simply for pleasure, I sat through two days of lectures on the science of raw food which I immensely enjoyed. It was so good to get my brain moving and it also got me back on a healthier food path. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish the class because my first Taxol treatment was due that week.

Am I ever glad I had that little breather before Taxol hit! I sailed through Adriamycin and Cytoxan, but Taxol? OMG! That drug wiped me out for the entire month of December. From menstrual-type cramps to eye pain to bone pain to incontinence to tachycardia - definitely the worst month of my life, so bad in fact, after consulting with my oncologist, I called it off.

After extensive research on the drug, I found that Taxol is most effective in treating metastatic disease, something I do NOT have. I decided to ask my oncologist if the PET scan could be repeated and she agreed that was a good idea. A few months earlier there was much controversy about several "worrisome" hot spots and what do you know, the second scan showed everything to be completely clear.

With my daughter by my side, I told the oncologist my decision to stop any further chemo and to proceed directly to radiation. I expected her to try to convince me otherwise, but instead she upheld my decision, gave me a big hug, told me to push forward and never look back.

I have been doing just that - ten of 33 radiation treatments are now complete. I should be back home in Michigan no later than the first of April....yippee!!

Everyday I feel better. The bouts of tachycardia lasted many weeks, as did the weakness, but now I am pretty much back to my normal self. And my hair has finally decided to begin growing! However, the color is darker than I ever remember it and my eyebrows are looking a bit bushy. Will I still be curly??

Sleep remains a major problem which is why I am writing tonight.....