I see it has been a long time since my last blog post. For those who may not know, I was diagnosed with Stage 3B cervical cancer four days after my last entry. To make a long story short, I finished an intensive round of chemotherapy, external radiation, and Brachytherapy (internal radiation), and have been dealing a lot of pain due to double j stents, these soft tube thingies that run from my kidneys to my bladder to keep my ureters open (the cancer had blocked my ureters and caused my kidneys to fail). One has been removed, and the other is coming out tomorrow. There is still an incredible amount of pain in the place the first one was removed. So yeah, I've been through the ringer. Glad to say I am on the road to recovery, though it is slow. I'm not sure what the actual cancer status is at this time, but I have a really positive feeling. The outpouring of love and good wishes from family, friends, neighbours, the Facebook community, and in fact from unknown people all over world has been overwhelming.
What cancer has taught me is not how shitty life is when you are dancing with the Big C (though it's had its moments), but that the Universe is a place where there is always love and support if you can connect with it. There is always some small thing within which to take comfort. There are too many incidences that have shown me how held I am to get too victim-y about this process.
I do believe in coincidence. As Freud said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." We don't have to haul out the symbolism for every little thing. But I also do believe in Synchronicity, and that when we ask for it or put it out there, very obvious connections can be made between incidences and their meaning in our lives.
I had such a moment last night, and I choose to believe it was a moment of Synchronicity rather than coincidence. When things are coincidence, I tend to react by saying, "Oh, hahaha, that's pretty neat!" When it is Synchronicity, I have a visceral reaction....trembling, maybe some tears, goosebumps. Definitely something on a body level. That could be me wishful thinking. I'm enough of a skeptic to doubt my gut. But when I look back throughout my life and track these incidences, their meaning in my life was always proven somehow. So whether or not I'm being a total flake head, I'm going to trust it. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.
So yesterday was the last day of the MotherWit Postpartum Douls Training here in Montreal. MotherWit's postpartum doula Millie Tresierra conducted the training. I like to put in an appearance as the Director of MotherWit and a creator of the training, but especially because I've been out of the work loop for a few months and am using all of my energy to heal, I just popped in here and there. Our last exercise of the class was to do a closing ceremony. We do some guided imagery work to bring an opportunity for insight and nourishment to our students, some smudging and clearing, and in this case an intention to put down or give away something in their lives that wasn't needed, and to receive a message or image of something that was needed. Students wanted to give away fear, or the inclination to overdo it, and many received messages of confidence, the need to self nurture, etc. I told them that this intent was living, that if they paid attention, they may find Synchronicity growing in their lives as they aligned more fully with their path.
When it came to my turn, I threw some sage into the container where the other things that weren't needed were smouldering and said, "I give away CANCER! I ask for complete and permanent healing."
I went home and didn't think much about it.
To backtrack, though in the vernacular of healing from cancer we use words like "kill, eradicate, kick cancer's ass," etc., I have not actually thought about it in those terms. Instead, I have felt that cancer was part of me that went wild and frenetic, crying strongly for a type of attention I never properly gave to myself, and in fact, often actively turned my back on in a sort of self sabotaging game of "let's watch my own destruction". I know some of you know what I mean, even if you haven't experienced the extreme of cancer in your own bodies. In any case, one day while receiving bodywork on my abdomen, around where the cancer was, I had an incredibly powerful image of an eagle emerging from that place and taking flight. My loose interpretation of Eagle imagery is that it is a symbol of Grace, of the Positive Masculine archetype. While I will never blame anybody for the development of my cancer, I do feel that my cells may have been sensitized, that sensitization nurtured by my own self neglect, by a constant barrage of exposure to manifestations of the Negative Masculine from infancy outwards. If we can often attribute the growth of cancer to an exposure to environmental toxins and lack of proper nourishment through incorrect food choices, I think we shouldn't discount emotional toxicity and lack of soul self-nourishment, these things also definitely contributing to the eroding of our physical health. Do I think everyone who has experienced these kinds of emotional wounds gets cancer of their lady parts? No, of course not. I can only speak for myself. And again, I do not blame. I have had choices, and in fact strong intuitions about my needs...yet again and again chose not to act on them because they may have disrupted other people's lives. I have given away a lot of my power in exchange for everyone else's peace. Lesson learned.
In short, I get the sense that my healing is about transforming (not killing) the energy of the Negative Masculine that has harmed so many (including those who perpetrate that archetype) into the Positive Masculine of Grace, Dignity, Connectedness, Wide Perspective, Truth, Protection, a good "Seeing"; birthing it on a deep ancestral level through the emotional, physical, and spiritual work I and others have done and are doing for my cervix, from my Radio-Oncologist to any of you who have known about my illness and sent some healing vibes my way. All of it has promoted a positive transformation. My sense of transforming it is not some lofty idea I've pulled out of my hat to justify an incredibly hard and painful process, but something that has come to me actively through dreams, conversations with others who have shared their dreams about me, images, and yes, Synchronicity. It is what I'm choosing to work with.
The specific moment of Synchronicity I'm speaking of, and you may laugh but there it is, came to me last night while watching Treme. This is an HBO program about life in New Orleans post Katrina. It is my husband's and my favourite show ever, as we both have such a connection to the place, the show even inspiring us to take our first vacation together in twenty years there. It is so funny how the Universe will even speak to us through the medium of television if we're not paying attention otherwise, and speak it did. I think it was the season Finale of Treme last night. The very last scene was of a character named "Chief" Lambreau. This season he was diagnosed with cancer. We see Chief sitting in his LazyBoy chair in the hospital hooked up to his chemo meds. He is all bald and tired looking. Before the show goes to credits you see him pick up a piece of bead embroidery he is working on. With a look of determination, he starts sewing. The image is of an eagle in flight. I could choose to laugh and say, "What a coincidence!" but it would dishonour my process. It would also dishonour my students, who I asked to pay attention to their own incidences of Synchronicity after they released their intentions in ceremony. So I put down my fear of being judged as a flakezoid or a wishful thinker. It may be so. But I am going to take the goosebumps and desire to weep after that Treme scene and run with them.
I looked up Eagle Symbolism today just to see what more it might mean, and this is what I got: "Eagle represents a state of grace achieved through hard work, understanding, and a completion of the tests of initiation which result in the taking of one's personal power." I think we're on the right track.
Thanks for listening. Normally I don't post things as personal as this, but so many people have messaged me telling me how they are following my journey and are so happy when I post anything about how my life and dance with cancer is going. Thank you so much for your good thoughts!