I suppose I can blame COVID-19 for that since I'm doing this all alone in the midst of a pandemic. I cannot have anyone with me at the Chemo Bar, unlike last time when I had a gaggle of friends and family showing up each time; no one is showing up with meals or to visit; I am no longer working as a nurse since the risk of COVID is now too high for my new immunocompromised status; I seldom go outside, except for my daily walks; I make a weekly errand run, dashing in and out of stores quickly while masked-up; and the only interactions I have with others is limited, at best.
But you know what? lt's all okay.
I also haven't lost my hair; the every-21-day treatments have already become easier; and the down-time at home has been a blessing in disguise. Not only have I started mini-renovations in my home, but I have also had ample time to slow down, rest, relax, and turn inward.
I still get calls from work almost daily, and while I feel needed and missed, I do not miss the chaos of the work environment right now. I am grateful that I am stuck at home in semi-quarantine because I have had time to reevaluate what's most important to me. And for today, that's healing completely so that I don't have yet another relapse in another few months or years (I've discovered that lymphoma tends to act more like a chronic autoimmune disease than cancer, which means it also has a tendency to recur).
My new oncology Naturopath reminded me a few weeks ago that once cancer has gone into remission, most survivors return to their old habits, behaviors, and diets and sure enough, that's exactly what I'd done as well.
This time, I have to consider that maybe some of those habits, thinking patterns, routines, stressors, and poor eating habits contributed to a relapse. Not that it's an attempt to blame myself for this relapse, but a reason to look at this differently.
And this quote came to mind:
I HAD TO MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE, OTHERWISE YOU NEVER WOULD'VE MOVED ~ The Universe
Perhaps it's time to make a move; a bolder one, stronger one, more convicted one. And perhaps this cancer relapse is paving the way there.
Early on in this relapse, I went for my nightly walk and decided to ask God a few questions. I often use this as my meditation time since I'm able to listen without feeling distracted. And since I believe that every life lesson comes into our lives FOR our own growth, I always approach God in a quizzical manner, asking questions out of curiosity.
"What is this here for, again?" I started.
"For another reminder of who you are. You need to live life FULLY."
This seems to be my ongoing message. Apparently, I don't fully embody who I am in the big sense. Like, WHO I AM, a child of God. I have an on-going conversation with God, but when the shit hits the fan, do I really believe that He wants what's best for me?
I'd like to think so, but I often default to "Yeah, but is He REALLY here for me?"
It's not like I haven't had ample reminders about my place in the universe, with His steady supply of support and guidance. I am a magnet for manifestations and magic, but when put to the test, do I believe He'll come through AGAIN?
So as I pondered the answer on my walk, I decided to ask Rupert the same question. If you recall from my stint of cancer last time, I believe that when we are going through a crisis of any kind, speaking to the body part or disease in question is a fascinating way to receive interesting/critical/mind-blowing answers.
Rupert is what the massive spread of a dozen tumors within my chest cavity called itself. He was a Waldo-like character who didn't seem like he could hurt a flea, let alone cause major damage in my body. But from the beginning, his mission was only to heal me. And the day my lymphoma died, apparently so did Rupert.
Because when I tried to summon him this time, no one answered. But a few minutes later, "Penelope" stepped forward.
When I say "stepped forward," I mean: "she" (I feel a female presence) announced herself in my thoughts by saying her name.
And as clear as Rupert had been two years ago, I felt Penelope just as distinctly, though she has no body. She feels like a light, ethereal, pink cloud. She is soft-spoken, kind, sheepish--almost fairy-like. When I posed the same question, her answer sounded familiar.
"I'm not here to harm you in any way, but to heal you. I'm small this time because I'm simply here to remind you of WHO YOU ARE."
Damn, there it was again.
So I've been trying, as best I can, to remember during this time of quiet solitude. I have mostly gone silent during my days at home, listening to God, Penelope, and my own small voice through daily practices of meditation, walking, and writing.
I've turned inward more and more, unwilling to rely so much on the opinions and advice from others around me. They always mean well, but I must be willing and able to listen to my own heart as I embrace this new experience of relapse.
I am eager to discover what this one tiny tumor is trying to teach me as it leads me deeper into healing.