Thanks to the power of synchronicity, I received a Facebook message and a telephone call at almost the same time this morning from two warm and wonderful women friends who had wise words to share. Their communication methods were different, but their basic theme was the same: women facing difficult diagnoses have decision-making power and, for a time, need to honor themselves and consider their own needs before they take care of everybody else.
Bonus: Continuing the synchronicity, as I was finishing my phone call yet another woman friend emailed me a link to a fascinating and heart-warming YouTube video by Anita Moorjani, a modern Hindu woman who was seemingly miraculously healed of cancer after a near-death experience. Whatever your beliefs, she articulates in a down-to-earth, charming, and gracious way how important it is to love yourself–the theme I raised in yesterday’s blog post and a hard lesson to learn. She also exhorts people to be themselves and live fearlessly . . . in love, not in competition.
So, one month and one day after learning of my diagnosis of uterine (endometrial) cancer, I am happy to turn the floor over to these ladies today. Let them inspire you with their strength, savvy, soothing words–and synchronicity.
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Post from Facebook Friend – Patricia Hotz
“Thinking about you today and every day as you write and live your journey since the cancer diagnosis. One of the most important lessons I learned with my own “C” journey which continues to this day with a diagnosis of pre-malignant multiple myeloma, is that no matter how it looks when you are being told you must do this or do that by the host of professionals in the medical community you will encounter during your journey, you ALWAYS have a choice, you ALWAYS have the final say, you ALWAYS are in control. It is when I let go of my own personal power that I found myself seemingly constantly agitated, aggravated and angry and oh so frustrated with the system, actually with it all. It was when a wonderful oncologist who ran a cancer patient workshop told me in no uncertain terms that I absolutely had control of my own journey, that I could actually say NO and not YES to whatever was being recommended at the moment, that I could question unceasingly because it was my life. And with her words I have marched steadily forward ever since. Ask those questions, challenge with all the right questions – the whys, the expected outcomes of any and all procedures and medications, and continue educating yourself about what is available. You are one of the most ‘thinking’ and ‘researching’ people I know! And I will continue to read your blogs, say prayers for you each and every day and believe that a positive outcome will result. With much love.”
P.S. to my response: “Dear Pam, I love it when the stars align…and am thankful for the synchronicity you have received today! Of course, please share what I have written in any way you wish. I plan to stay connected to you throughout your journey. With love, Patricia”
Paraphrase from Telephone Friend
Moments after I read Patricia’s initial post, before I even had a chance to respond, I received a phone call from a friend who had the same procedure–a da Vinci total hysterectomy–for the same problem–uterine (endometrial) cancer–just one year ago. The occurrence of the phone call was amazing timing–not only because of having just heard from Patricia, but because I had just been trying to tell my husband what I need personally over the coming weeks, and he didn’t quite understand. How I needed to talk to a sister–and there she was, on the other end of the line.
She told me the details of what she experienced emotionally and physically last year, and almost everything she said was positive and reassuring. The day of her surgery, she said she let go of her anxiety and experienced calm. And in that contemplative state she was able to bless those who were about to care for her and to be grateful for having had the strength to confront her situation with grace and fortitude. She went home the next day, and her health is excellent now. I admire and appreciate the way she cares for herself and encourages me to do the same.
My friend’s voice was a healing balm for me at this time. I’ve started becoming anxious, even in my dreams–last night I dreamt of having “medical things” done to me. (Shiver.) But the most important message she imparted to me today was to honor and bless myself–my whole self, including the feminine organs I am about to lose. (And I am VERY grateful to these organs, which produced one good egg–my fantastic son, Matt. 😉 ) And she reinforced to me the need to care for myself and tend to my own feelings and needs while relinquishing the powerful feminine need to take care of other people . . . at least for a little while.
Since the phone call, I have communicated more effectively with my husband about my needs, and he is coming to a point of greater understanding. I have also turned the planning of a family party over to other capable hands while I focus on my big week coming up–colonoscopy and esophagogastroduodenoscopy on Wednesday, December 11, and da Vinci radical hysterectomy on Friday the 13th. Then comes the Mohs micrographic surgery to remove the basal cell carcinoma on my scalp on Monday, December 30. Whew.
Bonus: YouTube Video from Email Friend
When you have some time, maybe before you go to bed tonight, do something good for yourself and watch and listen to Anita Moorjani talk about how to love yourself, to care for yourself at a deep level, physical and emotional illness notwithstanding (and especially if you are grappling with them), and to be yourself and live noncompetitively and fearlessly. And she has good news for pet owners and animal lovers in the Q&A portion of the video (the last 30 minutes)–check it out.