The Big C

A journey through Stage Four Cancer

Life Extension and Somer’s “Knockout”

As I’ve mentioned before, I was hours from death when we found out that I had stage four colon cancer and that it had metastasized to my ovaries.  I was a critical case, and options weren’t many.  In fact, the only option was to wait for me to die.  Or so it seemed, except for my team of doctors for whom I’ll be eternally grateful.

I wish though, that right after my operation, I had been graced to read the book “Knockout” by Suzanne Somers.  There are things that I would have done differently if I had only had the information in this book.

Some say that supplements and vitamins are little more than sugar pills, but what if they are not?  As I read through more and more things about the progression of Stage Four Colon Cancer, I’m realizing that it is following faithfully in the footsteps of Stage Four Colon Cancer before it.

First, you have the tumor and it metastasis, ie, the cancer escapes from the colon and goes to other areas, my ovaries.  The cancer is removed, but some cells do escape and reappear at a later date in the abdomen or liver.  That cancer is put under control, remission, and reappears in the brain, liver or bone.  Then you die.  Thus the short 5 year survival rate.

So I’m depending on prayer and also I’m going to start the supplements, and hope that it’s not too late.

There is soo much in “Knockout” and my mind is still spinning, so I’m not going to try to relate any of  it.  However, I am starting to take cimetidine (found in Tagament B and as a generic product in WalMart and Walgreens just to name two stores), citrus pectin and PSK  to build up my NK cells.  This will not interfere with my chemo at all, and might actually help it to be more effective.  Life Extension.com works hand in glove with KNOCKOUT.

Even if you don’t have cancer, I really hope that you will read this book and start taking supplements to avoid ever getting cancer in the first place.

In other news, my book “The Development” is coming right along at over 20,000 words now.  If you would like to read a snippet, it’s at Marynate.blogspot.com  Please let me know if you like it.  My hope is to make it into an actual book to help pay my medical expenses.

* Please remember, I’m not a doctor just a person with terminal cancer.  Please don’t take any of this as medical advice and consult with your doctor before starting to do anything.

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Bald as a Cue Ball

My life seems to go in two speeds, sonic, in which I have way too much to get done and then slower than a sloth, in which I never think of the things that I need to get done.  May-be I can blame being overwhelmed for the end result of having nothing done?

So now, in a matter of days, I’ve gotten an MRI, Port operation and my first round of chemo scheduled.  Yikes!  Nothing, nothing, nothing and then vrrrrrooooooooooooooooom!  The MRI is just to make sure the pain in my legs is not due to my cancer migrating into my bones but actually from the tumor.  The port is because the chemo would destroy my veins if it was administered there.  So a little plastic appliance will be installed (again) in my chest wall that will funnel the chemo to the right place to minimize damage to anything except the tumor.

My husband continues to be my personal hero, tries to keep my spirits up etc.  So we’re sitting here watching tv and out of nowhere, he says to the whole family “That’s your mom!  She’s going to wear a scarf with style!!”

Everyone in the room is concentrating on a very engrossing television plot, that for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you now. Hmmmmm….. which is what I said “Huh?” because somewhere in the periphery of my consciousness I realize that Nate had said something.

“A Bright, catch-catch-your-eye pink scarf, right Mary?”

I caught up to his conversation quickly.  My mind screamed “NO!” and a LOT of tears came to my eyes.

“Hey, if you go bald, I’ll shave my head! We’ll be bald together!”

I’m less touched by his offer of solidarity than you might think.  Nate likes being as bald as a cue ball, he’s done it many summers.  I hate it when he shaves his head.  But his timing is a definite nod toward solidarity.

What’s going on?  With my first round of chemo, I was losing my hair, and I wasn’t overly stressed about it.  Now my fourth round of chemo hasn’t even started yet, and I’m upset about the possibility of losing my hair?

I was walking past the hospital gift shop for chemo/radiation patient women.  Nate was getting our car, and it was cold, so while I waited, I walked into the shop.  There were all kinds of different hats and scarves.  I’d like to be a hat woman, but with a semi-bald or bald head, I don’t think it’s the time to start.  I looked at the scarves, and was astounded by how many different types there are.  Short, long, brightly colored, drab, print, the array is endless.

For myself, I think I am leaning more toward the head covering that you see in the Middle East instead of the type that is knotted at the back of the head.

 

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The Lesson of the Purple Medicine

Once upon a time, in a far off land called Sag Harbor, there was a little boy named Michael who was very sick.  His throat hurt to swallow, his ears hurt and his head pounded.  His mother said to herself “Enough of this!” and bought him to their favorite doctor, Doctor Semlear.

Dr Semlear confirmed what that incredibly young mother feared, her son was sick and needed medication.  So the good doctor wrote her out a prescription and sent Michael and his mother on their way.

Once this kind and dedicated mother returned home, she put her little boy to bed, resting his head on a soft pillow and making sure the room was dark and the house was quiet so that Michael could sleep.

She asked her equally kind spouse if he would go to the drugstore and have the prescription filled so that their soon might start to get well again.  The kind father left immediately!

At the drugstore, there was a sign that advertised, that for a measly $2 extra, the pharmacist could flavor the icky medicine any of these flavors; grape, orange, cherry, strawberry, or mint.  Knowing that Michael loved grape flavor, the father gladly paid the $2 extra.

After the father bought the medicine home, the good mother bought the medicine to her little son.  She said “Michael, even though this medicine smells so delicious, you may only have it three times a day when your mommy gives it to you.  You must NOT ever take it out of the refrigerator and give it to yourself.  No matter how much you like it.”

Michael promised that he would not ever touch the medicine bottle by himself.

His mother explained how this medicine would destroy all the bad germs that were making him feel sick, and that soon he would feel well again.  His mother measured out the medicine and thought “Wow, this stuff smells good! It’s making me want a grape soda!”

The good mother put the medicine in Michael’s mouth, to which he immediately spit it out and began to cry “Yucky! Iwwwwwwww!”

The mother was so puzzled!  “No Michael, the medicine tastes delicious!  Daddy paid money for it to be delicious!”

Michael clamped his mouth shut and shook his head “NO!”

In the age old way that parents have tried to convince their children that something is delicious, Mommy said  “Look Daddy likes it right Daddy?”  She had a little medicine on a spoon, to which Daddy answered in a very, very low voice “I’m not trying it.”

There was nothing to do, except for Mommy to try the medicine.  So she did!  The medicine was unmistakably vile!  It smelled like delicious grapes, but had an awful bitter aftertaste that just would not go away!  And it was slimy!  Mommy almost threw up!

So mommy said to Michael  “I know the medicine is awful!  But you have to take it, it is the only way you will ever get better.”

Michael shook his head no and said “Icky!”

Mommy said “I know it tastes icky.  But if you don’t take it, the bad germs will keep on multiplying and you will get sicker and sicker.  I am your parent, and you know that I love you.  You know that I would never hurt you, and only do things that are good for you.  You are going to have to trust me about the yucky medicine.”

Then Mommy gave Michael the medicine again and even helped him to not throw it up again by putting her hand over his mouth and having a big glass of water waiting for him so he could wash the taste out of his  mouth.

Michael trusted his parents, took the medicine and got better.

 

God is the parent, and the yucky medicine is cancer.  I trust God to give me the yucky medicine, because I know that He wouldn’t do anything to hurt me.  He only wants me to get better.   I don’t know how the medicine will work, but that is okay because I am not the parent.  I am only His child.

Please keep praying for my family and I, and everyone else who is struggling with this monster.

Thank-you!

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The Day After

So here it is the day after, and my head is still swirling.  For all of my resolutions of how I am going to fight this newest attack, for how I am also such a believer in the next world, I find tears in my eyes often.

My emotions are a mess.  I go from being stalwart and chomping at the bit to get to this fight and get past it.  Then I am depressed, because there are no guarantees.  This may be my last battle.  There is no real reason to believe that this will be the last battle but cancer is so sneaky, so underhanded, malignant and vile.  Who knows if another assault is being waged in some other part of my body?

There are no guarantees…………

The chemo oncologist spoke to Nate and I yesterday.  He was very open about what chemo I would be getting.  This time, the chemo will not cause any more numbness to my fingers or toes, which is good, because any more numbness and my fingers would probably be useless except for the most gross of activities.  I am glad for that.  This new chemo will inhibit the tumor from producing any new veins from it, to me, it’s host.  This chemo has side effects of diarrhea and, I will lose my hair again.  This time, it may well be all of it.

I know losing my hair should be the least of my worries, but, I’m not looking forward to it.  I am sort of dreading it.  But not dreading it enough to put off chemo.  Fact is, I think I am becoming one of those people desperate for life, that I will do almost anything  just to be with my children that much longer.

The way that I am handling this second battle surprises me.  I am in turns brave as a lion, and as cowardly as the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz.  I am full of hope, and in the depths of despair.  I am grateful for more time with my children, and fearing what kind of time it will be.

I will have to have a port put back in.  That is not overwhelming agony, but it does make me retreat to an early bedtime just to get away from the pain.  I am fearing to some degree also the chemo.  It is after all a poisoning of my cells, good and bad.  How tired will I be?  How long between treatments will it take me to recover to another ‘new normal?’

In the next two weeks, I will be having an MRI to make sure that the pain in my back is because of pressure from the tumor, and not because of a new cancer onslaught.  Then the port gets to be put in.  And then chemo begins.  My fourth round.

I don’t know for how long.

There are many heroes to this story.  My doctors to start with.  If it wasn’t for Dr Miner who saw something in me (I was unconscious at the time), I would have been dead for two years now.  Dr Safran who thinks so carefully about my chemo.  The team of Miner and Safran are genius!

Then there is my husband.  My journey has meant me staying months in hospitals (notice the s?), being with me as I relearned how to walk, putting up with potty duties when walking to the bathroom was beyond my strength.  He worked all day and then came home to do the laundry, check the schooling, make dinner and drive 120 miles roundtrip almost every day to see me.  Despite rain, sleet, ice and snow.  He doesn’t understand how close I might be to the end of this fight.  I don’t think he will allow that thought.

Mary has cancer again?  We’ll fight it.   She needs chemo again?  She’ll get it.  I have to drive her to chemo sessions 130 miles round trip?  I’ll drive it.   I have to make suppers and do all the house hold chores?  I’ll do it.  Mary needs another operation?  We’ll get through it.  Mary will go into remission and if the cancer comes back again, we’ll go through it all again.  And again if need be.

Too bad Nate can’t be made into a supplement for everyone who need strength to get through the day!

He gets absolutely grouchy at my tears! He allows no defeat, not even in attitude.  Not even in fears!  No quarter given to cancer. None!

The other heroes in this story are my cousin Alice and my long time friend Janet.  They cry with me, they pray for me.  Other heroes are people that I’d never recognize on the street, my long time internet friends and blog readers.

And I am so thankful for all the individuals that make up a huge army that prays for me.

Thank-you all of you soooo much!

What worries me about posting this, is that although it is truthful, it is not all that uplifting.  Will it really help anyone who has been diagnosed with stage four cancer?  May-be.  They’ll see that it isn’t unusual to be afraid or depressed.  To have emotions that are all over the place, and rapidly changing.

The most important thing is to hold onto your faith with two hands and not lose hope.  Where there is life, there is hope!  And miracles still happen, even in this day and age.

 

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Gearing Up For A New Battle

The line in the sand has been crossed, I do have cancer again.  This will be my second battle.  My first battle was in 2009 when I had colon cancer in both my colon and my ovaries.  It was only hours from killing me when it was discovered.  This time, I still have colon cancer, but it is not in my colon it is in my abdomen.  It is not just one tumor, but a few.  One of the tumors is already the size of a large orange and it is causing my thighs to have strange sensations.  My right thigh is always asleep/numb.  Sometimes the touch of the cloth of my jeans causes an unbearable burning.  The area gets cold, and it takes forever to warm it.  I’m starting to have trouble standing for shorter and shorter amounts of time because of pain.

Monday I go to another oncologist to plan another round of chemo.  Will I have nausea?  Will it make my hair fall out?  This time, will I be completely bald?  All the unknown.

The plan is that I will be poisoned with chemo until the tumor hopefully shrinks and dies.  Or until it hopefully shrinks and can be surgically removed.

That is what I would like your prayers for, that the chemo does destroy the tumor and that I am finally cancer free, or that I have a long remission until my youngest turns eighteen and is a young adult.  I know that children always need their parents, but as we grow older, the need changes.

If there is anything about getting cancer again that I am having trouble reconciling, it is the idea of leaving my baby at such a young age.  Not reading to her.  Not brushing the knots out of her hair or kissing her goodnight.

I won’t say that I didn’t shed a few tears, because I did.  I am mostly past that now, except for the aforementioned.  I am now trying to be active.  I know that this round, despite having insurance, is going to cost my family financially  so I’m trying to write a book before chemo makes me too tired.  It is on my other blog marynate.blogspot.com.  Well to be totally accurate, the first two chapters are.  I will put a little more up, but the idea is to get feedback and then actually sell the book, make money and be able to pay for some of my medical expenses.

The other thing I’m doing is trying to make some t-shirts that touch people on some level- their humor, their heart where ever, and use the money from those sales to also pay my medical expenses. cafepress.com/sagharborgifts

I’m also asking your opinion here, and that is, do you think it’s tacky for me to try to set up an charity donation  fund for my three youngest?  The greater probability is that they are going to be motherless soon, and without getting into scandal and dirty laundry, let me assure you, there is no one in either my family or my husband’s family that will do more than send a sympathy card when I’ve fought my final earthly battle.  No one is going to step in and say “How is Nate going to pay for child care?  How will the kids afford college?”  It’s not meaness, it’s just …. I don’t know what you would say?  The thought would never even come to their mind.   I would really like to get something set up for them now, because there are no guarantees that I will get through this battle with cancer, or in what condition to broach this subject later.

It’s really hard to figure out what to do now, when you aren’t even sure how long ‘now’ is, that will be there for your children later when you are gone.  I know that no one really knows how long their now is going to be, but probability wise, my now will be a lot shorter than most people reading this.

For right now, I’m sacrificing any “me” time to brush hair, play Uno with them, read to them and spend every possible moment with them.  But I keep wondering, is there something else I should be doing?

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Broadsided

So, I’m blogging a lot today, huh? 🙂

That’s because I procrastinated on blogging about my dreams that were getting me down, and then I Got The Call.

Back to the dreams.  They really had me feeling down.  Then two of my sons talked to me at different times, because I had told them about my dreams.

The dreams affected them also.  The dreams depressed them.  I find that really astounding because these were only dreams!  Something to hear, roll your eyes about, discount as a dream, and forget.

The first son is my youngest son, and he had just finished reading a book by Father Amorth who is the head excorcist at the Vatican called “An Excorcist Tells His Story.”  The contents of the book are still fresh in his mind, and on his mind, if you know what I mean?

He asks me if the dream makes me feel depressed? Sad?

He is sure the dreams are diabolical (from the devils influence), reminds me that the devil is also referred to as “the father of lies” and to totally dismiss the dreams for the poison they are.

And before the doctor called to tell me that the cancer was back and that I must come into his office, I begin to be able to follow his advice.

They were weird dreams, but dreams all the same.

The afternoon that the doctor called, the memory of the dreams come back to me full force.  I can’t keep the tears from my eyes and the second son reassures me that I will be fine.  This time, they are catching the cancer early.

But I have trouble accepting his reassuarnces, and I tell him for the first time about the second dream – the one with satan and the calendar.

Now he is upset too.  We make a fine pair.

Eventually he leaves the room.  For the sake of the rest of the people with me, I try my best to turn off the tears and concentrate on the television, although I have no idea what program we were watching.

He comes back into the room a little later.  There is confidence in him as he sits down next to me and takes my hand.

If the dream is from satan, which I am sure it was, then he is not to be believed, because he is the father of lies.  More than that, why would he know what the date of my death would be?  he has no idea if God has a cure or a remission in His plans for me.  Surely, God doesn’t share his plans with his arch-nemesis?

So then why the dream, when he must have known as a Catholic I would not look for or accept his fortune telling?  But I did, for some amount of time.  And I allowed it to depress me.

Yes, I allowed the dream influeneced by someone who despises me to depress me.

Worse, now that the cancer has returned, I have allowed the dream to depress me and without my son’s intellect, I could have been too depressed to fight through this next occurence.

Not now.  Oh no, not now.

I am assembling my arsenol.  My doctor, who is brilliant, is making the battle plan to fight the enemy in my physical body.

My Catholic Faith is assembling the weapons to fight any infilltration into my soul.

The Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary will be my refuge and strength.

The rosary will be my weapon.

And I won’t fear the enemy that can take my body, but only the one who can steal my soul. Matt10:28

Yet, after finding out that I had cancer again, I found myself playing the blame game, even though it wasn’t for very long and even though I knew better.  What did I do, not do, eat or not eat that made the cancer come back?

My pragmatic husband said “How do we know that the cancer hasn’t been there the whole time?  That when the tumor was removed last January (yes, almost exactly a year ago), that a few cells didn’t break away and now they are see-able on the CAT scan?”

Which gives me the small hope that may-be this time, after chemo kills the cancer, there won’t be any more cells to break away and come back again.

And I guess I should end this too, too long blog while my dear readers are at least slightly awake.

 

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The Second Dream

As I posted a few blogs entries back, my cancer is back and that is what makes these two dreams sooo weird.  I had them before I found out that I have cancer again.

So here is my second dream.  I am in a room that is empty.  I can’t see him, but I know that satan has just entered the room with me.  I feel terror, and I start to say the prayer to Saint Michael the archangel, but I can’t.

He tries to sound soothing and pleasant at the same time.  “I’m going to tell you something that you want to know.  The day you are going to die from cancer.”

For a Catholic, this is one of the biggest no-no’s in the book.  First to have any contact or conversation with satan.  Second, to go to anyone to find out what the future hold.

I try harder to say the prayer to Saint Michael, but my mouth can not make a sound.

A big appointment calender in blue ink appears before my eyes.  The year is 2012.

I am able to catch some breath and I start at a mumble  “SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL…”

It’s as if satan knows that I am being freed and he must move fast.  The calender is quickly flipped to the month of September.  I refuse to look at the day as I scream out “DEFEND ME IN BATTLE! BE MY SAFEGUARD……”

Which is when my husband hears my screaming and shakes me awake.

The dream stays with me, as much as I want to shake it off.

A day ago was the dream of my being dead, and yet wandering among my family, unseen, unheard, not being able to touch.  This night I have the cause of my death, and the almost exact date.

At this point, to the best of my knowledge, I don’t even have cancer.  I am in remission.

And yet, cancer is my cause of death in less than 24 months.  Not even the whole five years that most stage 4 colon cancer victims get.

No wonder my thoughts are dark.  And you can see why I wasn’t sure if I should post or not.

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Michael the Archangel is the head of the “heavenly host.”  He is mentioned in both the old and new Testament.  He is the patron of Israel.

His name is a question, but also the challenge to the renegade angel, turned head demon, Lucifer (bearer of light) “Mi cha EL?!!” or “Who is like GOD?!!”

The answer, no one.

In Catholic tradition, history and lore, Pope Leo XIII, while serving mass was given a vision in which satan asks for, and receives a time when he can in a major way torture and trounce mankind.  Because of that vision, which so horrified Leo XIII that as he had the vision, the other priests thought he had died, Leo XIII wrote the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel.  Before the reforms of Vatican II, the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel was said after every mass.  In traditional Catholic churches, it still is.

There is a shorter prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, that I use frequently.  When I encounter a “mean” situation, or a “mean” person, or even when I wake up feeling like I’d like to kick the dog (which is an expression of meanness, not an actual activity.  I love my dog!), I say the short prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel and the situation is either relieved, or at least, doesn’t get worse.

I also say a Saint Michael the Archangel prayer every day for my country and for my Catholic Church.  I love both dearly, but I will admit there are people in both who don’t follow the rules for being a good American in case one, and a good Catholic in case two.  They are being influenced, either knowingly or because they have scales before their eyes that need to be removed.

I would love to see what the whole world would be like, if for one day, each and every person said the short Saint Michael prayer once.

This is the short form:  St Michael the Archangel, defend me (us) in battle.  Be our safeguard against the snares and deceptions of the devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray.  And may you, the prince of the heavenly host, through the power of God, thrust into hell satan and his cohort, so they can no longer wander the earth for the damnation of souls.

This is the long version given to us by Pope Leo the XIII (and it is long, but read through it, it will chill you to your bones.  It is remarkable that he lived through that vision, esp since he was already an old man):

O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, and spirits of evil.

Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist Thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels.

Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men; his depraved mind, corrupt heart, his spirit of
lying, impiety, blasphemy, his pestilential breath of impurity and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the Spouse of the
Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.

Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate Thee as their protector and patron; in Thee Holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to
Thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan, do Thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered, hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee

LET US PRAY
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us
against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls.
Amen.

Pope Leo XIII, 1888
Raccolta 1933 (Partial Indulgence)

* Principalities and Powers are two classes of both angels and demons.  In this case, or course it is demons, not angels.  Saint Paul in the New Testament warns us that we fight not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. Ephesians6-12

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Hair Cut

 

I wanted to post this earlier.  This is me after getting my hair cut with my stylist Matthew.  Before he cut my hair, he said I looked like my hair was a lion’s mane, it was so thick.  You can’t see it well, but my hair is cut in a 1980’s style with “feathers.”  I love it!  This was 12-31-10  Just days later, I found out that I had cancer again and will be getting chemo.

 

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My stalker

It’s back.

I’ll be starting chemo soon.

Please pray for me, but especially, my family.

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Warts and All

So after conferring with some people in the blog world that I really respect, you’re getting the “wart” version of The Big C – Catholic, Cancer, Cured

I’ve been depressed lately, not horribly depressed, niggling depressed.  Just not really all sunshiney, because there is something in the back of my mind.  Kind of like your computer.  You are using a program, but there is a second, may-be even a third program working in the background.

That’s me.  I’m being a mom, wife, best friend, blogger (livingroom vacuumer, toilet scrubber, clothes folder) while there is another program running in the back.

I’m not “running” the way that I should be because this other program is using my RAM.

I guess before I go any further, I should remind everyone that I am Catholic, and that is where my “weighing” of activity comes from (or I try to have it be.  At my worst times, I am not acting Catholic).   I am saying this ahead of time, because when you read the following you would probably say, “Cheez, what is the problem anyway?”

The problem has been two dreams I had on two different nights.  They happened very close together.  They were nightmares.

Here are the dreams.

In the first dream, It is 4:30 and it is getting dark.  One daughter is sitting on the couch and she doesn’t look happy.  She’s not crying or anything, but I know she isn’t in a good place.

Another daughter is sitting at the diningroom table, her math book open in front of her.  She is writing in a notebook, and she looks really sad.  The math is giving her a hard time.

She should have the light on while she fights her math problems, so I say “Chandra, you should have the light on.”  I flick on the light.  She doesn’t even look up, she still stares at the math book.  I stand slightly behind her, looking at the math.  It’s difficult, but I know she can do it.  I hunch down a little and put my arm around her.  “Look Chandra, remember this?  Don’t let it get you down.”  She sighs, sits forward and starts to work again.

I walk to the couch where Luna sits.  “What’s the matter?” I ask sitting down next to her and rubbing her arm.  She doesn’t answer.  The look on her face never changes and I know she is giving me the Stony Teenager Affect.  Fine.

It’s almost time for my dh to come home so I go into the kitchen to start browning hamburger meat for supper.

Nathan is home and as he walks up the short flight of stairs he calls out “I’m home.”  None of the kids answer, but I do.

“Welcome home!” I call back and at the top of the stairs I wrap my arms around him and kiss him.  He doesn’t kiss me back.  He has a set, slightly angry look on his face.

He walks into the kitchen, takes out a nonstick frying pan, puts some thawed hamburger into it and puts it right on top of my frying pan on the stove.

“What are you doing?!!”  But he ignores me, and continues cooking the hamburger in a frying pan over my frying pan.

I have to pee, so I leave my husband to his weirdness and use the bathroom. Just as I’m heading toward the sink, my husband walks right in and to the toilet, almost knocking me over into the bathtub.

“Excuse me!!!”

I stand at the sink washing my hands.  Instead of waiting for me to get out of the way, he reaches past me to start washing his hands.

My face was in the mirror, now it is my husbands face in the mirror.  I force my face to be in front of his again, and I see my face.  But as I stare, I see my eighteen year old face staring back at me and for moments at a time, I can’t see my face at all.

I turn to my husband.  “Am I a vampire?” I joke.  “I can’t see my face in the mirror.”

He doesn’t answer.

“What, am I dead or something?  Why are you ignoring me?”  Then it dawns on me.

I AM DEAD!

I look in the mirror, but my image doesn’t look back.

I push past my husband and rush into the living room.  I take Luna by her arms to pull her up, but she doesn’t move.

“Luna!” I shriek like a madman.  She ignores me completely.

I hurry over to Chandra.  Chandra isn’t a teenager.  She would never ignore me.  Chandra will help me prove that this is just ….  I don’t know.

“Chandra.” I say scooting down next to her and putting my arm around her.  She still struggles with her math.  “Chandra, look at mommy.”

She looks up and I kiss her.

She doesn’t look over at me, but sighs again and starts on the math again.

I get the AHA! moment.  They can’t see me, they can’t feel my hugs and kisses.

I am dead.

Now I know, this is just a dream and nothing more.

I thought that I had gotten past the “death” bugaboo.  I know that you never really get totally past it – no one really does because the older you grow (no matter how healthy) the more susceptible to death you get.  But really, it has to reside in my subconscious and emerge in my dreams?

As a Catholic, my dream is troubling in another way.  Our faith tells us that we die, go to our own “private” judgement and our immortal souls either go to hell (God forbid!), purgatory, or heaven until the time that our souls reunite with our (now) glorified bodies.

I am not supposed to wander around in my family home, without a body, not knowing that I am dead.  And definitely NOT trying to communicate with my living family. (It is forbidden in the Old and New Testament for the living to try to raise or communicate with the dead.)

The Catholic faith doesn’t address this at all, but I’ve heard it in secular sources, and I wonder: Am I so attached to my family, that I can’t leave them, and I’m doomed to ‘haunt’ them – unseen, unheard.  People I love more than anything or anyone, and I can’t communicate with them.

It’s only a dream, and I try to push it out of my mind.

But it runs in the background.

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