I noticed a calling to start this post as Keith versus cancer or something – just for a a catchy title. The truth is there is no versus in any of this. Its much more with, a going-along, through, touching or meeting. Much of my practice related to this health crisis has been reframing my language and mentality on how I am in fact embracing this challenge. All too commonly do I see terms like beating, destroying killing, cancer. There is a battle aspect to this journey, obviously, but it is the inner battle of the warrior meeting a challenge. And I see this playing out in the world now. A virus is threatening the destruction of modern civilization. YET not from a standpoint that it has the ability to physically kill and remove its host(ALL of us!), as cancer does. But what it can do is destroy our reason, our calm or inner health and attitude. I am in an interesting position, in that for the better part of six weeks I went through an intense period of unknowing with the state of my own bodymind. And now I observe it playing out on a global scale. More on this later, I personally am saturated by the news, and need a break.
It’s Saturday morning and I wake up in good spirits and am well rested. 2 hours of predawn meditation dedicated to calming the storm in the hearts and minds of those in the world brought me great relaxation. My chemo pack was disconnected yesterday and what remains from this cycle is a box on my left arm that will inject me with white-blood cell booster juice around 5pm. A famous Zen teacher says that not knowing is nearest, meaning its best to just keep open and free and accepting to the present moment. I must delicately contradict this great sage when it comes to multiple cycles of chemotherapy!
As I’ve previously mentioned, I plan to undergo 6 cycles of 3 weeks (18 weeks total). In each cycle, the first week I receive treatment for 6 days, then I have 15 days to rest and recover. This time around, the ease of knowing what to expect was an incredible advantage over the anxiety and uncertainty of all the unknowns associated with chemotherapy. My father and sister joined me the first day for my longer Monday treatment. I knew all of the oncology nurses and the protocols that I would be submitted to throughout the day. Dad has mastered his way around town which consists of trips between Home Depot and Sprouts for my organic veggie juice ingredients (he is quickly learning to differentiate between varieties of kale and the subtle nuances of regional mangos and avocados!)
The major insomnia I dealt with three weeks ago was under much better control this week. I struggled on Monday and Tuesday to get to sleep before 4am, but the rest of the week I slept well. And speaking of reframing, rather than resist the insomnia as a problem, I simply accepted that when on a massive dose of steroids, one just needs less sleep! Monday and Tuesday evenings I enjoyed leaving some loopy WhatsApp voicemail messages to a number of friends – sorry if you had to listen to one of those!
Today I will relax at home with Dad for one more day, try to rest and prepare for the next days – in Cycle 1 it was the 3-4 days after the treatment week that were the most difficult to get through.
Many of you are offering to provide things above and beyond for me in this time and I continue to be extremely grateful! My meal train has been supporting me sooooo well and I am humbled by all of the supportive messages and love coming my way each day. I am not alone. We are not alone.