I've been reflecting on signs and messages that are appearing to me. The practical/logical side of me wants to dismiss them. The intuitive side of me says "LISTEN". A little over a year ago, out of the blue when my health was at its prime (or so I thought), I had a dream that I had cancer in my left breast. It was a clear, vivid and very real dream. Bizarre, i thought. "Why am i dreaming about having cancer in my left breast?" Yet it was so real I mentioned it to my partner while she was making breakfast the next morning. It prompted me to then do a self-exam (which I admit, am horrible about doing!) where I was discovered a lump. Turns out it was a fatty lump which led to the discovery of another area that was of concern to my doctor ... despite being told by my doctor to come back in 6 weeks if the 'area of concern' grew or changed, I let my crazy schedule and the practical side brush off signs being given to me. Unfortunately it was six months later when my dear friend Elaine died from breast cancer that that was my wake up call. Last year I had two lumpectomies to remove lumps in my left breast. The first pathology report indicates one site of atypical ductal hyperplasia. The second pathology report after the removal of the second lump indicates two sites of atypical ductal hyperplasia and borderline DCIS. I'm blessed to have remove these atypical cells at an early stage and before they have crossed over the scary line to cancer... at least as far as breast cancer is concerned. Was my dream of having cancer a premonition ... a sign to me to pay attention, to tell me what could be if I don't listen to my body?
And now I struggle with gastrointestinal problems. Weight loss for about a year. Again, i've been brushing it off as stress. "It's nothing to worry about" i tell myself. Interestingly, the night of what would've been my father's 80th birthday, 9/14/2009, while on a business trip in New York, my body developed a symptom I could simply not ignore. My body clearly was not digesting fat anymore. It continued for weeks but I kept saying "I must've eaten something that doesn't sit right with me." Symptoms continued with relief maybe for one week out of the month. And in that week I would say "I must be okay" only to discover the symptoms return, and often with a vengeance. I'm now going on 4 months of my body not digesting fats. I continue to lose weight, gradual as it may be. I now have stomach pain 3-4 times a week instead of once a week. I now experience nausea and in the past couple weeks a new symptom has cropped up, feeling itchy throughout my body. I learned yesterday when visiting a naturopath that itchyness can be a sign that bile salts are in my bloodstream ... something is going on with my gall bladder or pancreas.
Another interesting "coincidence" occurred in the early morning of Ahnung's birthday (1/3/10). I consider January 3rd her birthday as I officially adopted her on 1/3/2009. Ahnung is a bridge to my father. On her birthday I had a dream that was so real, and in that dream, a voice was telling me I had pancreatic cancer. There were 3 areas of concern. I don't remember the first point made but the second area there was a small tumor but it was an aggressive form of cancer. The third area had something to do with the spread of cancer to other areas. And in my dream I could feel (not see) the presence of my father. I have never dreamnt about my father/Papa [I share more about Papa in a previous blog - I lost him to liver disease when I was 4; his symptoms being the symptoms I am having now]. I have thought about him a lot in my waking state and I have missed him and always feel him in my heart. Yet in my 45 years I have never had a dream about him until 1/3/2010 where his presence came along with the voice that said "you have pancreatic cancer." Then 2 days later while I was sitting in a training class in North Carolina for work, another message from Papa comes. About seven years ago my mom gave me the necklace she was wearing: a gold necklace with a diamond heart. "Your Papa gave that to me when we were dating" she tells me. I wear that necklace every day without fail. While sitting in an auditorium in NC something tells me to look down. I look down on my lap and the heart is laying upside down on my left thigh. I panic, did the chain break? How did it get lose? I feel around my neck for the chain as it's resting comfortably on my neck. Nothing is broken. The heart could not come lose without pressure being applied to the hook on my chain. How did the heart come lose? And how did the heart just happen to land on my lap? I immediately flash back to words my mom has shared with me over and over about that Friday afternoon, 12/20/1968, when my Papa died: "your Papa was holding a rosary in his left hand. The cross fell to the floor. I knew that God was taking your Papa. The chain of life had been broken." My heart races as I see the heart on my lap and I immediately clasp it in my hands. "Papa, what are you trying to tell me? Is it about me? Is it about Mama?"
One thing I know for sure is that Papa is trying to tell me something. Part of me wants to ignore all these symptoms: losing weight, fatigue, nausea, itchy skin, abdominal pain, inability to digest fat ... most of the symptoms/pain is tolerable. I hear Papa in me when I say "I feel fine." I hear Mama telling me, "don't make the same mistake I did with your Papa. I should've made him go to the doctor sooner. I shouldn't have waited till he turned yellow." And i hear the gut-wrenching pain and regret in her voice as shivering words come out of her mouth, "if I had made him go to the doctor sooner maybe he would still be here."
I need to remember to trust my gut and to listen to messages and signs. I believe Papa is always with me. Right now though I think he is sending me stronger signals ... maybe because I vacillate between accepting and resisting the many signs? I believe he's giving me a chance to catch what's going on in my pancreas early.
Thank you Papa for visiting me in my dreams and for sending me signs. I pray that you will continue to visit me and guide me. Truth is, I will always be your "baby" and your little girl, and I will always need you. I love you Papa.