Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Beyond Seeing

A unique plant that caught my
attention .. then as I got
closer, something else got
my attention!
Early this morning I had my 6 month follow-up with my GI doctor to discuss my pancreas! What a lovely topic for a Wednesday morning!! I knew going in that I only had good news to share with him:

- I was no longer losing weight
- I was no longer fatigued
- My body was now able to digest fats
- and I was no longer having abdominal pain

The pancreatic enzymes that I've been on for 6 months now have done wonders for me. Almost feels like there's some magic potion in these 4 capsules I have to take with every meal. Sometimes I play around with the dosage (and I admitted that to my doctor), only to learn that I really do need the enzymes!

So I asked him this morning again, "why would my pancreas all of a sudden stop producing the essential enzyme lipase (which is responsible for digesting fat)? And will I have to take these enzymes for the rest of my life?" He tells me that often when they are unable to figure out what the cause is, "idiopathic", he tells me ... which means arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause ... that when it's idiopathic that doctors tend to say that a virus is what caused it. He goes on to tell me that there have been cases of extremely healthy young individuals who develop serious diseases and doctors aren't able to figure it out. I love how my doctor is willing to admit that some times we just don't know ... yes, the mystery. He goes on to tell me that the endoscopic ultrasound I had done earlier this year indicated that there was no major damage to my pancreas or any visible tumors, which is a good thing. He went on to say that he suspects that if a biopsy was done of my pancreas that something would show up, but the risks associated with a biopsy of the pancreas are too high. He suspects there are changes happening at a microscopic level and aren't being detected by tests currently available .... hmmm, sounds very much like these lumps that keep growing in my left breast.
Noticing the spider as I got closer.

A palpable mass in my left breast has grown substantially from 6 weeks ago. It almost feels like it has a life of its own. The previous two lumps that were removed surgically in 2009 didn't show up on any ultrasounds or mammograms. Yet, when removed and biopsied they reveal that my cells are starting to go awry .... atypical hyperplasia/borderline DCIS. The same is true with this last mass ... this mass also isn't showing up on an MRI. I meet with my surgeon next Wednesday. Will I have to remove this mass and have it biopsied?

I return to the dream I had when my father appeared to me on January 3, 2010 ... he said to me that there's a virus (or bacteria ... I can't remember exactly) that's spreading throughout your body. He also said I had pancreatic cancer. This dream happened before I even suspected it was my pancreas and before my GI doctor figured out it was my pancreas. So why would my dad appear to me in a dream and tell me these things? And then there was this dream about having cancer in my left breast in the summer of 2008 that led me to notice a lump in my breast. So do I disregard these dreams? Do I brush them off to some crazy dream? Or do I just tuck them in the back of my mind and simply use them as guides and reminders to simply pay attention to the subtle changes in my body. My symptoms are an enigma to doctors. I guess i'm not a textbook case.

So at a cellular level, my body is going through some changes. It's a little scary at times. I have asked myself over and over again, what's so scary about all of this? I don't know if I have one answer to that ... I have many, of which one of them is that it's scary to know there are changes going on in my body and to not be able to see them, and for doctors to not be able to 'see' them with their tests and procedures. The unknown is also scary. Yet, deep down I know there's a reason for why all of this happening and I have to learn to trust, to pray, and to be okay with whatever path my life is meant to take.

I can't see God. Yet I feel God in my heart and I believe with all my heart He is with me.
I can't see Papa. Yet I feel him holding me, carrying me, protecting me.
I can't see air. Yet I know there is oxygen all around me because I can breathe.

I don't need to see to believe. That's Faith.
And when I get scared, I have to remember to ground myself and be in the moment. That's Being.

Faith = it stretches my soul and spirit up to the heavens.
Being = it grounds me and makes me stand firm in the roots of the earth.

Heaven and Earth ... may I feel both and may I simply trust and let go of all that keeps me from being my true self and what God has planned for me.


"Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we would like to dream about. The off-center, in between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don't get caught, and in which we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit.

The spiritual journey involves going beyond hope and fear, stepping into unknown territory, continually moving forward. The most important aspect of being on the spiritual path may be to just keep moving. Usually, when we reach our limit, we feel exactly like Rinpoche's attendants and freeze in terror. Our bodies freeze and so do our minds. Rather than indulge or reject our experience, we can somehow let the energy of the emotion, the quality of what we're feeling pierce us to the heart. This is a noble way to live. It’s the path of compassion - the path of cultivating human bravery and kindheartedness."

 ~Pema Chodron

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