advanced degree

March 5, 2007 § 10 Comments

I saw my acupuncturist last week. More than most, he understands the toll toxins take.

“Just one more to go” I said.

“This must be a very interesting experience for you”.

He was so earnest, I lost count of the needles. One in my forehead, two in each ear, a few in my belly, feet, ankles and shins, forearms, wrists and the back of my hand, I’d guess thirty in all.

The heat lamps directed at my feet and abdomen were soothing. The pincushion part less pleasurable but I’m use to much worse. As I dozed off, I thought about what he said. An “interesting experience”, that’s a new angle.

So, what does a big honkin’ illness offer up?

I thought about my dad. He died of Multiple Myeloma when I was ten. It was a death sentence 40 years ago. I suspect the prognosis is better today. But I wasn’t thinking about his illness. I was thinking about his death, and how it was a blessing.

Don’t bristle.

It’s not that he was a bad guy, it’s just that his death taught me something. Most tragedies are a refresher course. With cancer I’ll bring home a PhD.

I use to wake up and go to work, and work-out, and entertain, and plan, and make, and do, and share, and create, and manage, and negotiate, and manipulate, and package, and process, and that was before lunch. I was on a roll and it was very good.

Now, I wake-up and I don’t know if I am going to stand-up, or stay in bed. Eventually I migrate to the computer and around noontime I’ll go down stairs to check the other mail. I’ll look at the clock again, it might be 4p. Baking a potato can take an entire afternoon in this parallel universe.

Everything changes.

Memorize that one.

There’s a test when you least expect it.


§ 10 Responses to advanced degree

  • Caryl says:

    Man o man— you bring genuine beauty to this ugly disease.

    Frannie is a lucky little girl to have you to bring your view of the world to.

  • Edie Read says:

    test…and our job is to pass

    sending you strength like the princeton review

  • Karen Waer says:

    Love the reference to a parallel universe. Bobby (youngest son) had spinal menengitis a few years ago. Mark was in Texas, and I couldn’t get a hold of him. I left him 8 messages starting off with “I’m taking Bobby to the doctor” to “he’s in the hospital” to “they are determining if it’s bacterial or viral.” Thankfully, it was viral. But during those hours I went through the gammet of emotions just like you described. Going from running 100 miles an hour to sitting by his bed and praying and not caring about anything else that was going on in the world.

    Love you, Karen

  • Allie Frank says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    I am Deanne’s friend and I asked her for your blog. Just started reading from the beginning and all I can say is that you are amazing. Thanks for writing, I’ll keep reading. Stay strong and keep fighting for health. I’m thinking of you. I have a friend who went through ovarian cancer and her writings are really incredible. If you’d like to see them I can pass them onto Deanne and she can pass them on to you.
    Love, Allie

  • Ricki says:

    May you be happy,
    May you be healthy,
    May you ride the waves of life,
    May you be peaceful,
    May you be kind,
    May you be generous,
    May you be grateful,
    No matter what you are given.
    A Mhetta prayer I recite for my family everyday and probably don’t understand but I’m sure you do.

  • Gail says:

    Your blog entries are always insightful, funny and on the mark… but you sucked the air out of the room with this one, kiddo. I haven’t thought of that whole mess in a while. You reminded me how bad the whole thing with Daddy was; no doubt about it, it was just awful. Thankfully I was a much more mature 18 yr old. (Ha!)

    Something as life altering as cancer has many repercussions. It hits each of us differently. Your lucid thought process and your beautiful blog entries serve your readers, as well, in our challenge to process your struggle and it’s impact.

    Seriously though, the idea that life can hit you like a drunk driver in the night fog is more than a bit unsettling. We all go on the illusion that this world will remain right side up. But when thrown in the maelstrom of disease and treatments, it takes unbelievable fortitute to just see which way is up. And up is the direction to go. Up in everyway possible. Cheer up. Look up. Stand up (when you can). And speak up. Tell it like it is, sister. Tell it like it is. Kleenex to follow.
    Love you like my heart is breaking, Gail

  • Penny says:

    Marilyn, I love you. Gail, please pass the kleenex. I love you all, and think of everyone often.

  • Lynda Brown says:

    I love this entry. I contemplate your experience every day, many times a day, but do not communicate much about it. It’s a quiet space, not wordy.
    Of course, I am incredibly grateful for your posse and that loved ones are caring for you, my loved one. And that the tumor is shrinking.
    I resonate with your feelings about your Dad’s death.
    In many instances death is not the worst thing. I remember your saying that your dad was ill for a long time, so hard to watch. Much love out to you, Lynda

  • Faye says:

    I don’t think I can say much (thats a first). As the oldest sister I am far from the wisest, you have taught me much.
    I wanted to run away when daddy died, but instead I got married and had no where to run. I play with the memories of the loss of my father in my head and remember more about how he died than anything much about his life. He never communicated in either words or emotions. Thank you for sharing your pain it helps me to understand you and myself a little better.

  • Kelly says:

    I am a 27 year old, recently married, new mother and recently diagnosed with breast Cancer, I stumbled upon your blog and just finished reading from the beginning. Your writing is amazing. You have completley changed my outlook on this whole situation, you have eased many anxieties I didnt even know I had. My mother always says if you dont laugh you’ll go crazy, you have just reminded me to laugh, just in time. Thank you.

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