Thursday, May 16, 2013

An Issue of Blood

I wrote this a couple of years ago (August 2011) when things were very different.  I wanted to post it because it was such a remarkable journey for this human.  My thoughts and feelings were of a different time, and I'm feeling like they were from a different person.  So much has changed.  It is very personal and raw and some of it may make you uncomfortable, but trust me, not as uncomfortable as it made me.  This is nothing to be embarrassed about.  It is one woman's journey and it contains conditions that a typical female may endure.  Hope you can get through it.  I did.

Here you go.

And then there’s my story. When I moved to the suburbs after meeting my wonderful husband Jimmy twelve years ago, I needed to get new doctors for the various upkeep of my human body. I had had some ear problems over the years so the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist came first, then the Dentist and lastly, with very little time left and with no urgency whatsoever, the ob-gyn.

The ob-gyn. Does anyone really fully understand what goes on at the other end of the table when one visit’s the ob-gyn? We are at our most vulnerable, completely helpless staring at the ceiling, literally half-naked, barely breathing and then, nine times out of ten, the Dr. is making some small talk about shoveling her driveway that morning and some new instrument that just arrived that she’s trying and then you see something introduced above the paper sheet like a mad scientists puppet show, her elbows move and you feel a sharp pinch, someplace deep within. The top of her head moving is all you see. But you can feel it. To say the least, the physical sensations are invasive, wet and cold. How come they don’t offer the patients a mirror like at the Dentist? Is there something going on down there that we shouldn’t be seeing or knowing? It isn’t surgery, but it sure feels like it when the dignity-less paper covers your belly and your knees and nothing more.

It is a mystery. It’s a horror. It’s a necessity.

Nine months ago, I finally began my quest. Obviously, several years had gone by, so I was due. I say with very little time left and with no urgency because I was unaware of what my body was about to go through. It began with an uncontrollable and very painful, monthly bleeding problem. I likened it to the story about the woman with the “issue of blood“ as mentioned in the Bible, more specifically Mark‘s gospel:

25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

When the woman, who had bled for twelve long, miserable years touched the hem of Jesus‘ robe, she was healed. Jesus proclaimed that her faith had made her whole. My faith would not be making me whole.

However, my new ob-gyn would be sending me for several tests after the initial physical examination including an ultrasound.

Diagnosis: two fibroids three centimeters each located in the lining of the uterus. Treatment: Drugs. Hysterectomy. Do nothing until menopause.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The fibroids were non-problematic before I knew they were there. Initially I thought I only needed to find a new ob-gyn because I was in need of a yearly pap smear and mammography exam. That was all. I had no bleeding issues. No symptoms. No problems. But as soon as I was diagnosed, shortly thereafter, the bleeding began. Perhaps the fact that the fibroids were noticed, observed, poked at, prodded and acknowledged was all they needed to make them stronger. Make them stand up and be filled with existence and blood because now, they will not stop bleeding.

After undergoing several different types of treatments including progestin, I realized that the hormone imbalance that that was causing was only exacerbating my condition. As the months went on and the bleeding continued and the treatment produced no positive result, I decided to get a second opinion.

That’s when I was referred me to Dr. Fernandez.  He was a true life saver and came highly recommended.

(Interesting to note here that Mrs. Fernandez has brain cancer and is being treated by my radiologist Dr. Vialotti.  I do not know presently how Mrs. Fernandez is doing, but I hope she's okay.  It didn't look good at the time.)

I set up an appointment and went in for an examination and consultation. Dr. Fernandez also diagnosed the fibroids and suggested a D&C and Cauterization. This same day procedure was going to put an end to these uncontrollable bleeding issues. The procedure was scheduled, and like a very obedient guinea pig, I showed up and assumed the position in the operating room. Luckily, I was knocked out and shortly after regaining consciousness, was able to go home to rest.

Five days after the D&C I actually started to feel better, I even exercised a little, but the next night something changed. I started to experience very bad pains in my stomach and wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I told my husband that something was wrong. The next morning, I went back in to see Dr. Fernandez. Diagnosis: Infection. Why? Who knows? I wanted to blame the hospital. I wanted to blame the Dr. I wanted an explanation. I wanted to be getting better. These things I would not be getting. I did however, get a script for an anti-biotic and for the next week I would be taking them.

But, and this may sound familiar, a few days after starting the antibiotics, I started to feel better. I started to feel like myself again and thought the worst was behind me. The D&C and the cauterization and the infection were all behind me now and I was on the mend. I am healing now and ‘everything will be fine’. That’s when I believe God laughed. I didn’t exactly hear Him laugh, but you know the expression ‘you make plans and God laughs’. Well, on the seventh day, one week after beginning the antibiotics and two weeks after the D&C, the issue of blood RETURNED reaching way beyond biblical proportions and becoming life threatening.

Thankfully at around 10pm my husband Jim returned home after coaching football practice. I went into the bathroom because I had the sensation that I was bleeding- like I had had prior to the surgery and infection. The sensation that had plagued me for months and months. That horrible sensation was back but this time the bleeding will not stop. It was a little under one hour before I, we, realized that I was literally bleeding to death. Unless something or someone stopped this bleeding, I was going to bleed to death in my own bathroom while my husband tried in vain to convince me it was fine. He had no idea. No way to gauge what amount of blood is normal and lethal. I was so scared and horrified by the plum sized blood clots that were pouring out of me, I began to get upset and started to panic. Deep breaths, crying, asking Jim to get me orange juice because I remembered giving blood at the Red Cross and afterward, graham crackers and orange juice were the common fare. He ran to get the juice which I chugged. It did not help. I thought I had better call the Dr. service to get some advice. My Dr. was not on call, but the Dr. that was listened as I rattled off my conditions and symptoms and he began to describe the symptoms of going into shock. Shock? I hadn’t thought of that. I had been bleeding for months. Why hadn’t that occurred to me? He suggested I get help if that happened. I hung up the phone and that’s when the room started to spin. I was in deep trouble. I cried to Jim to get me help and that’s when he called 911. The operator told him to get me on the floor to prevent more of my precious life source from pouring out of me. I crawled to the floor and began shaking uncontrollably instantly breaking into a soaking wet sweat. The police and the ambulance service arrived shortly thereafter. They assessed my situation and quickly and efficiently removed me from the safety of my home and brought me to the nearest hospital. Unfortunately, that was not Dr. Fernandez’ hospital, so the resident ob-gyn came down to examine me. His name was Dr. Fischer. His diagnosis: Fibroids. Treatment: Emergency Partial Hysterectomy. What? Did he say I needed another surgery? But what about the D&C and Cauterization? What about the infection. This all just happened in the past two weeks. How can my body withstand another surgery? What about all the blood I lost? It didn’t matter. These fibroids were going to continue bleeding. The D&C and the Cauterization were supposed to cut off the blood supply so what happened? Dr. Fischer described it this way “The fibroid has to die off in your body and eventually it will, and will be expelled on it’s own. In the meantime, it looks like they are going to bleed a lot. A lot? I’m anemic now. My hemoglobin was an 11 (a normal level) it’s now a 5. I’m so weak and I barely have any blood left to bleed.

Jim and I made a critical decision to leave that local hospital on our own and drive up the highway several miles away to the hospital where Dr. Fernandez resides. That was the decision that began to put this nightmare to rest. I arrived and was greeted by the night nurses who dutifully administered an I.V. and tucked me in my hospital bed. It was now 3 a.m. I turned toward my husband who was as white as I was and said “You need to go home now and get some rest. I‘ll be okay”. My emergency partial hysterectomy surgery was scheduled for 2pm the next day. He reluctantly kissed me goodnight and made his way home. He did not want to leave me there. I did not want him to go.

As I lie there awake in my new surroundings knowing I‘m never going to fall asleep, I cannot help but reflect on the past two weeks. Wow. How did I get here? What was tomorrow going to look like? I’m so weak, how can they operate on me again? I wish I knew that woman’s name in the New Testament.

The next sound I hear is the morning nurse coming in to take my vitals. Blood pressure very low. Blood count very low. My skin is now a sick color of green. I have no veins that I can see. I cannot eat or drink anything until after the surgery. I really didn’t want anything. I really just wanted to go home. Jim met up with my mother and my best friend Debbie and they sat with me, starring at me.

The next thing I remember is being pushed through the hospital hallway to surgery. Two right turns, that’s all? It has to be a longer ride. No. The operating room was right next to the elevator door. Convenient, I thought. They pushed me into the cold, sterile room which seemed smaller than I thought it should be. I noticed at the foot of the table, on the floor, the floor was stained. What was that? Beta dyne? Blood stains? Oh and nice utensils on the table that the nurses seem to be putting in some barbaric order. Way too much information. They transferred me over to the table and began to administer the elixir that will bind me up for a week. And I was out. And it was over. They took my uterus and left my ovaries so I wouldn’t go into instant menopause. That will turn out to be a great decision down the road, but for now, recovery is the order of the day.

Recovery. Agony. A six inch scar six inches below my belly button straight across my abdomen. Well, almost straight. Dr. Fernandez got it a little wrong on one side, but I always had an eye for a straight line. I could have cared less about that though at the time. The morphine drip was the only thing that got me through the worst of it. That, and of course, my family. It is a very barbaric operation to be sliced open and have organs removed. It’s surreal. Until you try to get up out of bed, then reality sets in. You can barely stand, head spins from the anemia. I’ve never felt so weak in my life. It felt like death. But there’s a little light off in the distance that you’re drawn to. Every day you feel a little bit better, but so little at times too small to measure. It would be weeks before I would feel like myself again. It’s November now and I still have some tenderness on the left side of my abdomen where my incision is. This is a long healing process. I do have my energy back though. I exercise again. I’m alive again. I don’t bleed anymore and that is unbelievable! I’m so grateful to Dr. Fernandez and the nurses at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck. They are truly God’s servants and healers and I was blessed to have such competent brothers and sisters administering to me.

This year God has truly shown me His mercy. He spared my life when clearly it could have gone, in an instant, the wrong way. I could have died this year but God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to spare me and give me a second chance at life. Why? Who knows but I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to figure out why. It probably has something to do with sharing my story. My story always has something to do with God. He alone is my salvation. Thank you Lord for everything this year. For my healing. For this I am thankful and truly humbled.

-- That was then.  This is now.       I am currently re-reading Deborah King's "Truth Heals What you hide can hurt you".  She states over and over again in the book that you need to speak your truth.  She goes on to say that the conditions I have suffered from are directly related to my heart and throat chakras which are out of balance.  Holding on to past hurts leads to dis-ease in the body.  That's a fact.  As I look back at my medical history I am astonished that this has fallen on my deaf ears, that is until now.    Deborah is very frank in her book describing her turmoil and some of it is awful to read but I can relate.  I am very thankful that she wrote this book, that I have a copy of it and that I'm not afraid to speak my truth.  Thanks Deborah.

When she signed my book she wrote:  Maria, Just take care of you!  Exclamation point!  When I saw that the other day I couldn't believe that I had just either overlooked it, or just continued on my path which was to fix everything, everyone, all the ills.  I didn't take care of myself, at least until now.   I've had enough ill in my life.  I've been through so much turmoil and I am responsible for most of it as it pertains to my lifestyle, thought habits, stubbornness, inability to let go and Let God.  All of this is changing for me.   I will re-read this book again and again if only to remind myself that I am important.  I matter.  My feelings are important and they matter.  Forgiveness is for self.  Healing is for self first.  You must heal yourself before you can help anyone else.   

I'm truly sorry if my life path at this point does not include you any longer.  God gives and God takes away.  My heart is open and I am available.  My phone is on.  If you have any issues that you want to drag out into the light, there is time to do so.  I am not the same person.  How could I be after enduring so much physical pain, emotional pain, spiritual turmoil.  


He that is in me is greater than any turmoil.  My healing begins today.  I will not return to the bad behaviors and patterns that caused such chaos in my body.  I hope that these words that I've written illuminate your heart, bring you to your knees and allow your heart to open to the oneness, and importance of harmony and unity.  Discord is not the way.  

God's healing and blessings for you always, even if we don't see eye to eye.  We will always be soul to soul however.  If not in this life, in the next.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Relay for Life

In May of 2012, I received the news that I had Stage O Breast Cancer.  That same month I walked in our local Relay for Life in support of two angels, my best friend Rachael and my new best friend MaryLou.  I did the walk to support these two lovelies, but was in complete denial that I myself had cancer.  This is not something you just accept and say - hey, yeah, no problem.  It frightens the life out of you, literally.

Rachael's Dad, Joe passed away at the end of May last year succumbing to brain cancer which was discovered only two short years before after he was in an random accident.  They did a routine examination looking closely at his head and discovered an aggressive tumor.  They gave him only a few years to live, and live he did until his body could no longer survive what was happening in his body despite surgeries, chemo, etc.  It was the saddest thing to watch.  My heart breaks every day for Rachael.  She's heartbroken and will be until she's reunited with her "Padre".

MaryLou, a divorced mother of 3 has Stage 4 Breast Cancer diagnosed several years ago.  Ever since I met MaryLou she has been having one surgery or another, undergoing constant chemotherapy all the while smiling.  She says 'it's because of my kids, I have to be strong for them'.  And that she is. 

After the Relay For Life last year, I had my own battle to wage, and as you've read in past posts, surgery, radiation and the like was the order for the day and now, I'm home with pneumonia thinking long and hard about reality.  It's as if this whole year was a blur - by the way, not quite a year.  Just a mere eight months.

A few months ago, MaryLou contacted me.  She said she 'needed to get her God on' and reached out to me to help her spiritually.  I was more than willing and Rae and I met her for lunch.  She told us she was organizing the Relay for Life this year.  She said she was Chairing the event and she knew that I have planned many events, have done lots of PR work and have lots of connections with regard to sponsors and the like.  She felt like I was the perfect candidate to work with her.  Me?

I was more than happy to lift her up in the Spirit.  Offering her prayers and advice on how to get God back into her psyche more than anything.  She kept saying 'I know this', and 'how did I forget'?  But how can you not forget when the throws of life have you face down on the concrete and you're facing your mortality.  We all know millions of people die of cancer every day.  The reality can be overwhelming and it was especially for me, as I am only now realizing.

These two woman have become a beacon of hope for me encouraging ME to fight the good fight.

This past Friday was the Relay for Life which I did not help coordinate.  I did the best I could encouraging MaryLou, but participate?  Coordinate?  Get involved?  How could I?  I was still fighting.

That being said, when I realized the walk was Friday I couldn't miss it.  As sick as I am, I managed to get out of bed, put on a pink shirt in support that Rae helped me embellish and I registered at the event but this time as a Survivor.  I didn't know that Survivors wear purple not pink.  That revelation brought me to tears instantly.  The organizers who gave me my purple Survivor shirt asked me what type of cancer I had, when I was diagnosed, and I told them that and that I was there despite my pneumonia.  The tears were flowing but the compassion and empathy that these strangers yet kindred spirits gave me was deeply moving.  They hugged me.  They told me it was okay.

It was then I realized that I had a special place of honor among the Survivors.  They had chairs set up in the front row.  Purple shirt cancer survivors, of which I am now obviously one, took their seats and the ceremony began.  MaryLou took her place with the microphone and read her testimony.  She held it together as she described her journey, her mastectomies, her chemotherapy's - which she was still undergoing even only a few days earlier.  Her children and her friends, even the Mayor of Rutherford were all there in support.  After several more speeches, what came next caught me again off guard. 

Had I been sleepwalking all this time?

They announced the Survivors by name.  They called my name and I had to go and receive a purple cancer survivor medal.  MaryLou was called right after me - we basically got our medals together and what an honor to have her right by my side - she's so incredibly strong.  When I look at my struggle vs. hers, and I'm not comparing, she's the warrior.  I'm just a little squirrel trying to get a nut.  She's an amazing woman with the courage of an army of women.  She never faltered.  She was, however, so very happy to see me there and we hugged and shed a tear of hope between us.

Then we walked our Survivor lap.  Together.  Right in the front row holding the Relay for Life sign.  It was surreal.  I realized at that moment that I am a cancer survivor.  All the needles, poking, prodding, scans, tests, biopsies, lumpectomies, radiation - none of it was real until that moment.  I could barely get through my lap.  At the same time, the caretakers are also walking their lap in the opposite direction.  I could see my bestie Rae off in the distance.  She took her caretaker lap last year in honor of her Padre, and this year she took it for both of us.  She was an amazing caretaker to me.  She still is.

When we got closer and closer and the the two groups came together, MaryLou and I both lost our breath.  The support from family and friends that rallied round was gut wrenching.  I realized besides Rae, I was alone.  There was really no one there for me, except the entire Relay for Life community, and that was enough.

After the second lap, I was so completely winded, overwhelmed and frankly so sick I had to sit down.  I couldn't walk another step.  I am still fighting.  I am still sick.  So I sat and let Rae walk around a little more.  She wasn't done yet.  She needed to be there a little longer for her Padre, for MaryLou, for herself and I'm guessing for me.  Her reality is just settling in also.  It's all a lot to accept.  Acceptance is key, as I now know.  I couldn't feel my pulse and felt like I would faint at any moment, but I didn't.  I got through it.  WE got through it.

I called MaryLou the next morning to thank her and to apologize for not helping her with the organizing and of course, she said 'don't be ridiculous'.  She said that when she saw me there she was ecstatic because she knew how empowering it was.  I was embracing the reality of what I had experienced, not poking my head into the ground but looking around and knowing that yeah, I got cancer, I am fighting back and I am a part of something so much bigger than just myself.  This is not something that goes away.  You have this experience and it becomes a part of your life forever.  There is no 'getting over it'.  That's not the way cancer works.  Perhaps a splinter works that way, but not cancer.

I told MaryLou that I am getting involved next year.  MaryLou suggested that I Co-Chair the event with her.  Can you imagine?  What a place of honor.  What an opportunity to give to this community all that I have to offer and for such an amazing cause.  Not for some self glory but for the help of humanity.  MaryLou, of course she's planning on doing it again.  She'll live forever that one.  I told her I would absolutely do the very best I can to organize, promote and fight this deadly disease from the Survivor front line holding my head up high and owning who I am.  I am fearless today.  I've been educated, I've been through it - but know this - if you've not walked in my shoes do not judge me.  Do not have any preconceived notions about what this feels like.  You have no idea, and even after going through it, I still had no idea.

Today is a different day.  Today I will rise to the occasion giving all of my energy toward that which is profitable and that which will yield a harvest of righteousness.  If I can put a smile on just one person's face, if I can help diminish the fear from just one person's heart, if I can raise just one dollar or one more persons awareness that we can find a cure then that's my purpose in life.

If you would like information on the Relay For Life, please visit  Give, educate yourself, get involved.  It's not just about you, it's about all of us and if one of us is sick, we're all sick.  There is life after life (my new favorite saying) and I will hold your hand.  I promise I will be there.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Let My Life Be The Proof of Your Love

Music moves my whole life.  It soothes the savage beast within me.  Sometimes I'm a kitten and sometimes as a Leo, my inner lioness roars and truth be told, nips.  I prefer the kitten as I know most that know me do as well.  It is highly recommended, therefore, to be gentle.  (:

We all have a 'side' to us that we'd prefer the world didn't see.  I'm trying to be more transparent these days especially knowing how short life is and how hard it can be to overcome life's many challenges.  I am the salt of the earth.  In human form, I come from a working class family and have had to work for everything that I have.  In spiritual form, I am but a reflection of God's love still in the throws of growing into perfection.  We will be like Him when He is revealed.  Glory to God.

I am currently not the illness that happens to be passing through my body.  I am not the emotions that I struggle with.  I am not my past but I am responsible.  I am not my failed or successful relationships that I engage in.   I am not the job that I work so very hard at.  I am not my hopes and dreams, those realized and those I'm still working on.  I am not my ego, my body or my brain.  I am not the things people say about me.  I am none of these things.

I am not even the image that so perfectly captured the lost, hurt child in the photo below which was taken in my formative years.  As my perfect life was falling apart in March of 1978,  I was only 15 years old and I was completely lost.

I am also not the most recent image below taken in my current state of being. It's 2013 and I've still so much to learn, live, share and give.

I've come a long way baby, and what I still and always have aspired to be is a reflection of my idol, the Man Jesus, the Shepherd, who has set the bar so very high when it comes to the real meaning of life. 

Following the Shepherd does not make us weak.  Following the Shepherd makes us strong.  It helps us navigate His creation - this life He's given us.  God sees us as a helpless, sweet, soft, little, blemish free, innocent lambs which we all know we are not if we are without Him.  We are all together different without Him.  A lamb is a soft, gentle being that needs guidance and also needs protection from all the snares that accompany this gift.  God knew that this life would be frought with evils the mind could not comprehend let alone defend itself against.  There is trickery, and illusion.  There is real hate and a real war of separation.  Christ, the Shepherd, did not die on the cross forgiving his crucifiers because there was no war.  He died so our eyes would be opened to the reality that is this life.  The reward after living this life for Christ is nothing like the reward for living for the opposition.  What opposition?  There is an opposing, completely different force in this world and Christ knew that His people, His flock would be attacked at the very first opportunity.  Some would even be seduced and fooled.  The attacks come in all shapes and sizes, promises of great fortune and greatness of all kinds.  Even a false sense of comfort.  Of course these are disguised and it's the fool that grasps the golden ring and forsakes the Shepherd, but even fools have an opportunity to come home.  Even fools.

I aspire to be a reflection of God's love.  Period.  No matter what you do to me.

I hope you love the lyrics and the video I'm posting here today.  As I recover from so many things, it comforts me because I am well acquainted with the divine inspiration with which For King and Country created this masterpiece.  It is for all sheep, lambs, children of God, of which I am proudly one.  Don't be fooled however, it's the disillusioned that need saving.  It's the lost that need the Shepherd the most.

Live your life like you mean it, like it is a gift from God, which it is.  A miraculous gift, nothing to be taken lightly or for granted.  Live your life like Spirit is watching and teaching and praying that you will get the real reason you are here.  Take each opportunity to learn in a way that is giving, forgiving and loving.  This is not about money, fame or fortune, titles, possessions or the glory you give yourself for your accomplishments.  God forbid.  Many sell their souls to the devil for one thin dime and a thin dime is all you will get.

I love you and I pray that you'll look deep within.  The truth is all in there if you'll only humble yourself, pray, and believe.  If you shut the door before you take your last breath, you may be trapped in more misery in spirit then you ever were in human form.  Disobedience or lack of respect and humility leads to more life lessons.  Maybe even more lives.  Let's hope you don't come back as a lamb.  Some only make it to the dinner plate.  But that's Buddhism and that's not what were talking about here.  A soul that forsakes God gets its just reward as does a faithful follower.  Jesus is the true and just Judge.  The King knows His sheep.  He calls them by name and they know His voice. 

Time is on your side though.  You only need but a moment like the prodigal son.  Forgiveness is yours for the asking.

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's word with power, revealing all of His mysteries and making everything as plain as day, and if I have faith to say to a mountain jump and it jumps but I don't love I'm nothing. If I give all I earn to the poor or even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

spirit is everything

I truly loved my last blog so much, it pains me to write this one. 

I'd rather be a positive Patty than a sick Sally any day of the week, but alas, today Sally is in the house.

As a direct result of radiation treatment for breast cancer I have developed a debilitating pneumonia.  Call it radiation pneumenitis, call it whatever you like, it's pretty bad.

Interesting to note that I was able to work through five weeks of a six week radiation treatment course before needing to take off only for the last week because my breast tissue was just too uncomfortable and I was exhausted.  However, this pneumonia that has developed only eight months later, has flattened me.  I've never been hit by a slower moving train.

Funny, the day before I woke up with a horrific, piercing pain in my left lung, I was in a very good place.  I felt as if I were getting my life back.  I was looking forward and trying to plan a little trip to Florida to surprise my niece, nephew and Mother whom I haven't seen in several years.   I was thinking about planning a birthday celebration.   I was thinking of a lot of positive things.  Life had other plans, however.

It's been a pretty hard blow.  I find myself wallowing in the whys and what's of what is truly going on in this body of mine.  I have had it for close to 50 years now and its cells have memory.  I'm wondering if it's just a simple side effect of the radiation or something more.

It's always something more, isn't it?

Just when I think I've worked through some hardship, past hurt, or painful memory, something or someone happens and BAM! 

I'm pretty sure I can put my finger on the exact trigger of this one.

This pain, this ill, this poison has been around me my whole life.  It's the exact opposite of the AGAPE love I wrote about in my last blog.  It's so human and flawed that it's potential to destroy is as strong as God's potential to heal.  It has the ability to pierce your heart, your skin, your mind, your lung - if you let it, if you see it coming, and especially if you're still holding a grudge.

Am I still holding a grudge and if so, against whom?

Well, truth be told, and the truth is not so easy to tell all the time, I have a very toxic relationship in my life that I have tried and tried and tried to mend, to no avail. 

As a matter of fact, my most recent attempt at mending this fence was met with a frantic building up of an ever bigger, more painful fence by the other person.  Namely, my father. 

We do not see eye to eye on anything.  We are the most two different people on the planet and how we can even be related at times seems erroneous.  I do not belong to him, I never did.  We do not agree to disagree, it's just his way or no way.  His memory fails him and his lack of empathy is palpable, but not just to me.

My father is 76 years old now and in failing health.  He's lived his life exactly the way he's wanted to, no excuses.  I imagine he will do exactly what he wants to with his remaining years, even telling me a few weeks ago as I was trying yet again to reach him, that 'he doesn't miss me' and that 'everyone in the family HATES' me.

At least he finally admitted what I had been feeling my whole life, not about how the family feels because he can only speak for himself.  This was about how he felt about me.

What he was referring to was my recent absences, or unwillingness to fly to Florida over the past few years for a few family gatherings.  Granted, working through a divorce and cancer, according to him, were not valid excuses, it's something I should have gotten over by now especially because he set the example on how to get over his divorce, I guess.  So, the icing on the cake was hate.

That's been a pretty hard thing to process along with a lot of older pains that I have tried to work through, discuss and even forget.  This one....not so much.

This one was not hard, it was ridiculously hateful, painful, deliberate, and it's causing me to rethink everything I've ever thought about our relationship.  I had always known I was not Daddy's little girl.  I have been telling people that for years hoping to hear that every one's Dads are like this, but those closest to me remember things that even I've forgotten and they say things like "well, he was never there for you", and "he's always only been about himself".  So, why couldn't I just accept things the way they were?  Why couldn't I just settle for less?

Don't get me wrong, we've had some really wonderful times together - as adults mostly, and I won't get into my childhood here and my parents divorce, suffice to say it carved out a hole in my heart that only he could've filled - if he were honest with himself for putting it there in the first place and if he were willing to fill it.  It just seems that given half a chance to make me whole, he runs in the other direction into denial, frustration, no patience and then just finger pointing and anger.  I have had some real hurts that needed some real validation.  That's a lot of hard work to do on both of our parts but it's just not going to work if only one person rolls up their sleeves.  I've never been afraid to look at who I am and what I have or haven't done.  I have no problem with saying "I'm sorry - mea culpa".  Not sure where I get that from, but it's definitely not my Dad. 

And you know what?  I forgive him, I still pine for him, I still love him.   I will not however, allow this toxicity to invade my life any longer.  I feel as if for the first time he spoke his truth.  He never wanted children I believe.  I believe if he did, he wanted sons.  I was his last chance for a son in his first marriage and I was a disappointment as a girl who was jokingly called "Mario" for along time partly because I was a tomboy and I'm guessing because I was the son he never had so the "I don't miss you" and "everyone hate you" that's a direct quote from his heart and those closest to him - about me.  His flesh and blood.  His baby girl.

That's my cross to bear.  That's the lesson in forgiveness that God himself has allowed to come directly to me.  But why?

Deborah King, Spiritual Author and Healer, whom I met in person, took one look at me and said "boy, he really hurt you, didn't he"?  At the time, I wondered if she was referring to the man who molested me when I was twelve right after my parents divorced or if she meant my Dad because she was running her hand over my abdomen, but it was very clear that one molestation for me did not create a lifetime of pain.  She meant my Dad.  When he left my Mother and my sister, he took my heart with him and he never brought it back.  Of course, there are so many details that I'm leaving out and purposely so.  I'm not trying to paint it black.  I'm just trying to let go once and for all of someone who never held onto me as closely as he should have.  I'm trying to let go of the false notion that all families are perfect, all parents are perfect.  I'm not capable of romanticizing the past.  It wasn't romantic for me.  I was suicidal for most of it. 

Deborah went on to say that I wasn't ready yet to be a healer.  At that time, I had no idea how much more I would have to go through to be ready.  I wonder if she thinks I'm ready yet?  I don't believe so.  It still hurts too badly.  I haven't evolved enough as a healer if I'm still allowing anyone to disappoint me with their words, their deeds, or lack thereof.  I feel shortchanged on one hand and so very blessed on the other.  I feel so completely broken and felt so completely determined to fix it that every single time I tried to fix things - it just got worse and worse and now I'm here.

So what have I learned?

To start with, it is so important to speak YOUR truth.  It will make some people crazy, especially if their perception is not exactly in line with yours, as I'm sure is the case with my Dad.  I'm not so vain as to even think anyone is reading this blog, let alone my parent, but if he did see it because someone shares it with him, it will probably create more disturbance but if you read my past blogs - and I've blogged for many years - this topic was never touched.  I stayed clear of it.  I didn't want to speak my truth especially when everyone close to me has moved on and expected me to do so also.  I don't really care anymore.  I cannot walk around with this bottled up in me creating dis-ease any longer.  I tried my best to make a really bad situation better but you know what? 

Sometimes it just is what it is and you either accept it, forgive and move on - or you live a life of unmet expectations, disappointments and hurts and you know what that gets you?  Cancer.  Pneumonia.  Ill.

Speaking your truth does not mean hurting the people around you.  It does not mean hurt others to make yourself feel better.  It just means tell your TRUE story.  I wish I could tell my story and leave others out of it, but it wouldn't be much of a story would it?  It would just be me blabbering.  No.  I have a story to tell.  I have a biography, a life, a journey that has a beginning and a middle, so far.  I am planning a wonderful ending, I can tell you that much, if God lets me live long enough.

I have only always wanted to help people since I was young girl.  I remember telling my Dad that and he sarcastically said "then go to Africa and feed the starving children".  Not a note of sincerity in that,  he mocked me and you know what?  It didn't change that part of who I am, not one bit. 

There are 17 million hungry children in this country right now, hungry for love, food, attention.  When I am well, I am going to be reaching out to the organizations that feed them and I'm getting involved.  I pray that God would satisfy these children and allow me to feed some.  I pray that God would heal the world and allow me to heal some.  I'm not interested in hurting anyone for any reason.  I want my story to be all about helping others, not about helping myself.  I want my strength to help others.  I want my life to be a testimony of helping others.

Mother Teresa I am not, but I sure do look up to her and aspire to be half as good as the heart God gave her.

When I speak my truth, I pray that I am 'not bitter but better' as LL Cool J says.  I pray that my heart is full of forgiveness and that any hurt from my past is brought into the light and changed into a learning lesson to help others.  No, I did not survive the Holocaust.  No, I was not abused by my Dad.  I believe he loved me as best he could, or chose to, but a survivor I am. 

Like a phoeix rising, I will over come, from this life into the next taking all my battle scars proudly with me.  I am triumphant because of who is in me and for no other reason.  I will show you how great I am because of how great He is.

Now maybe you know why I cling to God so much.  Simple right?