Monday, April 11, 2011


Meditation is not really a class for which you can cram.  I mean, you can't exactly pull an all-nighter on Sunday to "prepare" for Monday's session.  I suppose I could do all of the reading in one night, but it's not like there's going to be an essay test the next day.  In fact, I could spend the entire 90 minutes not speaking or communicating with anyone but myself.

So the studying, if you will, for meditation class, comes in the actual doing it.  The go-in-a-dark-room-be-quiet-sit-your-behind-down-and-close-your-eyes kind.  If you don't, there is no judgment from other learners or the teacher (mostly because they don't get to ask how many times you practiced over the course of the week).  But the more you sit yourself down, the more your body reaps the rewards.

Judah asked me today if I had Still Class.  It took me a moment to figure out what he was talking about.  "Oh yes, Still Class! Yes, yes," I replied, almost laughing at his interpretation of -my explanation of- meditation.  Leave it to a 3 year old (almost 4) to boil it down to this.  But that's precisely what it is:  a Still class.  I go there so someone who already knows how can guide me to label all of the constant movement of the mind thinking, and focus on my breath.

This sometimes happens more easily than others.

Yesterday when I sat (I set the timer on my phone for 17 minutes), I was not very relaxed.  I kept thinking, "Isn't it 17 minutes yet?  Maybe the airplane mode means it's not going to sound the alarm, so I should probably check."  Luckily, the alarm did go off (a lovely harp sound) and I smiled as I got up off of my cushion.

Tonight was a little easier, although I kept thinking to myself how my mind would rather think than not-think.  Not-thinking is sooooo boring.  My mind does not want to do it.  But after a little while of not-thinking, I began to zone out.  As if I were in a sort of twilight, in between awake and asleep (it's possible I did start to doze once or twice in a fully seated position).

I know it is good for me to zone, and to doze.  And after reading and hearing lots of stories of people who have been healed by doing different types of meditation, I feel as though this is the best medicine I can give myself in the post-treatment phase of my cancer.  I don't want to do drugs, I don't have the energy or the strength for hard core exercise, and I'm very sorry, but I cannot be a vegan.  I can come close, but there are lots of foods I just enjoy too much (frozen yogurt, pita chips, rotisserie chicken!, chevre, croissants, to name a few...).  So since I no longer have a medical regimen to control my days, or divide my life into 3 week segments, I am treating myself to a more spiritual kind of recovery.  The kind that comes from not-doing.

It's amusing because I have always been the type of person who is most satisfied during and after doing.  I like to actively pursue plans and efficiently exhaust To Do lists.  And now, front and center on my To Do is -Not Do.

There are, of course, other items as well.  And these items also pop into my head as I'm not-thinking and not-doing.  Like tidying up for the cleaning lady or taking the car for an oil change, making a cd for Judah with some new kid music, pack his lunch, do the laundry... All of that other busy stuff is still there, but so is the one that instructs me to be not-busy.

And I like that.


Thursday, April 7, 2011


Thanks, M!
I've been waiting since July to wear this shirt to see Dr. Henry (it's my favorite of all of my cancer-themed shirts). It was well received by all.  All good news from my check up (despite a persistent low vitamin D level and a weird allergic skin reaction to something from the port removal.  All in all, I was told to give my lungs another few months to heal from the radiation (and informed that I now have "sensitive airways" to go along with all of my other sensitive parts), but that I have a low risk for developing pulmonary fibrosis.  Since my entire endocrine system got walloped, it is normal to have mood swings (I have a witness, Dan), irregular cycles, pimples, and the like. 

Furthermore, I still have residual effects from the O (oncovin) in R-CHOP (my chemo regimen) that are causing weird tingling/vibrating feelings in my legs and feet.  Dr. Henry encouraged me to go ahead and do whatever feels good and right.  Don't look for things to get nervous about (HA! easy enough for him to say) and if you are ready to expand your family, go ahead and do so.  I don't need to wait a certain period of time in remission since there is no telling if or when the lymphoma will resurface.  He does not believe that pregnancy would cause a recurrence (which I was afraid of), but he said if that were to happen, there are multiple options for treating me during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.  This is if we were to even conceive at all, which I in no way believe is a foregone conclusion.

Big breath.  Definitely feeling reassured after meeting with him and hearing only good things.  This afternoon it is arts and crafts here at our house.  Judah and I took an egg carton and shoe box to make his first diorama of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (I swear, it was his idea).  Will post pictures of the finished product.  Paint is drying so we can add the finishing touches. 

Next scan will be a CT in June.  Will probably start to panic about that May 1.