Chapter Twenty-Two

I began attending a weekly Cancer Support Group. I don't always make the meeting, but I am generally blessed when I do attend. I have learned that I am not alone in my depression, the over-whelming tiredness, being unsteady on my feet and the forgetfulness that I experience.

Along with mourning my cancer and its re-occurrence, I mourn the loss of my short-term memory. Something I did quite easily yesterday at work, is lost today... Then I spend too much time trying to "figure out" how to do it again. It is like the scene from the Pixar move "UP" when the dog is speaking and suddenly screams out "SQUIRREL" and his attention is diverted elsewhere.

Fortunately, I work in the church office and grace abounds! In this vicious cycle of cancer, I need to not be so harsh on myself and allow myself grace. It often seems to me that I offer grace to others, but withhold it from myself.
Colossians 1:2b - from the Voice
May grace and peace from God our Father [
and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One] envelop you.
That is it, isn't it? To be enveloped in grace and peace. The Holy Spirit is sometimes called "The Comforter". That seems so appropriate to me. When the thunderous mid-west storm warning would sound, I would gather up my daughter and the quilt (comforter), wrapped it around us, sat in the old wooden rocking chair and watched the approaching storm with all the thunder, darkness and lightening. It WAS comforting to be wrapped up and enveloped in the "Comforter" with all the approaching darkness.

The Cancer Support Group seems to have helped me find my "words" again. Some people say they have "Writer's Block" but I am sure mine has been do to the cancer, all the medical appointments, all the testing all the procedures, all the surgeries, all the poking and prodding.

Just yesterday I had an "Endobronchial Ultrasound". Such a big word for merely knocking me out and putting a tube into my bronchial area. (I did appreciate being knocked out!) They were also able to remove some samples for testing and provided me with six images that I totally do not understand or relate to... but the one that concerned me was the "Left lower lobe: Endobronchial lesion". So now I wait for the lab/testing results all while attempting to be enveloped in grace and peace.

The only negative thing that happened during the procedure was my jaw became "unhinged" on the right side. I always caution the medical team that I have TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) and that my right jaw can become unhinged and lock in the open position. And so it did! The poor  anesthesiologist was beside himself! Thirty-five years in the business and this had never happened to him before. After a round of IV muscle relaxers they took me back into the procedure room, again knocked me out and put my jaw back in place. Yesterday and yet today, the right side of my jaw is very tender.

Nonetheless, it seems my words have returned. Thursday evening I penned the following as I was reflecting on the Cancer Support Group and the fact that I got out of work a teensy bit late and couldn't make the appointment time. I offer it here for your perusal.

In This Place
The UAMC Cancer Support Group
~Tamara Farner-Swerline
“And ecstasy through all our being leaps—
  Death bows his head and weeps.”  
from the poem “Death” by Rainer Maria Rilke

in this place
darkness blesses all
enveloping the soul

in this place
what some dread
others may embrace

in this place
dark nights of the soul
are known and accepted

in this place
pain is a declaration
that life continues on

in this place
we seek resolution
to questions not voiced

in this place
we find consolation
in sharing our journey

in this place
tears are cleansing
like baptismal waters

in this place
we are warriors
silently waging battle

in this place
we fear only
the long, last good-bye


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