Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where my mind goes

I went walking this morning, up around the peace pole, to the Cristo, into the trailside sanctuary. Just walking, thinking, possibly praying. Being.

I wish I could take a picture of the smell. Warm earth rising, grasses drying in the sun. Hawks flying low, looking for food. Life.

I’ve been thinking about what resurrection might mean to me now. I felt it in my body, when I stopped interferon and started feeling healthier, thinking I was clean. I still hold on to the love of that same God. I know that my God holds me. But I wonder. I may not have that same physical sense of recovery of life, ever again. With interleukin alone, I have a slight chance of full remission, a slightly less slight chance of arresting the disease, and a whole lot of possibility that I will not feel truly well again. (I don’t know the statistics with the cocktail, and I don’t know how my doctor will make this choice.) When I had a stage II, I could believe that it wouldn’t come back. I could believe that we’d caught it in time; that I’d had a terrible scare, but that I would get my life as I knew it back. I’ll never have that sureness again. It’s in my bones now, in my lungs. And I’m almost not even choosing how I process this information. I am compelled to look for meaning in it. And so I am.

My body may not recover. But I will not, cannot, let go of resurrection. So what does that open up to? I sense an explosion, in the most hopeful and loving possible meaning of that word. I don’t know where it will be.

A friend asked this morning, how she could pray for me. I put my faith in love and modern medicine. Pray that I can love my body through this. I know that if I am to live through this experience, I need to come through it whole.

I mentioned that my breathing is starting to concern me. I have no idea if that’s cancer, or I’m short of breath because I’ve had more exercise in the past four days than I have in recent memory. It could be either. But this feels like the edge. I feel better now than I will, possibly ever again. I start chemo in a week.

I’m not trying to be morbid. I’m not courting death. I want to live. But I’m also slowly getting used to the idea of carrying this illness around in my body. How will I feel, if and as it progresses? I am living; I am not dying. But I could die. I don’t want to be surprised. I don’t ask, why did God do this? God doesn’t go around giving and taking diseases. I ask all the time, what can I do with it? While I have the power to act on any choices at all, what can I do right now? Who can I be?

Something has been hurting, in or on my chest. I touched until I felt a localized pain. It isn’t generic tightness. I’m not sure how long I’ve had it. It could be left over from yesterday, when the tech who did my stress test had trouble finding my heart with the ultrasound dealie. (Once she found it, it beat strong.) That could have aggravated a pain that was already there. Or it could be anything.

You don’t typically ponder your aches. If my shin hurts, there’s probably a bruise there. I probably bonked it on the corner of the bed. Not a big deal. Now, when something could be anything or it could be cancer—I’m trying not to be all hypochondriac about it, but I can’t help watching.

Is this the disease, beginning to close in on me? Is this what it will feel like? Odd pains here and there, that don’t go away? Pain that will get bigger until I need medication to control it? Will I be so loopy on pain meds that I won’t be able to communicate well? How long will I be able to think and write like I can now?

I am very much alive. I’m hanging out on the edges of potentially lethal illness, looking over the cliff into the water. I’m not falling yet. I don’t want to die, and I’m willing to make myself hideously sick to prevent that. But death holds no fear for me.

I will remember the owl I saw last summer. I will be able to follow her, when it is that time.

7 comments:

Two Auntees said...

Kirsten, the statement that you make: "I don’t ask, why did God do this? God doesn’t go around giving and taking diseases. I ask all the time, what can I do with it? While I have the power to act on any choices at all, what can I do right now? Who can I be?" This statement will allow you to love your body and your entire self through this illness. There are others who will love and walk with you through this experience....... no matter where it leads. I send prayers and love to you.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Kirstin, I don't know what to say. I'm reading your posts, and in a sense, walking with you virtually, but, at the moment, I have no words, except that I send much love and many prayers your way.

Mimi said...

Your place of strength always amazes me. Continued prayers and love.

it's margaret said...

New normal....

love you.
Love all these posts.

I love the light in the arbor.
I love the light under the tree in courtyard of the big house.

You wouldn't believe what some went through to put a new door in that place --all the walls are made with steel rebar.... I remember when the 'new' wing was really just a big garage...

God bless you.

Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for talking about this.

I have my own issues. A neurological disorder. Every week, I'm a little less able to control my hands.

You are being brave in sharing the story of your life, day by day, and I am grateful.

We walk by faith, Kirstin, as you well know. Thank you for writing so frankly.

Kirstin said...

Thank you all for walking with me.

David said...

Walking with you here in Montreal

love sent
prayers offered
tears shed
as you come to heart so often throughout our day, sweet sister