Tuesday, June 7, 2011


This evening, I could feel my faith reasserting itself, especially after reading my friends' comments on Facebook, an email letter from another friend, and two blog posts by two of my blogging friends (Joanna and Jeanne). Because if all of you have anything at all to do with how long I live, I feel that I will live a very long time because of your support, your prayers, your positive energy, blessings, and strength.

I should say that, for a long time, maybe the last year or so, I have felt that I will eventually achieve stable disease status. I wasn't sure how or when, but I just have this deep sense that I will be okay and that I will be around for a long time. I have faith.

I should say that it isn't a Christian kind of faith for I am not really Christian. I was raised Catholic and I still find comfort in Mass. But over the past couple of years, I have done a lot of reading in other kinds of spirituality and while I can't give you specific quotes from various books, I will say that my thinking about religion and spirituality has evolved and developed over this time. One book that I really liked suggested by my colleague, Nancy, was called "Faith" by Sharon Salzburg. As I said I can't remember specifics but I do remember really liking the book and liking the philosophy or beliefs that she discussed. (She discussed faith from a Buddhist perspective.) It is that kind of faith that she discussed that I feel I have.

I don't believe that there is an omniscient all powerful single entity called "God". I don't want to offend or belittle anyone who believes in such an entity because I also don't think I have all the answers. I mean, who really knows? But I guess I just don't like the idea of a single entity that micromanages all of our lives.

Rather, I think "god" is this universal energy that exists in everything. This energy is within each of us and therefore we are all "god" - we just have to remember that we are. (This idea came from Deepak Chopra's book "Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul".) And, if we remember that we are "god", we can begin making choices that are for the good of all, including ourselves.

This reminds me of something my friend Phil told me a couple of months ago - I described a situation that he called "academic aggression" and then told me that I needed to learn to navigate such situations with "spirit not ego". And, I realized that much of my own misery or anger or frustration or resentment stemmed from my ego, not my spirit. And, when my ego gets involved, I can hurt those around me. But if I remove my ego from the situation and try to act with my spirit, any kind of obstacle or ill feeling or struggle disappears.

Phil had me read a couple of chapters from a book called "This Thing Called You" by Ernest Holmes last fall. I was angry about a particular situation and after I read that, I realized that I had been reacting as if whatever was happening to another person was happening to me - and I was also bringing in old habits and reactions to the situation. In other words, I reacted with my ego. But when I read those excerpts and then removed my ego from the situation, the stress went away and life was easier for those around me. At the time, I likened myself to a thread in a tapestry. We are all threads in this Tapestry of Life. But when my ego gets involved, I start tugging on my thread and that causes snags and buckles in the tapestry and messes up the overall design. If I react with spirit (i.e., without my ego), then the design is in harmony.

I am running out of steam here. I feel like I need to explain more about this sense of faith, but words aren't coming to me. But I wanted all of you who are worried about me to know that my faith has returned and that that faith - this feeling I have inside of me - tells me that I won't die anytime soon. I expect to have many Christmases. I expect to achieve stable disease status. I need to approach my treatments and my life from this sense of spirit and faith and to remove my ego from the situation. Things are as they should be right now. I will admit that it sucks to have to undergo more treatments sooner rather than later. But it is what I need to do. The decision to begin radiation in a few weeks (rather than later in the summer) feels right.

I think the brain mets and Dr. K's message about Christmas are attempts by this universal energy out there to tell me to get back to learning how to live my life by spirit, not ego. I really want to learn how to meditate and I intend to make qigong part of my daily practice.

It is also telling me that I still need to slow down and rest. So, this morning, when I made the decision to apply for social security disability felt right. It is time for me to live life on my own terms and not feel like I have to live up to someone else's expectations at work. I need more time to devote to other spiritual and artistic practices. And, I need to invest more time in my own healing.

So, I have faith that I will be around for a long time to come - and it is that faith that gives me the sense of calm and acceptance and the joy of life that you all say is amazing. I just need to invest the time in my healing to do so. I need to cultivate that faith more. That will be my task in the coming months.


Susan B. said...


I have been following along from upstate New York.I was thinking of you at NAISA. I believe in YOU! Sending you all the good energy for faith, focus, and fight.



Dee said...

Thanks, Susan. I think Insaw younwould be and hoped to go. But that is when I had my first brain surgery. Maybe next year? : )