My sister sparkles as a beautiful writer (who has negative biopsy results!)

In October I introduced my sister's blog Hair Optional ... she has continued to write beautifully about her experiences - though, to be honest, many of her recent postings I have found very difficult to read. I found them difficult to read because it was a lot of data and Fear. Data and Fear feed my own What If twinges and I found it difficult to steady myself and not get sucked in. Sororal worry, personal worry, etc etc... A lot of what she has been going through for the last few months has been living in her pothole. I get it. I lived in a pothole myself. I Dreamt of Sausage is about me choosing not to live that pothole. Seeing it for what it is and realizing the sticky molasses pond of Fear can be stepped around.

As a shout out to her latest biopsy results! (ALL CLEAR!) I am reposting the entirety of her What If Pothole piece for a variety of reasons. Most importantly because I am FREAKING 150% proud of my sister. Second most importantly - I have been searching for a name of the What If demon/spirit/entity/sprite/etc - and I love love pothole.

Pothole is descriptive without being judgmental. So I am going to use it. Thanks Chiquita.

[quote]A few weeks ago, I was moaning about all of the horrible possibilities that could be the state of my health with my sister on the phone. On and on I went. And on and on. And on some more. When I finally finished, a little impressed that she’d let me go on so long, she paused before asking if I was done. “Yessir! Thanks for listening.” “I’m your sister, I will always listen to you while you’re in your pothole. But, just so you know, I wish for your sake that you would spend less time in your pothole.”

My pothole?

I got off the phone with her and thought about this image. A pothole: a temporary hole in the road ahead. Avoidable. Sometimes deep enough to puncture a tire, sometimes barely noticeable. Created any number of ways: when water seeps into a crack and then freezes, breaking apart the asphalt, or sometimes when a part of the road is not made well, and then worried to death by passing cars.

Ever since December 11, when I was told that my PET scan looked strange and the possibility remained that I still might have cancer, I have been running through my what-ifs, usually in this precise order:

1) I might still have cancer. 2) If I still have cancer, they’re going to want to give me stem cell treatment. 3) They’re going to want to start right away. 4) Which means that I won’t have time for the Lupron to wear off (my artificial menopause is currently due to wear off by Feb 28) before they want to begin. 5) Which means they won’t want to give me the time to try to harvest eggs again. 6) Because the first time failed, I have no eggs/embryos currently frozen. 7) Stem cell treatment is horrible in and of itself. 8) I would lose my hair again. 9) I would lose my body again. 10) I would probably completely lose my fertility. 11) Michael and I wouldn’t be able to have babies that look like us. 12) Unless we go a different route for treatment. 13) Nobody wants to talk about that.

Depending on how I’m feeling that particular day, I shut down at any point along this list and burst into tears. If I make it to 13, I shut down and burst into tears. And anything could trigger my walk down my list: “why are you having so many hot flashes, Lydia?” “Why are you having fewer hot flashes, Lydia?” “Why are you so tired?” “Why is your appetite so variable?” “Why did you just cough that weird way?” “Why did you just have to stop and catch your breath?” “Why did you get so little sleep last night?” “Why did you get so much?”

You get the point.

This is the list that I was walking down with my sister on the day she referred to my pothole (I hadn’t slept well, so of course my response was “well, I might still have…”). This is the list that, whenever I’m going through it with Michael, he gently puts his hand on me and says, “wait to worry.”

Potholes are avoidable. What ifs are avoidable. Worry is useless until there is something about which to worry (even then, I’ll admit, its usefulness is questionable).

Sitting in a pothole is bound to get me creamed by a tire. Sitting with my what ifs are bound to get me creamed by the emotional onslaught. Worrying before I know what I am actually dealing with is emotionally draining if not damaging.

Pothole. What If. Wait to Worry.

What If Pothole.

Now that I see a tire coming at me every time I think about running through my what ifs while sitting in my pothole, I find that I’m sitting there less. And driving myself crazy less.

Pithy words of wisdom have a very different impact and a lot more meaning now that I am in the middle of something actually really tough. Having a personal catch-phrase is incredibly useful; I literally catch myself before tumbling down my personal what-if chain-of-thought hell.

I’ve now got a name for the thing that I want to avoid because it hurts: the What If Pothole. Feel free to remind me of it when you see the tire coming for me.[/quote]

Vorfreude: relaxing @ rollercoaster results

Vorfreude ("for-froi-da") is the joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures, which, I am thrilled to report, is what this musing is all about. Yesterday I received scan results. I spent the morning breathing and balancing and breathing and balancing (like my elephant) and then the oncologist walked into the room

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Why politics feeds my wrong wolf

As I spoke about in my book, I try not to feed the wrong wolf (when I am conscious enough to recognize what is going on). However, it is nice to know what is going on with the world. So I am torn because politics makes me CRAZY! I can feel my heart rate rise, my blood pressure spike, my parasympathic nervous system shut down...and for what? 

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Thank you Detroit News Herald!

Check out this great article from Amy Bell - this amazing world of technology means that I was able to talk to her in Germany last week via my computer. Thank you Amy! ANN ARBOR: Former resident featured on "The Doctors" for her 'mind over approach' to Hodgkins Lymphoma

Today about to head in for my day 8 of infusion goodness from the "red couch" waiting area - one of the residents at the clinic told me that his sister lives in Ann Arbor, saw this article, and asked him about it!

Life is AMAZING!

Surrender to what is: not saying whether it is bad or good

I have been working on the last few months on surrender. Surrendering to what is in life and not pushing back, not wanting things to be different, trusting to the Universe there is a reason why things are happening - and this is the key - even when I don't see why. Surrendering to what is without saying whether it is good or bad - NOT LABELING IT! Surrendering to what is when my thighs are screaming in yoga. Surrendering to what is when an infertility doctor apologizes for the state of my ovaries - "All that chemo, really ran them through the ringer." Or being in a new town (again) and feeling the sense of sideways sharpness. Surrendering into that feeling of new places and new faces and not knowing where to find things and to know that things will get better.

So we have been moving forward with implanting our frozen embryos (that I wrote about in the book) and things were moving right along. Suddenly last night, I get a phone call from the doctor, he does not feel comfortable moving forward until and unless I get a recent scan and a bill of clear health from someone other than a MD in the Philippines who is testing my urine every few months.

Surrender, whoof. My pain body is loving this one.

Let's see if I can not name what is happening - not put a label as to whether this is good or bad - just surrendering to what is.

Time to watch some Eckhart Tolle to help me.

A Deeper Understanding of the Pain-Body and the Little Me - Day 1 - 2 from et on Vimeo.