November 11th, 2009:
It's been 14 some months since I've learned about the existence of my sarcoma via the metastases. In that time, I've had very, very brief direct contact with my tumor. I have often described it as an estranged roommate who I hardly ever see; don't know what it eats from the fridge; hear it in it's room although not as direct communication. That's a lot of avoidance considering that it will be the cause of my death.
Now, that avoidance is shifting, and I want to be in direct contact. Since the reason for no contact is that there are powerful parts of my psyche that keep me walled off from being in touch, I am working my way back through the parts of myself that guard me from too much painful information. I have been talking with those parts of myself to get their permission to communicate. What a fascinating process.
From a very young age, there were parts of myself that protected me from trauma. And there was plenty of trauma. Starting with the death of my older sister when I was three months old, very strong protective parts of me stepped in to comfort me. The role of the protector included teaching me how to turn away from getting the help I needed from my parents. I'm sure it never occurred to my Mom and Dad that I was acutely grieving the death of my older sister. I was only three months old! Nevertheless, I was very much aware of my older sister from inside the womb and was anticipating meeting her after birth. I had known her through many lifetimes and was happily anticipating another life with her. So my protector helped me grieve and also taught me how to turn away. Point being, I learned a lot about not speaking out about my feelings.
Now with a cancer that is surely not here by accident, I react by turning away again. All those feelings of grief go somewhere on the inside, but not where I can hear them. The re-wiring I want to learn is about working with my protector to hear those voices on the inside. Hear the voice of the tumor. Hear the voice of the protector. Hear the voices of the other aspects of my personality that surely have been talking a lot for sometime now, but talking outside of my hearing range. It's not as if my body doesn't know there's a tumor inside me. Far from it.
I was talking with my friend Bob Gordon about this on Tuesday evening. I had gotten to the part where I imagined that the tumor would reveal some profoundly benevolent intentions toward me. I suggested that the tumor was in alliance with me to produce important gratitude toward both life and death in rapport with each other. Intentions that have pushed me into a surge of creativity and willingness to express myself at this time in my life. What's it like to die with some consciousness? How do I feel about giving my things away? About being open with my friends about leaving my life? At that point Bob said, "What is sounds like is that you are wanting to integrate your cancer into your soul." Bingo, Bob! What a gift that phrase was to me. So we'll see if that's something I can accomplish in the time remaining to me. It's an important task for my self development, and I am deeply hopeful that I'll be able to re-balance my psyche enough that much of the early coping mechanisms are unlearned and a wider embrace of my reality and my world will be open for me. Yes, I do.