Archive | September, 2012

My Path to Peace

19 Sep

It is hard to believe how much time has passed since my last post.  I have thrown all my energy into finding a way to heal, caring for my body as it changes, and spending lots of time with family and friends.  I don’t think I am exaggerating to say we may have had about 15 days without guests in the house since October 2011.  Jack has gotten so used to the routine that when one batch leaves, he says “who is coming next?” Every member of our extended family has been here at least once and we have hosted as many as 8 at once.  Our car is regularly parked overnight at the airport when one group leaves and the other is arriving the next day.  In May, my mom called me up one night to announce that she had taken an indefinite leave of absence from her job and would be here to help at the end of the week.  I got off the phone and told John “uh, I think my mom is moving in.” His face registered both surprise and immediate relief.  She has taken over the guest room (although the guests keep coming), the groceries, the cooking, driving Jack to school & me to the pool ~ we have lovingly nicknamed her Alice (from the Brady bunch).  it is hard to imagine how John was juggling his full time job, 3 year old son, increasingly dependent wife and a constant stream of company before she arrived.  In large part we were relying on Becca, our favorite babysitter who has evolved into a dear member of the family who is here 2-5 evenings a week to help with dinner, bedtime, cleanup, scrapbooking, herding 1800 paper cranes, and whatever else I can dream up.  She is so perfectly suited to our family and has brought so much love and patience and JOY into our home.  She shows up with facepaint, paste-on mustaches, a new song she learned on the guitar for Jack, and newly developed photos from our last outing to the pool on a regular basis.  I am certain that the universe sent her to be our Mary Poppins (angel) and I am so grateful.

Personally, I have had a lot to manage with medical options and therapies.  To help with rigid muscles, I have had weekly massage since November.  To care for my mental, emotional, spiritual bodies I have a weekly energy medicine treatment (I hope to write more about this later).  In January, I added two sessions a week in the pool with a trainer.  Pool therapy is absolutely invaluable, both for endorphins and keeping me flexible, and I’ll try to make it to the pool on my own another 2-3 days a week when I can.  In February, I traveled to Florida for a week long intensive evaluation & treatment with Dr. Perlmutter, a neurologist who practices Functional Medicine.  His wife is a shaman and the week included daily treatments with two shamanic healers at once.  The week allowed me to put together a nutrition plan, supplement regimen and to decide on western medical options with the advice of someone who understood my holistic approach.  I am taking about 15 nutritional supplements a day, including a daily B12 shot and weekly Glutathione infusion (John has bravely become an expert with needles, and I have stopped demanding a lollipop after every shot).  I also traded my 15 year devotion to vegetarianism for a high protein, high fat Paleolithic diet.  The cruelty-free pig farmer at our local market has become a friend and he loves telling other customers how his bacon lured me away from the vegetarian life.  Bacon: the gateway meat.  As my chewing has become less efficient, a huge portion of my time every day is spent chewing meat and swallowing pills (frustrating).  I have spent as much time as possible reading and contemplating metaphysical healing, and maintaining my belief that healing is possible for me.

Physically, the changes in my body have been challenging, and from what I’ve read, startlingly rapid.  In October 2011 when I was diagnosed, I had significant loss in my left hand, slight loss in my right hand, and my walking was independent but unsteady.  My speech was slightly slurred when I was fatigued.  By December I started using a rolling walker to steady myself, although I could walk around the house without it.  My right hand lost the ability to extend the fingers straight with any strength (if I try to press a button, my knuckle will collapse before the button will move).  I had lost significant strength in both arms, making it impossible for me to wash my own hair.  By March, I couldn’t stand up from the couch unassisted, and my speech was often so distorted that I had to repeat myself.  I began needing help dressing.  By May I started having significant trouble with my muscles being involuntarily rigid, and could no longer bend my right ankle to 90 degrees unless I put weight on it.  By July, I could only get up from sitting if I had a bar to pull up on.  Now in September, I am no longer steady enough on my feet to stand without something to hold on to, and even with my rolling walker, my walking is unsteady and unbelievably slow.  I have started using my electric wheelchair for all outings.

I have had a difficult time accepting all these changes because my energy is so focused on healing.  I was reluctant to renovate the bathroom or put ramps on the house because they would be permanent fixtures, and I worried that they were the equivalent of giving up.  With such serious challenges facing me, however, I realized I had a lot of work to do on surrender.  As soon as I accepted the fact that my sacred path had brought me here, that it was OK to be here, grace found me.  I remembered Arjuna on the battlefield (see blog post Nov 16, 2011) and realized that the Divine Force which I believe can heal me has also laid this path before me.  This is my Dharma and I have a duty to act.  In my study of metaphysical healing, I have spent a lot of time contemplating the idea that Divine Presence is infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent.  I was stuck, however on using that contemplation to erase my illness, to somehow take back control of my life and health.  While on one hand I was thinking I had deep trust in the Divine to heal me, on the other hand I kept feeling I needed to get God’s attention and yell “TIME OUT! Over here! Hello? There has been a big mistake!!!” Surrender has opened the door to a deeper experience of trust.  It allowed me to realize that if handicap rails can be installed in my house, they can also be joyfully removed in the case of a miracle.  The urge to point out a mistake to God comes from a mistaken identity in which I see myself as separate from the One Infinite Omnipresent Omnipotent Divine Mind.  If I am to wield my portion of the Divine Power which I believe can heal me, I must first come to a place where my identity as part of the Divine is stable enough for me to see and feel that NOTHING can separate me from the Presence and Substance of Divine Mind.  Not ALS, not handicap rails and ultimately not even death.  The truth is that I was afraid that giving in on handicap rails would be the same as accepting the apparent fact that I am on a fast track to my own death.  In part I was right.  The electric wheelchair, the van to transport it, the lift to get it in my house, the ADA compliant bathroom renovation are daily reminders of the rapid progression of the terminal illness I am living with, and this in turn has led me to work on surrender regarding my death.  To be clear to you and the Universe, I am not giving up on healing! My intention with every action is to heal completely on the energetic, spiritual, mental, emotional and physical levels.  In order to invite that, I am blessing every challenge in my path as perfectly designed by the One Mind with Love to bring about my awakening to Perfect Peace, Perfect Health, and more awareness of my Divine Source.  So I have started talking to friends and family about how I want to create the rest of my journey with ALS, and what I want for John, Jack & my dear family after my life force finishes its animation of this body.

For almost a year now I have been terrified of facing the idea that my dear sweet little Jack, who is only 3, could be left on the earth without me.  Every time I approached the idea I felt a grief that broke my heart open like a bottomless Grand Canyon.  All I could think was that surely I know better than God if “his” plan was leaving my baby alone.  It is profoundly interesting to note that as soon as we reject or curse any part of our path we are by definition operating from an identity that is separate from God.  Surrender (acceptance) is powerful because it opens the door to Atonement (at-one-ment), the state of Grace which recognizes there is only one reality and it is infinitely filled with Divine Presence and Substance.  My life force could not be separate from this Divine Source, and neither can my life’s path fall outside the Goodness of that power.  Putting my blessing on the possibility of Jack growing up without me here in this body not only allows a place for the mystery of Divine wisdom, it puts me in a place to work WITH my Source, as a Co-Creator with God.  Sure enough, allowing that has rapidly brought healing to the Grand Canyon in my heart. My head is full of beautiful ideas about how I can leave Jack a meaningful legacy. I have landed in a place where I am holding sacred space for complete healing while acting on the imminent possibility of my death, and I am more & more at Peace.