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.

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19 Responses to “My Path to Peace”

  1. Sue September 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Kim, you continue to amaze me in so many ways with your continuing journey. I am so grateful you are willing to open up your heart and pour it forth from such a place of beautiful truth. Your words are not only inspiring but thought provoking with a gifted sense of grace and love. Thank you for being here to share with all of us the hard work of your contemplations and surrender to peace. Peace and Love to you and your family.

    • marie p. witzel September 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

      Kim your strength and sincere effort to meet your present challenge brings a sense of peace to all those who love you and your dear family.
      I am so proud to be your grandmother and mother to your mother who is walking each step of the way with you and John and Jack. “HIS arm encircles me and mine and all” Love, Granny

  2. Claudia September 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    Kim,
    I’m so glad to have another post from you to know how you are doing, how your emotional, spiritual and physical life is. Thank you for sharing so much of your thoughts in such a major event in your life. I am truly amazing by the depth and commitment you have toward learning as much as possible about your life’s path and your ability to integrate your beliefs throughout each change you are experiencing emotionally and physically. It takes an enormous amount of courage to look at the reality of the life you are in right now. I am proud of you for balancing your belief that healing is possible and looking at the possibility of your own death coming sooner than any of us would like for you. You are a beautiful example of living life to the fullest, regardless of what challenges show up. Thinking of you, John and Jack often and sending so much love and light.
    Love you, beautiful bright Angel!
    Claudia

  3. jeanelle September 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    You have written some of the most touching, beautiful words I have ever read. They resonate with such truth, wisdom and love. I am deeply touched and incredibly grateful to be walking this divine path in this lifetime with you. I love you and your entire family.

  4. Janet September 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Thank you for the healing you give us all. Bless you every moment of your divinely guided and divinely protected journey.

  5. Sophie September 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    I echo what has already been stated, and I feel grateful not only for knowing you but also for your ability to share your journey with us. Love to you and your family.

  6. Tim (& Carol) Megivern September 20, 2012 at 8:01 am #

    Kim
    Thank you for sharing your path with ALS it has touched me dearly.My best friend and wife of 38 years is fighting her battle with ALS and her path has almost been identical to yours.Our kids are 27 and 25 I feel this is a blessing due to the fact they fully understand what their mother’s challenges are. She is a strong lady like yourself and we learn a little something everyday to help us on this journey. Your words of wisdom are so encouraging. We have already picked up some new ideas we will incorporate in to our life’s routine.
    Thank you,
    You are an Angel and I also commend your husband for his devotion.
    Stay strong.
    Tim Megivern

    I heard about you through my sweet sister in-law Karen Murray.

  7. mary September 20, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    What beautiful and graceful words to share with us in this challenge that every single one of us will face at some point in our lives (each of us in different ways). You are doing the work for us in your deep contemplation and peaceful path finding. You are helping many people every day.

  8. Jeff September 20, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Kim, Mahatma Gandhi said “Where there is Love there is Life”. You are surrounded by love and so you will always have life! You are truly courageous and inspiring. Your light shines so brightly it is seen and felt from all corners of the earth as witness from all those who post here. Sending you positive energy and love daily! Love, Jeff

  9. jbedor September 20, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Kim, Mahatma Gandhi said, “Where there is Love there is Life” – you are surrounded by so much love, so you will always have life! You are so courageous and inspiring! Your light is seen and felt from all corners of the earth, as proof from all of the post’s here. Sending you love and positive energy, today and every day! Love, Jeff

  10. Fr. Tom Jackson September 20, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Gentle Kim,
    You clearly have the same spirit, heart, and resolve that you possessed as a young girl—only now, more deeply understood, expressed, and lived.
    Consequently—whatever exclamatory result of your present journey—you have already openly expressed your love to John [and he to you], you have already imbued young Jack with the most precious attributes of life, and you have already nurtured all of us lucky friends with lessons and profoundly-generous affection.
    Tricia and I, then, will continue with what we can: to carry you and John and Jack in our hearts and souls…every single day.
    Love and all the rest,
    Fr. Tom Jackson

  11. Lisa September 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    My Sister Kim,
    Someone asked me last night how long I had known you and I simply held my hand out to about waist high…and then I realized that what I really wanted to say was “not LONG ENOUGH.” I carry you with me everywhere and I love you.
    LeeWee

    • Jenny Jackson September 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

      Kimmy,
      Thanks again for sharing your journey & being perfectly yourself. Hugs & love, Jenny (Cuba!)

  12. Becca September 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    Kim, the Love most definitely goes both ways. I often think back to the evening about three years ago when you first asked me if I would babysit Jack. Saying yes had to have been the best decision I have ever made. I mean that. I often feel as though the universe sent you into my life as you have become one of my best friends. You, John, and Jack have all brought me so much love, joy, and guidance into my life. I always carry your love and wisdom with me throughout the day. I am so blessed to have been welcomed into your family!
    Love you all!

  13. Nancy Johnson September 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Kim, I’m in Michigan and had lunch today with a dear old friend. She’s been. Married for almost ten yrs to wonderful man that has had ALS for three yrs now. She says he never,ever complains and has a gentle spirit like I think you have. I bless the day I met you and look forward to more of your wonderfuL insight on your blog.

  14. Joan Barrows September 24, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Dear Kim,
    You might remember me as Joan Rupe. Your love and strength spills out of your blog. I don’t know as I would have the strength you have. Jack is lucky to have the loving family that he has. After I lost Perry I found a wonderful man and remarried and I lost him to cancer also. The inner strength that one never knows you have until you have to pull it to the top of your soul and go on. Keep strong and let your love carry you through the pain.

  15. Kat Carter Merrick October 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    You beautiful thing you. xoxox

  16. Pamela Brandt October 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Sweet Kim, You have maintained radiance and vitality throughout this journey. Truly riding the wave. In a recent Krapalu Yoga reading a woman who was ill reminded us that we are something more than our bodies. Simply said and true.The truth you share is compelling. Love you in many ways, Pam

  17. Dana Felice-Podwol October 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

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