A few days ago I flew here to Florida to take care of my Mom as she faced some health issues. As I write it’s early morning. I was woken up a few minutes ago by the sound of my Mom’s slippered feet as they shuffle past my bedroom door on her way to the kitchen. It’s pill time. I can hear the pull tab on the tomato juice pop loose. I can hear the front door open and the plastic bag that houses the New York Times be discarded. I can hear the flicking of her Bic lighter as she lights her first cigarette. As she begins another day, I lie here in a whirl of worry. Every sense alert. I never had children but I imagine this is the feeling parents have listening for the whimpers of a new born baby or waiting on a Saturday night to hear the car pull up the driveway delivering the teenager home safely. I am vigilant, keenly aware of my Mom's every movement, falsely convinced my attention will make a difference. But then I remember

I received the referral from Pacific Medical Group today. I’m now free to call Stanford Diagnostic Radiology & Nuclear and schedule an MRI - BOTH BREASTS, as they wrote under the innocuous header, “Description” -- as if that really describes anything. I keep thinking I’m strong and...

Last night, J mentioned having a massage and I started crying. I received a kind email from a friend and started crying. I walked into work and started crying. The tears are the clear and clean kind that flow easily and without obvious provocation. They aren’t accompanied by sobs or sounds or preceded by any particular thought. They just come. As much as they worry me, they are also a relief, a release. They remind me of the tears I shed after my father died. Righteous, innocent and somehow appropriate. But, these feel like more than grief. As a die hard advocate of being conscious and self-aware, I am uncomfortable not understanding either the exact source or the lessons behind my current bleakness. I am usually good at rising above the fray and gleaning insights but not this time. Joy seems far off. My mouth feels oddly comfortable in a downward cast. The oh-so-scary word ‘depression’ is fitting. Luckily, I take comfort in my knowledge, gleaned from graduate school and the DSM-V, that this is the situational variety, not the chronic.

Ten days have passed since my surgery, most spent horizontal. Two tumors were removed, both benign. A sign of relief was heard ‘round the world but I am still measuring the days in 4 hour increments as directed by the pain medication. The hazy days...

Usually, I see the good in the bad. That’s Pollyanna’s job. But this week, the tables turned and I saw bad come from good. A fews days ago I grabbed a Post-it note and scribbled the following phrase: Dripping from the source of life and nourishment come visions of pain and degradation beyond imaging. And so has been my experience of late. My surgery has provided me a window into an ugly world I have never seen in such relief. Through this process—before the surgery and now as I assimilate my experience and tend to my wound—I was granted a glimpse into a world of unspeakable pain and suffering—and I’m not talking about my own. Like a parted curtain, my incision revealed a chasm of darkness I was previously not ready to see. As I stood naked

valiumAfter all the spiritual and emotional work I've done these last few weeks, I've earned the right to drop a Valium. I did just that last night and I don’t regret it a bit. The Surgery Center awaits. For those of us still reliant (if judiciously) on Western medicine, living in Santa Cruz can be tough. After all, this is ground zero for woo woo-ness. I suspect there are more alternative health care providers in Santa Cruz per square mile than almost anywhere else. A masseuse is probably living next door. Acupuncturists? A dime a dozen. There’s a chiropractor on every corner, not to mention the homeopathic doctors, hypnotherapists, naturopaths, craniosacral therapists, reiki energy healers, and psychics lurking behind every tree. It’s easy to laugh. The flowing, formless Indian print skirts

potatoCathy, there is a thin and porous membrane between mind and body. Set aside the idea that the mind is to be exalted and the body ignored. It won’t serve you. One is not better than the other. Don’t judge. Don’t rank. The body is not an enticing dwelling place for the devil nor is the mind the answer to all your problems. They exist equally in your life to serve you. Listen to both equally. Examine their messages then choose. I am having surgery in a few days, eight to be exact. I have a papilloma in my right breast. Essentially, it’s a polyp in a duct. It’s not cancerous, of that I am sure. But scalpels and full anesthesia and foreign objects inserted into tender spots is in my near future. In the grand surgical scheme of things, it’s small potatoes. But my breasts are not that small anymore (I couldn’t resist reveling in the good news) and emotionally it feels big. What’s been striking me more acutely than usual – and what inspired me to start this blog -- is the gift of