Suzette’s Cancer Journey
- Suzette’s Cancer Journey - September 8, 2023
- My Black to Green Thumb - March 15, 2023
- Suzette and her three husbands by Suzette Standring - March 4, 2023
This diary covers June 8 – August 30, 2023 of high (and low) lights during my second go-round of lung cancer. It’s funny, self-revealing, and practical and due to so much prodding, I’m posting it on my blog. (This way you don’t have to hunt and peck for excerpts on my FB page.
— Suzette Martinez Standring
June 8, 2023 – The diagnosis
What just happened? In 2020 I had lung surgery to remove a malignant tumor. Now three years later, they found a new one on my left lung. The new occupant was caught early on a routine cancer scan. I will find out more, but right now, the doctor feels it can be removed by pinpoint radiation. No chemo, he said. I hope I don’t get ambushed on my June 15 appointment to find out more.
June 15 – The recommended treatment
I’ve been ambushed. Pinpoint radiation is not possible. What? The tumor is not “discrete,” meaning it’s not an encapsulated mass. Part of it can’t be clearly viewed, so chemo is required. I was at Beth Israel Deaconness in Boston meeting with a top radiologist and oncologist, and after more tests, they recommend six weeks of daily radiation (M-F) and two infusions of chemo, three weeks apart..
Dr. Berman asked me, “So do you have any concerns?”
I said, “Yes. Is Boston the only place I can have my treatments? Because if I have to fight daily traffic through Boston for six weeks, then my question to you is, isn’t it easier just to die?”
Dr. Widick quickly jotted down a note and said, “We’ll arrange for you to go to the Lank Cancer Center in Needham.”
Alrighty, then. I start treatments on June 29. Surreal. My gut feeling is that I trust my doctors, and will do what I’m told.
June 17 – Blabbing About It on Facebook
I blabbed about my lung cancer on Facebook and David was appalled. “Why did you tell everyone?”
Because I’m in a front row seat to normalize the cancer conversation. I want everyone to know it’s OK to approach me. I’m giving permission. Learning about a friend’s illness or loss is scary terrain. Is one allowed to bring it up? Is it even your place? Awkward! Typically, avoidance follows, and isolation and silence don’t help anyone.
On the other hand, the person suffering illness or loss may keep it a secret so as not to be a “Debbie Downer.” Isn’t it enough to have cancer, but now, the patient has to spare people’s discomfort, too? What a burden.
Not me. Battling cancer is an unfamiliar chapter in my life and I want my interactions with others to be natural. Folks need permission to show they care, so I’m letting them in.
“How’s the job search going?”
“Is your puppy housebroken yet?”
“So what does chemo feel like?”
Sharing my burden has another specific benefit, and that is, energy healing from others.
I believe when people send Reiki, positive thoughts, prayers, good memories, do meditations, post or email encouragements, it creates a powerful pot of healing.
That’s what I want. At any given moment of fear, sadness, or uncertainty, I’ll think, “Somebody is praying for me, or thinking about me,” and I’ll close my eyes and “receive” that love. It’s a very real comfort.
It’s OK to ask for something specific. For example, I told my granddaughters Bella and Lulu, “Kids, every day I’d like texts about what you’re up to. Send photos. Keep me in a loop. That’ll make me happy.”
And this morning it started. Lulu sent me a photo of a cake she designed. Bella sent me photos from her graduation getaway with friends in Florida. Regular stuff. Daily life.
I stay in the moment and enjoy the love sent my way.
June 24, 2023 – Collecting good experiences before my treatment
I’m a squirrel storing up “good tamz” before my radiation starts on June 29. I hear fatigue is the most common symptom. This Energizer Bunny is not happy. I mean, how limp and useless will I be? But OK, fine, it’s temporary, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, I’ll collect my “good tamz.” I started my first-ever container vegetable garden. I repotted two giant indoor plants.Today Lulu and I ate sushi and spent an afternoon doing watercolors.
June 25, 2023 – What’s with all the war talk about cancer?
When it comes to cancer there’s a lot of war talk; Battle cancer! Be a warrior! Fight, fight, fight! That’s not me. If I had to pick my word, it would be “lazy.” Or maybe “surrender” is prettier. Here are my thoughts.
First, I trust my doctors that my treatment program is best.
Now about being a fighter…am I? Seriously, do I have a choice? I show up, get zapped, and hope for the best. I don’t imagine duking it out with cancer cells, or starring in Mortal Kombat with a tumor. Exhausting! Do you know how easily I give up and yell, “David, can you come here and twist open this jar?”
Rather than war, I seek peace. If fatigue is expected, then I’m clearing my calendar. My freezer is stocked with meals. I bought a comfy Ugg blanket so I can binge watch TV on the couch. Most importantly, my garden is lush and the 100-foot trees surrounding my house are my nature guardians. With little to do, I’m almost looking forward to it.
So…fight, fight, fight? Not so much. Surrender and patience are my lessons, as is forming words to encourage others.
I share here one of my favorite passages, Isaiah 50:4
The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.
Any suggestions for must-see TV series?
June 29, 2023 – Letting the Different Parts of Myself Talk
Today is my first radiation and chemo treatment, double whammy, and last night brought on insane insomnia. Do you ever hear the different parts of yourself weigh in on a big question like buying a new car, or making a career change, or in my case, how will my first cancer treatment will go?
Here’s what my voices had to say.
My Inner Scaredy Cat: “OMG! OMG! What’s going to happen? Will I be OK? Oh, no, oh, no, oh, no! I’ve never done this before. Will it hurt? (Handwringing, horrific imaginings, eyes bouncing back and forth like ping pong balls.). I’m soooo scared!”
My Inner Bookie: (Waving a big cigar) “Doll, relax! Odds are in your favor. My money’s on Full Recovery to win.”
My Inner Calendar Clerk: (She’s holding a clipboard and glances at her watch.) “Look here, radiation is on the books M-F at 9:30 a.m. You’ll one chemo today and then it’ll be three weeks until the next one. Now get onboard. Fourth of July is coming up, and there’s a lot to do. If you want to make that strawberry shortcake, we’ve got to get to the market. Tick-tock!”
My Inner Spiritual Self: (Views from a starry galaxy) I am a part of all that is. I trust and surrender. Embrace what is happening and I am open to learn and change. If God doesn’t give me another thing, he’s already given me so much.
June 29, 2023 Radiation and chemo – what was that like?
I had the double whammy of radiation and chemo today. The radiation treatment was nothing. A three-minute zap and I was back on the street. No pain.
In fact, at my first radiation treatment I approached the table, and before one of the techs could finish saying, “Do you need a stepst…”
I had rocketed myself upward onto the table, but only caught half-a-butt-cheek’s hold, and the three techs saved me from falling to the floor.
“Did not see that coming!”
I’m the Energizer Bunny, striding into the radiation section. “Let’s get ‘er done!”
Later that afternoon, I did the chemo part. The whole process took from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m, including travel time, labwork, and waiting time. The actual chemo infusion was 1.25 hours.
Dark thoughts: would I feel like an inmate during a lethal injection, with poison burning through my veins?
No, not at all. Painfree. In fact, I perked up when they offered me snacks and a toasty flannel blanket.
Chemo was not scary at all. What was disturbing was to hear the list of possible side effects they are required to intone beforehand.
The nurse began with, “You’ll most likely be tired, but we don’t expect you to have any side effects, but I still have to read them to you.”
“Fire away,” I said munching a cookie.
“Hair loss, severe diarrhea, severe constitipation, mouth sores, loss of appetite, heartburn, difficulty swallowing…”
“Again,” she said, “This is not likely to happen to you. You’ll only get chemo twice.”
“…Stomach pains, rashes, gastric issues, etc.” and on through the Little Shop of Horrors.
They had read this list more than once, during prior appointments. It’s like the repetition of long scriptures three times each at a Greek Orthodox service.
I thought, “Wouldn’t it be faster just to call the doctor, post-treatment, and just ask, ‘Are bloody stools part of the deal?’”
But I’m learning patience.
My husband David is wonderful. Almost six hours — driving, waiting, taking notes, looking after me. He’d go on expeditions when I’d whisper, “Take a walk, find out where the snack table is and bring me back a sandwich.”
The Guardian of My Galaxy was so relieved it all went well and was painfree for me. How could I do this without him? Sheer gratitude for my blessings.
In the car on the ride back, there was a welling of tears, arm-stroking, and back-patting when I whispered, “Don’t cry, Davey. It’s going to be alright.”
Lesson: Early detection spared me a raft of greater misery.
July 5, 2023 – Oh-oh! Chemo Side Effects
Radiation never gave me side effects but chemo is a different story. After my June 29 infusion, I was fine but fatigued for three days. However, just when I thought, “hey, no big thang,” then big time nausea set in on July 4. Vomiting, panting and fear. My mantra: “Just lie still! Don’t move! Try not to throw up!”
Did I say I was the Energizer Bunny a week ago? Forget it. That gal is gone. I’m a wilted flower, I ain’t no good for nuttin’. Now at daily radiation, I don’t powerwalk to the treatment, I creep in. I slowly put my johnny on with no energy to even tie it in the back (I’m wearing pants anyway). I shuffle to the treatment room, get zapped, and pray I can get home before I throw up.
David and my family are on high alert for fast action. If I whisper, “Can I have something cold” a ring of popsicles surround me like swords
My mind used to be a newsroom broadcasting plans, ideas, things to do! Now it’s a dark one-room cabin, and hand-carved on the wall, “Is it time to throw up yet?”
This is the worst: 2 a.m. and the bile rises in my throat. Run to the bathroom, and it’s like heaving up a filing cabinet; body wracking, gut wrenching. Who knew one could strain vocal chords, and why hasn’t my high-pressure hurling awakened the neighborhood?
I’m a wraith shuffling back to bed; pale, trembling. My skin smells faintly metallic and Ewww de Barfum.
I have nine prescriptions for anti-nausea and for the side effects those pills may cause. Who can swallow any of them? Just talking brings on a gag reflex.
I can’t keep food or liquid down. I fear dehydration and I wonder, “Can I surrender myself to a hospital for an IV?”
I’m in awe of folks who have persevered through daily chemo treatments., and tell me, “If I lived through it, you will, too.”
I’m no s(hero). If I had to endure more than my two chemo treatments, I’d think, “Sweet Lord Jesus, take me home tonight!”
But that’s not my prayer (yet).
July 10, 2023 – And Then God Sent Marijuana Edibles
The remedy to retching came to me, as if in a dream last night. After doing a nature meditation to calm myself, I ran to the bathroom to puke (uh, thanks, Universe). Relentless nausea, and laying in bed, I chanted, “No barfing! You can do this! Stay still.”
At midnight I prayed with all my heart to find relief, and then God replied when a thought occurred, “Don’t you have a marijuana cookie somewhere in the house?”
OMG! Over a year ago, I had gone to a dispensary in California for THC help for my insane insomnia. It helped, but I forgot all about the 10 mg cookies when I returned home.
Now I limped into the closet, weakly pawing through purses and bags.
When I found my THC chocolate chip cookies in an old tote, I hissed like Golem, “Yesssssss.”
The cookies were crumbly and stale but whenI took a bite, don’t you know! My nausea subsided and I crawled back into bed. My brain relaxed and I fell asleep.
When I woke up to the dawn, there was no sour, sickly feeling. I actually felt thirsty and hungry. I went to the kitchen and downed a huge glass of water. I heated up a bowl of leftover orzo and veggies, and dang! I finished the whole thing. It was only 6 a.m.
Thank you, God, that I live in Massachusetts where marijuana is legal. Clearly, it’s saving my life. David took me to a dispensary to buy gummies. Since chemo doesn’t happen again until July 20, I’ll be well prepared. Let’s just say, if I put a bong in my window, my house would be a head shop.
(Note: I did talk to my doctor about using medical edibles, and he said many people have used them to great benefit, but he couldn’t give me more advice because products vary. He said if I was willing to experiment, then go for it.)
July 12, 2023: David Goes Solo Stint on Cape Cod to Care for Lulu
Post-chemo I’m back to feeling normal, and by choice, I’m staying in Milton alone. But David is doing a two-week stint at our place in East Falmouth (Cape Cod) as Mr. Solo Grandpa to help our granddaughter
No way, no how did I want Lulu to cancel her art camp there just because I’m tethered to daily radiation in Needham. Our original plan was that we’d both spend July on the Cape with Lulu but then Fate had other ideas.
Once I got way past post-chemo side effects, I was adamant. Star has a new time-consuming job and Bella is the gallivanting graduate.
Me: “David you need to be down there with Lulu. I don’t need you to drive me to radiation.”
David: “But Suze, I need to watch over you.”
Me: “Watch what? Me watching reruns of Modern Family? I’m fine!”
My arguments sounded like this, “No, no! I’m not a hothouse flower. I’m not on my way out. I need you to be with Lulu.”
And for good measure, I’d put my hands over my ears over his protests, “LALALALALAALALALA!!!”
He finally relented after I put my Size 5 foot down.
So David left to care for Lulu, her dog, Reesey, and our dog, Ginger. His first report from the field was impressive:
Walked and fed the two dogs.
Four loads of laundry in one day..
Grocery list (‘I have a recipe for Ginger Rice and Chicken I’m going try,” he said.)
Activities with Lulu were all mapped out.
What a relief and Fiona and Ed gave David moral and culinary support. (Their daughter, Ella, is Lulu’s bestie and taking the art camp with her.)
Back in Milton I took my job to catch up on summer reading and TV shows very seriously. After all, my very life hangs in the balance between “White House Plumbers” and “Ghosts of Beirut.” (“The Diplomat” is next.)
Things got wonky for David later in the week.
His disappointment at his Ginger Rice dish, when David told me, “Lulu agreed it would have been way better if you made it.”
How could he be discouraged? He’s a hero.
Then Reesey had a poop explosion throughout the house. Poor David had to clean up three rooms, and it was only Thursday. “David, it’s hard being a single grandpa!”
The man who never raised kids said of his first, solo attempt to run a household, “I don’t know, Suze. No matter how much I do, there’s always more the next day. It’s like I’m not getting anything done.”
I said, “Listen, Sisyphus, I’ve been rolling that boulder uphill for a longer eternity than you. But you’re doing great for your first week in Hades.”
On Friday, I blasted down to the Cape after radiation. I walked in to mountains of folded laundry — sheets and beach towels – piled high on the dining table and chairs.
Didn’t he do all this last week?
Later I said to Lulu, “Was the laundry heaped on the table and chairs all week? Where did you eat?”
She giggled and said, “I offered to put it away, but Davey told me to leave it. He wanted you to see how much work he did.”
Later, I said to David, “Lulu said that you left the laundry for me to see. Why? I know you’ve done so much.”
He said, “Because nothing beats a good visual.”
Then he updated me on the doggy nightmare and took me on a tour of newly washed floors.
July 18, 2023 – Side Effects: I Can’t Swallow
This morning, after radiation, I told my doctor that I have trouble swallowing; it’s painful.
If I don’t chew my food into subatomic particles, it feels like sand scraping down my food tube. Now I have to chew every mouthful at least 50 times. It’s revealing that my former chew count was only five per mouthful.What am I? A baby wolf?
I love crispy and crunchy, but now sourdough toast, panko breading, potato chips, and cookies are the enemies. I can’t handle eating meat; too much bulk and chewing. Now my world is yogurt, smoothies and soft foods.
Please, don’t make me best friends with Ensure.So maybe if I just chew more slowly, all will be well, right?
Doc says expect it to get worse. Buckle up. The treatments are targeting the loosey-goosey (my words, not his) edges of the lung tumor close to my esophagus, which causes inflammation. My swallowing will be affected even more with my July 20 chemo.
Up to that moment, I was energetic and bouncy. Now I was a wilted peace plant. I called David in tears. “I won’t be able to eat! It’s going to get worse. Waaaaaa!”
Lulu’s summer camp ends this week, and he’s returning on Wednesday in time for my second chemo infusion.
“Oh, Suze, that’s so awful.”
But you know me, always with a Plan B.
I said, “I’m putting on ten pounds in the next two days since it will be refugee camp rations and hard-core puking after July 20.”
That day I went to lunch with Connie. She, like me, LOVES her food, so she understood my desperation.
“Oh, no! That’s terrible!” Her eyes teared up and she looked stricken as if I were losing a leg instead of lunch.
We ate dim sum and I savored it like a last meal on Death Row. Though swallowing was difficult, a swig of hot tea and tasty dumplings made it bearable…for now.
Thus, I soldier on. (Photo: David checking out my meds)
July 19, 2023 – Randomness Makes Life Fair
I’m lucky to recuperate in the summer when nature is in full bloom. Who wants to be driving to radiation and chemo during a New England nuclear winter? Not me. During my morning drive to treatment, I whisper, “Thank you that I’m driving to Needham and not Boston. Thank you for the summer!”
Recently, I’ve had friends say, “It’s so unfair that you have cancer. You of all people!”
It’s flattering to be thought of someone that the Fickle Finger of Fate shouldn’t touch. But we all know that’s not how it works.
A common reply might be “Why not me?” But I’ll take that further.
When it comes to misfortunes, the sun and rain fall on the good and bad alike. The rich can’t buy their way out of destiny. Likewise, others can’t “do-good” their way past fate either.
To me, the randomness of life is what makes things fair. We each muddle through to learn lessons (that is, if one is willing to consider there are lessons to be learned.). As I’ve said, my lessons are patience and surrender. That, and learning to chew my food more slowly.
I adore the passage in Ecclesiastes 9:11:
I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
Or the battle to the strong,
Nor does food come to the wise
Or wealth to the brilliant
Or favor to the learned;
But time and chance happen to them all.
Time. Chance. Life is uncertain, but there is a beauty to unpredictability. It means everything is possible.
July 20, 2023 – The Chemo Nurse Cracked Me Up
My last chemo treatment was on July 20, and it was one big laughfest.
Picture this: David accompanied me and in walks a tall, handsome, 40-something male chemo nurse. Athletic. Chatty. Years ago he played for the San Francisco 49’ers, but turned to nursing afterwards.
“Oh, John, tell us more!”
He moved to NYC, loved his career there, but then relocated to Boston.
“Well, because of my partner, he wanted to live here.”
(Oh. So John’s gay. I did not see that coming.)
Me: “So tell me about your man.”
“He’s Greek, very masculine, probably the most stubborn man on the planet. He drives me crazy, but we’ve been together for a few years.”
His partner is really close to his family, and his Greek mother even told John, “No one willl ever know my son as well as I know my son.”
(Ooh. Throwing down a gauntlet?)
Now many Greek famililies can be very traditional, so of course, I had a burning question.
“John, did you have a hard time breaking into the famiy because you’re not Greek?”
We looked at each other and laughed.
He said, “Well, that and I think they had a bigger issue to deal with.”
Yet John is always included in different things; dinners, celebrations, gatherings.
He added, “But the Sunday services are really long.”
I said, “Yeah, Greek Orthodox, they repeat all those long scriptures three times each.”
“But every meal’s a feast!” He added.
My 1.25 hour infusion flew by.
Later, I wondered how his partner’s Greek mother must have felt, newly discovering her son was gay and then meeting John, this handsome, engaging, former NFL player-turned-medical-professional.
I asked David, who said, “He’d be any mother’s dream.”
July 26, 2023 – Ditching my Prescription Meds in Favor of THC Products
During an appointment before my July 20 chemo, I told my doctors, “I want to ditch my prescription meds and do a THC route with marijuana products.”
For a good visual, I brought my nine bottles of prescription meds, and said to my doctors, “Look at all this. They don’t help me.”
Then I held up a small injector of Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), a concentrated THC oil. Inject a TEENY dab of it onto say, a miniature marshmallow, and eat it. Soon nausea symptoms disappear, and I only do it once in the morning and once at night.
Then I showed them a small metal tin of 5 mg THC gummies. I cut the small rounds into quarters and eat one “to take the barf edge off” if needed.
I said, “Look at all these pills compared to just these two things. Less cabinet space!”
My doctor said, “Use your THC options as your first line of defense, and you can always fall back on your prescriptions.”
The Great Experiment: On July 20, I had chemo. Day 1 and 2 post chemo were OK, just like last time. Side effects kicked in on Day 3; a general feeling of nausea, a mounting fear, the first hint of acid, sourness and sickness.
I was ON IT. I decided against taking any prescriptions, except for one daily Omeprazole, which the doctor insisted prevents acid relux, and a prescribed Vitamin B pill.
I was going full-tilt boogie with THC this post-chemo round.
The worst days of chemo never happened on my new THC regimen. In six days, post chemo, I haven’t gotten sick or nauseous once. I’ve been able to eat, hydrate and keep everything down.(Today on Day 4 post chemo, I even went out for Chinese food with David, Bella and Lulu.
This time around, instead of moaning for hours, I spent Day 3, 4, 5 and 6 comfortably resting. I snoozed. I napped. I feel like my body is healing itself through deep sleep. I kept a diary of what I did and pretty much this was my schedule:
7:00 a.m. (I’m an early riser, chemo or not)
Take my prescribed antacid to prevent acid reflux. Take my Vitamin B.
Take 1/4 of a 5 MG THC gummy to soften that “barfy edge.”
Eat something (while I still can!)
7:30 a.m. follow up with a half-a-rice-grain-sized bit of Rick Simplson Oil (RSO) on a mini marshmallow. (BTW, this THC concentrated oil was given to me by a friend who said it cured her fibromyalgia and decreased the pain of a shoulder surgery).
The RSO makes me feel relaxed and takes away all feelings of nausea. I spent most of the day sleeping on the couch, and waking up in time for small meals.
2:30 p.m. Another bit of RSO oil to keep the nausea away. Small meals and more naps through the afternoon.
9:00 p.m. Either I take a 1/4 THC gummy to get ready for bed, or another tiny bit of RSO, depending how I feel.
I slept like a baby the whole night.
This last post-chemo go-round is radically different from my first HELLISH experience without THC.
So know you have options. I’ve turned a corner from chemo, and my last radiation treatment is August 10.
July 30, 2022 – Back to Being Bouncy
I’m now in Day 10, post-chemo, and not once have I gotten sick. Thanks to Rick Simpson Oil and THC gummies, I’ve been able to restore myself naturally. They have far exceeded my prescription meds.
Here’s a funny story: We were blasting down to the Cape when one of David’s friends, Ted, called us in the car. He wanted “to take care of the caretaker.”
Ted: I want to take David to lunch, and Phyllis can stay at the house with you.”
Me: “What for?”
Ted: “Well, you’re not well, and probably in bed a lot. This way, she can keep you company.”
Both David and I erupted in laughter.
Me: “Oh, you think I’m like one of those paintings where the fair maiden is dying, surrounded by people crying and praying to the heavens for rescue.”
Ted: “Yeah, with one arm hanging over the side of her bed.”
Me: “Nope. I got up this morning at 6 a.m. to clean the kitchen.”
Anyway, I hope this dispels any notion that I’m on my way out. It is true that my recovery feels miraculous, especially the part about escaping post chemo nausea. Thank you, God and THC!
August 5, 2023 – A Vivid Dream about My Future as a Reiki Healer
I’ve been having the most vivid dreams.
In one dream, I saw myself in a room, giving a presentation to the public with other energy healers. I heard a voice say, “If you want to live cancer free, you have to live the life a healer out loud.”
Then I saw so many “7”s and what looked like bubbles coming at me in multiples. Seven has always been my big number and later, I realized the bubbles were round pellets of energy infusing my body.
I think this second bout of cancer is pushing me in the direction energy healing, I’ve been a Reiki healer since 1992, but I’ve only done with close friends and family. Could I really go public with it now?
I was meditating, and I prayed, “Here I am, Lord. If you want me to do this, then help me because I’m nervous about promoting myself in case I let anyone down.”
So then an idea came to me. Why not offer an “Energy Healing” event at the library. Seven healers (including myself) will a full audience healing experience, and in addition, a 7-minute energy experience will be given individually to a total of 28 people.
Here’s the description that I proposed to the Milton Library:
Curious about energy healing? There are many forms, such as Reiki, and in Boston hospitals, it’s called Therapeutic Touch. Attend “Experience Energy Healing” on Thursday, October 12 in the Keys Community Room at the Milton Public Library from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Admission is free but registration is required.
Suzette Martinez Standring, a Reiki channel, underwent cancer treatments and found energy healing to be vital in her recovery. She and other practitioners will lead “Experience Energy Healing” as a way for attendees to see what it’s like. Everyone in the audience will experience a group healing. Additionally, practitioners will offer individual healings to the first 28 people to sign up. Find out how it works, and even more fun, how it feels.
Energy healing is safe and calming. Participants do not have to be touched. Come to this unique event.
Can you believe it? The library jumped on it.
Then I began offering it to anyone I ran across who had a need. I offered Reiki on the phone or by zoom, and the results were so profound, recipients were amazed at the relaxation they felt.
So I’ve decided to put myself out there, and treat the Oct. 12 event as “my debut.” Typically, my Reiki sessions last for about 20-30 minutes, the amount of time my energy feels very active when I’m working on someone.
The road is opening.
August 6, 2023 – Felony Stupidity: I Nearly Lost My Eye
Poor David. How much more can the guy take? Another near disaser. Today we walked the dog at Caddy Memorial Park in Quincy. There was an apple tree and before David could say, “Don’t….”
I threw a heavy branch skyward to knock down some apples and…freak accident! The branch boomeranged and hit me in the forehead like a missile.
Ka-pow! A hard hit two inches above my right eye. I doubled over screaming, and blood ran down my face, my hands and arms.
Luckily, back at the car, there was a “dog towel” and I was wiping the rivulets off my arms. We sped to Urgent Care, and I went in alone. David could only watch and wave from the outside because we didn’t want to leave our dog in the hot car.
My bloody face was a fast ticket in, and the physician’s assistant asked how it happened.
Did I really want to admit to felony stupidity?
When I told him, he burst out laughing and turned toward his colleagues outside, but then quickly turned back to me and said, “Oh, I’m sorry. It’s not funny…”
I said, “Oh, but it is.”
I read his body language: he couldn’t wait to tell his co-workers.
So I probably needed a stitch or two, but since I’m 69, they wanted to reroute me to an ER because an MRI might be required.
“An MRI! I didn’t pass out. I’m not concussed. I don’t have headaches or blurry vision,” I told him.
He shrugged, “Well, who knows?”
There would be a long wait at Urgent Care because some other elderly screwup (my words, not his) was getting stitched up. I opted to leave. (My dog was already too hot and needed water.)
Outside, I said to David, “I’m not going to the ER. I think my wound is superficial. I don’t want no Frankenstein stitches on my face.”
We drove home where I washed the gash and applied alcohol. OH, THE HOWLING FROM THE BATHROOM!
All head wounds bleed heavily because of veins so close to the surface, and when I washed it up, the half moon cut above my eyebrow didn’t look that deep, but would it swell?
I moaned, “I don’t want to grow an egg on my forehead.”
David gave me an icepack, made lunch and handed me a ginger ale.
I laid on the couch icing the cut and plotting how I’d tape the opening closed with Band-aids.
“Oh, David! I’m a regular Calamity Jane! What a stupid accident. I’m such a problem child.”
In a very soothing voice, he said, “Well, I won’t necessarily disagree.”
Then he softly added, “Suze, sometimes you need to say to yourself, ‘no’ and “don’t.’”
Later, he offered to go grocery shopping, “Suze, what do you need at the store?”
Blotting down the blood, I said “Apples.”
Epilogue: I decided to see my oncologist three days later. I had an appointment re my treatments, so why not make it a twofer? I asked him to take a look at my forehead cut and he agreed. David and I handled it well with butterfly band-aids from Walgreens.
(Note on photo: the red in my hair is not from highlights, it’s from blood!)
August 7, 2023 – My Birthday: I’m 69 and Feeling Fine
Today I turned 69 (and feeling fine!), happy to be done with treatments soon and to have my right eye still intact. No hoopla, please, despite David and Star encouraging me to celebrate in a big way.
On my request, we went to Taipei, a local Chinese favorite, to share a feast with David, Star, her fiance Ed, Bella and Lulu. Aren’t simple pleasures the best? I am forever changed.
August 11, 2023 – Today I lost it
It’s my day to cry shoulder-bobbing, ugly tears. The morning after my final cancer radiation treatment, it finally hit me hard. I had cancer.
For the last six weeks, I show up, get zapped, and managed to stay zippity-do-dah. Chemo was not easy, but fine; THC was my best friend.
But then on the phone with my bestest childhood friend, Muggins (her real name is Vivian), she asked, “Suzetti, how are you feeling now that it’s over?”
Suddenly the full weight and enormity of the last six weeks crashed down.
Physically, I feel an ache inside my chest and I can’t swallow easily. There’s a radiation burn on my left side; the discoloration was cumulative and the scarring will fade But it’s dark and ugly.
The doctor told me, “Expect it to weep next week.”
He said, “Yes, like a blister, and it’ll get worse before it gets better.”
Suddenly, I’m weeping on the phone. Finally, my Inner Compartmentalizer has gone on vacation.
It’s time to whisper, “That was really scary.”
It’s time to allow myself the thought, “It’s my second go-around with cancer.”
It’s time to say, “I look so battle-scarred.” (Granted, the cut on my forehead was my own damn fault.)
So there I was boo-hooing to Muggins and she said, “Of course! You were just trying to get through it!”
Truly, I’m no (s)hero. I’m not the only one who’s had no choice but to pull up her Big Girl panties and just hup-hup-hup through the journey.
And I’m not the only one who now feels naked and vulnerable, and allowing myself the wee question, “And…what happens now?”
I blabbed about my situation on FB, first to normalize the conversation, and second, to receive energy, light and prayers. What I was given far exceeded what I hoped for: help from unexpected places, great advice, big laughs, and a public coming together of healers.
Every single comment on FB was a gift to my spirit.
But today is my day to cry.
August 30, 2023 – A Time for Gratitude
Now I’ve come full circle from whence I first blabbed about my lung cancer on FB.
I want to thank my Reiki/Energy healer friends who beamed me full-speed recovery. I will be leading an energy healing with them on October 12 at the Milton Library. Stay tuned.
To you who brought me Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), a concentrated THC oil, you saved my life.
Thank you to friends who prayed at Hindu temples, Christian worship, and lit candles at Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches for me.
Thank you to two friends who climbed to a sacred Buddhist site on the cliffs of the Paro Valley in Bhutan and prayed for me at Paro Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest).
To you who sent me healing crystals and taught me to listen on a higher level, I am forever changed.
For every encouraging post, thank you. I read them all, even if I was too fatigued or barfy at the time to reply. Typically, “thoughts and prayers” get a bad rap for being trite, but they mean everything to me, and I felt their care and sincerity.
Thank you for books, cards, and emails that lifted my spirits.
Thank you for tea, honey sticks, THC-laced soft drinks, anti-nausea candy, warm socks, plants and flowers, a soft shawl, and the little angel statue now on my kitchen window.
To you who wrote with me, fed or walked with me, you filled my heart.
Thank you for sharing your stories, for making us realize we are all healers.
Every action takes time, and time is the most precious gift of all.
Who knows what comes next, but if I don’t get another thing, God has already given me so much. (Credit to Patti O’Brien Richardson for instilling that thought in me from her own experience).