I am still in the process of discovering my solutions, but they are coming to me, as I guess I knew they would. Process is hard for me; I am impatient. I would rather know the answer right away, get to the end result quickly. But it is slowly dawning on me that life will be hard if I can't relax and let it all unfold. Because life is a process, and I don't actually want to know the whole answer, or worse, hurry to the end.
So part of this healing process has been listening and reading and considering all the information and deciding what might work for me. A lower fat diet and a lot more exercise both make sense, though I'm cutting myself some slack on both those fronts until the worst of the chemo crud is behind me. And though I'm still struggling with it, meditating regularly makes sense to me. There have been many studies done on the changes that meditation and visualization can bring about in your brain and in your body. Changes to your heart rate, your immune system, the pain centers in your brain. These studies are comforting to me, I guess, but I'm staying with it because it feels good, despite the deep challenge. The calm that I feel, though fleeting so far, seems to be very valuable indeed. And along with the meditating is a second piece, visualizing.
Just writing the word brings new age visions of gauzy glowing goddesses to my head. Many write or speak about "the white light", sitting quietly and visualizing glowing light entering your body and clearing it of cancer cells. I really wasn't getting that. When I closed my eyes and pictured the process of being cured, I kept getting a vision of PacMan. You know, the good little gobbler cell racing around the maze of my blood and lymph vessels, munching up all the bad little ghosty cells. That is what I pictured, and I knew from what I had read that whatever worked for me was fine. But it wasn't actually working for me, wasn't bringing me much by way of belief or relief. Maybe it was the violence of it. Not that I've ever thought of PacMan as being particularly violent, but all along the idea of cells "attacking," and "doing battle," and of the struggle to be cured as being a "war" has been unsettling to me rather than comforting.
Then I was speaking with a very wise friend about the meditating and visualizing process. I didn't tell her about the PacMan, just that I was trying, but the visualization piece wasn't really working for me. And she shared many thoughts about meditation and visualization, but the word that stuck, the word that resonated, was "purify." That I should focus on imagining the chemotherapy and all my other attempts to cure myself as purifying. I'm not sure I've ever thought of myself and the word "pure" in the same sentence before, but the possibility was intriguing.
The next time I sat to visualize this disease leaving my body, a new image came to my head. It is of a stream that flowed behind my parents house, down to the ocean. I played beside it often growing up. It cascaded down out of the woods, crystal clear, over rocks and pine needles and moss and into the cove. And now I picture crystalline, sparkling water like that, flowing through my body, taking the black, slimy gobs of cancer (or is it rotting leaves?) out to sea. Out of me. And I don't know if it is leaving me pure, but I like to believe it is leaving me cancer free.