Thursday, July 3, 2008

I do not feel compelled to write in this blog unless I either have what I think is important information to impart to my caring community, and/or to share some perspective connected with my "adventure." Until I sat down to write tonight, in my mind I had neither. As matters of fact, yesterday looked like Monday and Tuesday, in that I had my radiation treatment, walked on the Greenway with friends, and went to work. The only difference is that I attended a work-related meeting yesterday evening. It was a big deal because I would not have gone had I not felt up to it, and even then I had to plan my afternoon around resting and building up the energy to make the trip. But as I reflected upon the evening just now, what struck me is how incredibly normal it felt to me to be there. Sure, everyone there was especially happy to see me and vice versa, and I received all the hugs I needed and wanted; but it felt like a naturally-occurring event. That for whatever reason, I was there because I am meant to be there.

As for today, it was similar to last Thursday. Radiation followed by chemotherapy. It was still a long day, but what differed from last week is that I was not as frightened, having already experienced it. With all due respect to John, with whom I have spent many quality hours over these many weeks, including that first chemotherapy treatment, I was able to tolerate today's treatments without a problem, and enjoy the companionship of my friend who accompanied me.

So, without intending to generate any significant information or a (completely subjective) meaningful insight from these recent experiences, I believe that I am brought back around to The New Normal.

First, I have just completed a full week of treatment. I now have experience so I have some idea what to expect. Same with taking a walk and heading into the office. I can handle each of these things, and so can my extraordinary friends and colleagues.

Second, my meeting last night brought together my past, present, and future. This is a place where I wanted to be before this adventure began, where I wanted to be last night, and where I want to be in the future. This may be an unexpected insight. Perhaps in the future I will be choosing more places I want to be, rather than where I feel I should, or need to be.

Finally, I am in awe of the quality and quantity of the responses to my last posting. Thank you for the suggestions for filling my time and finding peace. As for the insights on faith and spirituality, I suspect that this will be a life-long quest. Which I hope spans a loooooong time.

In closing, I must remind you that I am high on steroids, which brings to mind Tigger and his choice of parting words. (Whatever, people. I'm allowed to do what I want here.)



Anonymous said...

Hey Elyse...I've been out of town and just had a minute to check in on you via this great blog. I am happy to hear about your new normal. Just keep things at your own pace. I know how hard it can be to do that....but right now you set the pace and everyone will adjust. Except for oncologists, they don't adjust unless they want to. Keep up the good work and buy some funky hats. It is important to have a sense of humor.
- Barbara Hubschman

Marcia Mika said...

Elyse, I am so sorry to hear about your illness. I know you will approach this challenge as you have any others. Please know that I am thinking about you and sending lots of good wishes and prayers. Much love, Marcia

Anonymous said...

Dear Elyse:

I don't especially care if what you write is "important information"or a "shared perspective".

I know that you are pretty sick and you are in a tough treatment process. In regard to that, I am happy just to log in every day and know that you have maintained enough interest to say hi to everyone.

You don't need to be anything, be anywhere, be insightful, or to have a good perspective. We are all happy with your just being.

Keep on being.

Joe Rosen

Steve Beagle said...

Elyse aka Ali,

The wannabe comedian is on vacation today. Today the serious, analytical working professional alpha male is speaking. Probably this Sybil has a few other voices but for now these two will be the ones that you are unfortunately or perhaps fortunately will be be exposed to.

I have been pondering your question now for quite some time. I knew how I wanted to respond all along but my mind calisthenics struggled with how to explain relevance, avoid confessionals, protect privacy, and on and on.. After sometime I have decided to stop thinking so much and start doing and the outcome will be what it will be. So here we go..

The immediate question is apparent. How can I possibly have any inkling as to the mindset you are in and how I can relate where I have been as to where you are now?
Why did this occur to you? I believe I can relate to you and your questions in a significant level and the story below will verify why.

During the time span in my life from mid-1999 to the middle of 2003 I survived a very, very difficult time in the form of a specific series of events. This difficult time was thrust upon me and all I could do at that time is ask, why me? Was I diagnosed with a potentially terminal disease you ask? No. Believe it or not in some ways it was worse as I had no idea I was even sick. What occurred is a perfect storm created by a constant hum of negative events in my life leading to a silent but potential deadly organ breakdown.

In 1999 my mother, my best friend, my confidante, my hero, died of breast and lung cancer at 56 young years of age. I watched her deterioration over the course of 6 years. I fought vehemently with her brothers and sisters on the day before her passing to take my stand and say enough is enough with radical treatment. I mourned. I never forgot. I asked why and on and on.

In 2001 on my 40th birthday, I sat in Subang Jaya Malaysia in a countryside hotel with severe cramps and no way out to communicate. I was feeling so sorry for myself. Why did I embark on such a career that has me at sitting here on the other side of the world at this stage of my life? Celebrating my 40th birthday alone and in sickness? A day later as I was checking into a hotel in Makati, City outside Manila, I witnessed on television along with some Israeli Jewelers the second plane strike the twin towers. I cried. I learned about terrorism and wondered if my children and wife will be safe in this new world. I argued with my wife that I should not change careers and on and on. I wondered why all this was happening to me. I moved to Japan until I could find my way home.

A year later due to some forced work issues I am in Paris and learn that I will miss the birth of my third miracle due to an emergency C-section thrust upon my beautiful inside and out wife. Why me? Again I find my way home and deal.

A year later , the company I was running is sold and I am threatened to be a part of a major law suit. If the law suit is lost, they would take away all the personal assets both Merian and I have worked all our personal lives to achieve.

Later (for approximately a full year) the confluence of events reaches a perfect storm for me. Enough is enough. I can not sleep. I am in all night battles with demons in my mind. Yet I still don’t recognize I have any issues..

I am going to stop now relating to where I reached the abyss also known as the outcome of this chronology for protection of my family specifically my children. I would however like to sit with you Elyse and John perhaps sometime assuming you are interested and finish this chronology only because if nothing else I believe it can in some way help you both to cope… It also has some significant faith based implications although at this time I am not sure what they may mean or why.. Perhaps you can help.

However let’s press forward and take the hill if you will and look at how I believe this changed my life for the better. Please note I will say some of the closest people in my life believe this has not changed me for the better. In fact it has changed me for the worse. Why better in my opinion and not worse?. Because I live now in the moment. The 3 ply chess player plays only in 1 ply. I listen. I don’t think and ahead and not live in the moment. If anything I dwell too long in the moment. Strategy and tactics for the future take the back of the bus when my previous entire life they were the driver of the bus.

I don’t project. I don’t predict or expect any specific outcome. I don’t think anything in life is black of white. I am thankful for everyday. I don’t try to be somebody I am not and I am in extreme touch with how I feel. The downside you ask. I am in definitely in some ways more selfish. You see the old Steve lived and felt for other people. Always did what was right by them but not me. Now I try to balance those scales after I take my own advice. I am opinionated and hard headed.

You see I am a three-ply chess player and my mind multi-tasks far faster than the average bear. This is good and bad. I learned through professionals after this experience to stop and smell.. stop trying to become the president of the United States.. Try focusing on your own breath. Boy was it hard. But I can say unequivocally this way of thinking and coping has me smiling every nanosecond of every day. No matter what the stormy seas are around me…

So I leave you with some thoughts transcribed from a mural I passed every day during some specific times of asking myself why me.. Now I know why me….…

God please allow me: To accept the things I can not change and grant me the courage to change the things I can. As well as the wisdom to know the difference.

The past is history. The future is a mystery. Now is a gift and that is called the present.

To dream of what I wish I were, is to waste what I am.

Rising up from the muck and mire, hope reaches all as a burning desire.

Find self-love and hope will appear.

Look deep within your soul and you will also find it there. Be true to thyself and let the lord lead the way and a new ray of light will strengthen your day.

If only I was happy. I could accept. I could feel. I could concentrate. I could simply be. I could appreciate. I could love. I could make a difference.

One foot in the past. One foot in future. You are pissing on the present.

I am alive… Here & Now… Hope is trying….

Just for today, I choose to believe that I can live this one day.

With your face to the wind, I see you smiling again. Spirits’ movin’ within, I know that your gonna win.

Love Always Ali – Steve ( personal e-mail – )

Anonymous said...

E: It was so great to have you at the meeting on Wed. night! I'm glad the fact that it was "so normal" was good; I think we were torn between "being normal" and making you the focus of the evening (since you are always in the forefront of our thoughts, as you know). It was both special and normal to have you where you belong--with us! mbh