Home for the Holidays....what does that mean? Often it's a gathering with family and friends and while that is one version of home, here I'm referring to a completely different one.... that still place inside each of us, where unconditional love and peace abide. It's a home that is always accessible and available, no matter where we physically are or what may be swirling around us. We are always welcome, always comforted and always safe. In this moment, I'm reaching for the essence of my internal home. I desire to navigate my days expressing from that place, but I know I need to feel it for myself first. I'm finding it to be a most challenging task.

I do know, however, that my sense of humor is starting to return. Yesterday, sitting in yet another doctor's waiting room, I looked at the form I was to fill out and burst into laughter. Question #1 - What is your concern today? I think this must surely be the winner of the oncology form most absurd question! Well let's see, besides the fact that I'm in for my 5th appointment in 3 weeks, with a cancer that has so far decided to spread like wildfire.....well....hmmm......what the hell could I possibly be concerned about today?!! Ok, while I found the idea of giving that answer incredibly amusing, unflinchingly honest, and ok.... heavily sarcastic, I decided on something a bit nicer. I'm concerned that I will never fully understand the real meaning of life.

It's refreshing to feel my funny bone reawaken. Ever since I received the news from my latest round of scans showing the cancer has now spread to my liver, I've been filled with sadness....and anger....and frustration....and sadness.....and....

Early this week I drove to Seattle to meet with a specialist for a second opinion. The weather for the drive up was a perfect reflection of my internal state: pouring tears and saturated with gloom and doom. I've been feeling this way pretty consistently since receiving the results, with only a peek of sunshine here and there. Frankly, I'm getting a bit tired of myself! Thank goodness something happened on my way up the elevator to meet with the doctor at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. A lady was pushing a stroller with a little boy, probably a year or so old, He had a tube running into his nose but even more noticeable, was the huge grin spread across his face. In that moment I remembered, I have so many things to be grateful for! Come on Lorena, dry your tears, pick up your head, and just keep walking. You can do this! That is one of the many pep talks I've had to  have with myself. Grief is a funny thing. It certainly is not a linear process. I'm in, I'm out. I'm grateful, I'm not. I want to hide away from the world. I want to honor this journey by sharing. (Deep sigh.)

I have a wonderful team of doctors communicating with me as we decide what, if any, medical course of action remains. I'm clear I will not accept any treatment where the likely side effects outweigh the possible benefits (quality vs. quantity of life) and I will not allow cancer to become my entire world. I still believe my best chance for joy and any kind of healing will come first and foremost from choosing to focus my time and energy on circumstances, people and things that leave me feeling joy-filled.

I have been waiting to write an update until I could do it from a place of complete confidence in the future and with perfect gratitude and joy for the present moment. I'm admittedly not there yet, and I decided to write anyway. Afterall, this wrestling match with acceptance and choosing how to hold the experience is part of the process. I would not be doing any of us a favor by pretending that this all feels ok. If I have any hopes of helping myself or others, then it requires honesty about all parts of the journey.

May Divine peace be with us all.
-Lorena

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