Archive for August, 2007

Live Every Breath of Life

Ralph Lundqvist Slottskogen

I’ve wanted for some time now to get the date set for my CT scan. It’s my ticket out of this bubble and back into the world of the living. I didn’t think waiting for the date would affect me as much as it has. I can’t feel joy at the moment, yet I keep trying to remind myself to live every breath of life.

When I get into a morbid state of mind, I try to remember what I learned during my Catholic/Protestant/Buddhist retreat before the summer: When you breathe in, imagine that you inspire what’s good in life (happiness, fulfillment, love) and when you expire you breathe out gloom and forlornness.

You know what? Getting that phone call from hospital just now offered me relief and a sense of calm and the conversation was too long for me to hold my breath. I have a few things planned for September, seeing old friends and even making a trip to Stockholm. When I heard that the scan was set for September 26th at 10 am I breathed out and thought, “perfect, I’m not double-booked”.
The photo is taken in Slottskogen, the equivalent of Central Park here in Gothenburg. The sculpture is by Ralph Lundqvist, and it’s one of my favorite. It’s good to have it so close by.

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Gallows Humour

It says that humour can prolong life and has been scientifically proven. The article referred to a study published in Intl Jnl of Humor Research 2004;17:121-134. When looking at a group of several thousand cancer patients, 75% of the patients with a “sense of humour” lived longer.

Something Quite the Opposite

Don’t look back on happiness, or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it. 
-Henry Ward Beecher-

Day 2 of being on my own. I don’t “enjoy” it as much now as I did six weeks ago. There is this grey cloud hanging over me and I’m not sure what to do about it. My radiological mania, where there were no boundaries and nothing was impossible, has turned into something quite the opposite. I can’t put my finger on it but knowing me, it is the worry of what to come – a CT scan in September.

My husband and I spent the weekend in Oslo, visiting my brother and his girlfriend, which was a welcome change of scenery. I feel like a sparrow with clipped wings today. Tomorrow will never come and now is just now- Maria sitting in front of the computer, trying to make sense of it all. The only word that comes to my mind is “blessed”, for when it all comes around, that is what I am.

Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.
-D. Elton Trueblood-

“Mamma!”

You know what I find is the most sad about having cancer? The fact that there is a chance I won’t see my little boy grow up. Zaman is trying to get him to go to sleep, reading his favorite book “Vad Gör Pop & Mio Nu?” for the umpteenth time.

Akta våra barn

When you have a child, very little else becomes as important. I worry about the world and try to make it a better place, but it stops being for my sake. It’s for that little boy crying out my name, “Mamma!”.

Goodnight Moon.

Going psychic

As if seeing a psycho-therapist is not enough… The other week I received an express referral to see a neuro-psychiatrist (the latter is a medical doctor) . If you are in the business of sending referrals to patients, think about writing a sentence or two explaining WHY you’re calling them in, especially if it’s going in the express mail.

Emergency Exit

To think of it, I didn’t even know whether to wear fancy underwear, or not. I’ve heard that some elderly won’t leave home without wearing their finest undergarments, just in case they have to go into hospital. My husband said that you rarely have to take your clothes off in the area of psychology (a reminder to all you junior doctors out there trying to figure out what to specialise in).

Neuropsychiatry wasn’t too bad. The guy was actually nice and seemed interested to hear what I had to say. He apologised for the referral being sent express and mumbled something about vacation and delayed schedules. No problem, I thought. So why was I there? I thought it was to set some sort of “neurological baseline” or prepare me for my CT scan in September in case it turns out to be bad news. Nope, my neurologist had expressed worries of personality change! 

In my opinion and looking back, my personality was without doubt the most changed during my 30 rounds of radiation therapy. I was speeded beyond belief and I couldn’t stop rambling or moving about. Luckily I didn’t do anything too embarrassing and I was (am) surrounded by great people.

He took notes during the Q&A and filled in a chart with zeros (0) and ones (1). Anytime I seemed uncertain or answered “yes”, I got a 1. For example, yes, I am sleeping more, yes, I’ve got six books going at the same time and, yes, that is unusual for Maria. On the bright side, I haven’t given any of them up yet. The most impressive one is still Where Have All the Leaders Gone?. My other favorite is The Jesus Mystery. It’s very convincing and enthralling; however, when it comes around it all burns down to faith. I wouldn’t want to be without my Christian faith at this time.

I did score A+ on memorisation, though. He gave me 30 seconds to memorise 12 pictures. I could recite all 12/12 pictures afterwards and 11/12 when asked again 30 minutes later. That damned spoon!

SPOON, gloves, candle, heart, house, tree, saw, cigarette, basket, bottle…

Ten out of 12, four days later. Sugar!

Devotion

Allegiance, constancy, dedication, devotedness, devotion, faith, faithfulness, fastness, fealty, loyalty, steadfastness… these are all synonyms for what we in Swedish call TROHET. I found a Swedish poem on page 28 in the poem book Kärleken en bro by Margareta Melin, which I thought I would share with you:

Trohet mot varandra
kan det vara något annat
än trohet på djupet mot sig själv?

En enda trohet önskar jag
av de människor jag älskar:
att de är trogna sin egen väg.

Den som är trogen mot sig själv
är trogen mot livet-
och därmed också mot mig.

I was at a hen party (möhippa) yesterday and on the boat trip back from Elvsborgs Fästning, a 16th century island fort, I got into a conversation with one of the girls who had recently held a sermon relating to “the will of God v.s. my own will”. I don’t know how far one can know the will of God but the poem above summed it up for me.

Choice

There are certain choices we make in life that in turn form the path we travel. Do you believe that the path chose you?

In my mind the most important choice we ever make in our lifetime is who we choose to spend the rest of our life with. It’s that one person who you can crack your head off with and at the same time cry to the end of time with. For some it may never come to choice, for others there may be many.

I think I am on the right path but the question is, did the path I’m traveling choose me?