Sunday, November 18, 2012

I am Radiant

I realize I have allowed some time to lapse since my last post.  I recently received about a dozen inquiries wondering if I am still blogging since there hasn't been any update.  I was surprised more than 3 people out there were even reading these rambling messages.  I'm very touched you are still interested and that I haven't completely grossed you out.

My last radiation treatment was October 12th.  I was back to work on the 15th.  On that day, I found that my dance friend John Compton passed away of AIDS, the night before at 10pm.  I had met John when I first started taking Jamila Salimpour's classes at the old Poultry Factory on Sansome Street in San Francisco.  Mark Bell, Europa, myself, and John used to hang out on the shipping dock in front of the building between classes.  We darted in and out of each other's lives over the next 40 years and his death just marked another blow of loss for me.  Seems this trend of bad luck and trouble just won't quit.

I made it through the move although most things are in still in boxes, I have what I need to maneouver around the house and it's functional.  I've also emptied the storage I've kept for over a decade and moved that into the house as well.  I came to Vegas with my car, a boombox to teach with, a few dance costumes and teaching togs, my computer and a small suitcase of clothes.  Since that time, I have either had things I owned in California come here in the trunks and carloads of others or replaced the things I had before.  I now own so much I am on the verge of becoming a hoarder!  It overwhelms me how much there is.  I've tried my best to be ruthless and toss out much of what is old, unused, unloved, broken, once trendy, or things just taking up space, but there is still so much everywhere.  If I had this in storage for 10 years and didn't miss it, I certainly won't miss it if I toss it now.  Cancer changes your view of material things as well.  These things aren't the items that are of importance to me any longer.  The relationships I have forged with very lovely and talented people are.  Losing John just made me want to gather all of them up in a bunch at once, hold them tight once more and remind them how very much I love each and every one of them and how they have greatly contributed to the richness of my life with so many wonderful experiences.  So, every chance I get I try to go through more of these boxes and sort through, tossing, donating and gathering into one place for others to own and love as I have.  I've started to place all of my dance things as well as Marliza Pons' into one room and plan to make it into a "store" to sell off my costumes, props and wonderful lifelong collection of all things Orientale.    It's a task that's a job all by itself.  It's also a marvel I have the energy to do this.

Once they told me they could no longer see my tumors, I no longer needed treatment, to go get a second opinion from my oncologist, I was cut loose.  Got a mug and a certificate for bravery that I made it through radiation.  Saw my oncologist and she also confirmed that she did not see any evidence of a tumor but did that mean that the cancer was gone?  She could only test with epithelial cell scrapings and I was too raw from radiation to do that testing right now.  She will keep me in surveillance mode and test again in the next three months.

I feel kind of spun out into limbo, no support group, no advice, just the strong urge to get back to healing and a normal life again.  The problem is, that cancer returned once before when I didn't expect it to, how can I be sure it won't happen again?  I can't.  Yet if I cycle on it, perhaps I'll manifest it.  So I've tried to distance myself from the thought of the ordeal and carry on as if it was all a bad dream.  Haven't wanted to talk about it let alone blog about it.  The symptoms persists and although I am a 1,000 times better every day I am further away from a day of radiation, I know what I am feeling and it is definitely a result of the radiation.  They can tell me all they want that I was only radiated in the pelvic area yet I still feel it in my joints, feel it in my skin, still smell it.  The most alarming new trouble spot is the pressure I feel in the bladder and rectum that has me going back to the doctor this Tuesday.  Please Doc, just check me out and assure me that nothing is there and nothing to worry about.  Tell me I have an over reactive imagination and I will get back to carrying on with a vengeance and renewed energy.

Thanksgiving is coming up in four days.  It has been one year since this nightmare began.  I have a LOT to be thankful for.  I have made it through to the other side of treatment as difficult as it was unscathed, tempered from the experience, and filled with renewed interest in all of the people that are connected to me in this life.  Thank you for helping me make it through with your love and encouragement.  So I urge you:  Gather your loved ones this holiday, hold them like it's the last time, and say I love you with all sincerity.   I know I will.

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