I’m in the hospital with bone marrow failure (pancytopenia) from my first chemo cycle.  For the last three weeks, I’ve been getting progressively worse, sleeping most of the day and night.

I’m in the hospital with bone marrow failure (pancytopenia) from my first chemo cycle.  For the last three weeks, I’ve been getting progressively worse, sleeping most of the day and night. I was so dizzy and short of breath every time I got up, I had six nose bleeds, daily nausea, developed a horrible rash all over, became dehydrated and was admitted to the hospital two weeks ago. 

Now my bone marrow has stopped producing white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Yesterday I felt so sick I finally went to the emergency room, knowing that something had to be really wrong. And it was. And now I’m scared.

Most people recover, but some don’t, according to information online.  So what can I do right now, other than put myself in white light and feel the same energy as those who do survive; the energy of healing and love.  That’s what I’m going to do and try my hardest to walk away from fear and ask my inner guidance now what I need to know.

You know that you don’t know the outcome and you don’t know tomorrow.  You do know this moment and those that have passed.  The only moment that has any power is the moment that is.  And in that moment is the choice to make it better or worse.  The choice is yours alone and the effect is yours alone also.  Be conscious of this and choose well, for your moment and the next depend on it.

OK - they started the first of two blood transfusions and gave me Tylenol for my headache.  So, in this moment, I’m going to visualize both of them healing me, moment by moment.

THE NEXT DAY:

I transferred last night from the small local hospital to MGH in Boston.  I’m on Lunder 9, a brand new oncology floor that opened last week, in a brand new building .  Not only is everything high tech, beautiful, earthy and green, but the staff, every single one of them, makes me feel safe, not only because of their competence, but more importantly: their show of kindness. It  truly radiates from everyone.  Between all of them, my clenching fear of yesterday has been replaced by the energy of healing and love.

Healing and love are my two favorite words these days.  The power of both have transformed me in the last fourteen months since being diagnosed.  It’s what I’ve asked for and it has been given to me, more than I could ever imagine, and from so many surprising sources.  It has been making each step so much easier to maneuver. The nurses are magnificent and I finally got to see young, new nurses shine in their curiosity of learning and joy at giving. It made me happy that they are doing something that they love and that their hearts are open to their patients. They made me remember my own hospital nursing days with such warmth, as I related to theirs.  Each doctor is superb, taking the time to really listen and answer.  There is no rushing in and out.  Instead, they are patient, attentive and caring. The PCA (patient care assistant) who shaved my rapidly balding head told me that I looked beautiful as she surveyed her handiwork. And I think she even meant it.

Today, the hospital oncology chaplain came bearing gifts.  She saw in my chart that I said, “I’m spiritual but not religious” and told me that’s how she would describe herself too.  Right away we began sharing our spiritual experiences with cancer: hers as a chaplain ministering spirit to cancer patients and me as a patient who is writing her way through cancer with the help of spirit.  We had a lot to talk about.  It was the perfect gift and then she gave me another; the book, “Prayers for Healing – 365 Blessings, poems and meditations from around the world”, compiled from a diversity of religions, cultures and centuries.  It can be used daily to coincide with the day of the year or opened randomly.  In it, I found the perfect words to remove any lingering doubt that my journey of illness, spirit, love and healing is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

The Dalai Lama, in his introduction to the book said, “In the practice of healing, a kind heart is as valuable as medical training, because it is the source of happiness for both oneself and others.  Not only do other people respond to kindness, even when medicine is ineffective, but cultivating a kind heart is cause of our own good health.”  His words are like butter smoothed onto my soul and I know exactly what he means, because here I am in the hospital, and so very aware of receiving  kindness.  His words highlighted that awareness and magnified the comfort of my healing.

And then I opened the book to a random page that did more of the same.  Written in the 16th century by St John of the Cross, was a poem that is just as fresh today and also makes me look forward to tomorrow.

      “And I saw the river
     over which every soul must pass
       to reach the kingdom of heaven
       and the name of that river was suffering
       and I saw the boat
      which carries souls across the river
      the name of that boat was love.”

And now I smile to myself because I know once again, that I really am headed in the right direction .  It was another serendipitous sign of confirmation.  I loved it and I’m going to add the word ‘kindness’ to my growing list of favorite words.