Pre-surgery rambles and birds

my first flock of Phoebe's prayer birds came home to rest today, in time to assist me on the surgery part of my journey.

my first flock of Phoebe’s prayer birds came home to rest today, in time to assist me on the surgery part of my journey. I created this elemental altar – birds for air, candle for fire, shell for water, and lots of earth – clay, salt rock, rock, for groundedness.

Some of you know I live in a challenging body, and this past week it pulled out all the ‘stops’ – intense aches, pains, sore throat, and nausea, whatever physical symptoms the body/mind could think up and manifest it did.  Enough so I cancelled surgery last Tuesday and was rescheduled for February 12.

A few tough days became an difficult week of more symptoms and I was grateful for the extra time – to breathe, read a good book (written by an oncologist) on the body/mind/ spiritual journey of cancer, take a few walks in the woods.  Today I was starting to feel more grounded, but still achy, queasy, and very fatigued.

Then a phone call saying my surgery was re-scheduled for this Friday. My anxiety barometer went up, I stuttered ‘okay’ (I do have to agree to show up!), and sat there in my achy body thinking how Divine Intervention doesn’t always go along with your own plans! Friday? I had been told the doctor’s only surgery day at the hospital was Tuesdays and she was ‘booked’ until the 12th.

In theory it is good to have surgery sooner than later, I’ve had the conversation with the anesthesia doc, he knows my history and concerns; got my instructions for what not to eat, take, do before; did the blood work, etc. etc.  I am, in theory, good to go.   But I still have this uncooperative body.

Cancer is all about the body being uncooperative, or dysfunctional. Like viruses and bacteria, everyone has cancer cells come and go, the immune system doing its job to annihilate them. Cancer occurs when that process doesn’t work.

‘Annihilate’, there’s a word used in the language of cancer I spoke of in the previous post.  I’m starting to use that language because it’s hard to research and read articles and not see words like “battle”, “annihilate”, ‘war on cancer’, etc.  Researches who have discovered dandelion root kills cancer cells, but not the surrounding healthy cells (unlike chemo and radiation) use the term “cell suicide”. Egads!

Cancer seems to come from our own bodies, cells going haywire in response to an external stimulus (carcinogenic) and/or internal stressor, and I’m not sure I want to ‘battle’ my all ready battle-weary body.  Yes, I want to be rid of these cells-gone-haywire, but part of this process should include supporting, reinforcing, bolstering-up the healthy cells and functions of the body to do it’s job, to find balance and health as it is designed to.

This is where allopathic doctors and I (and many other folks!) see things differently.

our winter hummingbird

our winter hummingbird

So what is a better analogy than all this ‘war’ language?  The little clay birds that arrived at my house today gave me an idea (see previous post to read about the clay birds).  I spend a lot of time looking at birds; we have many in our yard year round so I’ve seen their cycles of behavior, which change with the seasons.  In general birds tend to be rather territorial, some more than others.  Some birds ignore birds of a different species, but chase off or have little spats with birds of their own kind.  Others tend to ‘flock together’, intimating other species at the feeder or in the yard.  Most do a little bit of both.  The constantly vigilant hummingbird, having no other hummers here until spring, wants to make sure those chickadees don’t get too close (of course they have no interest in sugar water), hummers are ‘programmed’ to stake out territory and be watchful of it.  For the most part everyone gets along, just a little jostling now and then to make sure there is balance.

So here’s my view:

There are cells being big-time uncooperative, acting inappropriately and they are no longer welcome at the feeder. They are too aggressive; they are hurting the surrounding cells that have not been able to do their job to chase them off, even the ones programmed to do so.  The healthy cells, the immune system, all need to be supported and the aggressive ones need to be banished.

Surgery is a quick way to banish these uncooperative cells. But there is much to do to bring back the equilibrium that allowed those cells to act out.  Were I braver I would do this work first, perhaps not needing the surgery at all.

That is the journey, the unknown, the challenge…what does my body need, anybody’s body need, to find the balance that was lost long before the cells started misbehaving.

My working theory for today is it has something to do with ‘groundedness’, defined in the dictionary as “well balanced and sensible”.

Cancer is not just a personal journey, it is so pervasive one as to ask – how have we become so unbalanced, lost so much sensibility.  The answer will not be found in a ‘war on cancer’, but in a quest to find our way back to groundedness in all aspects of our lives.  Healthy societies support healthy people whose healthy bodies do not act out by making cancer cells, or creating the imbalances that create MS, Parkinson’s and the myriad of other dis-eases of  disharmony in the body.

2 thoughts on “Pre-surgery rambles and birds

  1. Dear Penney,
    Best wishes to you. You are in my prayers. I just know you will be fine after all is said and done. Be brave.. it will be over before you know it and we will all get to tune back into your blog soon. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. It is your calling and us recipients are blessed.


  2. Amen!!! What a great essay. Being a “peacenik”, I’ve never liked the war language of cancer, either. Here’s to Balance, Harmony and Sensibility! I’d better get to work on me! Hope today is a good day for you! Love, Shaun


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