Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
What the Butterfly Would Say:
On the Wings of Transformation, Hope, and Life
By: Jakob Cutter
We have a particular fascination with butterflies. Not only are they amazing pollinators, fun to watch and beautiful, but they instill in us a wonderful sense of transformation, hope, and life.
The life of a butterfly is a journey of stages and rebirth and it reflects changes in our own lives. It is easy to understand why we would find inspiration from them.
As I write this, I have a specific condition in mind: cancer. However, the metaphor extends to other physical conditions, as well as conditions of the mind, heart, and spirit. It extends to the difficulties of life, in general. We are always enduring and thriving.
As we know, the butterfly begins its life story as an egg and from there it becomes a caterpillar. The most notable change is from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Now, I don’t know much about butterfly psychology—whether they anticipate their metamorphoses from caterpillar to butterfly, but they certainly do make it look easy.
It is not an easy feat though. When the butterfly emerges, its wings are soft and folded. The process is usually bloody, or what appears to be a blood-like substance. Once out, their soft wings unfold and harden, at which time the butterfly takes to the sky to do their graceful aerial dance. Even then, the life of a butterfly is not easy; there are predators, parasites, and pesticides that threaten them.
I don’t know if the butterfly knows its destiny, I don’t know if it looks forward to becoming a butterfly, but I believe that it is the journey that matters. A person close to me who is undergoing chemotherapy told me that when he sees a butterfly, he sees that it chose life. The butterfly’s journey is life affirming despite all obstacles.
I cannot fathom the difficulties of undergoing treatment, living with, and surviving cancer. I cannot fathom the courage it takes to face something so scary. I won’t pretend to understand. The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual toll it takes on the person living with cancer is enormous. It is transforming. The toll it takes on family is massive. In a time of so many scary changes and uncertainty we must look to hope, for which the butterfly is a classic symbol. I'm reminded of a quote, paraphrased: “But we rejoice in our sufferings because we know that trials build perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us.” We can look to the butterfly for this.
Imagine what the butterfly may tell us about these things, about transformation, hope, life... uncertainty. If that graceful aerial dance was an interpretive dance, I believe the butterfly would say: “Even with a broken wing, I still hope! I still live! I still fly!”
Jakob Cutter is a graduate of Indiana University with degrees in History and Psychology with a minor in Sociology. He is currently working as a butterfly farmer at Butterfly Dan’s in Kissimmee, Florida.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
It is now 5 years since my surgery. I am just one year into my treatment with Femara; 4 to go! God willing! It is nothing short of a miracle that I am still here. Somewhere along the way it appears that I have lost myself. According to Haydn I have not recognised the loss. Although I consciously grieve for the many losses in my life, I had not been aware that I might also be grieving for the loss of self. Haydn is struggling with the person I have become while I would have said he did not even notice. He simply gets on with his life. I understand Haydn's frustrations. After all, he is my ex-husband; I know him well. We have been together 14 years. Although we separated, later divorcing, we have never been apart. I simply moved out, taking Jeremy with me. This I did to protect myself and my child. We continued to fraternise.
I have noticed for some time that the relationship has become strained. I am used to Haydn and his need to retreat into his 'cave' at the appropriate times. It is his 'thinking' time. I was quite unprepared for the outcome this time. For the first time he laid his cards on the table with complete honesty. I appreciate that. Many things were said. It is not my intention to go into them here other than to say that it has given me plenty to think about.
Each time I go to discuss the situation I burst into tears. He then says it would have been better to say nothing as he cannot handle my tears. I reassure him that tears are good and I wish I had cried more as they are a great emotional release. There is no shame for him to admit that he feels let down by what has happened in his life and wants to 'grab' life and run with it. Strange, I feel exactly the same way. The question is 'Can we do it together?'
Haydn feels he is 'missing out' while I see him as 'living his dream.' He loves the farm. Being out in the paddocks, on his tractor, or with his cattle is what he loves to do. He has the freedom to hop in his vehicle and go wherever his heart takes him. His family are close by; he can see them whenever he chooses. There are things in our relationship Hayd finds difficult. At just 63 he has much to look forward to. With the 'right' partner, in good health, life could be good for him.
On the other hand, I rely on him to take me to appointments. I miss out on so much rather than ask him to give up his time. I miss my family and my friends. I love my cyber friends who fill a HUGE void however, I miss personal contact. I feel the need to find my passion! I am no longer interested in 'housekeeping' and the fatigue prevents me from participating in many activities.
It is interesting to note that Haydn does not share the same point view. I am grateful to him for his honesty and have explained that this is like a game of 'hot potato.' The 'hot potato' is in my hands and it is now up to me to decide what to do with it. My feelings are that this is something I need to 'hang onto' until the New Year, providing I don't get burnt.
At the end of the day it takes two very special people to survive all that we have experienced in our lives. Simply put, maybe we are not the people we thought we were.
I think I will have a look at the movie EAT PRAY LOVE. There may be something there for me.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I am also grateful to my doctor and my dentist. My dentist advised me of an Australian Government programme providing dental treatment to patients living with chronic medical conditions, and complex care needs as verified by a General Medical Practitioner. I approached my doctor who duly ticked all the boxes and decided that I was indeed eligible for the programme providing AU$4,250 over two years. Although I am no longer a taxpayer, I have paid taxes all my working life. Maybe this is what Karma is all about?
Given that the condition of my teeth, and gums, are deteriorating as a result of medications taken to prolong my life it is imperative that I receive regular check-ups. It was at my scheduled appointment yesterday that I discovered there was a glitch in the system and my application had not been processed. On learning this Dr Amna Khan, my dentist, advised me there would be NO CHARGE for yesterday's consultation. Not only is she a wonderful dentist she is a superb human being.
So, to the Australian Taxpayers, my doctor, my dentist and Blog Buddies I say 'THANK YOU.'
Thanks also to my wonderful Case Manager Trish. I was excited at the prospect of having a Scribe for 4 hours. She was due here this morning at 10.30am to do my Christmas Cards. I waited in anticipation, knowing there are friends with whom I have had no contact this past 12 months. A Christmas message lets them know I am still around. This is another funded service; maybe it's a case of 'good help is hard to find.' Apparently the Scribe claimed she could not find our place; rather than contact her employer for further instructions, she left the area.
I am left waiting...waiting....waiting.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
more powerful than any darkness we may encounter.
We sometime lose sight of this force
when there is suffering, and too much pain.
the spirit will emerge
through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call
and answer in extraordinary ways.
Night two I did my usual 'early to bed' in anticipation of sleeping soundly. It was not to be! At 9pm my inconsiderate companion decided it was time to make her very personal phone calls. The clock ticked slowly and the phone calls seemed to go on... and on... and on. The following morning I suggested to her that the arrangements were not working for me and it was my intention to approach the nursing staff in order to ask about relocating. My room mate was appalled and suggested I do nothing; she would make every effort to be mindful of her actions in future.
My five day stay in hospital went well from then on. It surprised me to find the food was good. I was able to 'slip' (not literally) downstairs to have my hair shampooed and dried. The coffee shop allowed me to 'grab' a coffee to be enjoyed in the sunshine. Life was good - the future looked bright!