Posts Tagged ‘cancer journey’

#6 Making Progress And A Spiritual Experience At The Hospital

On most Mondays, I plan to publish a past communication or two about Eric Russ and his Health Journey that originally appeared in Caring Bridge.  For anyone with a “health opportunity” as my nurse friend calls it, I hope these posts are helpful.

Making Progress

Today was quite a day.  Eric has decided to pursue some medical help along with alternative methods.  We had a number of visits from doctors and have a plan in place for the future that Eric is comfortable with.  He is beginning the hormone therapy which has the best chance of reducing the size of the main tumor.  He may also do radiation that is very specialized.  Not sure about that yet, but the docs will study the situation and see if they can do it safely.  They are conservative, and if they aren’t sure about the effects, they will not do it. What I’m so impressed with about Pardee, is that if a doctor and a patient don’t seem to match, they adjust.  They send a different doctor or nurse who is a better match.  It is REALLY wonderful.  We’ve experienced the shifts along the way, and today was a stellar combination of caregivers who could relate with Eric really well and offer some alternatives that are now working for Eric. I cannot even begin to tell you how much was accomplished today on so many levels!  Really wonderful! Love, Terri

A Spiritual Experience at the Hospital

By the way, before I forget, I wanted you all to know that the John of God herbs came yesterday in the afternoon, and Eric started on those.  I think the “John of God” process has been going on ever since Eric’s photo went before John of God on Christmas Day. Yesterday was an amazing day on every possible level. Even today, I am still in awe…. and in total and complete appreciation. Each doctor, caregiver, nurse that came into Eric’s hospital room yesterday seemed like an angel in human disguise.  Each person entered gently, offered their wisdom and assistance, and left having made such a difference to Eric and to anyone in the room.  It was a life-changing for me and I do not use that term loosely.  It was a full day, but relaxing in the deepest way possible. First, there was Alexis, the chaplain.  She came in and had a talk with Eric.  Kind of the usual gentle kind of talk, no pressure to do anything or say anything in particular, but it was clear that she was truly available to assist in any way. And I thought to myself, “that’s my girl. I could talk to her.”  So as she was leaving, I said, “I would love to have some time with you.  Could we do that?”  So we went across the hall to the conference room, and I started talking.  Venting, laughing, crying, the whole bit.  Which I am good at.  If I know that someone can hear me, and that they know it’s just “stuff”, I let go.  I was so, so, so, so completely thankful for her ability to be neutral.  Then nothing gets “stuck in the corners” and everything can be released.  So wonderful. I described what was going on, why I was frustrated.  I told her that for me, (and for me only) the whole process with Eric for months and months now has felt like a pattern of avoidance, where everything is basically on hold, constipated, locked up, and unmoving.  I said that it was clearly my view, and that my view was causing me stress.  I wanted to feel easier about his choices, whatever they were, and that it had to be OK with me for him to do nothing, continue in whatever way he felt best about, but that it was clear that I had some emotional work to do — yet again, oh boy — but that watching him suffer was unbearable to me and I couldn’t stand it any longer.  Whew. That was a long, long run-on sentence!!!  So you really get my state of being at that moment!!! She listened.  She received.  She understood.  She was heavenly.  I want to know this woman more, outside the hospital. I told her that part of the burden for me is financial, like what in the heck was I going to do about mounting medical bills??  So she put some wheels into motion about that. And the first person to come to the room was a woman on staff at Pardee Hospital who helped Eric apply for Medicaid.  It’s all she does, every day, all day. Instead of the process taking 2 years, often ending with being rejected, her goal is to get it done in 45 days or less and she is successful with this on a regular basis.  So that is done.  She also got another process started that will help him while he can’t work.  At one point, she said, “In case you haven’t noticed, I have very big shoulders.  This financial burden is no longer your problem.”  And she laughed and said it with complete joy.  Anybody who can have a light heart about helping people apply for assistance is quite something in my book. The next person to come in was Dr. Anthony.  This man is both heaven and wisdom on two feet.  He is Indian, and has one foot in the world of alternative medicine, and another in traditional Oncology.  How perfect is that!  He spoke slowly in a beautifully measured and present way, as if he was choosing every word just for Eric.  First, he asked Eric questions.  A lot of thoughtful and very direct questions. He asked about Eric’s understanding of what was going on, what Eric’s priorities were, and what he wanted. Then, slowly Dr. Anthony laid everything out.  Here is what is going on in my view as your doctor, here is my extensive experience with the kind of aggressive cancer that you have, here is what will happen if nothing is done, here are your possible options, side effects, here is what I see about how much time you have, etc.  He said that since all of his relatives are from India, they do everything alternative as well, and that he has all the room in the world for that.  He also said that, in his experience, doing alternative medicine right along with traditional medicine works well.  He said that his experience is “do everything and see what works.” I felt as if I was in meditation or prayer while he was talking.  I learned SO MUCH listening to him, and feeling what he was doing, his perfect transitions from one step to the next  — it was nothing short of masterful.  The most important thing Dr. Anthony did with Eric and with the rest of us in the room was give Eric permission to do nothing medical at all.  Dr. Anthony said that “doing nothing” is a perfectly respectable thing to do, that it just depends on your priorities.” So after that session, Eric said he still needed time to think.  Dr. Anthony said, “OK, I’ll be back tomorrow to check in with you.” Then came the Palliative care woman, Dr. Hart, who patiently and gently went through more information. She took him on another journey of understanding, and at the end of that, he said, “let’s just get started.”  At one point, after a quite a bit of time, she described herself as someone who is a bridge between heaven and earth — as above, so below. And she smiled and said that knowing this is her real job in the medical community makes her day totally joyful and worth every minute.  She said that people occasionally ask her if she ever gets to “really talk” with her patients, and she smiled even more and said, “Today is a perfect example of the fact that I do get to REALLY TALK to my patients.”  And she thanked us and went on her way. So Eric is doing well, all things considered.  He is on his way to wherever he is going. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.  He is moved and touched and in appreciation for all the assistance along his journey. Love, love and more love, Terri Continue Reading

#5 Happy New Year And He’s Fading

Every Monday, I plan to publish a past communication or two about Eric Russ and his Health Journey that originally appeared in Caring Bridge.  For anyone with a “health opportunity” as my nurse friend calls it, I hope these posts are helpful.

Happy New Year…

Eric is not eating much at all — a few bites here and there. He does his best to drink water, and is sleeping or resting quite a bit.  He seems to be fading.  He is not feeling strong, and is having gas pains in the abdominal area which are very strong and uncomfortable. The herbs from John of God did not come on Monday or Tuesday as we had hoped or thought they would.  This was especially disappointing to Eric.  And they won’t come today since it is a holiday. HIs spirit is down, his body is weak.  So for our New Year’s Eve dinner last night, we took our plates and had dinner in the bedroom with him.  He liked that.  We spoke of happier times. love and blessings to all in this New Year. Terri

More Ups and Downs

As many of you know, the healing process can be all over the map and this one surely is. Last night was a tough night, and I’ll spare you the details.  It looks obvious that the oxygen chamber is doing something significant, although we don’t really know WHAT, but I can tell you that it is currently making his elimination systems work overtime.  I hope that’s a good thing in the long run.  To say that it is helping him feel more comfortable is still a long shot, but from what I can see up close and personal, there are changes taking place. He is sleeping this morning, and says he wants to get in the chamber, but keeps falling asleep.  I will go check on him again soon.  He is still not eating much.  Food isn’t particularly appealing to him.  I’ve heard from other cancer patients that the sense of taste changes quite drastically…meaning food just doesn’t taste great anymore, and it becomes more like a  job to eat. Corrinne, Eric’s sister from Virginia, is here until sometime on Sunday.  It is so wonderful to have her here.  She has been a Godsend. I’ll keep you posted…. love, Terri

Headed Back to the Hospital with Eric

Just a short note to say that Eric is headed back to Pardee Hospital tonight.  He just left in the ambulance. He can’t keep food down, is weak, and is dehydrated. If anyone is able to offer Eric the gift of Reiki in person at the hospital, or energy work that doesn’t involve touching his body (everything hurts, he is hypersensitive), please call me to arrange it.  You are also welcome to reach out to him remotely with Reiki or similar and send any blessings his way.  If you would like him to know that you are doing this, please let me know and I will tell him. Terri 714-240-4889 Continue Reading

He Left The Earth Party Early

My youngest brother passed away on June 5th, 2010, after a year long bout with cancer.  He was only 50.  It is said by some that we have full view of our entire life before coming into this physical world.  I’m not sure why someone would opt for a short life.  It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I’m going to miss him. He was a slender, red-headed jeweler, with a shop full of gold and diamonds.  He seemed to love working with jewelry and worked long and diligently to be able to open his own retail shop. After word came that he had passed, my husband and I sat still and just looked at each other.  There’s not much to say when someone leaves. They are gone, and it’s sad. However, almost instantly, the sadness lifted. “How strange is that?”  I thought. All the worry and anguish and heart ache surrounding his departure just got up and left — suddenly!  What a surprise!  Never had I expected to feel instant, well — happiness — upon his passing. It felt a little strange. Almost wrong. This feeling of elation in the middle of all the sadness was so striking to me that I wondered if I was tuning into him.  If so, he was surely in a happier and more expanded state! You should know before I go any further that for most of my life,  my brother and I struggled to relate.  We didn’t agree on much, and locating common ground for a conversation was a bit challenging, even awkward.   As the years passed, we’d simply avoid conversations about a subject that was even remotely controversial. It was just easier that way. We could always talk about the weather, so to speak. In the last year of his life, when he was ill, we found two subjects we could always talk about:  Singing and Sunsets.  I used to record little mp3’s for him and send them to him.  He seemed to appreciate them.  Once I recorded “Bridge Over Troubled Water” for him, and other times I sent improvisational pieces that were prayerful, meditative  and reassuring. One evening when he was in pain and seemed to be wondering about how everything was going to turn out for him, he called me and said, “Tell me about the sky tonight where you are.  Is it beautiful?” So I went outside and sat on the well and told him that earlier that evening, we had set up the high powered telescope to look at the four largest moons of Jupiter. It happened to be a spectacularly crystal clear sky, and all the stars were especially beautiful that evening. My brother and I talked for a long time. So after his passing, I headed down stairs in my home to a room where nobody was, just a nice big open space, and I started to sing.  Not a song, not a melody, just long notes of sound to soothe my soul.  I let the sound take me wherever it wanted to go.  Singing like this is a way to center myself, let go, and express whatever is there. It felt like a good thing to do at a time like this… So there I was, getting warmed up for a good and expressive singing lesson, and I swear on a stack of Bibles — my brother was a man of faith–  that he appeared in front of me, happy as can be, and began to playfully direct my singing. This was out of character for him.  In life, he was much more serious than that, much more reserved. After wondering for a moment if I was just crazy, or if I had an over-active imagination in this time of stress, I just went with it.  I began to follow his conducting. With a big smile, his right arm shot up in the air and I’d sing that note.  Then he’d waver that hand a bit and I’d do a trill.  I followed every nuance.  I’d waffle the sound to go right along with his indication, he’d smile and then swoop to the next note.  Then he’d change sides, go high, go low, go medium, and it all sounded beautiful to me.  Part of the time I was laughing so hard I could hardly sing. Then there was the crying…. I was so touched that he would visit me. He was joyful and utterly, completely free — fully liberated and totally expressive, without a concern in the world. And he also  looked really attractive and young and happy, just like any guy who is being fully himself does. I was beside myself with joy and gratitude.  It felt heavenly to be with him in this way, and I admit that I always wanted him to be more open and light-hearted when he was alive.  Now, in this moment, I was just grateful that I got to experience him in this happy place… I don’t know how long this went on, probably 20 minutes or so, but I’m just guessing, because there was no sense of time anymore. I  moved through more emotional spaces than I can even begin to describe.  He finished conducting, gave me a wave, and off he went. I sat for a while, reveling in the experience. Then I walked upstairs and while preparing dinner,  I noticed the  sunset was beginning to be especially beautiful.  Inspiring sunsets are a regular occurrence here and we look forward to them every evening. But it got crazy beautiful! With every bite of dinner, the colors of the sunset became increasingly spectacular, and they kept changingradically and in no small way.  We’d take a bite of food, and stop midway with fork poised,  and exclaim about the stunning sight before us. “Wow, look at that!” “Whoa, who thought it could get even more beautiful!  But it just did!” We had never seen so many big color changes and variations in one evening. We started to laugh and decided it was Calvin saying hello in another way that I would understand.  Who knows if that could be possibly true… but it sure is fun to think about it that way! We’d eat another bite or two and then stop to take another photo of Calvin having a little fun in the sky.  It seemed as if he kept changing his mind about what to paint — oh, let’s try THIS!!!  OOOO- what if we added a little salmon across the middle…..

Play with pastel stripes...

Or brighten it up a bit?

Add some intensity ...

Soften it...

Add some mist just for fun...

Goodbye Sis...

And I haven’t heard from him since.  That fantastic sunset was his final bow apparently. And it was a stunning one. Goodbye, dear brother. Continue Reading

She’s Got Love Fingers

Christie Lenee can play a guitar. She’s the 2017 International Finger Style Guitar Champion of the Year. In September of last year in London, she also won Acoustic Guitarist of the Year.

But lucky for us, she’s not just a champion guitar player. Christie Lenee is also quite the composer.

A friend of hers, Michael Pukac, requested that she write a song, one he described as “the story of love.” She scribbled notes and went to work.

Through Christie’s ability to imagine, his desire became music. Now she plays this song for the world with her love fingers. Lucky you, lucky me, lucky us.

Take very good care of yourself this week. Why not sing a little…

Love,

Terri

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Rise Up by Andra Day

What a great set of words for these oncoming days.

Rise Up

 
You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry go round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
When the silence isn’t quiet
And it feels like it’s getting hard to breathe
And I know you feel like dying
But I promise we’ll take the world to its feet
And move mountains
Bring it to its feet
And move mountains
And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
All we need, all we need is hope
And for that we have each other
And for that we have each other
And we will rise
We will rise
We’ll rise, oh, oh
We’ll rise
I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousand times again
And we’ll rise up
High like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up
And we’ll do it a thousand times again
For you
For you
For you
For you
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
Rise Up lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Rippling Abs, Anyone?

Rippling Abs, Anyone?

During this strange time in history, I noticed y’all were tackling all sorts of interesting projects. I decided I needed one, too—something positive to remember the pandemic of 2020 by.
 
I decided to pay attention to something I had abandoned…
 
Nope, I’m not cleaning my garage. I am not organizing one single thing. I’m not planting a garden or cleaning up my yard.
 
Instead, I decided to take care of myself better. This, folks, has made all the difference for me.
 
With relatively little time and effort on my part, I feel so much better than I did a month ago.
 
On March 30, I got on the exercise bike and the yoga mat for the first time in a long time, and did 30 minutes each. I liked it so much that I decided to do it every day. But I fell short of that, and changed my commitment to every other day, which felt more manageable, reasonable, and doable.
 
I also get off the bike after every song, take a couple of sips of water, shake out my legs and arms for a few seconds, and get back on. This makes the bike project a reasonable proposition, too.
 
Daily walks of any length—by myself, or with my little guy, Jackson—are a fresh air bonus.
 
My recumbent exercise bike has pulleys to work my upper body while I pedal, which gets my heart rate up fast, and also helps my whole-body strength. It feels good to get up from writing, or doing a consulting session with a client, to do something physically challenging while listening to good music.
 
After only a month, I feel a sheet of muscles on the front of me I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. Goodness gracious. Who knew they were there. I’ll be posting rippling ab photos soon, I’m sure.
 
I have no idea what the scales have to say about my bike/yoga project—I don’t care. Paying attention to scales tends to send me sideways, and therefore, I’m ignoring them completely.
 
But—I LOVE the way I feel! Hang in there, everyone.
 

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Terri Crosby

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