Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Downstream

Today is the beginning of the next chapter.

Steve and I head in to the hospital to meet with my cancer team: a social worker, a swallow team (they are taking a baseline of my swallowing today, as it will deteriorate as treatment progresses and they want to ensure I can maintain my baseline as much as possible), the radiology and chemotherapy doctors.

Today is a 'dry run' - they want to be sure my immobilization mask fits, that the machine is calibrated, that all is in working order.  They will do everything but push the button to start radiation.  That will be tomorrow.

I looked at Steve yesterday, bewildered, and said, "I start cancer treatments tomorrow, Christmas is in four days, the kids' schedules are nuts, we have a new sitter starting, and I still have orders to finish and last minute shopping to do.  Why aren't I totally crazy right now?"

He grinned at me.  "I don't know," he said.  "But I'm grateful you're not."

I think it's partly because a cancer diagnosis puts things into perspective.  All the little things I would have been freaking out about last year - those infuriating little details that strangle you as Christmas approaches - they just don't seem very important this year. 

We will have a good Christmas. We will be together as a family.  We are so blessed with amazing friends and an incredible network of support.  We are lucky.

I also think I'm calm because it feels so much better to be calm.  My good friend Ann designed a necklace for herself, one that reminds her to go with the flow. It was a simple stamped rectangle that said "downstream".  I loved it so much I made one for myself, and I added a soothing aquamarine crystal and a Yin Yang charm.   I'm wearing it today, as I hold my chin up and march towards this next chapter of my life. 

Downstream reminds me to pick my feet up and let the current take me where I'm meant to go.  It helps me stay in acceptance and surrender.  That's not the same thing as giving up - not even close.  It has everything to do with being present, with feeling gratitude for what is, rather than resentment for the way I wish things were. 

I took a picture of myself today, at the beginning.  I'm wearing the 'downstream' necklace, and I will keep its message close to my heart.  I am determined, I am hopeful.  I am also tired.  And it's all okay.



It's just the beginning of the next thing.  There will be many more next things, many more beginnings. 

Onward.

38 comments:

  1. Downstream and uplift, may your journey be gentle. Thinking of you.

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  2. Good luck today, and we will be thinking of you throughout this journey. Merry Christmas to you and yours from Toronto!

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  3. you possess such a calm that you are putting me at peace for what you are going through! :) Lots of hugs to you today and tomorrow and all of the days coming up...let the love of the Lord and the love of your family pour out onto your soul.

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  4. Thinking of you and your family and wishing you the best.

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  5. You are beautiful and brave. I'm so awed by your calm in the midst of such a momentous week in your life. Love to you.

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  6. Going to put mine on now my friend. I've been wearing it almost every day since you gave it to me. Did you know that? It always makes me think of you.

    Love and light, sweet Ellie.

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  7. We'll be right "here" with you, keeping you in our hearts and prayers.
    Lee Ann

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  8. Beautiful picture of you Ellie. I feel a very strong happy glowing energy from you in it but I can also see the tiredness in your eyes. I wish I could take this cancer off of you. Thank you for your wisdom on going downstream. I needed it today.

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  9. Float on, Ellie! Glad you are choosing what feels best: being calm, relaxed, trusting. Funny that this is what courage looks like, huh?

    Thanks for sharing. :)

    Hang in there and believe it: All shall be well.

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  10. The last time I saw Ann she was wearing her downstream necklace as we had lunch and talked of you. Sending our thoughts of love to you.

    Love you Ellie! I'm here for you.

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  11. May your calmness continue flowing.

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  12. You are a beauty, inside and out. Your strength in character will be reflected in all you do, and an inspiration to so many! Take care.
    LuAnn

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  13. Know that prayers are with you.

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  14. Sending you prayers and support....just know you are being thought of.
    xoxo

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  15. Downstream, what a wonderful motto! I have canoed in whitewater, and it didn't take me long to learn to go with the river, it makes for a wonderful flowing trip, sometimes exciting and exhilarating, but mostly smooth and purposeful. Fighting the river is frantic and wastes a lot of energy.

    Go with it gal, I am right with you.

    Hugs,

    Mike L

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  16. is there a way to buy the necklace...love.")

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  17. We're not celebrating Christmas this year, for many reasons, but we'll be together, and that's all that matters. Sending you all the Christmas joy and spirit we're not using! :) Joyeux Noel.

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  18. Downstream is a must, for anything. In my thoughts daily. your picture is beautiful! xoxo

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  19. Ellie, your post amazes me. You are teaching me amidst your struggle. Thank you for continuing to let us ride with you on this journey. I will be praying for you and meditating tomorrow and sending you peace and more calmness.

    I want to be you when I grow up. xoxo

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  20. Such a beautiful post. Sending you love, and comfort and healing my friend.
    xoxo

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  21. Sending my prayers and support. You have such a wonderful outlook. Though some days will be harder than others I pray you stay strong.

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  22. Know that you are being held up to the Universal Healing Power as you navigate this unexpected and unfamiliar challenge. Happy Holidays to you and your family from a long-time reader in the SF Bay Area.

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  23. I am thinking of you and wishing you well Ellie. Joanne

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  24. I hope you don't mind that I linked to this post on my blog. I'm thinking of you today and all the days to come.

    http://www.pineslakeredhead.blogspot.com/2011/12/perspective.html

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  25. Many thoughts and prayers for you today, Ellie.

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  26. I am thinking of you as you start treatment today. You have a whole cheer leading squad rooting you on!

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  27. I wanted you to know that you have been in my prayers and my heart. I have found that whenever I have faith, I have no room for fear. In your picture you look stronger and more courageous than ever. Lots of love! Val

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  28. Sending you many prayers and continued calmness. I remember my radiation dry run. Hope it goes smoothly---

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  29. Just beautiful. The necklace, your grace, your strength, the sentiment.
    Thinking of you so often lately.

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  30. Good luck - thinking of you.

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  31. Thank you for all of your inspiration. May peace and grace be with you and your family

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  32. Onward, indeed,

    You? Are going to kick some serious ass.

    Musch love to you.

    xo

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  33. LOVE the concept of downstream. It's just what I needed in my recovery just now.

    Things are so much more ... directed somehow ... when we rest in God and trust ourselves to His goodness ... wherever He takes us. Thank you for reminding me. I had forgotten. :.)

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  34. I received the gratitude bracelet I ordered from you today. It will be my daily reminder of how grateful I feel to have stumbled on your deeply touching words. Prayers are going out to you & your family during this difficult time.

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  35. Thinking of you. Thinking of you. Thinking of you. Hang in there. Just hang in. Pulling for you. Sending lots and lots of love.

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  36. Merry Christmas Ellie! I wanted to jump on and tell you that. I have a really really good feeling that you are going to put all this cancer behind you.

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  37. If you decide to make another, I'd be honored to buy it from you. I can't tell you what an inspiration you have been to me.

    I've been sitting here all day, upset b/c I think I should be here when I'm there and have this when I have that and then I read your words "go with the flow" and I'm reminded, I'm right where I'm supposed to be. Thinking of you. Sending a big hug.

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