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Friday, March 31, 2006

Notes from Laura on Her Journey

Thoughts, expressions, and experiences from Laura as she lives well: August 2005 - March 2006

Visit this section to view thoughts, expressions, and experiences from Laura from August 2005 through March 2006.

55 Comments:

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

On July 8th I received a phone call from my Oncologist letting me know that the routine quarterly tests had revealed that cancer had returned. In two places. The bone and center cavity of my chest. They call this metastasis. Whoa. This was not what I expected. As you can imagine such news has turned my world upside down. Everything that I was planning to do, everything that I was working on or thinking about has changed. Can you hear the loud reverberating sound of brakes screeching for many long minutes? There was not much to do about this diagnosis since the spots are not located in a place where they can easily be reached. I had to wait six weeks to get another test to see how the cancer was changing.

The latest PET scan results were delivered to me on August 24th, by telephone. It isn’t good news. The tumor in the L2 of my spine is getting larger rather quickly, although the one in the center of my chest is not larger. The really bad news -- there is a new spot, although a little one, on the liver. Breath in. Breath out.

Now breeeeeaaaaatttttthhhhhh in again. That is something I say to myself often. I find that when I wake up in the middle of the night, cause I do, I first come out of a sleepy place, and when I notice consciousness my mind immediately goes seeking (what is wrong?) whether I will it or not. And within two seconds I find it: the words of the doctor saying "We have no cure for this type of metastasized cancer." Breath In. "A year or two or three if we are lucky” is what he said after the first test results." Breath in. Breath Out. This latest PET scan indicates that the cancer is growing pretty quickly, and three years sounds like a luxury, two years sounds like a blessing and one year,,,,, well, that would be the early fall of 2006. Now what do I want to do with these few precious, fleeting and beautiful weeks, days, hours and minutes?

As you may have read earlier on this Blog, I have at the very least, chosen to Live Well, something I want to discuss in more detail later. One thing I have chosen though is to become very well informed about alternative treatments, to be proactive, and to choose to live, regardless of the oncologist’s predictions. And so the search, and especially the research begins. And it is such a big job, I assure you. One of the things that has shocked me in my research is that one in three people who read this blog will get cancer in their lifetime, and that per centage seems to be getting higher and higher. And sadly, the statistics say that everyone of you will have someone in your family who gets cancer. You too will begin the travels of learning and researching cancer. Those are daunting facts, maybe to be considered now, rather than wait until it catches you unawares. Or you can share my favorite form of denial, which sounded like,” later, it will happen to someone else, or it will happen later.”

I want to share some things with you here on this section of this Blog. I want to share what I am feeling, what I am doing, what I am praying for and what I think about. Not in any special order, and not because I even have something important to say. I want to write to you here on this Blog because I am an extrovert, because I want to talk with people rather than cower as I did last year behind the fear and pain of the chemotherapy. And I want to do it here on this Blog because I love that it is all in one place. I can come here and read your thoughts, what you pray about, what you feel, what you are thinking and doing. All in one easy place, cause I’ll need for it to be easy during those times when it gets hard. For when it hurts. Late at night. For when I get scared and can’t find that special comfort you sent to me in an earlier email or left on my answering machine. A place to come for love and courage and perspectives about life, living and dying.

I hope this sounds like me asking you for a favor, cause I am. I am asking you to come back here from time to time, to check-in. Let me know you reading this, let me know you are there, if only that. Or, be curious, or share your thoughts with me too. Or a book title or a photograph or a song or a prayer, something that has meaning to you or something that makes you laugh or cry. Please just visit with me.

Did I tell you, I am afraid. The tears just begin to leak out any time, and rather than hide my tears I want to talk through them, have them as my companions rather than my reasons to be quiet. Yet many times I can’t find the words for the tears, they just ebb and flow, a somewhat normal silent part of this particular journey. Breeeaaaaatttthhhh again Laura. And today this blog posting may be articulate, I hope. And next time, it may not be. Actually I can promise that there will be some times when it may not make sense, yet I’ll only write here because it feels good to do so.

This is the most of what I want to say in this posting. I’ll come back here from time to time with my latest. I’ll share about my spiritual quest to Brazil starting on Sept 3 until returning on Sept 18. I’ll let you know about the results of my pursuit to have a biopsy performed that will enable me to determine whether certain chemo therapies will be a waste of time. Please pray with me that we can get a large enough biopsy that I can go to Argentina where they can make a vaccine from my own cancer.

And finally, please receive my profound gratitude for your visit here, for sharing your equally precious minutes with me. And if you will receive this gift, I invite you to stop and feel the temperature on your flesh, and note the rise of the breath that goes into your chest, and hear the sounds that surround you, and if at all possible get up and notice the color of the sky -- now love it. Love it all.
Living Well, Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Sunday, August 28, 2005 6:35:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

I have been thinking about why I so liked hearing the 'Live Strong' battle cry. Well, because during my last chemotherapy experience (the one that ended in November of 2004)I got swept away by being so very careful with myself, crying at the pain, listening for every single ache and twinge and tingle that was a result of the chemo. And yes, there was plenty of that, especially as the hair was falling out and the bones were aching. I endured, I got by, but I didn't live well, and I didn't Live Strong. It just didn't occur to me.

And then the chemo ended and I found I was lost. My whole focus was to get through the chemo and then when I did ... all that loomed ahead of me was to wait. "Would it come back? How was I going to recover my strength? What was I living for? How could the things around my work be so heavy? Why is everything so hard? How will I earn a living? Why bother? What IS my life all about after all?" I didn't think about Living Well.

I was afraid, it's true. Every few months I took tests (that cause cancer) to see if 'it' had returned. I began to feel even more lost and confused and a little crazy and depressed and alone and even more crazy. I was not Living Strong. And most people were being careful with me, I had trained them to do that. So no one reminded me to 'Live Strong.'

I can say now, in hind site, that it would have been a gift for me to hear those words. That is what Lance Armstrong's words were about ... to fight. He would say something like "Remember to fight this disease, be strong. You can do it. Don't let up, live strong."

Gosh, I sound like a tv drama. And maybe that is how it is... for me to remember that an essential ingredient for Living Well is to Live Strong, and that IS dramatic. And after a hard, sleepless night, fearing the worst, I DO need to be reminded. I forget. Often. And I will continue to forget from time to time to fight this disease. I forget to be intentional and healthy. I let all the research and the waiting rooms and the negative test results and the friends 'missing in action' and the important decisions and the pressure get to me -- and I go back into the dark again; and that is when I'll need to be reminded to Live Strong, to Live Well. Feel free to give that gift to me anytime, cause as you can see, my memory isn't always so good.

And there is more. I fear the fatigue and the hardship of this trip to Brazil. I can be dominated by all the things there are to do, to prepare for all the things that can go wrong. And then I can remember to Live Well, and find the adventure and excitement and possibility of going on this spiritual quest. To Live Strong and remind myself that it can be easy, and that I can do it.

I write these words mostly for myself, and it helps. It also helps a lot to hear from all of you. You have no idea. I can pull this up in the middle of the night and your words chase the boogy man away. And I can read my own words and be reminded to live strong. I can see now that it would have been useful for me to be reminded to Live Well even before cancer.

Thanks for coming. And now off to Brazil. More later. Love, Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.

Thursday, September 01, 2005 8:27:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

The airflight to Brazil was grueling – such a long flight – without very much sleep. Abadiania, the town we are in, is an hour and a half from Brasilia by taxi, located in Central Brazil. The air is very smokey since they use fire everywhere, to burn garbage, bake bricks and to get along with life. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and took the next few days getting acclimated, moving through jet lag and getting to know others in our group of ten.

More importantly we began to get the feel for what happens here at the Casa de Dom Inacio, the spiritual healing center of John of God. On Tuesday we helped prepare the vegetables for the soup they serve to everyone over the next three days. Tuesday evening we attended the orientation for the coming week, and early the next morning we began the process for the three days, at the Casa, Wednesday thru Friday. We are here to see the spiritual medium, John of God, who incorporates thirty three entities. There are hundreds of people here, on crutches, blind, in wheel chairs, with visible and invisible maladies, everyone of us hoping to see, feel and experience some healing.

Starting on Wednesday, Joao (John of God) views each individual who comes to him for help, and determines in a glance whether that person will take herbs, have surgery or take part in some other activity. Yes, he sees each person, more than once, no matter how many, although it is usually only for a few seconds. Through one of the entities Joao (John) performs visible surgeries on a few voluntary participants each morning and afternoon. Some that he designates to surgery receive what is called invisible surgery while sitting in a special room. There is much more to learn about how it all works at the Casa by going to http://www.friendsofthecasa.org/Guide_intro.htm or http://www.spiritualalliances.com/ or reading books about it by Emma Bragdon or others.

For now, just know that after writing a note requesting specific healing that was translated to Joao, he designated both Judy and I for invisible surgery – to begin that Wednesday afternoon. That surgery occurred while we sat with a group of others who were also to receive surgery. It was just a moment when he blessed us and said that it was done. The next day, Thursday, we were required to stay very quiet and take very gentle care with ourselves, assuming that surgery had occurred on an internal level. And we are to avoid anything strenuous for the next 40 days. Well that is a lot about the details, more than you may want to know, and enough for now. We go back and see him this coming Wednesday afternoon to see what else is needed, and we will sit in meditation most of the remainder of the time. This is the email about the particles of the journey so far. More to come.
Love to you all, Laura

Monday, September 12, 2005 5:27:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

9/11/05 - SUNDAY AFTERNOON – ALONE FOR AWHILE.

Well, now I get to spend some time with myself, exploring my thoughts on paper. How pleasant.

When I lean into it a little it feels like there is a very high vibration here. They say there is a crystal mine under the Casa, and of course the spiritual entities are all about. I feel a slight ongoing state of electricity, sometimes an agitation, inexplicable mood swings, and a major hunger for quiet. I have been able to do a bit of a mind dump with my sister Leslie, who is here to accompany Judy and I on this mysterious journey. Sharing out loud the types of thoughts that come at 3:00 in the morning, the fears and the tears and the kind of thinking that needs to be voiced so it can go on its way, and the kind of thinking that can be voiced so that it can be honored. And now I find it comforting to spend some quiet time here with my journal.

We paused today, Sunday, to reflect that this is September 11th, and, at the same time, while being here, experiencing silence about what has been happening in New Orleans for the past week. Yet knowing of the tragedy, the pain, the loss, the emotional upset. How much of this agitation I feel belongs to the world? How much is simply my own? How raw it feels. How full of pain and sadness. I feel a squeeze in my heart, a desire to run away and ignore, and a demand to stay.

It is on this trip that I am able to pull together the image of this journey with cancer. It is like a trip on a very long and windy road that can be seen in the far distance. The road goes up and down and around and becomes invisible, and then it is seen again, going very high and straight for awhile, and then it switches back in another direction, always moving, always changing.. It is very clear that the journey goes through different eco systems, different terrain and different elevations. This is the image that correlates to viewing the physical, the emotional and the spiritual parts of cancer. And the cancer journey has been dominated by the physical and emotional up until this trip to Brazil. The Casa has offered the frame to explore the spiritual, to open and receive messages, to experience the parts of the journey that are very different elevations and temperatures.

It is here that I am reacquainted with an early childhood training - the act of praying. To re-experience it, actually, to recreate it as brand new - this has been so valuable to me. To dig into the soul’s appreciation of generosity and compassion. To become truly clear about what I want, for myself, and for others, to ask for it, to see it. To say it and send it on. I have discovered that I get better at praying over time. I am not a natural at this (she says with a chuckle at herself.) And I can see a lot to pray for in this time.

Maybe the most profound revelation is that I forget to pray for the food I receive, the comfortable bed I sleep in, the abundance in my life. Simply to stop every day before each meal and give meaningful thanks – that feels so obvious, yet one I have to keep waking up to.

Prayer comes in handy as we sit in the meditation rooms at the Casa, opening ourselves to a visit by a healing entity. I reconnect to the four powerful questions in the work by Byron Katie (Loving What Is). As I recall, the questions go something like:

Is that true?
Can you be absolutely sure that is true?
What do you get by thinking that thought?
Who would you be without that thought?

I revisit these questions here because they have helped me to look at my life, to look at every point of view, at the weights that seem to hold me down, and less easily the heights that lift me up. I think these questions help me face my health concerns and my future which is very unclear to me. Is it true that I shouldn’t have cancer? What do I get by thinking that thought? Who would I be without that thought?

Do I believe that Joao can heal me? That is a query I spent some time with, and I see that if I can believe in the existence of love or cancer, things I have never really seen with my own eyes, then sure, I can believe in the healing power of spirits that choose to be helpful to human kind. They can be sensed, if not seen, known if not physically touched. The bigger question to me is if I were to live, to survive this growing cancer, then what would I use my life for? What would I have be different? Live for what? I know that I aim to live well, to live strong, and now, to live for what? This seems to be a constant part of the journey for me, maybe it is the very earth of the road. For the sake of what? Little niggling answers are starting to show up. We’ll let them simmer for now.

You see, I have found myself a bit pulled to the same trap as last year…. the trap that was just about getting through chemo therapy, yet having no vision beyond that. That trap left me feeling aimless and depressed when the chemo was over. Well this time the journey may include chemotherapy again and the vision needs to be about more than just getting through this surgery, this vaccine, this metastasizing cancer. Who do I want to be? How do I want to live my life? How do I want to be used? How can I avoid the traps of old that call for hard work and stress and effort? These and other questions seem to keep coming around, and around again. They have a unique depth, a special color to them as I sit her in the shade of the Casa. Aaahhhh, who would I be without these thoughts? Another Chuckle.

A final thought, one that comes to many with cancer… what is the message here? What is the lesson or the opportunity of cancer? How does this reflect denial or lies in my life that I have been able to avoid until now? Not something that I want to beat myself up with, these thoughts. Rather an opportunity to hit another switchback on the journey, to see a new vista and a broader canyon. Today, the destination of this journey becomes not important, only to be as awake as possible as a new curve comes into site.

I send you love and healing energy. And I pray for you, all my friends, with gratitude that you have come here to share in the journey.


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Monday, September 12, 2005 6:02:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

Wednesday, September 14, 2005



Here at the Casa it is a little before lunch on Wednesday. We just finished a morning of meditation at the Casa. Joao de Deus (John of God) is a Spiritist and operates a program three days a week at the Casa de Dom Inacio de Loyola, on Wednesday through Friday. He has been doing this work for over 30 years helping people to heal from AIDs, paralysis, blindness, cancer and many other maladies, without charging a fee; surviving on donations. He is an “unconscious medium” as he has no memory of what he does when he embodies the ‘entity.’ Brazilians believe that God becomes more accessible through the likes of Joao and other mediums.



Being here in Brazil for four more days it seems important to follow my curiosity about spiritism, so consider this a warning, as what follows is more or less a lecture, borrowed from the book Spiritual Alliances by Emma Bragdon. Only read on if you are interested in spiritism in Brazil.



A Spiritualist believes that there is in him/her something more than matter, but it does not follow that s/he believes in the existence of spirits or in their communication with the visible world.



A Spiritist believes that there is a principle of conscious individuality in each person, a spirit, or a soul, which survives the body. The end goal of spiritism is a spirit, with or without a body, who is wise, compassionate and happy, and willingly contributes to the transformation of others in their spiritual evolution.



Brazilian psychologist, Julika Kiskos, calls Spiritism “an attitude to life” or “a way of life” for most Brazilians. In the middle of the 19th century Allan Kardec codified the philosophy which became the core of Brazilian Kardecist Spiritist centers. Kardec perceived Spiritism as the scientific, philosophical and moral basis of all religions, but not a religion in itself.



Kardecist spiritists are benevolent people using principles closely associated to parapsychology, or psychic studies, for healing and spiritual evolution… their spiritual practices include prayer, meditation, charity and the reading of Kardec’s books. These practices do not conflict with attending church or having religious beliefs aligned with conventional religions.



There are 6500 Kardecist Spiritists centers in Brazil and 32 million Brazilians regularly attend these centers. It is likely that 80% of Brazilians use the resources of spiritist centers for assistance at some point in life when they are in need of healing, participating in some form of spiritual group gathering which involves mediums.



“What is the true meaning of the word charity as employed by Jesus?: Benevolence for everyone, indulgence for the imperfections of others,

forgiveness of injuries. – from Kardec’s “The Spirits’ Book”



Spiritists believe that miraculous healing can be attributed to natural psychic phenomena; that angels and demons are only more or less highly evolved spirits; that heaven and hell are within us. Our response patters to life create heaven or hell – we make ourselves happy or unhappy. Thus, heaven and hell are psychological constructs, not physical places. I would guess you can see why I am intrigued by this philosophy?



The fundamental nature of the Kardecist Centers called for a way of life which asked people to act with charity towards each other, stay open to a helping hand from beneficent spirits, and directly receive or learn to channel the healing energy of God.



In general all spiritist centers have an important role in building and maintaining community. They often functions as an extended family, providing love and safety as well as healing. 7,000 people a day come to the Federation of Spiritism in San Paulo and use the services of healing, child care, kindergarten, free soup, a library, lectures, artistic and musical productions, parenting classes, sewing/knitting, and consultations with doctors, homeopaths, dentists or financial planners. These are provided free to families in need of such services. Two thousand mediums work at the center on a voluntary basis. The centers survive by donations, not sponsored by the government or any religious organization.



Kardecist Spiritism classes present Spiritism as a way of life, not a religion. Students learn the nature of cause and effect, the importance of thinking positively, the nature of spiritual evolution, and how to lead a moral life. Performing acts of charity and being unselfish are central to spiritist values and, in this way, Spiritism is essentially harmonious with many other religions. Volunteering at a center allows people to practice charity in a variety of ways. Through charity they make amends for things they did in the past which were not motivated through compassion. Through charity they accelerate their spiritual evolution.



Spiritists believe that everyone has some psychic ability or special sensitivities. At some spiritist centers they offer “Medium Training” to develop one’s psychic abilities for the purpose of healing work. It takes at least four years to complete. Kardec wrote that 70% of mental illness originates in people not knowing how to manage their psychic abilities.



As a final quote from “The Spirit’s Book” by Kardec:



“In order to insure our future happiness, is it sufficient not to have done evil?

No; it is necessary for each to have done good also, to the utmost limits of his ability; for each of you will have to answer, not only for al the evil he has done, but also for all the good which he has failed to do… man acts rightly when he takes the good of all as his aim and rule of action …”



For those who know what I have been up to in the last few years you will understand when I say that Joao de Deus is a Bigger Game Player and that Spiritism can be considered a Bigger Game in action. Hope this wasn’t too long. It was fun to learn about. Thanks for coming. Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 1:21:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE --

It has been wonderful to come here and chat with people as they come and go. Even as I come and go, to Brazil, and now getting ready to come home in a few hours. And even long lost friends are coming to visit.... hi Emily, great to hear from you.

It has taken a while to pack and prepare for the 28 hour journey home. I think I will get to know some major airports in a big way.

I am taking it pretty easy as I was feeling pretty tired yesterday, which is what happens when you receive a spiritual operation from Joao de Deus, who sent me back to 'surgery'on Thursday afternoon. He also sent my sister Leslie to surgery. We both find ourselves very tired the next day and are told to stay at our hotel for 24 hours of rest and recuperation.

During this 'invible' surgery many different spirits go to work healing that which needs healing. It is a remarkable experience that I will write about in the future; it is especially intriguing when I know that I am scheduled for a real act of surgery in Long Beach on September 28th... a surgical biopsy of the spot on the liver ... which means an overnight stay in the hospital. I think I'll have a birds-eye-view of western surgery and spiritist surgery. More to come.

I have been thinking about many things that come up from your wonderful messages. The one that has caught my attention the last few days is my friend Laura Bank's question: "Do you believe in psychic surgery?" I have thought about this alot as I do my research for the types of treatment I will choose to undergo for this type of triple metasticized cancer.

The bigger questions that come up for me are:
Do I believe in Cancer?
Do I believe in doctors?
Do I believe in health?
What do I know and how do I know?

Do I believe that the western diet is causing depression, auto immune diseases, fatigue, cancer and other forms of depletion of our very best? How do I know I believe? Do I need to be able to see evidence before I believe something? Is the evidence that I see really evidence or somebody elses translation of evidence? Where do I go to find my answers? How do I know what I know? I love the looking here.

The process of researching cancer treatments and the medical field in general has been especially frustrating because it is so insistent on limitations. I have never felt more like an object, a thing to be processed through the medical offices I visit. Oncology is very restricted. Two oncologists so far have stated to me that there is no evidence that diet has anything to do with cancer. That is one that makes me laugh. I see that there are definitely things that I believe about that and want to share more about it later. Cause I do know that I ate, or failed in what I ate, myself to this condition. So I will chew on this some more as I think about whether I believe in 'spiritual healings' and 'psychic surgery'. Come back soon and lets talk about this, cause it's a juicy conversation.

In the meantime, I bring two weeks of reflection and meditation on spirit, prayer, belief and disbelief home with me, not 'knowing' what I know, and somehow knowing more.

Bon Voyage,
And much love,

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Saturday, September 17, 2005 6:32:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

September 20, 2005

Sigh, it was a long day today. We are back from Brazil. It was such a long flight with numerous layovers. Jet lag is evident. So is that pain in the neck and that kink in the back.

And today was our first chance to meet with Dr. Jahan, the Thoracic Oncologist. It has taken seven weeks to get in to see him for a second opinion. He said that he felt my liklihood of being cancer free after surgery was not 70% as claimed my my other Oncologist. He thought it thought it was more likely something like about 30%. Hhmmmm, I note that having that info probably would have changed how I went about living this last year.

Dr. Jahan sees that eventually I will need to undertake another course of chemothrerapy treatments. Yet he also left us with the fact that chemo therapy will have a 10 - 12% liklihood of success. He wanted us to be optimistic, claiming new research is happening every day. I told him that I used to be an accountant and 10% is not a good bet. He laughed and said that 10% is a good figure to an Oncologist. This seems to substantiates the claims I have heard that chemo doesn't work.

I have been an avid researcher of alternative treatments, am undertaking several diet changes and taking various supplementations. And more. The first of which is a trip to Long Beach next week. I will be undergoing a surgical biopsy of the spot on the liver, and will be hospitalized over night. Please send me your healing energy.

I am assuming that John of God was able to effect some healing while we were in Brazil. I like to believe that. I also heard while I was there that the entities will do their part and I have to do my part, thus the trip to Long Beach. The reason we are doing the biopsy is to acquire enough tissue for doing a test that rules out the kinds of chemo therapies that don't work. Oncologists are willing to work with that info. Somewhat reluctantly, although Dr. Jahan did say this group on Long Beach is one of the best. Also we will be sending tissue to Regina Mater in Argentina in the event that we pursue their vaccine development program. So you can see, lots is going on. And more to come. And Living Strong.

Now about the Living Well Part. . . When I first laid claim to that battle cry I had in mind the desire to avoid the depression and resignation that can easily accompany cancer. I am doing that. Yay.

I am however finding myself sitting on a fire of irritation that from time to time mushrooms into the arena of anger. I am irritated with the western medical system, and with the alternative medical system. I have been doing hours and hours and hours and hours of research in the last couple of months and what I find are inconsistencies, ambiguities, hype, distortions, rah rah, value, contradictions, bias, blaming and confusion. What it takes for a person diagnosed with cancer to research and sort through alternatives is a hell of a lot of stamina, persistance and the ability to draw distinctions and to discern. On certain days I have lots of that, and on other days it beats me down. And on other days it makes me angry.

Now there are times that anger is NOT Living Well. And there are days when anger is what is called for, days when it IS Living Well. As long as it fuels passion and intention. As long as I don't let it deplete me. As long as I am aware. As long as I don't let it leak over onto others. As long as I don't become a raving bitch - not all of the time (some of the time is OK she said with a grin.)

I think that for a little while I might have fallen into a fantasy that Living Well meant I would become a serene and gentle spirit, touching everyone around me with love and gratitude. I can see that I wish that were true about me, and, well, it just isn't. It is not my style, not my nature. I do feel love and gratitude but it does not come from that serene place. It comes more from a fierce, a strong place.

TODAY Living Well -- it continues to mean being true, true to self, true to life. True to truth. Today Living Well means to avoid feeling sorry for myself so much that I am poisoned by the toxins. Today Living Well means to be present, present to what is. Not to what should be. Today Living Well means to use this space here, with you, to talk myself back into my center, to my knowing. Today Living Well still means love and gratitude.

Thanks for coming. And please, if you feel like responding to any of this please do so in the Notes To Laura section. Cause you see, I have conversations with you all in my head, all the time. That is the beauty of this blog. I can talk with you here and get it out, get it clear, move it on. And from time to time you have to talk to me about it so I can know you are there. And I do.

The anger is stilled for now, just having this conversation with you. See how you contribute to me. (-;

With Love, Laura

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 12:26:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

September 23, 2005 ...

Hello, I read something this morning that I wanted to share with you all. First because it touched me, it rang true. And second, it revealed something that had been hard for me to be with. First the reading…


We can do no great things,
only small things with great love.
Mother Teresa

I had just completed six months of chemotherapy for breast cancer and was facing twenty-five radiation treatments. The radiation oncologist explained that a technician would be making some marks on my body in preparation for the treatments.

When I met with the technician, I tried to cover my nervousness with jokes. She explained that she would be giving me two small tattoos that would look like “dots from a ballpoint pen.” I laughed and said it was a shame they couldn’t be something pretty like roses or hearts. She just smiled and went to work.

When she finished, she helped me sit up and gave me a hand mirror. There on my chest was a beautiful pink rose “tattoo”! It was the rub-on type, of course, but the significance of the gesture took my breath away.

This technician in this cold, tile-and-steel treatment center had done something supremely human and gentle for me during a time when I needed it most. I will never forget her or her generous spirit. Her sweet and simple act of kindness was a shining example of the many life lessons my cancer experience would teach me in the months and years to come.

From that experience I learned that kindness doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive or time- consuming. Kindness only means looking at a fellow human being and asking yourself what meaningful gesture you can make to help him along in his journey.

Dear God, it’s sometimes hard for me to notice and appreciate the kindness of others during this scary time in my life. I pray that You will calm my spirit so I may be more aware and grateful. And, when I am able, help me discover ways in which to extend kindness to others who are in need. Please help me to remember always that You work through us and that we touch others with Your love and grace every time we reach out to one another in kindness. Amen


What has seemed hard to me has been my difficulty in finding much of a desire to be kind to others in these frustrating and challenging times, during these days of searching, researching and seeking. I find myself impatient with petty squabbles and things that break and people who go unconscious and my own miscommunications. I get angry with people who lie and who don’t listen, especially I get irritated with myself when I do this. And I get hurt when people are not kind to me or seem to forget about me or simply fail to just stop by or say hi. And it is a relief for me to see another cancer patient post a pray asking for a calm spirit; who acknowledges how hard it is to notice and appreciate the kindness of others during this scary time in life. I think this will be a prayer that I can use over and over again.

And I must say how very much I do appreciate it when Lisa decorates my house in hearts and brings food, and Linda travels across the ocean to go to the doctors office with me and Breeze picks us up at the airport, and the A Team meets with me on the phone every two weeks, and Leslie drops everything to come to Brazil, and Stacy comes all the way to my house to have ‘meaningful conversations’ and offers to drive with us to Long Beach, and Bonnie fine tunes my electrical field, and Judy makes one more salad and squeezes out another juice and helps me put on my pajamas, and …

Well I know that it really is true that I do appreciate the kindnesses of these special people, and all the kindnesses I receive. From the doctor who really ‘sees’ me, to the fellow traveler who simply smiles in commiseration. And it feels like I will never be able to say thank you in a loud enough way where the depth of the appreciate is really known. All I can do is savor, in the early hours of the mornings, the love and nourishment that I receive from those who are kind. To come back to this blog and find gentle or inspiring or touching words, over and over and over again – that too is a way that I gently feed my soul in the dark of night.

Telling someone something gentle, or loving, or acknowledging on a daily basis -- that might be the gift I have for you today. Everyday, tell someone how you see them, or care about them. Or, do something kind. Everyday. See how that polishes the world that you live in. And thank you for coming here today. It polishes my world.

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Friday, September 23, 2005 7:58:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

September 26, 2005
Hello all;

This weekend I was blessed to visit with iimportant friends and sit under the oak tree and watch the sun sparkle on the leaves as laughter and delight echoed in the background. I have never taken days like this for granted, and yet this past Saturday seemed to have a halo around it. Ah life. To be alive and breath in the crisp air of fall in Calfornia. It brings sweet, sweet tears to my eyes.

Judy and I leave in a few hours. We are driving to Long Beach so that I won't have to tussle with airplanes and waits and luggage after my surgery. I am having a biopsy of my liver. Not because I need to find out what it is. We know it is cancer. What we hope to find out is what happens when we put the tissue in a petri dish with various types of chemo therapies. Which chemo works, and which chemo doesn't work.

Apparently, the chemo I took last year didn't work very well. It would have been nice to do an assay like this last July. I could have taken a different chemo.

The procedure is called a tissue Assay which is being performed by Rational Therapeutics (www.rationaltherapeuics.com) in Long Beach. It doesn't tell you what does work. It tells you what doesn't work. Western medicine has not taken to this procedure too well, they are very cautious. But now I have a new Oncologist (a whole other story - to come) and while he has his doubts he is actually looking forward to the test results. One third of you who come to this site may need this information sometime in the future, so store it away.

Why go to Long Beach to do this biopsy. Because the surgeon there is aligned with Rational Therapeutics and willing to take the biopsy in such a way that it is property done, and to see that it is delivered to their offices in a viable manner. Maybe you can imagine, there are some surgeons who can be casual about a test result when they are not fully on board with it. So, why take the risks. Also, we are sending some of the tissue to Argentina, since I may be going there to receive a vacine made from the tissue (more on that later.)

And yet this biopsy in Long Beach, it is a surgical procedure, and every time surgery occurs I think about my will. Ahhh, my will. Do I really have my affairs in order? No. Sitting with my current state of affairs today, well what seemed like a sometime way in the future event has now changed. I do want my will to say different things than it does now and I'll have to do something about that. And, knowing that this procedure will go well and that I'll be fine still has me looking at how well my affairs are in order.

And ya know, I could be hit by a truck today. My affairs were certainly NOT in order a few months ago. And that would have been such a hardship for those who love me, to leave them with uncertainty and questions on where to find things, and what to do with all my 'stuff.' It makes me want to clean up my house and my life. Something I have been working on for a while. What a job.

In the meantime, please send me healing energy as I move through this next series of steps.

Thanks for coming all,
(Oh Emily, please send me your email address - and the rest of you, it would be great for you to include yours in your signature)

Love Laura

Monday, September 26, 2005 8:49:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I heard from the surgeon late last night. We are postponing the biopsy of the liver. When I first met with the surgeon, yesterday afternoon, he had just read the August report from the radiologist which indicated that yes, there was a spot on the PET scan, and there was not a spot on the CT scan. And somebody had lost the latest copy of the scans so we were waiting to seem them in person. Finally the CT scan arrived and we saw that the spot on the liver was small and would not be of sufficient size for an assay test, which is why we were doing the biopsy to begin with. So we decided to do another CT scan and proceed as if we were going to do the surgery.

Oh, the running around that entailed. Get to the Radiology place, dig around twice for a vein that would work for ingesting a dye; call over to the hospital to let them know I was on the way, rushing to pre-op admitting, dig around for more veins and take blood, do an EKG, paperwork, rush, rush, get the CT scan, and then, what do we see???? The size of the spot on the liver had not changed in five weeks. It remains too small. After long discussions we decided to postpone the surgery. We’ll do some more tests in say six weeks or longer, but for now we are back to the ‘holding pattern.’

What to do? Cheer or groan. Well, both. Yes, we drove all the way down to Long Beach and then ran to and fro yesterday (on Judy’s birthday) anxious and rushed. After all the running around we are now getting ready to go back home empty handed. Boo hoo. And then again. YAYYYYYY. No surgery.

Although the surgeon said that we could do a surgical fishing expedition to see if we can find anything large enough he wasn’t serious and I wasn’t either. Because you see, the surgery will involve slicing in between the ribs near the back on the right side, collapsing the lung, slicing through the diaphragm and finally locating the spot on the liver (if it is there) and taking about a square inch. Then he would put in a drain tube, sew me back up, and let me heal for a couple of days and then take out the tube. The rest of the time would be for trying to recover enough from the pain that I can go home with pain pills. All of that is certainly not a large enough incentive for a fishing expedition. Too much trauma for a less than 50% chance of getting enough tissue. And if we didn't get enough tissue, then no chemo sensitivity test, and no vaccine – the whole purpose we were going to do this procedure.

In the meantime, the metastases of the L2 is continuing to grow, although slower now, so I may undergo some radiation. I believe that will not get in the way of a future assay or for creating the vaccine. We'll know more about that next week.

What makes it all squirrelly is that I don’t know whether to hope that it grows larger so that we can get enough tissue, or, am I to pray that the cancer is starting to withdraw from my system. I get dizzy knowing which way to look.

Maybe John of God has been working, slowing things down, healing the cancer. Something I prefer to believe. I continue my prayers and my medicine. And I continue to do my part researching the medical field, exploring what enhances the immune system and what poisons the body. John of God said that we each have to bring 50% and he brings 50% to the healing. I’m doing my part, that I know.

And now, packing up for the long drive back home. I may be having whip lash from all the different directions, Yet I am still in a state of gratitude. Oh most certainly.

Still, what is the lesson from this experience? It’s an old one. Never assume that the doctors or their nurses are taking all of the steps, looking at all of the tests, taking the right amount of blood, or posting the right appointment time in their calendar, or even know what they are doing. Do not make that assumption. Ask lots and lots of questions, even ones that seem so obvious to you, and know that no one will be as concerned about you as YOU. It is my job to have all of my tests results and scans with me at all times when I go to a doctors office, and not to leave them behind. To stay vigilant and not hand over 100% of my care to anyone. And to know when to express gratitude and when to be intentional and ‘no-kidding’ about it all.

On the road again.
Laura

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005 9:54:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

October 10, 2005

It is amazing how much I have missed coming to this Blog. I have been very busy lately, yet I have felt the urge to capture what has been going on, and to connect with you. How delightful that urge.

Many of you know that Saturday was Judy's and Shekinah's big Retirement party at our house, outside in the meadow. Judy and Shekinah had been meeting every week for months planning this beautiful and moving event. Judy & Shekinah had a wonderful time sharing their friends with each other, all of us honoring and celebrating the cycles of their lives. The people gathered were special and the weather was dappled and glittery. It was truly a magical day.

.... two special and unique individuals stopping to celebrate the accomplishment of one career, and preparing the road for a new life ahead. Because neither of them, Judy nor Shekina, is truly the 'retiring' type, watch out, here they come.

I must confess that while I didn't do a whole lot to prepare for this party I am now very tired. Especially since early last week Judy and I were involved in driving to and from Nevada to explore the alternative treatment I will start on Wednesday. And we also had an afternoon roundtrip into San Francisco for a meeting with my new Oncologist (more on that later.)

It is so bittersweet, this time. A time of new beginnings for Judy, which means a time of change in our household. And I too seem to be changing. I seem to keep having to clear my throat, and feel an ever weaking cough in my chest. I have been fighting some type of chest bronchitius for two months. My new oncologist thinks the throat clearing could be another metastasis. I am not so sure it is, but we are not going to do anything about it for now anyway. It seems funny. They do not want to do anything about my individual tumors since the cancer is systemic, it spreads to other places via the blood. So going after one tumor will not change the underlying cause. It is a systems issue - so we would only treat the tumor if it was causing pain. So far no pain. Whew.

Here I have been so fascinated in the last several years in looking at things from the point of view of how one thing impacts the whole. Just like Katrina has impacted the price of gas. Looking at the larger picture, the workins of the system, that has been what calls my attention. And now the body's system is giving me more to study. What will happen when my immune system is given even better nutrients?

Everybody tells me how good I look these days. Eating 90% fruits and vegetables has already made a change in the body's system. Receiving the food of affection and love from so many friends has made a change in the system. Opening to spirit, that has made a change in the system, and in the whole. Everything I do or you do makes a change in the system, or everything I don't do is still a change in the system.

So off we go to an alternative treatment center in Nevada, taking in various vitamins and other substances that have an impact on increasing my immune system. Some of the substances are intended to reduce the cancer. The IV's can take up to four hours a day, five days a week. And my veins are just too tired out to take that, so a 'port' will be installed to plug the IV's into directly. That's a little scary but I know it will be worth it.

Judy and I leave in a few hours. We'll be staying in a hotel that is right next door to a health food store. That is a reallllllly big deal because if you eat 90% fruits and vegetables they have to be organic. And I try to eat raw as much as possible so having the food so close at hand is a big relief.

I'll be entering into a clinic where most everybody has cancer. Imagine that will you. To enter into a whole new community. A new space, a new level three, a new field. I can see how it might be easy for me to just wait and see the lay of the land. Hhhmmmmm, I wonder how I'll be.

Don't you?

Bye for now. Thanks for coming.

Love, Laura.

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Monday, October 10, 2005 7:53:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

October 16, 2005

Hello and Happy Fall;

How distressing to find that the last posting I made never made it here. It was a long one with all the latest news. So much has happened since the last posting (the one you are able to read) I’ll give you latest. Let me start with this past weekend which was a gathering of relatives and good friends to celebrate my birthday at a lovely house at gorgeous Lake Tahoe. It is an experience worth many words . . . first just consider arriving at the 22 mile long lake on a beautiful October day in the crisp and clear air of the mountains. The lake was so blue, and the trees, ahhhh, the trees were the brightest of yellows with a few rosy ambers and deep reds sprinkled among the massive pines. The rental house was well equipped and fun to explore and yay, the hot tub worked. We parceled out the beds and thrilled at the deep blue and pink sunset, alongside the almost full moon.

In the early morning I could hear the rain pouring down, and later when it was quiet I peeked out the window. Oh my gawd. I ran into the living room and stared out at the biggest, quietest and fluffiest snow flakes pouring from the heavens. There was at least two inches of snow blanketing the deck off the living room. The cloth deck chair was completely covered so I crossed the deck and moved it out of the snow. Afterwards, my footprints were completely covered in just 10 minutes. The scotch pine needles and aspen branches on the surrounding trees were coated in white, and the falling snow veiled our view of the lake. What a thrilling sight - magical and moving.

I couldn’t resist anymore and ran to every bedroom asking each sleeper if they wanted to get up and see the snow. Of course they too couldn’t resist. This is not the normal time of year for snow and after ten more minutes it stopped, and in a few hours all sign of it was gone. I had been talking about, sourcing snow just the night before, so we all felt this was a favorable start to a delightful day. I wasn’t allowed to lift a finger while delicious meals appeared, and of course, presents, lovely, thoughtful presents for the birthday girl. An all day gift was listening to a special CD, a compilation of favorite songs from my siblings and niece and nephew. Watching Judy as she smiles ar me. Later we all toured the lake, and did a bit of gambling over the state line in Nevada, with lots of cheering, laughter and silliness. Oh, and in the dark seeing the candles on the birthday cake, caught by figuring out the wording of what to wish for, yet all the candles were blown out in one breath. Yay.

I know that I am going on and on about what might seem to be a normal autumn retreat experience in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, yet life seems to have an extra special poignancy these days. Most events seem to be more intense, sharper, the colors are deeper and richer, the smells stand out, the music is visceral, love is substantial and friends and family are the gift to being alive. Yet life is just the same, only more, each moment is special. And of course time has its own particular way of disappearing.

And so - what a lovely, special, unforgettable weekend. I found myself in tears on several occasions, sometimes a grieving for the scarcity of life, perhaps for the loss of it, and many times savoring the experience of such a wonderful memory against such a backdrop. Especially one following a week at the special clinic I have been attending here in Nevada.

The week started out with a surgical procedure, the insertion of what is called a ‘port’ into the upper right chest, by the clavicle. A port is used to expedite the connection of an IV directly into a vein without having to use a needle each time. Surgery is always stressful and the stitches have been tender all week long. Lots of stitches for such a simple operation. The rest of the week I had numerous medical meetings or treatments and at least 3 hours of IV supplementation. That is a whole other posting, more on that at another time.

Thanks for being here so that I could relive the weekend and re-examine the beauty of being alive and the art of savoring. Tomorrow I start another week at the clinic and then drive to a party the following weekend. Maybe the best advice I have received since the news of the diagnosis has been just this: “Party often” Or maybe it was more like “ you can’t party too much.” In either case, I find wisdom in these words.

Oh, and Parool, thanks for using one of my favorite questions. When you ask the question "What are you waiting for?" be really curious, really want to hear the answer. I have found that often we are not in touch with the fact that we are waiting, or WHY we are waiting, yet there is often a reason. And it is really useful to see if you can find out WHY.

For me, a couple of reasons WHY were: "I have plenty of time." and "I'll do it later." or sometimes "I might fail." None of these answers turns out to very useful. At least not at this point in life. Thanks for spreading the question.

With appreciation to you all,

Laura


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Sunday, October 16, 2005 10:08:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

Oh Dear;

I wrote a long note about this clinic that I am working with in Nevada. I like it here. It is working for me.

Alas, I was not able to send it to you before my computer shut down, right in the midst of the send process. Dang it!!

And now I drive tomorrow back to the bay area to prepare for leading the Bigger Game workshop this coming weekend. I am looking forward to that.

And yes, I attended another wonderful party with important and special people last weekend, and then enjoyed Grass Valley and Nevada City with Camilla on Sunday. Taking in a wonderous fall day is a must when the weather insists on being beautiful. That has become one of my primary to do's in life these days. Find some weather and nature to enjoy - often! This is perhaps the most important action I take each week. Nature, beauty and savoring. This is how I connect with aliveness these days.

Anyway, I cannot reconstruct my previous communication tonight and I simply send you all a note of warm and real appreciation for this relationship we are having here.
More later. Love, Laura

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005 8:43:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

November 4, 2005

Hello friends;

I know that it has been a long time since I have been able to come here to this Blog. So much has been going on. Mostly healing work, and then the other work.

First, I have been at the clinic at least several days out of each of the last four weeks. What an experience this has been for me. I want to write a longer blog about that later.

This past weekend I led a 25 person new and revised Bigger Game Workshop in Tiburon, California. The great news is that I had enough energy to do this work, and everyone who was there also had enough energy to do great work too. It was a great workshop and it feeds me very much to see other people begin to explore their own personal hunger -- to connect with their own longing and explore their best use in the world. Best of all, there were many people in this workshop who were special to me. I am so glad they were available to take in my offering and be touched by the possibilities of an even more compelling life. Caroline Otis was my co-leader and did a wonderful job holding the learning in the room and helping me to maintain my energy.

Maybe you can imagine that I am doing pretty well if I can lead a workshop for three days. And yes, I do feel fairly vibrant, although I must admit that after the work shop I was pretty tired. I had to go home that night and get ready to drive back to the clinic in Reno. There was a lot of stress that went along with that. Packing always feels that way to me. There was so much to do and not enough time to do it in - then I began to feel the head sweat that goes along with tumor activity – and that created a new kind of anxiety and stress. On me for sure. And for Judy too. I don’t know what I would do without her love and support. I so appreciate it when she doesn’t let my` stress reactions make her angry. One of us is enough.

I finally got away and after the long drive to Reno and getting to the clinic, I just melted into the IV chair. I could feel the stress pooling out of my spine and fingers and toes. There was nothing to do but sit there and let the enhancing IVs feed me. After a while I began to reflect on how difficult it is for me to avoid the negative impact of worry or rushing or lots to do. The size and the number of ‘To Do’s’ that I can handle without stress has changed, and I need to know that. Even writing in this Blog can feel like pressure if I let it.

Knowing I was scheduled to rush to Reno for a week, then rush home so I could go to the ICF conference and then a week later co-lead a Leadership program before rushing back to the clinic created another sense of pressure and anxiety. Two years ago that would not have been an overpowering schedule. Now it is …. and now, I have this trigger for knowing when it is stress -- a sweating scalp. It is especially noticeable when I am trying to do more than I can handle.

You know, it used to be that I didn’t know when I was under stress, because I was a pretty competent gal, with a large appetite for life. I thought that not sleeping well at nights was simply a function of age. Constantly feeling rushed or irritable or tired or forgetful I now know were results of stress, but I didn’t really admit to that earlier. I didn’t know how to identify it and I sure didn’t know what to do about it. And besides, why should I, I seemed to have enough stamina, I could keep going, and going and … oops. Then one day I couldn’t.

All the literature talks about the significant impact stress has on the immune system and therefore on the likelihood of getting heart disease or cancer. The evidence is overwhelming. Even so, some lessons come hard. And denial is easy. I remember when I asked my Oncologist about the head sweating. It was quite unsettling when he said that was “the tumor talking to me.” I can reflect back on alllllll those times in the past few years when I lay sweating in bed at night aware that it was long past time for it to be hot flashes. Finding out in retrospect that was the cancer working – well a sobering thought.

Anyway, I am learning my lessons and concluded, with the help of my support team, that I would better serve my health and immune system if I refrained from attending the ICF conference next week. So I made arrangements for someone else to deliver my presentation and cancelled my participation in the conference. It was actually both an easy and a difficult decision to make. I was looking forward to seeing many old friends. I have in the past really enjoyed the high energy of the conference. And yet I am becoming better able to assess the impact of anticipated stress. That seems to be the trick, to look into the future and accurately predict the stress factor, and then create arrangements that can eliminate that.

Am I talking too much about this? Undoubtedly. It’s probably because I was so reluctant to see the consequences of my stress-filled life over the last ten years. And now I know it is true that my cancer probably started when it did because of stress. Sure there were plenty of other factors. Smoking for one. Nevertheless, when the body has a strong immune system it can keep defending against the attacks that ever present cancer cells make on our bodies. I hope this is useful for you.

I am glad I had a chance to talk about this with you all. Stress is a lesson that I need to keep exploring. It is my intention of to reduce its presence in my life. Even eliminate it.
Now that’s a challenge worth investigating.

Bye for now and thanks for coming.

Love, Laura


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Friday, November 04, 2005 7:42:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

November 9, 2005

Hello everyone;

Here and elsewhere I have been hearing from my colleagues attending the ICF conference. It feels strange to be at home while I envision this whirlwind of connecting and learning and growing. I wish them a wonderful time and send love and hugs to all.

Oops, I should warn you, this became a long one.

The good news is that I have been able to revisit the research front and have been exploring many sites and articles and books. Was it Melissa who asked me earlier about what I am learning about the system? I think so. She would be curious. (grin)

The system? What I see is not new to the medical world, it is true where ever human beings congregate. Many of you will understand when I say that the biggest systemic impact I have seen in my medical traveling is called ‘being in the box.’ This phrase comes from Leadership and Self-Deception, a book by the Arbinger Institute that I heartily I recommend.

Being ‘in the box’ is when you interact with people as is if they were OBJECTS – people that appear to you to be either an obstacle to what you are up to, a vehicle to help you get what you want, or, you see them as irrelevant. Whenever you are defending, blaming, dismissing or judging you are probably in or moving toward ‘the box.’ You have betrayed that best part of yourself and then began to justify your behavior which led you to ‘the box.’ At Arbinger they say that ‘in the box’ is a heart at war and ‘out of the box’ is a heart at peace.

A good number of those in the Alternative Medicine world are often extremely offended and defensive about how they are treated by Traditional Medicine and go in the ‘box’ when they talk about them. I have noted this on their web sites and in their conversations. The field of Traditional Medicine is viewed as an obstacle by the Alternative Medicine group. And Traditional Medicine often dismisses anything suggested by the Alternative side, and often they exude a sense of patronization. Peer pressure in the field of Oncology seems to create a very narrow tunnel, where one doctor is considered a maverick by his peers because he asks his patients about their diets and refers out to acupuncture, yoga and meditation. That is considered to be Alternative.

The problem with each group being “in the box” with the other is that they are both less effective in the world of healing. It seems that they are busy defending their points of view and devoid of a deep curiosity about what is going on in the other’s world. They don’t seem to have a regard for the information held by the other and there is a definite sense of divisiveness between the two approaches. Perhaps you can see how this creates a narrow view of what is possible. I can’t help thinking that the two sides are spending more time and energy fighting each other than learning how to cure cancer.

This ‘in the box-ness’ can make it quite challenging for the patient. I have often felt like an OBJECT in the Doctor’s office. I have felt like an obstacle when the doctors’ front office wants me to fit in to their schedule - they get impatient with me if I can’t, and their annoyance is evident when I ask for copies of my tests (an important thing for all patients to do.) Authentic friendliness seems missing. I feel like a vehicle when the office wants to run me through their routine yet when my questions last longer than three minutes I get cut off. And there are often mistakes, in scheduling or ordering tests or forwarding tests, or giving wrong information. There have been many mistakes. (I now plan on it.) And one thing that has been hard for me has been learning how to get answers to my questions. I end up feeling rebuffed when my questions go below the most superficial level; as if the doctor wants me to just trust his superior knowledge without hesitation. I can feel myself going ‘in the box’ even as I write this last sentence. And that is how it goes.

The famous surgeon, Bernie Siegel talks about those cancer patients who tend to live the longest – they are the ones who proactively take on their own healing – and they represent something around 15% - 20% of the total number of cancer patients. The part that astonishes me is when he quotes that these are the patients that are seen as the most difficult by the medical profession. It seems that my feisty-ness has found a proving ground. (-:

I met a woman with cancer at the clinic in Nevada who was afraid to talk with her oncologist about what she is doing in Nevada and is just going to stop going to him. I can understand why she would feel that way as I too have felt the hint of the doctor’s disapproval that she spoke about. The sad news is that patients are tip toeing around with their doctors rather than finding them to be easy partners at a time when that is most what they need.

This topic – about the medical establishments - has been on my mind for awhile. Many cancer patients end up talking about the medical profession and their doctors when they get together. The good news is that some have felt very fortunate in the assistance they have received from their team of Western Medicine doctors. And many have not. I am one of the latter. While I have no desire to be seen as a difficult patient I have reached a point of fighting for my treatment, leaving one oncologist behind, leaving one alternative doctor behind. Celebrating being treated by a human being and seen as an individual by my acupuncturist. Seeking treatment that feels right to me. Studying and asking lots and lots of questions. And saying no to doctor offices that don’t work for me.

Being in Nevada at the Reno Integrative Medical Center has been a very positive experience for me. A place with a very, very good ‘vibe.’ How did they get all of those people in that office to be so friendly, caring and professional? I’m not kidding. There are at least 15 staff and everyone of them know my name, and they knew my name by the end of the first day. If they are late they come and let me know. If someone doesn’t feel well they are in hot pursuit about what to do about it. They provide lots of information for those like me who want to know. They laugh and joke and care. They have a gentle touch when some patients get irritable and yet you feel like they are human. I have spent a majority of three weeks in their Immune-Therapy IV rooms with fellow cancer patients and that is a long time to consistently have a great vibe!

What has been so vivid for me is the comparison of this clinic with other doctor offices, hospitals and clinics I have been in. As Melissa said, I am in deep curiosity about the system.

Yes, I know this turned into a long one, and I need to rest. But I have two more thoughts. One thought: How is it that we sit and watch ER on tv and think it is OK for patients to be sitting around in pain waiting for the system to get around to them? How is it that the patients in the world forget that they get to ask for great service from the medcial profession? What assumptions do we have about what type of treatment we should receive? How has the insurance company decided our future? How is it that a majority of patients end up feeling careful with their doctors? There is something wrong with this system. And the people who know that the most are the people who are too often too sick to do anything about it. Now I am on my soap box.

And final thought number two (-; a medical update.
I am home now, recouping and trying to get caught up in my life. I am not at the ICF conference. Thank goodness, it would have been too much. My energy is pretty good, but I do get tired pretty early in the evening. And I have an enduring little tickle in my throat that has turned into a cough over the last three months. I have a brain scan next week and another CT scan. The next treatment is waiting to be determined.

Some days I worry more than other days, some days my head sweats, some days it doesn’t. But every day, every single day I pause to wonder at the vividness of the colors of fall. How bright the yellows. The reds are so deep. And the Persimmon tree in the front yard is a beautiful opalescent peach color, moving toward orange/red. The leaves are falling off the grape vine over the gate. It is all so beautiful. And the air is clean and damp and autumn like. And we bought a BB gun for the wild turkeys who keep flying over the fence into our yards. What fun. I notice that cancer has definitely had an impact on my eyesight – I see all those colors as a necessary explosion to the senses.

Thank you for coming.

Lotsa Love, Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 12:42:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

Laura Whitworth said...
NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

November 18, 2005

Hello All;

I am in the middle of leading a Leadership retreat right now. It goes until Sunday. It is work that I love to do, working with the wonderful appetite of those who crave to learn and develop. I can remember in my own life when major 'light bulbls' would come on, where I learned something important or useful about myself or about how to be more effective with others or the world ...

Those light bulb moments were very special and very sweet. The precious moments of growth and evolution. Moments that are rare and memorable, since they change the entire direction or focus of one's life. At least that was true for me.

And that is the neighborhood I get to hang out in with others during this Leadership retreat.
To be a catalyst to 'light bulb' moments, knowing that the light will shine for years to come. I hope that explains to you why I am working this week. Because even though I get tired - I get fed. Well fed.

The one challenge during this retreat is that I have started coughing a lot. I had a Brain scan on Monday and a CT scan this past Tuesday. I don't have the results yet and may not find out til next week. I am concerned about the cough and about the scan results and would rather wait until next week to find out, when I visit with my oncologist.

I am also feeling some anxiety about what treatment to pursue. One course of action I was intending to pursue looks less favorable now, and I simply cannot turn my life over to the world of Oncology with such unappealing success rates. And the research, there is so much to examine and sift through. What is real and what is hype? How to know?

I find it fascinating to notice the ebbs and flows of my own anxiety over the last few months. There are times when the cloud of a cancer diagnosis hanging over my head is dark and stormy, and other times it's as if that reality fades away. And then when I see the clouds again I remember - Oh yeah, cancer, and I wonder if I am going into denial or what? And then I remember that I am just plain human and don't have the operating instruction booklet for this particular ride. So I get to be scared, I get to forget, I get to worry and I get to love the beauty of the most wonderous November in Sebastopol, California. The colors and clarity of the day have never been more vivid. Even the wild turkeys are splendid in their tail feather spins.

And so the update... test results are pending and so are treatment changes. There may be a return trip to Nevada, or a trip to Long Beach or Argentina. More to come, as Thanksgiving comes, next week.

And thank you so much for your visit here -- I love it when you post a note - it let's me know that you have been here - and I feel less alone in these early hours.

Thank you for coming.

Lotsa Love, Laura

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Friday, November 18, 2005 7:01:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

November 27, 2005

Hello Friends;


Let me tell you about her,

She came to live with us almost a year ago. To be truthful she lived with Chris and Rainer, our neighbors across the yard, but she soon found her way over to our house and visited often. She knew that we were hers, and that our yard was her jungle of adventure, and that birds and gophers were her specialty, and she especially knew that Judy was her play mate. Her name was Kozy and she was a black and white kitty. We received a phone call from our other neighbor Joyce asking about a cat lying along the road in front of our house. Judy was the one who answered the phone. I watched her face as she heard the news. Oh no. Stricken. On Tuesday Kozy was killed by a car. The shock and devastation in our household was only surpassed by Chris and Rainer who cried at the moon in the night. A cloud of sadness still hovers over our neighborhood.

Kozy was a personality, she was playful and fun and friendly and outgoing, she was a good cat, she came when you called her name and she jumped through the kitchen window when I wasn’t looking. She often came to the back porch to see if Judy could come out and play. If Judy was there the answer was always Yes. Whenever Kozy saw Judy in the garden you could hear the bell on her collar as she raced across the yard to see what they were going to do today. And I am not sure who was happier - Kozy or Judy? They loved each other and everyone knew it. We miss Kozy. A lot! A cloud of sadness visits our sleep.

On Wednesday we went to the Oncologist who had to track down the test results from the testing facility. Here too the news was not good. More cancer.

Two tumors in the brain. There is a treatment for this that is a form of radiation therapy which can be targeted specifically for the spots on the brain – called Gamma Knife. The news at this point is hopeful about the brain.

Two more tumors on the liver. Another on the trachea. Whew. All of that takes my breath away. A lot has been going on inside me while my outside was feeling so good. Except that the cough has persisted and is now getting worse. Fixing the specific tumors is still not the main focus says the doctor. No, we have to focus on the fact that the cancer wants to keep metastasizing. We have to go to a systemic treatment. For him that means a form of Chemotherapy. A cloud of sadness resides in my heart.

I don’t think I can do that. I don’t think I can go the chemo therapy route. All my research says that is only a delaying action for the inevitable. Western medicine anticipates maybe six months, maybe a little more. That is not something to live by.

For me it’s about The Fight. That is something to live by. I am who I am along the way, not at the end of the journey, so for me, wanting to stay true to my nature, I can only choose to Fight for life. The kind of fight that is clean and fierce and healing and intentional, and for now, tightly focused. Today that define Living Well.

I am therefore deciding to undergo an alternative treatment called the Kelley Metabolic Cancer Treatment, which means a very restricted diet, lots of enzymes and lots and lots of detoxification. The finality of this decision and research is going to be made in the next week. It’s a scary time.

I cannot (today) tell you what it feels like to be living under a death sentence.

And yet there is still business to do, weather to dress for, agreements to keep, floors to clean, TV to watch, shopping to do and lives to touch and be touched by. And Thanks to Give. Judy and I gave thanks at Glide Church in San Francisco on Thursday… for life, for music and clapping and love and each other and for all of you. Thank you. Thank you for coming here and sharing the journey. Please say hi from time to time so that I know I am not alone, and so your words can help to dissipate the hovering cloud.

With Love, Laura

PS. Glide is a diverse, cutting-edge church and nonprofit offering innovative programs to poor and marginalized people. www.glide.org

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Sunday, November 27, 2005 6:26:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG -
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE


November 29, 2005

Hi all;

On the November 27th blog Melissa left a posting asking you all to write notes to me when you visit here; to keep the postings coming. She asked if I concurred. Shyly, with a little ducking of my head, I say yes it does. Please know that leaving your postings gives me something to aspire to, to look forward to, and to smile about. Please don't post them on this section of the blog. Instead go out and post to the section that says TO Laura.

In the meantime, thank you all for coming. Knowing you would be here has me want to share with you the following:


THE DANCE By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I have sent you my invitation,
the note inscribed on the palm of my hand by the fire of living.
Don't jump up and shout, "Yes, this is what I want! Let's do it!"
Just stand up quietly and dance with me.

Show me how you follow your deepest desires,
spiraling down into the ache within the ache.
And I will show you how I reach inward and open outward
to feel the kiss of the Mystery, sweet lips on my own, everyday.

Don't tell me you want to hold the whole world in your heart.
Show me how you turn away from making another wrong without
abandoning yourself when you are hurt and afraid of being unloved.

Tell me a story of who you are,
And see who I am in the stories I am living.
And together we will remember that each of us always has a choice.

Don't tell me how wonderful things will be . . . some day.
Show me you can risk being completely at peace,
truly OK with the way things are right now in this moment,
and again in the next and the next and the next. . .

I have heard enough warrior stories of heroic daring.
Tell me how you crumble when you hit the wall,
the place you cannot go beyond by the strength of your own will.
What carries you to the other side of that wall,
to the fragile beauty of your own humanness?

And after we have shown each other how we have set and kept the clear, healthy boundaries that help us live side by side with each other, let us risk remembering that we never stop silently loving those we once loved out loud.

Take me to the places on the earth that teach you how to dance,
the places where you can risk letting the world break your heart.
And I will take you to the places where the earth beneath my feet
and the stars overhead make my heart whole again and again.

Show me how you take care of business
without letting business determine who you are.
When the children are fed but still the voices within and around us
shout that soul's desires have too high a price,
let us remind each other that it is never about the money.

Show me how you offer to your people and the world
the stories and the songs you want our children's children to remember, and I will show you how I struggle not to change the world, but to love it.

Sit beside me in long moments of shared solitude,
knowing both our absolute aloneness and our undeniable belonging. Dance with me in the silence and in the sound of small daily words, holding neither against me at the end of the day.

And when the sound of all the declarations of our sincerest
intentions has died away on the wind, dance with me in the infinite pause before the next great inhale of the breath that is breathing us all into being,
not filling the emptiness from the outside or from within.

Don't say, "Yes!"
Just take my hand and dance with me.

>>>>>>>

Dance on..... Laura

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005 8:01:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG -
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

November 29, 2005

Today and yesterday there were many visits, many postings to me at the blog. Like a flood of love, friends gathering round to touch and heal. The nurturence has been deep. I felt the soothing energy all around. It was a good day to be so held.

I saw my blood again today on a darkfield microscope. The white blood cells were not numerous and there was indication of liver stress and iron depletions. Each piece of news takes a while to digest, as though I have to get to know this particular body all over again. A new body, each time adjusted by my immune system, by cancer or nutrition or ...

Just a moment to touch. Thank you for coming.

Love, Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 5:53:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE


December 1, 2005


Hello all my friends;

Thank you to all of you who have visited this week and all the times in the past. I want you to know that writing to you keeps me looking at what I am about, helping me to see the high road and stay present.

I hear from the Oncologist tomorrow about when I will have the Gamma Knife procedure. It is kinda creepy to feel the head pain when I lay my on my back and to know that is the cancer.

I have started to think about it as a visiter. Neither friend nor enemy, something that is new, something passing through, something to be curious about. And sometimes something to be afraid of. Just like some other things that have been new in my life.

I'll be back -- in a day or two.

Breathing.

Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Thursday, December 01, 2005 8:38:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

December 2, 2005

Hello All;

“He’s gone for the day” said my oncologist’s receptionist at 5PM on today, Friday. I was calling his office a second time that day, as he had not returned my call from earlier.

During my office visit eight days ago, on the day before Thanksgiving, he told me to call him on Friday, December 02nd. . The Tumor Board, which decides if and when to do a Gamma Knife procedure ( to remove two brain tumors) only meets on Thursdays. My doctor said he would take my case to the Tumor Board next Thursday, and he told me “not to worry,” he would tell them about my headaches and they would get me in quickly.

After hearing these declarations last week, his failure to call me back on Friday was a shock. His receptionist told me that my brain scans had not arrived from the Radiology office in time for yesterday’s Tumor Board meeting, so we were going to have to wait until next Thursday to go before the Board. I have to wait another week before we even find out when they will allow the Gamma Knife procedure to occur and they only do the procedure once a week, on Thursdays.

You could say I am frustrated with this whole scenario. The scans were created two weeks ago. I could have driven over to the scanning place and picked up the scans and driven them to San Francisco if someone had been in touch with me. This delay did not have to happen.

In the meantime, I was planning on starting a major cancer treatment just as soon as the Gamma Knife procedure was completed. Now it is postponed, at least one week. And strangely, I have a sense of urgency, a need to get a move on with this new treatment. Each day feels precious, and this delay has been very distressing for me. I have cried tonight, feeling upset, hurt and in general pissed off. My mind goes to questioning my doctor’s integrity and his ability. And an even greater disappointment is that I no longer have confidence in my Oncologist. That sucks. Maybe this will pass and there will be another way to see this in a while, and for now, this is where it’s at.

I considered whether to write this to the blog tonight, yet I know this is not a place for only the pretty stuff. If I can’t bring my frustration and blaming and pissed off-ness here then it is not going to get the job done I need from it. I have consecrated the blog as a place for me to get in touch with my thoughts and feelings, including the high ones, the low ones and those in between. And a place to tell the truth. I feel slightly better for the writing and hope I can sleep.

Thanks for coming,

Love, Laura

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Friday, December 02, 2005 9:50:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

December 4, 2005

Well, I'm feeling better than last time. Nothing like having your feelings to clear out the tubes, so to speak. I was complaining some more about the missed scans and the tumor board to someone last night - and noticed that it was old and done. Well not exactly done. I have quite a talk with my oncologist ahead.

I am starting the Kelly Enzyme Cancer Treatment program next week. This is an alternative treatment that requires mega doses of enzymes, diet alteration and detoxification processes such as two saunas a day and other stuff.

This process will bring various healing crisises. There will be times when I don't feel good, sometimes like a bad case of the flu they tell me. The enzymes eat away at the protective coating around the cancer cell and allow the immune system to do its work. This creates lots of toxic stuff for the liver to eliminate. I am working with a consultant/ nutritionist who has worked with hundreds of people with late stage cancer and I feel confident in her knowledge and committment.

More info comes to me on Tuesday and I'll be ordering certain tests tomorrow. So the journey continues and it looks like we are heading into the mountains, and its winter. Yes, I am feeling a bit nervous about this program. Appropriately so me thinks. Yet I am fully intending for this to work, so please, keep those thoughts and prayers coming. I know you do and I so appreciate it. Your thoughts and words and prayers and feelings hold my hand on this mountainous journey. Thank you.

Happy Holidays,

Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Sunday, December 04, 2005 9:49:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

December 11, 2005

We went to a dinner party last night. Our dear friend’s 80th birthday. It was very pretty – lovely. There were cats. I’m allergic to cats. I sneezed and sniffled all night long and we left early. Today there is a heavy weight in the center of my chest. I am feeling sensitive, tender there. Breathing is becoming challenging. Ouch. I am nervous about what is happening inside me.

Other news: I have a message on my machine saying that I will be having a Cyber Knife Radiation treatment on the tumors in my brain on 12/20/05. I’ll find out more about that tomorrow. No I won’t., Isha will. Isha is my assistant and life saver. Angel Isha, who has decided to take on the job of pursuing my oncologist’s and other doctors. She has stepped up to be my advocate. Let me tell you that when you are in the middle of a life threatening illness it is such a relief to have an advocate. Someone who is willing to be ‘white on rice’ with the various front office personnel - in hospitals, labs and doctor offices. Someone who holds one agenda - my life is at stake. Thank you Isha, for taking on the hard word, the thankless work and the most frustrating of all work. Whew. What a gift.

Also, tomorrow I will be meeting, for the second time, a new health care professional. His name is Joseph, who suggests I be more urgent in dealing with my cancer. I don’t have very much time before it is too late, he says. He has offered me lots more information and learning about non-small-cell-lung cancer and thankfully has endorsed the treatments that I have undergone so far and confirms the Enzyme treatment I have started. He has more aggressive recommendations to be considered during the next week..

After a very unproductive and unsatisfying phone call with my oncologist earlier this week I find myself hyper attentive to the words, energy and mood of every health care provider I talk to, including the dentist who specializes in root canal and mercury extractions. Joseph has a pushy, arrogant, ‘going to fight it with you all the way’ approach – as you might guess I find that interesting, even comforting. I will be spending all day at his office tomorrow, taking part in additional IVs (very much like those undertaken in Nevada) and exploring a whole new protocol he is designing. Can you feel it? There is no guarantee, and it is a matter of life or death. Should I, shouldn’t I? Well I will. I’ll keep stepping forward. One step at a time. Making this decision, and the next and the next. What a ride.

This morning Judy and a couple of dear friends went out to Glide church - again. There is only singing and music and a short and pointed sermon. What an experience. What a feeling - it brought up the compelling vision of a word…. one word. Exaltation. I felt pulled and lifted upward; called to a higher place; connected and exposed to the mystery. Or God. Or Glory. Or Love. Or celebration. What an uplifting day.

And now there is much to do. A new treatment, on top of what I am already doing, with new diets and protocols beginning tomorrow. More demanding than anything yet. And it will only increase over the next few weeks. Please be patient with me as I sometimes delay in getting back here only because there is so much to do.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have you come here, repeatedly, with special messages and love and whisperings, calling me upward and outward. It really works. So, Emily, Melissa, Breeze, Helen and so many of you, all of you, please receive my gratitude for helping this conversation be easy, here on the blog. A place that waits with out demand yet with anticipation. Thank you all.

More, when I can. With love and appreciation.

Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Sunday, December 11, 2005 9:56:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

December 12, 2005

It’s early morning. I woke up right after 4AM. I can’t sleep. Yes, I know that I posted here just last night. So what’s up? Well I received an email last night from a doctor consultant, referring to the pain in my chest. He said ….

“The Sacto group felt the tumor is not treatable with RFA because it’s too close to the carina [bifurcation of the trachea into the two mainstem bronchi]. What’s happening with chemo options, specifically Tarceva? Another to consider is xyotax—seems to work better in women with nsclc than men.”

This is what I have been afraid of – since the coughing has continued to develop, and breathing has become more difficult. All that most doctors can see from here on out is chemotherapy, and that is the beginning of the end in my mind.

I admit to a sense of greater urgency now. Here in what feels like the middle of the night -- my mind won’t let go. An intake of breath, a gasp: How long do I have? What must I get done to leave things manageable? Do I have a day, a week, a month, months, even a year? Or does this lastest throb in the center of my chest mean that I have only hours? Of course the mind runs amuck in the wee hours. Of course I would get scared and make stuff up. Of course I would fear the worst. Of course it is all possible, it could happen tomorrow. Of course - this is part of Living Well…to have these thoughts and fears come in, and then to allow them to flow through, emptying.

Except of course when the thoughts and fears don’t flow through, when they get clogged up. And I toss and turn and angst. And then I pick up the computer and empty here. At first I think I shouldn’t empty here, let’s be neat and tidy after all. And then I catch myself, Not much Living Well in that. So here I am. With more thoughts…

When will I die? The mystery of it all. Moment by moment. Missing things that are right here in front of me. Missing experiences that I haven’t had yet. Missing loved ones who are holding me close. Judy, oh Judy. Please don’t cry. Feeling the tear slip over the edge of the eye lid, sad, missing, disappointed at the timing of it all. Wondering about the Cyber Knife treatment that is coming up. Is it more important to worry about the brain rather than the chest. Ichh. Is this all real? Is it really happening to me?
……

Well, a dark night here. It has passed. The sun is coming up. Cloud cover, grey. I visited some other web sites, checking the status of things. And now, preparing for my day with Joseph, the DOM and medical practitioner who may have some options, returning to the fight. The fight. And the beat goes on.

And oh, here is the web address that was worth the time. Grounding in the middle of the night. Go here when you have a few moments. It’s worth it.

http://www.gogratitude.com/masterkey/

Thanks for being here in the middle of the night. Oops, how time flys – its morning. Good morning to you.

Love, Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Monday, December 12, 2005 7:26:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

December 13, 2005

Good morning all;

Much has been happening so much is being posted before the traveling begins.

Still, the coughing becomes more frequent. Today, after taking 5 hours of IVs Judy and I spent two hours with the alternative doctor in Santa Rosa, who asks us to call him Joseph. TJ, is his assistant and thank god for assistants who can make things real. Joseph is the brilliant one. He has been researching this work for 20 plus years, with lots of hands on and lots of mentors. And patron's as well. He had been spending many hours thinking about my protocol. And then he read my blood work results this morning. He says how paradoxical it is for my blood to look so healthy (probably thanks to my diet and supplement and Reno program.) And yet I have a rapidly expanding cancer.

And that's one piece of the blood news. On another front, my last cancer marker test was at 22 one month ago.. Today the score is at 60. It has accelerated rapidly. Coupled with what I can feel in my body we discussed many different options, but mostly, they all include going to Mexico for some treatments that are not yet recognized by the FDA. The question we dealt with in our conversation was the level of urgency. In Mexico they would make a specific vaccine for me from my blood, however it takes 30 days to incubate. So the longer I wait the longer before it can get into my system. And I really sense that right now is not a waiting time, to me it is an implementation time. Rush, hurry up, get going, urgency, emergency, now. Go.

Also in Mexico I would do small doses of radiation, not regular radiation, but small doses, to help put the cancer into a temporary remission. Maybe small doses of chemo. Enough to get the inflammations reduced from the lung and from the brain. And to slow down the cancer long enough for the vaccine to work. And then the vaccine would be taking on a monthly basis. Throughout all this further nurturance with supplements and toxins removed by applicable IVs. And we would postpone the Gamma Knife procedure. The problem with the Gamma Knife procedure is that it only gets the tumor, but not the surrounding fluid (which is full of cancer cells) so the cancer comes back even more strongly in some other part of the brain. I had heard that repeated brain tumor metastases was normal in my kind of cancer. One wonders how many times you can do precise, pinpoint radiation before the brain starts to get eaten away. And given the attempt we are after, to eventually eliminate all the cancer, we are going to postpone for some time the Gamma Knife procedure and leave for Mexico on Thursday morning.

Whew, trying to say all of that is taxing, especially as there was so much more that was discussed in that two hour time slot. “What about this….?” And “Did you know…” and “Why is this….? Many answers to little unraveling questions, old and new. The truth of the matter is that waiting to leave on Thursday morning feels like too long of a delay, and I just can't get ready before that. There is much to do.

I told Judy she didn't have to come with me to Mexico. Afterall, I would be in their clean and simple and professional hospital.
(Here is their web site address: http://amihealth.com/ btw)
I would even be picked up at the airport. I would be well taken care of. I didn't want to mess with Judy's life anymore than necessary. But she is sure she wants to come with me, she wants to love and support me, and I want that for both of us. And with all there is to do, Judy is pretty discombobulated right now too.

What does it take to drop everything, appointments and plans for Xmas and other holidays events at this time of year? Let me tell you it was quite the paradigm shift to even begin to think of letting go of Xmas. I have always loved the beauty and sights and sounds and mood of this holiday. For me to let go of Xmas is hard. I could feel the pulling apart that was going on inside me. Cause we may not get back until after the holidays. I could feel the temptation to just say let's postpone the trip til after Xmas. And yet, perhaps, my readiness to do so is a measure of my 'fight and determination' -- I could say no, we have to go now. And Judy agrees.

I want you to know that I feel supported by Joseph, both in words, and more importantly in actions. He seems a bit distractable, and I have finally learned my job.... to hold the focus and to follow up on everything, no matter who the doctor is. And I like having someone who picks up the phone and makes appointments for me right during his session, and I like someone who comes back from the holidays early, because he has patients who are in need, and I like someone who will tell me hard news and good news, and someone who will fight for me. Who knows that in killing any tumor there is work to do to remove it from the system, and that may be one of the most important parts of the puzzle. And I like someone who has been fighting this fight for many years and is still in the research mode, rather than having all the answers mode, and yet has the confidence of much experience that does work. And finally, I am getting so tired of being hopeful about a new health care professional – let’s have it that this time I have found the one.

It will be busy for a while now. I will blog from Mexico if I can. If not I am sure I will read your posts again. They have been especially supportive in this last week as I ventured further into the dark. I know I am held and seen and loved and supported. Deep breath, sigh. Smile.

And on that note I share a special David Whyte poem posted by a - friend in another venue.

"Sweet Darkness"

When your eyes are tired
The world is tired also.
When the vision is gone
No part of the world can find you.


It’s time to go into the dark
Where the night has eyes
To recognize its own.
There you can be sure that you are not beyond love


The darkness will be your home for tonight.
The night will give you a horizon
Further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.

The world was made to be free in.


Give up all other worlds
Except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness
And the sweet confinement of your aloneness
To learn that anything or anyone
That does not bring you alive is too small for you.

- David Whyte

Thanks for bringing aliveness to this blog.

With love, tears and hugs and happy holidays,

Jingle, jingle, Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 9:43:00 AM

 
Blogger akasha said...

Hello, Laura ~ I have just received a link to your blog and spent the last 45 minutes reading all you have posted. At some intervals I stopped and called all the members of my family. At one point I watched the sun rise and the sky bloom with pink. And over all my reading I felt your hand guiding me, just as you do in person. I knew when I met you that you were an important woman for me to meet. I feel the same way now. In fact, I think we didn't meet sooner because I wasn't ready for you! One does NOT casually meet Laura Whitworth .... And now there is the experience of this blog - - what a gift to us all (and hopefully back at you as well). I found myself wanting to contribute, to be of service to you. So here's my promise: I will celebrate, sing hymns of joy, and trumpet the holidays loud and long enough for the both of us. You will be the song in my throat when I sing carols. I will carry you in my heart as I go about celebrating the joy & beauty of this season. I will fill my body with nurturing foods and love and pass that on to your body (look for it; you'll feel it as it comes). Handel's Messiah will soar on wings for you. I will give thanks each day for both our lives. And finally, I will smell and taste and see and feel with all senses, so we both will have this holiday season to remember. I will be thinking of you as I spend Christmas in Florida (that weather is just so WRONG!) and looking forward to reading more from you when I return. I send you lots of love, Akasha

Wednesday, December 14, 2005 8:36:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA '' TO THE BLOG
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE


Sunday, December 18, 2005


Good day friends,

It has been quite the journey getting here to the hospital St. Martin here in Tijuanna, with lots of challenges and new adventures. Getting to a computer too has been an adventure so I will come when I can.

I have had numerous treatments and pokings, and injections and electrical charges and eliminatings and, well, more to come. I have found my patience tested often and I have experienced waves of appreciation to be able to be here at all.

We find the weather kinda cool, even cold. Overcast. Other patients are here, from all over. Coming and going. Sometimes 6, sometimes 12. Judy has been my champion and companion throughout. She gets the biggest hug.

The accomodations are simplistic and clean, nothing luxurious. The staff are professional, and they come from a different culture with a different language. So I often feel a bit ungrounded.

Today is a down day, so to speak, with maintenance injections with additional treatments picking up tomorrow.

I will try to blog at length sometime later this week, and if that cannot happen then please receive our very warmest holiday greetings. We brought a few ribbons and decorations to brighted our room so that we can keep the holiday spirit. And if all goes well enough we will fly home on Xmas eve day, to spend Xmas with family.

Another trip down here is anticipated, maybe more. In the meantime,

Thanks for coming.

Jingle, jingle,

Laura

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Sunday, December 18, 2005 11:47:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

December 22, 2005

I have refrained from coming to the blog, more accurately to this one, lone little terminal in the corner of this small dining room here at this clinic. I have held off because it has been uninviting. AND, I haven’t known what to say, and I certainly haven’t been able to understand how I feel.

Sometimes I have to just let it go and know that these crazed and sometimes frantic feelings are exasperated by and even caused by the steroid shots I have three or four times a day. Why steroids? To help reduce the swelling around the brain tumors. But they tell me steroids can be hard on the moods.

Or is it the radiation? Or the other pills or shots? I find my level of frustration is over the top; my impatience is extra sensitive; my craving for more information and more access to technology has not been fed; it’s noisy; and beauty, or just plain pretty is missing. So is nice. Tijuana is ugly. Smelly. Very hard on the eyes. I am verrrry sensitive to my surroundings and the impact that has on my mood is huge. I have a gigantic yearning for more say over my time, and my day and my life and my dignity and my heart and my sanity. And my eyes. I feel mad, maddened, angry.

I cannot seem to latch onto what is important right now, it is simply getting from one shot, one appointment, one IV, one procedure to another. Only I don’t know what the next thing is. So I cannot see into the future well enough to prepare for it. And the tail spin that sends me in is…. Well, to wonder, who is this person who is having all these unpleasant feelings? Who am I? What is going on with me? What IS important? To live one more day, for what? Really? Why live this particular day? Why treasure it’s existence. How do I go through a single day without delighting in being alive? What is the dial on the knob that needs a tweak to the left, to the right?

I keep avoiding the sideways glance at how powerless and helpless I feel right now. Maybe some would call it control issues. I have never really known what that means, not really, but nothing in life brings up control questions more than invasive, metastasizing cancer. And then to put yourself in the hands of someone else’s view of what you need. How vigilant do you be before they feel disempowered by your oversight? How casual do you be before you hand over your life to someone else?

Joseph in Santa Rosa told me they would not be as hyper focused down here as he is. That is true. They are more relaxed, and they feel less precise. Yet they are also quite professional. It all creates a worry.

Judy and I have been fantasizing about being home, even as I dread the likelihood of coming back to Tijuana.. We are leaving on Saturday morning, hoping to be home by Xmas eve afternoon. We can hardly wait, for our sweet home, our gentling meadow view, the hills of green, the birds all over the yard, the golden embrace of our walls, all of which we NEVER appreciated so much. Our Xmas tree awaits. Family too, later in the early evening. A fire in the fireplace. Whew. Can I say that is something to live for. Anticipation of something wonderful to come. Or in this case, something that is everyday that has become wonderful. Just the simple, sometimes overlooked everyday things in life. And especially the something to look forward to, the art of savoring the anticipated. And then the art of savoring the realized.

I may not be able to end this on an upbeat today. This blog will have to do.

EXCEPT, maybe I can invite you into a walk about in your life for just a second….
Let us enter into a world of anticipation. What do you anticipate for the rest of your day. What part of the Xmas holiday smell/sound/feel deserves a little bit of petting? Who will you get to see? What will your eyes get to rest upon? How will that taste? Who could you get impatient with and find you make them smile instead? What smells should be revisited? What magical moment will you look forward to sourcing? When you look out into your day TODAY, what is to come, something that you want to come? What is it?

What sites will ease your eyes? Envision that site before you get there. Anticipate it, have it before it arrives, in the middle and then after it leaves. Savor? What is that? To savor. To roll life around in your mouth and feel the textures of it, the crusty places and the smooth, slickery places. Breath while you savor. Let it flow over your nose and your senses.

Savor in this moment the life that wants to happen. And as I write this I find the dial, the knob that wanted to be turned up on life. I feel the air around me becoming electric with life. I start to feel with the back of my neck and I notice that even the ugly and the helplessness and the frustration cradles in a shelter of LIFE. Aliveness. During the beauty of the holiday season. Surrounded by so many of you who join me on this journey. I am honored that you come and visit with me, creating the backdrop through which I can talk my way back to myself. I am such an extrovert!! This trip has been such an introverted experience that I had forgotten how much I need to speak myself into aliveness and health, back to myself. And because you are there. Thank you so much for the gift of your presence and the ear you lend.

Love, Laura


December 22, 2005
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Thursday, December 22, 2005 9:40:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

January 3, 2006

Yes it's been awhile since I have been here to the blog. Since Mexico. Coming home, being home, settling in, sighing, finding my feet and my Xmas and place and my home and myself.

It has been raining here since forever. If you havn't heard we have had floods here for days. It is so strange to wake up in the middle of night and hear it raining, over and over again, every single day for a week. Over and over again.

No break between 2005 and 2006. No line of demarcation. No distinguishing mark for 2006 - gray, wet, damp, mildew, blah.

And here I sit. Looking at 2006. Looking at dying. Looking at living. Living well. And wondering what the hell it is all about, because I cannot find the glitter and gold. I cannot say this is what life is all about. I cannot say this, this, THIS, is important, really important. For me. Or for you.

With major respect I ask you, what the hell is important?. What is important to you? What is important in life? Who says? How come? How do you know?

I am in the midst of a fight with cancer right now, and it has my main focus. But is it really important? That I fight this? That I win? Or even how I go about it?

This is the "no man's land" that I have been in for awhile now. I was hoping it would slip on by and I would settle into a profound and subtle knowing. Wiser for my journey. Alas, it is not to be.

As for the update. I am doing some focused Vitamin C IVs that are chasing out the cancer, chlorophyl, alkalinity, Poly MVA, Amino Acids. Preparing my body to open up to the vaccine I am taking. So I am at the clinic in Santa Rosa most days, sitting, dirpping, waiting.

Well that seems important. But maybe not.

I welcome you to 2006 and the question of the year . . .

What is important? No really.

Love Laura
January 3, 2006


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Tuesday, January 03, 2006 4:34:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

January 18, 2006

Hello everyone;

I know, I know; I have been gone… for awhile. I have found a new kinda ‘hard’ on this journey, one that snuck up on me, blindsided me, captivated me and has been my teacher. It still is. The teacher? Steroids and the impact they had on my body. And more importantly, the impact they had on my mood. And still have on my mood, even now!

First, just to get a sense of what it looks like, hold your mouth closed and puff up your cheeks with air. Now move the air in your cheeks (with your fingers if need be) up to just below your eyes, near your nose. Gently open your mouth, hold the air, and let go of your face, holding that puffy, dazed kinda look. Doing this in front of a mirror will tell you what it looks like during some part of the ‘steroid’ journey. They call it the ‘steroid moon face.’ And athletes I hear have been known to call it “roid rage.”

It was only this past week that I noticed the moon face, although others did see it sooner. In fact I did not see the ‘moon face’ swelling during the initial phase of my steroid journey. Mostly I noticed it after I stopped taking it, at the New Year.

I did not know what I was getting into when I started with this medication. It’s intention was to reduce or minimize the swelling from my brain tumors and from the tumors in the trachea area. And it worked. I did stop coughing so much and the headaches did go away. But other things started to change, like how wrong everything was, how slow, how boring, how meaningless, how irritating and in general just how pissed off I was. At everything and anything. And now I remember that I started taking steroids BEFORE I went to Mexico, which contributed to making that an unpleasant experience too.

I can remember the day I was trying to get a hair cut and do some last minute Xmas stuff just before leaving for that clinic in Mexico. All of a sudden I was having a dead battery in my car. I got a jump from someone and drove to the next location, my hair cutter, where I turned it off and discovered that the battery was so dead it wouldn’t hold a charge. Then I was having anxiety and temper tantrum problems with the car’s driver. And my poor hair cutter, she sent somebody out to watch my car cause it was unlocked and I was freaking out about that, being full of Xmas presents and all. I was stressed, but I didn’t quite understand why I was freaking out so much, and AAA was a phone call away. She was great, and has known me a long time, and simply handled it for me. Looking back on that day I can absolutely see the ‘roid rage’ beginning to broil.

And perhaps the most challenging part of the steroid journey has been it’s impact on my engagement with life. Everything (did I say everything? ? ?) was so slow, so boring, such a waste of time, nothing, nothing at all was engaging. I couldn’t find one a single magazine article that I wanted to read, not one book that could engage me for longer than a paragraph, not a sentence in the book I am supposed to be co-writing was of interest, and not a book that I could put on my ‘want to read’ pile. And I love to read. There was no conversation, stroll in the neighborhood, movie or TV show or even the news that could attract my interest. People were pretty generally boring and hard to be with.

And then the anticipation of getting home to California, actually expecting that would be enough to sooth and nourish me when in fact, nothing could sooth me. And I still didn’t realize that it was the steroids. One of the hardest pieces was to feel this ever present desire to just lash out at somebody…. Who could I please kill? Who could I just tell exactly what they needed to hear, without restraint. To feel the clenching of the jaw, and the quiver, the constant shake in the hands. And the anger, and the irritation and the impatience and flared nostrils and the tears of frustration and the need to yellllllllllllll, really, a need.

In addition, I’ve been in the middle of an overriding sense of ….. “I don’t want to. And you can’t make me.” Oh, and, “go ahead - make my day.” Wondering - is that who I am becoming? The rebel. The resister. The hardass or the gangster? Just, who IS this person anyway? And then, just letting it be, letting it go.

And today, January 18th, I am still feeling the edges of the effects of the steroids even though I took my last dosage on New Years Day. That’s over two weeks ago!!! Wow. And I thought it was me, that I had lost my sense of vision; lost my sense of what is important; lost what is gentle or polite; given up on more fun, more life, more often; fearful that I had given up on what is meaningful in life. I thought I had lost it all and was naturally evolving into a mean, grouchy and persistent bitch. (Yet I have to tell you that being a mean and grouchy bitch has some good parts to it.)

For example, one of the things that I noticed is a moment in time when I had an incident come up, it was a crossroads… do I tell this person exactly how I feel? Or do I be nice? Do I share my full-out feelings, express my irritation or be ‘good.’ And I can remember the decision point. It was a freedom I had not realized was missing when I just said it out loud . . . “this isn’t f__ing working for me.” I was able to experience the fullness of that entire event and realized that there really are places where I don’t give myself full, grouchy and bitchy permission.

I have been able to watch myself with two heads. The head that is carried away by the drug, and the head that is in awe at the feelings that are running the show. Although the truth of the matter is that various drugs can cause any patient to operate in an unusual manner, one that has them question their sanity. And has YOU question their sanity, their comprehension, their intellect or even their capacity for self pity. So stay curious, always wonder. I am wondering where else I have not been giving myself permission to say what is there, in the name of full aliveness? Where else do I hold back? And you? Where do you hold back. Come on in, the water of this question is rich and warm.

I know that the steroids are still having their influence on me, less and less each day. And, she said with a devilish look, I have sometimes cringed and sometimes enjoyed giving myself permission to be irritable, or grouchy or to yell or be bored. I just surrendered to it and gave into being grouchy, or angry, and to all the dimensions of boredom. And that feels so right. To ‘be with’ what is. And that means ‘being with’ all of it. The good and the bad and the hard of it. And I can tell you that feels exactly the way it should.

And yet, I should also let you know that I just didn’t have the energy or
the sanity or the desire to write to the blog these past many days.
It felt like pressure. And it felt right, not to write.

And now the time is right. The mood may not be up, but is getting more grounded.
Thank you for coming today and being my ongoing partner throughout the ups and downs of this journey.

The cancer journey? Well I have been doing lots of advanced and alternative medicines, via IV infusion and other supplementations these last couple of weeks. I am coughing more and more and getting more deeply entrenched in the Kelly Enzyme protocol, with lots of detoxing and enemas and saunas and juices -- lots going on right now on the treatment front. It is for sure a full time job. Let me repeat that, to intentionally take on your own healing is a full time job, asking lots of your health, your stamina, your partners and your ability to intend and ‘be with’ what keeps coming up.

And I am getting ready to have a lot to say about health and healing and the world of medicine. More on that front later, so be prepared for my soap box in the next few weeks.

And the big news is that I am having another brain scan on Thursday the 19th, and a PET/CT scan next week. This is always scary. Do I want to hear the results? What will hearing the result do to my future? Well, a lot. Who am I kidding? Will I celebrate, or take time to recover from unpleasant news? So life continues, good mood, bad mood, any mood.

Long winded after such a dry spell, eh? Allow me to just sign off.

With love,

Laura


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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 8:44:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

Laura Whitworth said...
NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

January 22, 2006

Yaay, the sun is shining and the meadow is green. It keeps on sprinkling and fogging here, so let's celebrate the sun.

My friend Lisa and I went to see a new healer last week. He took some tumors out of my liver. I saw the tumors. Wow. Isn't that cool? He also said he did some good stuff on my brain and my chest.

Ahhhh, here we are again. A familiar place.

It sure does remind me how little I really know about stuff that I can't see. And how fascinating it is to watch my thinking mind seek for proof, as in seeing the bloody evidence of the liver's tumors makes it more real. And then again, when does the reasonable person question the reality of the "healer's" ability. Or even the possibility of being healed. And what difference does the questioning make anyway?

I guess it's like all the various doctor's I visit. Which ones feel right, which ones feel real, which ones feel good and what does my intuition say.

And then he said "keep doing the work I have been doing, it's not done, but I already know what to do."

So, join me if you will in allowing healing to occur. Cause it feels right, and it feels good, and because the sun is shining today.

Happy Sunday,

Thanks for coming,

Love, Laura

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January 22, 2006

Sunday, January 22, 2006 10:59:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

January 31, 2006

Test results – how they can mess with a person! And how much we underestimate their impact and how much we surrender to them. My recent brain and PET/CT scan results were not very good. Each of them showing more ‘mets’ (which in the cancer world is short for metastases.) Rather than go too much into the details at this point let me assure you that when I heard the results I was pretty devastated. It took the wind completely out of my sails and dropped me back into fear and helplessness and anger and resignation and - well, you can imagine, right? I was not expecting so many more mets.

Aaaccchhhh!!! Hide, cry, scramble, yell, self-pity, tears, anger, sadness, scared ( a truer word than fear) apathy, pretending, give-up, pray, beg, deny, cry some more. Oh what to do? When will I die? What about pain? What now? What’s next?

Perhaps you might want to know that there is still fight in me, and there is still more of the fight to do. And that’s what I am up to at this point. Being true to my nature (not the right nature – fight isn’t for everyone – simply my nature) brings forth a kind of determination and focus and ‘no kidding-ness’ to my days. Along the way a lot more has been learned. The devastation has been reduced, and I can see what my next steps are, and for an Activator (fighter) type, which I am, being able to see the next steps is a relief, even soothing and restful.

To me chemotherapy at this point translates into giving up; so back to more homework, more research and further learnings about these latest results. Let’s see, since the test results on the 24th I have had cause to research several new treatment options and have seen or spoken with at least five doctors and a couple of other professionals. Yes, there ARE more mets. Whew. That takes some getting used to. And some of those spots on the tests are not all cancer. I know more about the various alternative treatments out there than you probably even think exist. And now I know quite a lot about the traditional oncological options as well.

Some say that these mets are the result of tumors breaking down. Some say this is the natural and gradual progression of lung cancer. Can you see how tempting it is to throw my hands in the air (believe me, I have been there many times)?

That is why I call it the fight. I have to keep bringing myself back from the cliff’s edge, fighting to continue the work of it, the research of it, the treatment and intention of it. It’s hard work. Not fun. Most every day. Ask Judy. It IS just taking that next step, that next pill, that next enema or tincture or needle or writing that four or five figure check (not covered by insurance) or the learning from the mistakes or facing other really unpleasant steps - for the sake of life.

Quitting becomes tempting. There are days that I envy sleeping beauty, hoping that a charming someone will come and make it all better, and until that happens I’ll sleep through it all. Can you see me as Cinderella though? With my hair in a pretty little bun, my hands quietly resting on my sleeping body, waiting, waiting, sleeping??? It makes me laugh to envision that. Me – waiting. Probably not. o-:

Oh, and along the way, some learning.

I am learning a method to remember around test results:

#1. Realize ahead of time that test results will change your life, one way or the other. (Good, bad, neutral) So don’t be casual about when or how you receive test results. Set it up ahead of time to be in the right place – with the right time -- with the right people.

#2. If the results are shocking, then take the time to catch your breath. Even a few days sometimes. Do NOT make any decisions at that time. No matter the urgency. Give your self some breathing room around decisions and don’t be rushed.

#3. Don’t feel like you need to take on the full weight of your test results right away. Wait until you have the strength for it, take on a little bit of it as truth, and keep some of it at bay, until you are able to do your research or can take a larger bite. You do not have to be good about facing it all at once.

#4. If you can, see the scans or films yourself and have the doctor or radiation person walk you through what they mean. Really understand what is happening and where.

#5. Always, always, always – when the news is big, get a second and third opinion.

#6. And do your homework. Talk to lots of people, from many disciplines and in the area of health be sure to investigate traditional and alternative. Talk to people, don’t just rely on the web.

#7. Use your family or friends and supporters to help you think it through, and remember, test results can be misread and misfiled and missed. So keep on, keeping on.

This is more than I intended to say tonight. It has taken a long time to write this. It has been a hard one to write and I don’t know if it captures what I realllllly want to say, but it is a start. Much has been going on with me, emotionally and intellectually and physically. And now, hoping for enough time and energy, I am ready to come back to the blog more often. Maybe the steroids are finally gone. We’ll see. I thank you for coming today, riding the wave.

With love and gratitude for your companionship on this journey.

Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:45:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE
February 10,2006

Ah, the sun is shining. Several days in a row now. What a relief, like a weight has been lifted.

I have been tied to the IV machine all week, and into sleep time every night. And I am not sleeping very well these days.

I am scheduled to meet with a Radiation Oncologist next week. Maybe we can do some radiation on the tumor on my spine. It is supposed to reduce pain. This will be an exploratory meeting. We'll see.

Since my last posting I have been reflecting and exploring what it means to be 'in the fight.' I have a lot to say about this topic as it turns out, and I don't have the time to say it all here today. Well maybe just a little.

Let me share one story - about Katy. Katy is at the clinic I go to. She helped me 'fight' the other day. I was supposed to do a particular exercise, breathing deeply into a clear bag, and she kept saying... "no, your not filling to the bottom. More. Breath more deeply... Even MORE" she would shout, like a cheerleader, like a mother, like a pushy, bossy shrew.

I didn't like it at first, and I could feel resistance begin to build, especially as I was not filling the bag very well at all. "come on, what's the big deal" I thought. "Lighten up" I thought. "Get out of my face" I thought. And then the light bulb went off.

Katy was helping me in the 'fight.' She wasn't abusing me or coddling me, she was asking me to do those things that are needed for me to LIVE, no, to thrive. She was demanding and pushing and smiling and helping and she was watching to see if I was learning how to breath more deeply so I could detox more effectively. She was going to be sure that I did everything I could to live and thrive. (Sound a bit like coaching?)

Katy and many others do help me in this fight. And I realize that there are people in my life who don't empower me in this fight. Those who have been afraid to bother me and don't call or knock on the door, they are not there to encourage me in the fight. Those old friends and colleagues I have never heard from while on this cancer journey, their absences actually make the fight harder. I am shy to say that.

There are those who actually don't know it but I can sense when they are interacting with me like I'll be dead in a year, and while that might be true (not for the fighter in me) their holding that as true does not help me with the fight.

Some are afraid to question my decisions or challenge me or ask more of me or ask me if I am living well. Some people are dutiful and others are just there, often and real, curious and insisting. Some enhance the fight, some don't.

I say all of this here to have you know that your notes and your presence make a strong contribution to the 'fight.'

I can think of a friend of mine that didn't survive cancer, and with hindsight I can see how I didn't know how to help her fight her fight. I was too gentle, too fearful of intruding, and, well, too busy. Ouch. I wish I knew then what I know now.

And so, to keep this fairly short, let me tell you where this leads me... to you, those of you who have been in my life over the last 50 years. Those of you who kept expecting me to show up. Those who challenged me when I insisted I was right. Those who called me forth when I disappeared or got mean or had even more to give. Those who acknowledged my gifts and my presence. Those who had suggestions and feedback. Those who told me when I had spinach in my teeth or I had done something special. To those of you who have helped me with the 'fight' of Living Well, I profoundly thank you.

And for being here, reading this, I thank you, as I can assure you that writing to you helps immensely with the fight.

More fight reflections are brewing within me. About those who have been there for me over the years. About those who have shown up. And Vice Versa. So, what do you think about the fight???? About your fight? About fighting? I'd enjoy hearing your thoughts.

And I am now going to go and take in the sunset. A rare treat these days.

With love,

Laura

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Friday, February 10, 2006 5:23:00 PM

 
Anonymous Melanie Keveles said...

Gosh, Laura - with that last comment about the fight, you've smoked me out. I must admit - I've been coming to your blog almost on a daily basis for several months. I've turned others onto your blog -and they've written here - but still, I've hung back. Didn't think I had anything worthwhile to add.

But now I want you to know that I'm here. You may remember me from various places - in particular I was a participant in the Soul Type 2 workshop you observed about 3 or 4 years ago in California.

I want you to know how inspired I am by your fight. I am so engaged with it and you - I am here silently praying and fighting for you in the background - and now I'm stepping up to your challenge - and fighting for you out front.

I admire how you show up here in all your realness - and all the messiness of it - it's so ironic - there is more life here than anywhere - and I believe that draws me back, day after day. I'm so disappointed on those many days when you haven't written. I'm wondering what's going on. What's keeping you from blogging.

And another thing - for a number of years I have had a calling to work with people who have had a life threatening health crisis. I've been sticking my small toe in this water as I coach others through career transition and entrepreneurism. I was scared off several years ago - yes - I hate to admit it - I've been sitting on this for years - when someone I spoke with told me people wouldn't pay to work with a coach after going through their life threatening experiences - they'd feel like they were entitled. So after that conversation, I put this call on hold - deciding that maybe it was a wrong number. But now the urge is back again - loud and strong - and it's not leaving me alone. I credit you and your journey with this, Laura.

So now I'm making more phone calls. And I'm finding others who want to partner with me in my vision of serving people who have come back from the brink and are wanting to make the most of the lives that have been saved. No longer am I letting my gremlin tell me I would have had to be sick myself to coach people who want to live to know what they are living for.

This is my new bigger game - and as scary as it feels in declaring it here, it is not as scary as the fight you are fighting day in and day out. Keep fighting, Laura. We need you. You have no idea how your fight is affecting us all. It is the only fight that matters.

Much love,

Melanie

Monday, February 13, 2006 9:41:00 AM

 
Anonymous Akasha said...

Babe - and yes, you are one - you are my Monday morning get-your-ass-off-the-couch inspiration. You and your story bring meaning and compassion to mine. You are the face I see radiantly shining when I think "maybe not right now." I think of you in prison (San Quentin, I mean) and remember the looks on those men's faces as you challenged them to find what they needed to stay true to themselves even in there, no excuses. Thank you, my dear, for sharing yourself now just the same way you always have. I get a gift every time you do. Love, Akasha

Monday, February 13, 2006 11:51:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

The Day After Valentines Day. I have to go do a therapeutic sauna to sweat out some more toxins (it's such a drag to just sit in a box and sweat, let me tell ya)but I wanted to let you all know how much I think about YOU. YOU are my VALENTINE. Thank you for engaging in the question about the 'fight.' I have so enjoyed talking with you, all of you, in my mind. Thanks for sharing your words and support and your love. It feeds me and makes me smile.

Off to the detox Sauna,

Love Laura

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 7:46:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

February 16, 2006

Hello All;

Yesterday I had an appointment with a Radiation Oncologist, attempting to explore having radiation to the spine. This is usually done to help reduce the size of the tumor and to reduce the pain. The pain right now is not bad, like a deep ache. It can wake me up some in the middle of the night but I don’t feel it when walking around. At least not yet . . . which is why we are exploring radiation now. Just to go on the record, I am a wimp when it comes to pain. You may hear more about that in the future, but trust me now, Wimp, with a capital ‘W.’

In exploring the treatment options we relooked at the PET scan from November. Remember that a PET scan is the result of injecting a substance that is then picked up on a type of XRay, showing where Cancer is often metabolizing. During this visit I was able to see more and different shots of my body. Wow, I am lit up like a Xmas tree. There are spots all over the place, many in the area between my throat and the spine, probably lymph nodes he says. Some on the arms, which are probably not cancers. One in the right femur, well, just more cancer. This is not new news since the last time I talked about test results, they are the same results, examined even more deeply, revealing even more details and uncovering even further mysteries.

Since these tests were taken in November I have started on a vaccine in Mexico, undergone some low does radiation, and engaged in an aggressive Enzyme and IV treatment program. Things have changed, undoubtedly. Still, the pictures are daunting. They seemed very real, and in the moment. Imminent and threatening. The Radiation Oncologist encouraged me to get started on a chemo therapy program and suggested that I consider ‘whole brain’ radiation, which is reputed to have a lasting impact on how the brain works, although that is controversial.

So why am I going over this ancient history again, with you here? Because I got really scared all over again. I have a lot of cancer in my body. That’s what these tests say.
AND, I am here again because once in the past I was able to plant my feet strongly in the benefit and strategy of Alternative Medicine and my treatment plan, and then along comes a rehash of the test pictures and a professorial looking doctor who has a different strategy and I find myself doubting and returning to fear and rehashing all the ‘what ifs.’

What an interesting pattern I have followed over the years, one I have engaged in more than I like to admit. Resolving something and then unintentionally, unconsciously yet relentlessly returning to the rehashing of something that had been concluded, or so it seemed at the time. I say this to you here because I need to see this about myself. What I can’t see is how to refrain from repeating this behavior. Late at night last night I was completely aware of the rehash pattern, and still my mind wouldn’t let it easily go. I don’t think this pattern is going to disappear overnight.

Maybe this is simply part of the journey I must explore as I delve further into fear. You know.
The fear that has to come, late at night when “ death beckons and says Live, for I am coming.” (One of my favorite quotes over the years.)

Ahhh, rehashing, a verb that goes with fear. Until one is sufficiently distracted by something else. Distract, a verb that goes with leaving fear. So yes, perhaps this is the time to begin to explore the anatomy of fear. On the other hand, while it has turned cold out it is definitely a blue sky. Maybe I’ll just stand at the window and be distracted by the multitude of birds attracted to all of Judy’s bird feeders. Spring, distract me. Please.

Thanks for coming dear friends,

I hope this is more ammunition for the fight.

Love, Laura

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Thursday, February 16, 2006 1:04:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

Dear Emily;

I am so sad to hear of your mother's passing. I had no idea and wish to return the gentle yet powerful support you have been to me. To all of us.

First, simply a very large and long hug. Please feel my touch supporting you while you feel your own feelings. Over and over again.

To have supported your mother through all these years... I can see that you have many insights and lessons to share with us, as you have so far. Thank you, and keep them coming.

And yes, I'll bet that rehashing voice could play havoc with you right now. Yet to you I send a special dispensation. No rehashing of "I should have's" or "If only's."

I am pretty sure you are not allowing much of that, nevertheless, what I wish for you is a constant knowing that your support, your touch and your presence were an ongoing source of love and peace to your mother. I hope I am not being too daring to know this is so. And I do know this is so.

Deep condolences Emily. Please be gentle with yourself and thank you profoundly for sharing with us as you journey through this grieving time.

Much Love, Laura




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Friday, February 17, 2006 12:14:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG -

PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE


Hello all; (I am responding to a recent posting from Melissa on February 16th.)

I love being helped in the fight, so thank you Melissa. You did it exactly right.

I definitely see the relationship between reassessing and rehashing. And don't throw the baby out with the bath water is what I hear you say. I get to relook, over and over again, I get to relook and reassess the treatment I am receiving. Is it working for me? Is it working for my health? Is there new information? Are there new strategies to consider? Maybe especially when I see a Xmas tree of cancer on the PET scan.

Thank you for having me re-examine The Bigger Game model. I guess I'll be looking more at The BG model in the future as I can see that it is a useful frame here.(www.thebiggergame.com)

In the meantime, rehashing has a major cost. It drains away the foundation, the ground that I stand on. It does not serve. Mostly because it means I am not being kind with myself. It erodes my footing.

To re-assess however builds the foundation, because it doesn't have anything to do with whether I am good or bad, right or wrong or in any other way involved as an identity being threatened. It serves. It gives strong footing.

I can see that when I get caught in the rehashing loop that I might be able to move over to the reassessing position more easily than I might have thought. So thank you tons Melissa. And all of you who come here to give me the platform for distinguishing rehashing from reassessing. (-;

Much Love,

Laura

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Friday, February 17, 2006 12:47:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG -

PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE


Feb 23, 2006


I go to get another MRI today. The headaches are starting in again. The other day I had a mini little flash in my right eye and now I have some spots on my eye and bright flashing lights. I get worried that my brain is working less reliably - my memory even worse. And yet, I am also fairly calm about it all, as if this is something I do not know how to fight, and fight doesn't seem to be the right direction. Simply doing the tests and discovering the options.

Taking some of those tinctures, now that, that calls for fight energy, let me tell ya. Some things just taste horrible.

In the meantime, I am also in the midst of leading the Leadership Retreat #4 with Henry. It is so good to be able to extrovert, and to connect with numers of people. I keep forgetting how my treatment program can bring me to an aloneness and preoccupation with my condition. Not necessarily a good thing.

So being at Leadership - that is a good thing, even though I look a bit like a drunk as I haul around my IV bottles and continue to take my treatment protocols. Can you see it? Worth a chuckle. And trying to fit in all the detox and other things I do, well that IS a challenge. One that is progressing though.

Thank you for coming here. I don't have much time, yet I felt a need to reach out and connect. Smooch.

Love, Laura


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Thursday, February 23, 2006 8:22:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG -- PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE


SUNDAY, February 27, 2006

Thank you everyone who writes to me here. Thank you Maria, thank you for your post today, reaching out to 'touch.' And for knowing you do not need a profound comment to reach out. There is no right or profound way to post to this blog, as long as it comes from the 'touch' place.

To touch my fear, to touch my celebration, to touch my relief, to touch my aloneness, to touch my heart and my fight and my soul. Simply to communicate in a way intended to touch this whole human being over here, from the whole human being over there. You.

In thinking about friends and family with life threatening illnesses, well, I can only urge you to 'touch' them as much as possible. A quick note, a card, a call, a posie, a hand, a quickie email. Close-up and personal, or back-ed off at a distance. Whatever turns out to feel right for both of you. But don't hold back. Don't deny the 'touch.' It heals.

I have heard from several people who don't know what to say, or how to say it, and your post today was a great example. Nothing important to say, not needing anything important to say, just connecting. Something real, and present and true for you. Simply a touch of one human being to another.

I have begun to realize that this 'touch' thing is missing in lots of ways in our modern day of technology, and that the recipient doesn't need to have a life threatening illness to receive a touch. The person I reach out to 'touch' these days is someone who crossed my mind, if only for a moment, and I wanted them to know I was thinking about them.

To be on the receiving end of that, like I am with this blog, is an overwhelming gift, and an honor.

And I think about you, all of you who come here and touch me. Long after your posting. Sometimes I have your email address handy and sometimes I don't, so if you leave it here I'd love that. Then I can 'touch' you when I get a chance.

With gratitude on this Sunday night as the storm howls in.

Love, Laura CoachLaura@aol.com

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Monday, February 27, 2006 9:00:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

Hello All;

Retreat 4 was all I could have hoped for. I am certain I looked quaint on the first few days, trailing around my IV pole and IV’s. I was able to disengage from the IVs for three days and started feeling really free. The pain and fatigue level was up and down, yet I was thrilled and truly nourished by the chance to do my work. It fills my soul to work with and touch the souls of the participants at the retreat - the Earthquakes (as their group is so called). A joyful piece of work – performed by all.

And then to sad. To send a group of 22 people out into the world with all the best future ahead of them and to learn later that my brother had died that day. Yes, another cancer patient in the family, doing his own fight over the last three years.

And the sadness comes over in waves, and then is gone. I had thought I would talk with him again. One last word. Nothing was left to be said, only a final ‘touch.’ A toast to you Lance! And a touch to you, right on the forehead. And on the heart.

Love, Laura



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Tuesday, February 28, 2006 10:47:00 PM

 
Blogger Paul Sherman said...

Hello Sweetheart:

I'm so sorry to hear of your brother's passing. He was a very lucky man to have you as a sister.

Love,

Paul

Friday, March 03, 2006 10:51:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE –
for Laura only.

March 5, 2006

Hello visiters;

It is pouring down rain here today, all day, one of the few days where I am not tethered to an IV machine. Darn, not a day for a sunny outing.

It has been a bit of a ride this week. Yes, the waves still come and go because of my brother. And I had another follow up with the radiation oncologist, after doing a bone scan. It seems definite that in addition to the tumor in the spine bone there is a tumor in my right thigh bone. Sigh.

Going over my various other tests (not just the bone scan) he kept telling me that I have a ‘big problem’. He was urging me to start chemo therapy and whole brain radiation. I told him it would be a couple of weeks before I decided. I knew he was giving me his best advice and that he cared. I left there feeling overwhelmed, once again. Better prepared than last time, still, I felt mad and scared and wrung out. Because of my last experience with this guy I was prepared to let the feelings come. And then let them go. It took a couple of days, yet I knew it was healthy to let it keep on moving through.

And then later this week I discovered red blood in the toilet. At first I thought, Oh my god, no, another cancer metastasis. Metastasis to the colon!? Like Lance? While I didn’t keep on bleeding I tossed and turned till the next morning. That is when I learned that your liver can get pretty toxic and cause internal hemorrhoids (that you don’t know are there) which can suddenly burst, draining a very vivid and bright red color. It scared the heck out of me, and then, what a relief.

Yes, writing about that here may be indelicate, so be forwarned, cause I am probably not the delicate type. I need to post here when the wind gets taken out of my sail, its part of my journey. And with shyness I need to say that when I get the heck scared out of me, that is a time when I need to be touched, to hear from you, if you will. Because it leaves a residue and a whole – this being scared. And that residue needs to be replaced, that whole needs to be filled - with just a word, any word. Or words.

Know that your touch is savored. Tasted over and over again, reread, rediscovered, redigested. And appreciated. Thank you for listening, thank you for coming.


Love, Laura

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Sunday, March 05, 2006 7:48:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA - TO THE BLOG - PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE

Dear all;

What a week this has been. Rain, sun, snow, hail, storms and more rain. Maybe that had something to do with the up and down ride I had, starting with major vomiting last Monday night. I know more about those particular stomach muscles now than I ever want to know again. Tuesday was recovering from Monday and then on Wednesday I started shaking, then followed by a fever. Thursday and Friday were all about recovering from Wednesday. Exhaustion and nausea. All of this activity is hopefully a good sign and indicates that necrosis (which can means that cancer cells are dying off) is occurring and my body is trying to process the toxins from that. Let us source that please.

Like most of the week, Saturday was an IV day, and I started to feel the return of my strength on that day. And today, Sunday, yippee, I am untethered from the IVs, able to move around freely and I’m feeling good too. Which is a particularly good thing because I have lots to do to prepare for my departure Gawd awful early on Tuesday morning when I will be flying to Chicago.

Over six months ago I agreed to do a key note speech before the Conference Board’s Executive Coaching event in Chicago. At the time the conference was at least six months out in the future and I was in the heaviest part of the ‘cancer has metastasized, now what’ journey. At that time it felt like a risky endeavor to agree to this presentation, however it was my first MAJOR confront with my stand - Was I planning on Living or not? You bet! Then I better be putting that out there in the world, rather than hedging and fearing that I might not be alive in March.

I have a back-up person, sweet Rick Tamlyn, if need be. Yet I notice that preparing for this key note has, like most extroverting activities, really enlivened my spirit and my energy. It’s like my body was hurrying up to get all the detox out of my system so I could be gone for two days. Then I come right back to the clinic. It’s sort of like parole.

On a sadder note, Dana Reeves death from Lung Cancer has stirred up people on the Larry King show tonight. She was only 44. Lung cancer is one of the deadliest of cancers, least likely for survival, especially when using Chemo Therapy. For the sake of future conversations I urge you to read the article about the 5 year difference chemo therapy has (or has not) had with cancer patients by going to the following link. http://www.cancerdecisions.com/030506.html.

And on a final and even sadder note I end this post tonight holding my dear colleague and friend and fellow Prison Bigger Game player Nancy S in my prayers and in my arms tonight. Nancy, I know that the pancreatic cancer has a strong foothold, and I know you have used it to teach you and expand your soul. I hold you close, I touch all the light and the vision and the passion that you are, and I am thankful for you in my life. Know that the tears are about sadness and missing, and about celebrating and renewing the energy we both enjoyed together. I am with you, now and always.

Love, Laura

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Sunday, March 12, 2006 8:57:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only

March 15, 2006

Here I am, here I am. I’m on the plane, flying back home to California. Tomorrow I go back to the clinic, and so far the parole has been delightful. Of course I didn’t sleep well any night, but I’ll sleep in the car on the way home.

It turned out to be a pretty great experience in so many ways. First, just get how lucky I was to have both Leslie help me load my luggage on the plane. Then we met Susan at the Chicago airport for a great, chatty drive into the city. Jabber, jabber, jabber. Poor Leslie and Susan - they told the extrovert in me to just gush, which is what I did on the way into town and all the time I was unpacking and preparing for the dinner on Tuesday night.
Te three of us joined the other presenters for dinner on night. And then, after my presentation, I got to sit in on a panel on Executive Development before lunch. Oh it was good. I forget how much I liked my work, the pleasure I get from what I do, and how I delight in peering into the world of business and seeing what is working, what is not, and trying to identify the appetite that needs serving. I know that I pushed myself too hard there, before either of the cancer diagnosis’ – and work got hard, brittle and no fun.

This was fun!! And the presentation went pretty well. Leslie and Susan thought it went really well. My sister said she was proud of me. I musta done good. (-;. As some of you know it is unusual for me to use PowerPoint, but standing in front of a room for an hour and a half I needed to be able to point to the model I was working with, and to sometimes give them something to step into they moved around the model with me. This was my first presentation where I used 17 slides (oh my gawd) which made me kind of nervous cause I didn’t know how I would do with the PowerPoint technology. I goofed and went the wrong direction sometimes, but they didn’t seem to let that bother them. And while there was no standing ovation many people told me afterward that they appreciated the presentation.

And one woman came up to me at the end and said she wanted me to know about the gift that she was taking away. That had been worrying that what she was trying to do at work was too much for them, and that now she knew that what she was trying to do wasn’t bold enough, wasn’t big enough. She said she knew that I would be happy about that. Right on lady.

In retrospect all the work that I did for this presentation was really good for me too. I got to examine The Bigger Game through a new lens, and to see what a powerful coaching model it is to use for a whole organization. Imagine working for an organization where all the managers and maybe even all the staff had tapped into their soul’s longing and found an overlay with what was wanted within the space of the organization. Anyway, I came away with so many new insights about what is needed in a coaching initiative, and some of what the marketplace is hungry for. Hhhhmmmm.

I am also steadfast in my appreciation for the Spherical Dynamics - now called the 5 Dynamics program. It is a typology profiler that you do on the computer in a short period of time, and reveals where you most easily and readily put your energy. Now they have a coaching model to go with it. I can see how valid it is. Still. Most of you don’t know what I am talking about I know. That’s OK, it really just points out the Strategizer, Activator I am is all turned on. Giggle.

Except for not really sleeping on Tuesday night, I felt pretty good on the whole trip. I did feel pain in my back during the travel part, although I was really good at asking for help in loading my suitcase overhead. The pain does make me wonder if the tumor in my spine is starting to make itself known. Tomorrow I will begin negotiating a date to begin doing radiation on my spine, and in the higher chest area. The plan is to see how to break open the cancer cells there and sweep them out with the aid of my immune system. It feels strange to be anticipating this trip and now, to have it be over. And now I am back to anticipating my treatment program with my focus on choosing to live. It is quite a different focus from the one called – avoid dying. Lots of pills. Lots of IVs. Lots of fight.

Thanks for coming and letting me share my excitement with you. And now back to the bay area. Time to put the computer away. So good night. Good life.

Love, Laura

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006 8:29:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE


Hello all;

I know, you might wonder, where am I. The day after I came back from Chicago, last Thursday, I went to the clinic. In the midst of my protocol I started shaking, and then spiking a fever. That really wiped me out for the rest of that day. I do have to say that I applaud my body, and thank it for waiting to get back to the clinic before it hit a healing crisis. It would have been very inconvenient on the plane flight home. (-:

Since then I have been pretty tired. And more tired. Yet I had a wonderful weekend with my friend Breeze who came to be with me while Judy took a weekend away with friends and quiet and meditation. She really needed a rest. Yay, and thank you Breeze.

It was sunny on the weekend, and on Sunday I got away from the IVs and Breeze and I drove to the ocean -- a little lunch, a little adventure, and a lot of sun. I had low energy but was filled up by the sun and the adventure.

I was at the clinic again this week. The treatment worked well. Still I have continued to be tired this week. And back came the rain.

The body is now getting serious about fighting the cancer. And today I did the intake for radiation on my spine and on my chest area. I start that radiation next Tuesday.

So it has been another day of tired. Please, send me your support and the positivity that my body is doing what it most needs to do right now. I know that is a good thing, and I know that tired is a natural way to feel.

And soon, a look at - What does the world need to know about cancer? More, later.

A quick hello, and a quick good night.

Love,

Laura

Wednesday, March 22, 2006 9:21:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only – March 27, 2005

Thank you Shekinah;

I love Mary Oliver and had been thinking about some words from one of her poems and couldn’t remember them completely. And then you brought the poem here. Thank you so much. Because the words to the poem end with this phrase.

Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?


Laura, what is it you plan to do today with your one wild and precious life, on a Monday in March, with the trees coming into bud, and the rains waiting to return? With a day to be spent all day at the clinic, with the radiation treatment starting tomorrow.

And of course the other Mary Oliver poem, yes, I must remember that I do not have to crawl on my knees. I just need to be sure that I pay attention to my one wild and precious life – today.

And I must take in strength for the coming radiation treatment. And I must find strength for articulating my voice about cancer and medical treatment. And I must find the greatest perception to see what the hunger is. What is the yet-to-be-known hunger of those who do not yet know what it is like to be caught up in the life or death struggles with disease and illness? And what is my stand in the area? So here is what is on my mind today. Thanks for coming. For your words of caring, for your touch.

Love, Laura

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Monday, March 27, 2006 8:08:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Good Morning All;

Just an update. The radiation was postponed by the Doctor at my clinic. I had a healing crisis on Monday that wiped me out and my white blood cells have been going down, down and down. Before I take on more treatment that wipes out white blood cells (radiation) we are trying to beef up the white blood cell count. I am waiting though to find out what the insurance will cover of the medication that does that beefs ups white blood cells. The drug store says the cost for 20 treatments is over $4,000.00. Aacchhh!!! It will work out though, I know.

I’ve been taking in more vitamin C IVs every day, and have been detoxing all week. As usual. It is like riding a bucking bronco. First its good news. Then I get kicked in the butt, then that’s good news, and then I almost fall off, then it hurts, then it gets better. Often I am just wiped out and don’t have the energy to write or talk much. It’s such a mystery. And the right ride. For me. That’s what feels good. It’s the right ride for me.

And then, like Melissa said, it’s about the Love. I send it in abundance to you all. And thank YOU for sending so much to me.

Love, Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Thursday, March 30, 2006 8:14:00 AM

 
Blogger Paul Sherman said...

Hey Laura,

I'm sourcing LOTS of white blood cells for you. Keep on fighting!

Love,
Paul

Thursday, March 30, 2006 2:15:00 PM

 
Blogger Dave Lilly said...

Hi Laura,
Susan and I are both thinking of you tonight, sending our love for healing and folding you in our arms and hearts.
Love,
David and Susan

Sunday, April 23, 2006 11:47:00 PM

 
Blogger Jan said...

Hi Laura,

I'm one of those who have hesitated to write you, because I'm just one of sooo many, out here on the outskirts of your life, that I didn't feel like my input would be important. However, as I find myself checking back here on a regular basis to follow your journey, I realize that I need to let you know how much I'm pulling for you, praying for you, wishing you well, over and over, many times during the day.


I completed CTI training last March, so I'm a "babe" in this are arena. How often I found myself wondering, "Who is this Laura Whitworth?" ... This dynamic woman who wrote the book that I devoured and studied and worked so diligently to process. "Who is this woman who founded this phenomenal school ... who has become so successful ... who has empowered, and influenced so many?" To me, you were so far "up there" ... in a place where I could never dream of being. How I admired you, albeit, from afar.

And then ... you were hit with this monumental challenge, and as I read your posts, I realize you're all of those things that seemed so intimidating ... but you're also a fellow human being, with fears, and feelings, and questions, and struggles. My heart goes out to you in so many ways.

Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers and heart. I don't know what the future holds, for ANY of us. The struggle you're in now is so real, and so consuming ... but then ... as you said in one of your posts ... you, or any one of us, could get hit by a truck tomorrow. I call it the "flower pot could fall on your head at any minute" theory. This knowledge has become an important aspect of the way I try to live. Like everyone, I've struggled in life to "figure it all out". I've sought, and searched, and strived, and learned, and .... (fill in the blank). I really did think that I would someday find "the answer" ... the "formula" .. for living the perfect life I was meant to live.

Embarking on the CTI journey was my last endeavor. I absolutely thought that through Coaching, I would find that answer. Guess what ... I didn't. Everyone who knew me well said that I was born to coach, and I felt the same way. However, I came away from CTI with more questions than when I'd started. Talk about a bummer ! I was soooo disappointed ... mostly in myself. I struggled for a while to make it as a coach ... planning all the while to enter certification. After a year or so, I "stumbled" into a job that I love. It has nothing to do with coaching ... and everything to do with coaching. How amazing.

What did I learn during that year of strife, and self doubt and questions??? So much more than I could ever express, but here is my attempt.

I learned that when I "let go" ... (Oh how cliche' this sounds) ... I found "it". What is "IT"? ... It's so very simple, and yet so very profound. It's just "being". I've learned what it REALLY means to take each moment... and, like you said in your latest post ... just "savor". I have the profound sense that any minute could be my last. So .. if that's true, what do I want?

I realize that I want to "savor" the little things. The laugh of my beautiful little 3 year old neighbor with sparkling blue eyes, and bouncy blond curls. I relish just watching her "be"... as she discovers the world, and her life. I love watching her older brother play basketball with the older kids, and watching him mature as he meets the challenge of becoming better and better because of their influence.

I savor the fact that my wonderful, yet very human husband thinks to bring me a "Hershey bar with almonds" when he knows I'm being "hormonal" (which, at age 53 is quite often).

I savor the sound of my son's voice on the phone, asking my opinion of how he should plan his future. I savor the sun, and the rain, and my sweet little "house rabbit" who snuggles with me in bed, and runs to meet me at the end of the day with her ears flopping.

Most of all, I savor this ... that at each moment, of each day ... when it's all said and done... the most important thing to me is that I touched a life ... with love, and kindness, and gentleness, and grace and dignity.

I am so deeply aware now, that at any moment the "hammer could fall" ... and I'd be hit by that flower pot, or cancer, or any of those things that happen to us. I am constantly aware that if this does happen ... how would I want to be remembered, and it always comes down to just what I said. That I "savored" the life that I was given ... that I appreciated what I had ... and WHO I had.

That I touched those who were in my circle in some simple way. I don't know if this makes any sense at all ... and I didn't even know how much I "KNEW" this, until I started writing to you tonight.

I have found myself wondering over and over again if, faced with the same circumstances, I would be willing to put up that the "fight" that you have. That bothered me, because I really don't think I would want to. This brought up the question of "why? ... what's wrong with me ... that I wouldn't want to fight?" And then I realized that it doesn't matter that I answer that.

What matters is that I savor "now" ... and trust that I'll have the grace and wisdom to know what I should do, if and/or when that ever happens. What matters .. is that I cherish each moment as if it were my last... and that each life I've touched ... has been blessed in some small way. It's so very simple, but such a deep, abiding, quiet joy. If I do GREAT things ... or if I do small things ... If I end up with fame and glory ... or slip quietly throught life, what matters to me is that I savor it all and gently touch those around me with love.

Please know that you are in my thoughts and that I'm sending you good wishes and blessings each and every day. I thank the universe for "lending" you to us for however long that is. I thank you for all that you've done and all that you continue to do ... just by being YOU.

Be blessed and know that you are loved....

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 7:37:00 PM

 
Blogger Jan said...

I

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 7:45:00 PM

 
Blogger Melissa O'Mara said...

Hi Laura!

Love your last couple of posts, and you have me musing, as usual! On happiness, what makes me happy? Being present with my children, really present... like I was when we went camping over Memorial Day weekend, and I really played with Erin on the most fantastic playground. Being wanted and appreciated at work in a way that is unexpected... like a recent conversation which opened up a possible new door. My husband's declaration that the ice cream and chocolate chip cookies were going to be quarantined to the basement freezer, as we watched Honey, We're Killing the Kids... I can't tell you how long I've been quietly beating the health and nutrition drum for this family... (now if the kids would just voluntarily give up donut holes, juice boxes, and white bread...) New ideas, flashes of "brilliance" that ignite a new kind of hope, or a new perspective on an old topic... Having a rainy day to cook and prepare an early dinner for friends... Really good music, and music with a cause (the new Dixie Chick's album, for example!)... People commenting on how well my son takes care of his little sister (and watching him in action)... Hugs and kisses... So many things...

On urgency... it raises such an interesting question. Good, bad? How is it different than stress? This one will take some more noodling. However, I think you might really be onto something when you talked about the problem with chronic or ongoing stress, vs. the sprint of an urgent need (like your phone call). A book I really like is "The Power of Full Engagement, Managing Energy not Time". It sounds like your urgent response on that phone call was perhaps energizing for you, not draining. You were able to sprint, and then breathe! So perhaps there is something in there... a series of sprints with time to re-energize in between? And for me, there is that all-important alignment with values and compelling purpose. I am not good at "urgent" when it's out of alignment with my values. Nor do I want to be good at that! I know the kinds of requests that drain me.

So, nothing terribly earth shattering there, I guess. Food for thought, which is good and satisfying...

Lots of love to you Laura, talk to you soon,

Melissa

Sunday, June 04, 2006 8:17:00 PM

 
Blogger Susan V. said...

Hi Laura, I've been trying to locate any recent postings from you on your blog and I'm not having any luck. The last I heard you traveled to Mexico for treatment and I'm so wanting to know what is happening. I've been thinking, praying and visualizing your healing taking place. After having spent the afternoon with you at the clinic and understanding the logic of your protocol I know how to focus my energy and vision on the cancer cells breaking up and all the toxins, parasites, baacteria, etc. being flushed out of your body via the detox process. Your body is doing amazing things. It is enduring the stress of the treatments. Your organs are wanting freedom from the foreign matter that is interrupting their normal, life giving function. Recently I had a very insightful conversation with an expectant mother who had an ultrasound during the 10th week of her pregancy. Being ignorant of what is seen on the ultrasound and curious about what is happening, she described what is seen on the screen....a pulsating bright spot. There are no limbs, nor an outline of a head or body. Just a heart. And it dawned on me -- it all starts with the heart. The form of a human being starts witht he heart. The mind starts in the heart. The organs are generated from the heart. Again, it all starts with the heart. I don't know why this hit me so profoundly. Perhaps because I now realize more than ever that my essence is contained in my heart. And that if I really want to know who I am and what I am about I need not look any further than what lies in my heart. Laura, your heart is large. It continues to birth you and all that you represent to the people you continue to touch with your life. Keep allowing your heart to bless you, love you and regenerate healthy new cells. Let your heart gracefully flush out the foreign matter in your body that no longer serves you. Know that I continue to send you bright loving light and prayers....Love, Susan

Saturday, June 24, 2006 9:35:00 PM

 

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