The last few months have seen an almost complete dropoff in my literary activity. I was about a quarter of the way through the second draft of a book of poetry when I received a diagnosis of cancer. This flung me into an extraordinary period of activity and learning, and the sudden need to be very gentle to myself. At first I responded by writing poetry about the new situation, but that soon ebbed. There were other things I needed to do and experience more than I needed to write.
On Thursday I'll have my second and hopefully final surgery. No need, apparently, for chemo or radiation.
I am extremely lucky to live where I do. Despite the many faults of our medical system, in Vancouver I have access to excellent cancer specialists, among the best in North America, paid for by medicare. I would never be able to afford this care without it. There is an integrative cancer health clinic -- Inspire Health -- that provides enormous amounts of information and support. And the Callanish Society leads retreats for cancer patients four times a year. I attended one last month and was touched very deeply by the wisdom and care of the women who led it and by those who attended. The effects are enduring and I am in a far better position now to face both the cancer and the surgery than I was in mid-December when I found out. My friends and family, yoga and Buddhist communities, have been wonderfully supportive and kind.
As Nancy Hopps says at the end of her various guided visualizations (for cancer, surgery, etc) -- "For this, and so much more, I am grateful."