When I awakened yesterday after a restless night, it was seven degrees outside, the wind was howling and I still had the sinus headache I’ve had for several days. It was also my day to drive to Boston for a CT scan. I dutifully sang my little song, “I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive,” before stumbling out of bed.
Slightly revived by a cup of coffee, I realized that not only was it the winter solstice, but our son August’s 24th birthday. So that was a good thing. When it was time to go, David had already started my car and turned on the heater. Which made me feel warm inside and out.
I popped Cat Power’s “Free” into the CD player and I started down that long and windy road.
When I am a passenger in a car, I almost always fall asleep. However, if I am driving, I am not only alert, but also in a mode very conducive to thought. Ideally I would learn how to utilize a recording device, as I’m pretty certain many of my most creative ideas come to me while behind the wheel. Maybe I should have been a trucker cum artist–it might have proved a good combination.
By the time I arrived at the imaging center, I was itching to get inside and jot a few ideas down. I selected a seat in the waiting room next to the thick plate glass windows. The glass kept the wind out but admitted sunshine, and when I was done writing I closed my eyes and enjoyed the warm sun on my face. My phone rang. It was Jose and the first thing he said was “Why are you answering your phone? Isn’t there a sign that says no cell phones?” That’s Jose. He was calling to wish me a good scan and a Merry Christmas. Moments later, my name was called.
After changing into your johnnies, you place your belongings in a locker. There were three lockers left: numbers six, eleven and thirteen. I made a mental note to grab eleven (half of my lucky number), but when I came back around the corner a gentleman was already placing his belongings in that spot. So it was six. As I joined him in the waiting room, I made a comment how nobody wanted locker number thirteen. He concurred that prior to a scan he was looking for all the good luck he could get. We discussed the fact that we were both, perhaps against all reason, superstitious. I shared with him that as I enter the CT scanner, I always visualize my lungs as clean and healthy. His scan was of his brain, but he has been doing the same thing for eleven years now. I think maybe he needed that number eleven locker.
Whether or not I actually believe in magic and superstition (for many people prayer would replace my chants and visualization), I do have faith in the power of these beliefs. The comfort of ritual is part of the equation. But more than that, the possibility that all evidence to the contrary, there just might be a miraculous solution to a seemingly hopeless situation. Call it hope if you will.
When I was diagnosed with lung cancer I was well aware that my survival was a long shot. Once my cancer had spread to both lungs, it would have been very easy to lose hope. This is where my imagination has been useful. Since childhood I have enjoyed fairy tales and fantasy novels and films. At times I picture myself as a character in one of these sagas. A character faced with insurmountable obstacles who will nonetheless prevail.
It is fantasy, this dabbling in magic thoughts. But as it involves positive imagery, because it is comforting, I will continue to believe. If not in magic, than in the power of hope and of a strong will to live. And the very real possibility that this attitude manifests in a stronger immune system. It’s a heady mix; science, medicine and a belief in otherworldly sources of power. Yet it is possible for these different approaches to be complimentary as well. It works for me.
I want to wish you hapy christmas days..i hope your scan will be good.Do you get the results before christmas? I experiennce the same as you do when driving..sometimes i think i should drive the whole day long …
Lots of love
Caroline, Happy Christmas to you as well. I won’t find out until after, but that’s ok. I like your image of driving all day long…too bad we don’t live closer to each other, we could go on a road trip (and make a movie!) Love, Linnea
Ach. I missed you. My phone rang once when I couldn’t get to it this morning. Could it have been? There was no message. I have been remiss in not writing, but I think of you so often and hoped to see you. Next time for sure! I always liked to visualize, by the way. Sometimes I still do for simply ordinary things. Linnea, I want to wish you not only a Happy Christmas, but also many blessings in the New Year! I cannot promise to be a better correspondent as I am on overload, but I can promise to think of you and to send positive vibes and giggles (also important) whenever I do. You are so full of life and joy, good health ( yes! those lovely pink cheeks!) and energy that nothing bad can find a place to thrive in you. May you continue to go from strength to strength! L’chaim! Hugs, Ginger
Ginger, I was in Chelsea rather than Boston, but I will be in the city next week. I will email you about a possible rendez-vous. And you too–those blessings in the New Year. As much as I love Christmas, I like the promise of a new year even more. To life! Love, Linnea
Linnea, Let me thank you for this wonderful site I was diagnosed again (last time 06, breast and lung) just last week and have been searching online for more support. I so agree with you about magical thoughts. I use many healing tapes especially those from BelleRuth Naperstak and they have made me feel so good. I was offered a clinical trial this time but havent decided yet which way to go. Im so blessed to be with a powerful group of docs at University of California Medical Center. Again thanks so much for this blog. I will be here often. Have a wonderful holiday.
Pegge, I am of course sorry that you had cause to find this site, but welcome! I will check out those tapes, and I hope you have a good holiday as well. Linnea
I found my way to your blog this past summer when a beloved friend was diagnosed with lung cancer. I have been following ever since.
I just wanted to say that as a practicing Wiccan, I dabble in magical thoughts all the time. You’d be surprised what focus and intention can accomplish!
On this night when everyone is wishing Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyous kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, I want to wish you many blessed miracles.
Thank you. You are a source of inspiration and strength to many!
Tracy, pleased to make your acquaintance, and I happily accept the wish of blessed miracles. I checked out your blog as well, and will continue to tune in. Thanks for an offering of friendship. Linnea
I must add my comments to your blog. I just stumbled upon it by chance, and it has lifted my spirits immensely, for which I salute and thank you. I have been in treatment for limited SCLC for six months, after losing my husband to NSCLC two months before. In addition, I live abroad, far from family … well, enough of the sob story.
Your words have elated my heart, and that is where I need to stay. I wish you continued good cheer, as well as good health, and I will be stopping in occasionally to submerge myself in your lovely language and good will.
Susan, thank you. Your comment has touched me deeply; I can’t imagine the sequence of events that you have gone through, or that you are now doing so alone. I wish you strength and good cheer-Linnea
a comment for Susan:
I also lived abroad for many years and wonder where you are. Perhaps I – or anyone else who checks in here- knows someone there to substitue for family.
It is obvious that you are a strong woman, but I also send you extra-strong vibes and cheering thoughts. Ginger
Thanks to both of you, Linnea and Ginger. I am always surprised to see how much pure human warmth swarms in cyberspace! And possibly just to sate that also human curiosity, Ginger, I can tell you that I am located in Spain, and have been here for 35 years, so it’s not as if I have no support system, but then again, it isn’t home, either! But we all handle what we must…
Best of luck to both of you … and good will and good wishes!
Hi Susan, I am glad to hear that you are not really all alone. A support system is quite necessary and I hope you will take advantage of what you have. (I lived in Jerusalem and Geneve, so not much help there in any case.) I am not often on the blog, but will be thinking about you – and Linnea and I will toast you with our tea when we meet for an hour next week:
to strength and peace of mind and all the very best! Buena Salud! Ginger
Muchas gracias, Ginger, and many thanks as well for your good wishes.
Ahhhhh … how I wish I could just hit a key and somehow send myself to your side of the puddle, and invite myself to that “cuppa” for an hour next week. I would love to raise my brew to the two of you in the midst of that glorious winter weather I understand you are enjoying