Sometime during this long cold winter, Lisa, my Yaqui traveler friend, called me up and asked, “well, are the bees gone?” She was referring to the distinct image/sensation I had during a couple pipe ceremonies last fall that the tumor was an agitated beehive, and that the smoke from the pipe was lulling them, calming them into slumber.
Without thinking I answered, “no, Lisa. It’s fucking cold outside. Why would the bees want to go anywhere when it’s nice and warm inside my head?” A little later in the conversation I said, “They’re not going anywhere until spring.”
I think we were both kind of stunned by the certainty of my uncensored and unpremeditated answer, but it felt true and right to me: the tumor/beehive was in winter dormancy. But it must not have felt right to her. She told me later that she began to work on visualizing little tiny men dressed in bee keeper suits marching into my left ear while I was asleep, and each carefully, gently, and respectfully picking up a slumbering bee and carrying it back out my left ear to…I forget what she said, but hopefully somewhere nice and safe, warm and full of flowers. The point was she was picturing the little men removing the bees from my head.
Well, as it turns out, my first post radiation, mid chemo MRI on February 4, 2020 showed that the tumor has retracted and is behaving itself., or should I say bee-having itself. The oncologist at Penrose was positively giddy, while Henry and I, being prepared for grim news, were flabbergasted…and delighted. The onc recommended that I stay on the 28-day chemo regimen (five days of taking 285 mg of temador pills and then 23 days of rest), decrease and eventually wean myself off the Keppra (anti-seizure med) and come back to Penrose in three months for another MRI when once again I get to subdue my claustrophobia and lie completely still within a magnetic tube and listen to yet another cacophony of the alien xylophone/fog horn/ferry blasts turned up to Grateful Dead concert levels. But outside, it will be warm and flowery, May in Colorado Springs. Maybe, with your help, I can coax the rest of the stowaways to fly away into an abundance of bee havens?
So, knock on titanium, this is the roller coaster ride we get to be on for a while. Meanwhile, I look forward to more pipe ceremonies, images/sensations/metaphors to work with, turkey tail mushroom extract, and embracing the collective effort of everyone who is praying for and imagining me thriving and bee-ing for a long, long time. Thank you. Like the bees, we are working together.