In about ten days, I will be getting another MRI scan and I’m working on picturing what I want: another clear scan, a frank discussion with the oncologist about the R word — remission — and a flexible exit strategy. No, not the final shuffling exit from our mortal coil. I mean exiting from Sensei Glioblastoma’s dojo. No hard feelings, but there are other dojos to attend and other senseis to bow into before bowing into the one we must all eventually bow into: Sensei Mortality.
An ambitious request? An unrealistic picture? Probably. A quick Google search linking the words glioblastoma and remission reveals how seldom that occurs, glioblastoma being one of the more tenacious and stubborn of the brain cancers, hard to excise with clean margins because of its starlike branches grasping and penetrating into whatever nook and cranny they can. As Henry and I quickly found out after our consultation with Doctor Doom, “glioblastoma? It always comes back.” I have yet to find an oncologist — even the smooth talking, sociable, nice ones — who begs to differ.
Even though my doubting voice whispers that maybe January’s clear scan was a fluke, an anomaly, a false negative, even a figment of my imagination, every other voice in my tap-rooted body feels strongly that the GBM is gone, cleared out. My reiki shamanic healer said her guides told her the same thing — I was clear and filled with healthy pink/purple light. Maybe the beehive has been gently extracted and relocated into a harmonious and flower-filled home. I feel that I have learned what I needed to learn and I am turning what I am learning into a book that might help someone else bow into whatever unexpected, formidable, challenging, and scary sensei they must face. I am turning my dismal prognosis into a creative gift. If that is not a signal that it is near time to bow off the mat and bow out of the dojo, I don’t know what is.
But to manifest this picture, this request, I need help from those of you who pray for me and care for me, especially from those who are forging connections into the shamanic spirit world where all things are sourced. This isn’t about the brave lone warrior anymore… if it ever was. This manifestation will take a community of your healing intentions.
I know that Western medicine will tug on the rope and balk. Even though they are aware that I am using a multidisciplinary approach in my treatment plan, I expect they will take a more cautious and cynical view by advising me not to abandon allopathic medicine. They will say stay on the chemotherapy, keep getting quarterly MRIs and lab work, and, even as they fully admit that the chemo itself is poison with its own nasty side effects, the lab work will reveal only so much, and they have no sure long-term cure for glioblastoma. I will listen and weigh and ask questions and listen and weigh again.
But I will also be looking at the changing light outside the dojo’s windows. I will be feeling my breath and the beating of my heart. And I will be tapping into that inner, wise, unnameable energy that compels me to do what I need to do.