February is an important month for me for several reasons. I was born this month; it is Black History Month; it is the month that we put a spotlight on love. I am truly grateful to have made it to my 45th birthday. These past 5 years have been the most challenging of my life. These years have been marked by loss, by a deepened connection to community, and by love.
I have always based my blog posts on writing about what is true and most present in my life. When I attempt to stray from writing about what is true, it falls flat. The truth is restorative. Writing about what is true reconciles me with myself and with my beloved tribe of therapists, coaches and entrepreneurs.
I Am Not this Thing…I am Still Me
On December 29, 2018, I was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Since that time I have endeavored to tell the people in my life who needed to know as well as those who I wanted to know this information of what has been up until now a fairly private journey. Over the past few days, I have decided that the benefits of sharing this more publicly outweigh the risks of sharing. Sharing this information means being exposed to the fears and feelings of others. The truth is I don’t want to deal with the weight and responsibility of responding to other people’s needs around this…even though I care about those who are concerned. *Please note that this is all that I have or want to say about the diagnosis at this time.
The benefits of sharing are connected with being able to live out loud. I want to be in the truth of my life as much as possible. I don’t want to be closeted by a cancer diagnosis. I also want to encourage everyone who reads this to listen fundamentally to your body. I am amazed at what I was able to ignore about my internal experiences. I adapted to gradually not being able to breathe and not sleeping well and generally not feeling good. I chalked it all up to stress. I told myself that when the stress of caregiving for my mother was over I would begin to feel better; I would get sleep and breathe more deeply. I didn’t believe or acknowledge the signals from my body. I couldn’t tell what was true. There was so much happening all of the time with my mother’s decline that I waited until it was almost too late to notice what was happening to me.
I’m Doing Very Well
I started cancer treatment on February 1, 2019. * Please note that the following is all that I have to say about my treatment at this time.
- I am very fortunate to be eligible for a medication that came on the market and out of clinical trials about 7 or 8 months ago. This medication suppresses the gene that is causing the cancer in my left lung. It actually causes the fluid from the cancer and the nodules to retreat.
- I am fortunate that for the first time in a very long time, I have good health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
- I am fortunate that I bought a critical illness policy last year well before any knowledge of not being well.
- I am fortunate that I can now breathe without supplemental oxygen and that I am able to sleep without supplemental oxygen.
- I am fortunate to have my sisters and brother and close friends who came to my aide and have stayed by my side.
- I am fortunate to be able to continue some of my work at a distance via video conference so that I can rest when needed and attend to my needs and to my mom’s needs.
It is because of the fact that I am feeling better that I wanted to share what is true for me right now in my life. I am fortunate that I belong to many beloved communities and groups of people. These communities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- My high school alumni tribe consisting of old friends and new.
- My graduate school tribe which includes 3 of my dearest long time friends.
- My sister-friend tribe of naturalistas and spiritual warriors.
- My mental health professionals tribe, including my colleagues; former graduate students; and former supervisees.
How You Can Help
Because I have many beloved communities and people, there are many people who are dear to me and are learning about this information by reading this blog post. I am hopeful that you all understand and will continue to understand that I am taking all of the space that I need as I need it to deal with what is fundamental and true. I need space just as much as I need support. I welcome your kind words, prayers and affirmations for my whole and complete healing…as well as my comfort during challenging times. I am hoping that the benefit of the collective positive energy toward me will outweigh the challenge for me around the potential for increased correspondence that could be overwhelming. I have given myself permission to respond or not respond and to take my time. If you feel compelled to email, text or call me, please know that I may not be available. The truth is that am busy trying to both save my life and to live it.
While no one can be on this journey for me…I am not alone on this journey. Please believe me when I say that I have so many wonderful friends in addition to my family to call on when needed. Please know that while naturally I have been afraid at times, my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I am alive and I live in the present. I am not living in the future or the past. I tell myself what is true: that “right now in this moment all is well.”
Copyright © 2019 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.