Twist of Fate

PALLIATIVE CARE NURSE BECOMES PALLIATIVE CARE PATIENT On October 17, 2013, RN and Author, Judith Redwing Keyssar, was diagnosed with stage 2c ovarian cancer. When a healthcare professional suddenly becomes a patient, it is an unexpected event and a challenge to mind, body and spirit. In Chinese the characters for “crisis” mean “Dangerous Opportunity.”...

First Day of Chemo

I awaken early, headcache, can’t sleep. I listen to guided imagery about chemo and it relaxes me enough to get up, drink tea, do some yoga before this adventure begins. I set up an “altar” on the tray table at the hospital infusion center—a page of affirmations, rocks from Jerusalem in a heart box...

Miracles of Healing

MIRACLES OF HEALING and TRANSFORMATION DURING THESE HOLY DAYS This time of year—the “holy days”—a time for gratitude and love as we prepare for the Light to return. Thanks-giving, Hannukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Kwanza. A time for remembering the power of light, at the darkest of times. Remembering the fact that “miracles happen” here...

The Power of Water

Each drop so precious we know Life cannot exist with water The earth is mostly water We are mostly water The red tulips in the clear glass vase drank all their water in one night. In the morning they were all completely drooping down the outside of the vase. Seemingly dead. But then, the...

Hair Thoughts

The freedom of illness The freedom of letting go of hair The freedom of letting go of images of self The freedom of letting go of what is important. Changing what is important Seeing differently Hair as power. Hair as image. Opportunity for transformation is HUGE HAIR—symbol in many myths and traditions—of power, of...

Approaching a New Year

Friends look at me and smile “I love your hair” this way (gone) “you look great” “I still feel your spirit shining through” I have become more accustomed to not having hair To wearing hats and bright scarves wrapped stylishly around my round head Or not. When I’m around the beings who love me,...

Second Chemo

Waiting is part of this. Always. There are always lines and people who are sick and frustrated and coughing. You must learn patience as a huge part of this lesson. Nothing happens in the time you imagine it will. Chemo goes easily. I bring in the photos and the cards of the Yew trees...

Surrender

and a SURPRISE GUEST in the Circle I am reminded by friends of the importance of surrendering. For the past 2 days I had to surrender to these powerful medications, as what else is there to do. I cannot fight them. I cannot pretend they are not coursing through my veins and making me...

Fear and Fatigue

Enough rain to make the street wets and the plants ache for more this morning. Melting down last night as I began the nightly ritual of wanting to sleep, needing to sleep and yet as soon as I lie down, my mind wakes up, the body pains increase, and soon I am agitated and...

Time For Pruning

ROSE PRUNING DAY! Pain, aching, queasiness, fear, fatigue, lethargy. These are not typically words I use to describe my state of being, but in the 8 days post-chemotherapy, this is how I feel all the time. Yes, some of the medications help, but they too have their side effects and issues. I now understand...

Spring in Albion

The gateway of redwood trees allows entry to this realm of beauty and healing to the vista of widened river hoping for the sea to the wild white waters of wind and ocean the knowing whales swimming deep below Blossoms How can one describe these tiny brilliant flowers Who go from bud to fruit...

The Last Chemo!!!

THE LAST CHEMO It is day 2 of my LAST CHEMO TREATMENT and I am going to say the last ever because truly, down deep in my core, I believe that I am cancer-free and will not host these mutant cells again in my lifetime. SO BE IT, and so it is! In the...

On Reading Bill’s Book

Monday, April 14: On this day of the Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse, and Passover–a commemoration of the liberation of a people from slavery, of our own liberation from suffering and stuck and narrow places, into the light of a new day, into a new found freedom,  I wanted to share these with you. My...

First Day of the Rest of My Life

Last night at the meeting of our Palliative Care volunteer program, I began to read Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, Kindness, but could only get through the first line before the tears came. “Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things…..” The minute you are told, by a caring and thoughtful human...

AUTUMN BLESSINGS

Recent Interview on KPBS San Diego: (click on the screen and you will hear interview) It is Autumn. The days are shorter and the nights seem longer and darker even though for these few weeks near Equinox, light and dark are almost equal. We know the longer times of darkness will come however, and...