A Chapter in Our Lives

     Its just three weeks today since we left Durango….When things were good and the energy and desire to write was there, we were busy allowing ourselves to relax and ‘just be’, recharge from all the stress.  Much of the other time, we have found ourselves on a roller coaster of emotions, filled with hope and then having it dashed and feeling despondent and so low-ebbed that there was not much energy to communicate.  So it is just in the past 24 hours that we have clarity on our course of action and, it feels like a heavy burden has lifted  – hence I am writing.
     We were in Phoenix where Tom completed his 2nd year Energy medicine Training and passed his competency test.  While there, he received some healing work and a dynamic connection was made with a Dr. Of Osteopathy who works with ‘German New Medicine’ that has some very revolutionary approaches to healing cancer.  It was w great excitement we headed on to San Diego for more healing work.  it was around this time that we decided to cancel the surgery scheduled in Denver on Feb. 12th (yesterday, actually).  The procedure they wanted Tom to have, the whipple procedure seemed too grueling and a process that we were not willing to have w/o a second opinion.  And we were hearing more about alternative measures that could be used that might actually have the tumor necrotize…………We wanted to explore that more and also got a referral for a non-surgical oncologist at the University of Southern California Cancer Center.  
     Tom had more Energy Medicine from one of the renowned practitioners in S.D. and then we flew down to southern Baja where we had planned a time for retreat, relaxation, nourishing and renewal.  Tom had lost a lot of weight and if we were proceeding w surgery, we wanted to get his weight up….so we had an excuse to enjoy amazingly fresh seafood and endless ceviche, and a regional speciality, ‘Chocolate Clams’, that were some of the most delicious clams we’ve ever enjoyed!!!  And another tremendous highlight of our ‘retreat’ was swimming with whale sharks , something that I would encourage on many peoples’ ‘bucket lists.’ We went out in the Bay of La Paz w a young marine biologist and not that far from shore where they had been sighted.  The captain of the boat was highly skilled in placing the boat along the whale sharks trajectory and then with wet suits, snorkel and masks, in the water we went and paddling hard and swimming in the direction the biologist told us we attempted encounters with these gentle giants of the sea, vegetarians to boot!  It was a number of quick, in the waters and swims to see a tail in the distance, or some bit of brown polka dotted skin and then back out and wait for the next sighting.  The last several times, though were absolutely breathtaking with progressively closer encounters until the final one, when it appeared that unless Tom put on the brakes, he was heading for a head-on encounter.  it took both our breathes away and had us charged and in delight for the rest of the day.  And the bottlenose dolphins that accompanied us on the journey out were plentiful and playful, racing the boat and such beautiful examples of beautiful life!  
We enjoyed both the Pacific Coast and the Sea of Cortez side of Baja and found each side having a special and unique beauty.  As much of the world, though, it all had grown dramatically from the 18 years ago since I had travelled here ( in a small RV with my huskie wolf as my co-pilot!!) and the prices (except for the seafood) were rather parallel to the states.  Still, time in nature and the sea with my beloved, experiencing such natural beauty & resting deeply…….priceless!!!!
     We returned to San Diego a week ago and had a wonderful family gathering with Tom’s family at the amazing Torrey Pines Resort…..it was very touching to feel the love and support Cindy, Chris and Ken poured into us both as we shared hard decisions we were facing.  During that weekend together, we had received news from the Dr in Phoenix that led us to believe that perhaps Tom was already in a healing phase and surgery would not be necessary.  That news created much cause for celebration!
     On Monday afternoon (after having our first IKEA experience on Sunday !!!), we were brought back to earth during the meeting w the USC oncologist who emphatically suggested surgery and set up an emergency meeting the following day w his surgeon.  Another CAT scan was performed and preliminary evaluation by the surgeon suggested slight growth of the tumor.  Yet we felt a greater sense of trust w this surgeon than we had a month ago with the surgeon at the University of Colorado.  His patience and willingness to answer questions and the somewhat less invasiveness of his procedure and increased skill with working with blood vessels gave us greater confidence.  It seems that in the past 24 hours or so, we have come to terms with Tom having the surgery, realizing that his excellent health and deep commitment to the Energy Work that he has been studying and experiencing on his own body, supports this decision and the follow-up to surgery that can be alternative rather than involving chemo and radiation.  In this manner, all is in alignment with Tom’s & mine core beliefs and commitments.
     So………….after a stop in Phoenix to get homeopathic and nutritional supports specific to Tom’s body, we are returning to Durango this weekend (and wishes to all of us to celebrate love everyday and often and not have to do it just through Hallmark and chocolates!!), focusing on getting our home more beautiful (having floors sanded this weekend and painting completed) and back in order, connect w loving friends, eat supportive food, do some great hikes,dance and do yoga, touch clients and my dear elderly friends, give a bit more time to the caring family of DURANGO FIRE AND RESCUE,and in 9 or 10 days we will be driving back to L.A. where Tom will be having surgery 2 weeks from today.  We will be supported by his family who live nearby and a very skilled team of caring surgeons and oncology staff.  We feel your love, support and concern and relish it.  We are learning how to love and even flourish (when possible) with uncertainty and insecurity……after all, its an illusion that life is secure, n’est-ce pas? and all we have is our family of friends and family and love if we are offered it and are courageous to choose it.
Namaste, Blessings, Love and Hugs,
Mindy and TomInline image 4Inline image 3Inline image 2


On The Importance of Having Friends of All Ages – Part I

One of the things that I have become aware of recently is just how important it is to have friends of all ages. When you are younger, the experience of older friends can help you navigate the bumps along the way. When you are older, your experiences can help your younger friends, and their experiences can bring the excitement of new ideas and challenges into your life.

Eleven years ago when I was 65 and my then partner was 56 we started a Permaculture center near Durango, Colorado. As we were beginning to build the 2200 sq.ft. greenhouse, we started down the traditional path of doing it ourselves with some help from knowledgeable friends and some paid help. That did get things started, but we soon realized that there was no way we would be able to get the greenhouse closed in before the snow came. A friend and board member of our Permaculture center suggested that we contact the environmental center at Fort Lewis College (FLC). We spoke with the director of the center, and he was excited about being involved in something so interesting. Ten days later some 30 FLC students appeared on a sunny October Saturday along with an instructor from Habitat for Humanity to organize them. That day we made significant progress. But more importantly we connected with each of the students, and for the next ten weekends, we had 4-6 or more students show up ever Saturday and Sunday, and by the first weekend in December, the greenhouse was all closed up for the winter. The next spring, two of those students volunteered to complete the masonry for the pond in the middle of the greenhouse.

Over the years since then, we have had a number of unexpected visits from students who worked on the greenhouse who were just passing through and wanted to see how it was going. It was exciting for us to catch up with them on where their lives were going, and they were just as interested in seeing how things in our mostly solar heated greenhouse were growing and going.

A Perfect Storm?????

     So our ‘Perfect Storm’ involves a collision of Christmas, New Year’s, Tom’s Birthday and a possible cancer diagnosis…….just about enough to take the ho-ho out of the season.  We’ve been riding this turbulent wave since about Thanksgiving.  We had enjoyed a fall full of travel, connection with family and friends, Tom’s deepening study of Shamanism, Mindy’s deepening with friends ranging in age from early 20’s to later 90’s, enjoying places of their past; for Mindy – Atlanta, then journeying up to North Carolina and time with her high school buddy at the coast and then, for us both, a journey back in time visiting the one and only Manhattan and enjoying a week of delightful exploration, visiting places of both our pasts, walking everywhere for miles and miles, partaking of theatre and dance, museums and cathedrals and farmer’s markets and ethnic delights only possible in a place as rich as New York City.

We returned to Colorado for several weeks before waiting out a winter storm and waiting for a clearing  to head west to family and Thanksgiving in the land of sunshine and palm trees of southern California.  It was on this trip that Tom, from the first day out, was a little puny expressing a little ill at ease in his belly.  I even noticed how, several days later, at the lovely gathering of his niece and nephew, family and friends at a Thanksgiving spread that was sensational, that my Tom picked at his food and barely drank of some of the sensational wines available.

    It was on the Friday after the holiday, talking w Tom in the kitchen in bright sunlight that I noticed his eyes were discernibly yellow, he was listless, feverish at times and basically sick.  When his blood labs were taken, his readings on critical areas were off the charts.  They wanted to hospitalize him right away and we declined, feeling strongly that hospitals are not safe places to hang out in.  We agreed to monitor him and repeated blood tests in several days and then it became clear, confirmed by an ultrasound that we had a significant problem that needed further help and evaluation and that was needed it immediately.  After a very pessimistic diagnosis from a skilled but less than tactful doctor, a procedure was performed that was highly successful in restoring Tom to better health and allowing his body to heal.  Happily he is a healthy tone again, with a good appetite, energy level and even a hunger for amorous connection that we so love to enjoy and nuture ourselves with.

     The lingering issue that has had me on a roller coaster of emotion is the lack of firm knowing what has caused such illness, what has led to a blockage and whether it is abnormal cells of a benign nature or carcagenic.  When you first hear the word involved in a conversation about the one you love, it knocks the breathe right out of you, actually right out of me.  Feeling the panic and finding a way to stay present and control the rash of fears and emotions that surge is quite a tight-rope act as it is so very easy to teeter and fall and then spiral down into a dark cavern of unknowns and past and future fears and pains.  Now, two weeks after the hospitalization and procedure, and in between Christmas and New Year’s and right after Tom’s birthday, we drive 7 hours up to Denver to the University of Colorado Cancer Center to have more definitive tests and procedures conducted.  We were able to find out by researching (with the help of loving friends) a website on-line that this center had the greatest experience with this form of cancer and we would be in good hands.  So, the Perfect Storm knocks you around, moves you forward and back and all you can do is hold on, pray and wait it out –  

Relevant Quotes

NZ Pendant {small}“It is NOT true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old. They grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”                                                                 Gabriel García Marquez

“The purpose of life, after all, is to love it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”                                        Eleanor Roosevelt