Book Review: Dion Fortune’s Book of the Dead (Crossposted)

October 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm (Death and Dying, Living, Spiritual) (, , , , , , , , , )

I am crossposting this on both of my blogs, since the subject matter is germane to both of them in different ways; I have different subscribers on both blogs, so I wanted to make sure no one missed it.

Dion Fortune’s “Book of the Dead”
published by Weiser Books
Amazon link: Book of the Dead

This book, which is probably better called a “pamphlet” at it’s very short 77 pages, was originally published in 1930 under the title, “Though The Gates of Death”. It’s not usually listed among her works due to its brevity, but I was lucky enough to stumble upon it while searching for new books to read on my Nook. This version was originally published in 1995 by the occult group she founded near the end of her life, “The Society of Inner Light”.

You’ve maybe heard of her before, because she was a strong influence on authors and occultists who created the Pagan traditions and thea/ology that we take for granted today. Diana Paxton and Doreen Valiente both credit her writings as a go-to when they were beginning what we now call Wicca. She’s also written one of the best books ever on the subject of psychic self-defense, titled “Psychic Self-Defense”. That is a book I frequently make students read and digest.

She was very active in the burgeoning occult underworld in the 1920’s and 30’s. Interesting to me, she had a nervous breakdown and went into a psychiatric institution right before she began having psychic and other magical experiences (madness path, anyone?). She studied various occult systems, including Crowely’s Golden Dawn, the Freemasons, and the hottest parlor religion, Spiritualism – a form of Christianity that held strong beliefs about being able to contact and interact with spirits of the dead and astral travel. She was also a “lay psychotherapist” (not far from what I do, sometimes) who had taken classes on the roles of psychology and psychic phenomenon from the Theosophists. And if that isn’t cool enough, there is scuttlebutt that she was one of the occultists the British government employed during WWII.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to find an E book version of her Book of the Dead. Working with spirits of the dead, and traveling to various other planes of existence, is something Ms. Fortune was very well known for. I was eager to hear what her thoughts were on the process of dying, and what the living can do to assist the dying in their crossing over.

These are the two things that the book focuses on the most – what the body and soul go through when one begins to die/what the soul can expect upon severing itself from the body, and what the living can do to assist the dying in making a gentle transition from life to death.

The first place that felt like a slap in the face (there were a few) is that she very strongly felt that there was no way that “natural death” could occur before “three score and ten years” (70). She explicitly states that dying from disease was not a “natural death”, because it meant that you were less than vigilant with your body. I believe this, like some of the other things I strongly disagree with her on, is a product of her era. This was before cancer was really known or understood, and although there still lingers some attitudes that some cancers are the patient’s “fault” (lung cancer, I’m looking at you!), I think our society’s view on those who contract terminal illnesses has radically changed since the 1930’s.

She describes three stages that a soul goes through after the last breath is released. The first is the disentanglement from both the “clay body” (your physical form) and the “etheric double” (how you envision yourself when you’re not looking at your body, basically). This can be assisted by those present at this stage by attempting to connect telepathically with the dying and give them permission and encouragement to move on. Also, having a source of prana (energy) present is useful – thus, the tradition of lighting candles and spreading flowers for the dead. Otherwise, the dying may use the prana from someone present, which she says explains why loved ones who suddenly feel tired shortly after the last breath have no explanation for it. I don’t know if I buy that entirely, since I know there’s a release of stress and energy when you know someone you’ve been sitting with is finally dead, and that might be confused for “stolen prana”. But it can’t hurt to have a good source handy if you’re sitting vigil for someone.

The second phase she calls “Purgatory” (remember, she was still seeped in Christian framework, even though she was an occultist). Supposedly, the soul is shown visions of their unrealized or unsuccessful desires. She talks about Karma a lot in this section, but I wonder if she only uses this term because it was the one accessible. The soul either has to overcome its attachment to these desires and failures (and thus move on to become a Master on the Higher Planes) or be reincarnated in order to live out another life to learn how to overcome them. Interestingly, Fortune states that while souls are in this phase, which starts “a few months after death”, they are not contactable, and cannot hear the summons of their loved ones on earth.

The third phase, “Heaven World” depends on what the disposition of the soul is – it can either ascend and become a “higher being” – a soul that assists in God’s work, or works with other freshly dead souls, or some other purpose – or you prepare to be reborn into a new incarnation. There is a time between phase 2 and 3 where a soul may be communicated with again, but Fortune warns that if you continually contact a soul in this phase, or bring them to mind/heart on a regular basis (like on their birthday, or an anniversary), you may be inadvertently keeping them from moving forward. If the departed does not feel like their old life is sorted, and their loved ones can move on and live their own lives apart from them, they cannot either ascend or be reincarnated. This meshes with some of my experiences working with dead who have been trapped due to similar circumstances.

I found many of her insights incredibly interesting, especially her thoughts that those who are psychically or magically aware have a much different death experience from those who are unused to fairing forth from their earthly bodies. She gives very veiled references on some exercises one can do to make that transition easier, and to retain consciousness during these processes. She attributes that most people cannot remember past lives, or what the after life is like, because their souls were “asleep” during them, and they attribute the experiences to a dream. She points to those who have a good handle on who they were in past lives as being more magically gifted in one way or another, because they are closer to becoming “masters”.

However, there was some stuff in there that I just found wacknutty. As I posted on Facebook, she states forthrightly that if a soul is severed from their body traumatically, like in a car accident, that soul will find itself inside the body of a baby about to be born. She claims that it is old midwives wisdom that if a baby is born with “old eyes”, it will die prematurely. Yes, she says that the traumatically severed soul jumps into a baby’s body so it can die properly, shortly after birth. I really wonder if she had a friend/friends who had lost children and were looking for some occult reason for it, and this was what Fortune came up with. Otherwise, it just seems too cruel, even for me.

I found this to be a really great read to get me in the mood for Samhain, which I will celebrate this weekend. It made me think very hard about what it must be like for a soul to leave a body and find out that it is more than the flesh, and gave me much to think about not just about where we go when we’re dead, but how we get there. It also gave me some incredible insights on things I can do should I find myself sitting vigil next to someone who is terminal. Some of it is definitely a product of the era it was written in, and there’s a lot of Christianity to translate to your own belief system, but the translation isn’t that hard. (She might have even been using it because it made it easier to publish in that time.) I suggest giving it a read, and it’s super short (77 pages). If you are a Nook user and wish to borrow my copy, complete with my own notes and thoughts, drop me an email and I’d be happy to lend it out.

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“Pinktober” and Fund Raising for “The Cure”

October 25, 2012 at 12:07 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

If you haven’t already been overwhelmed with the amount of pink just about everywhere you shop, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. As a concept, it’s obviously a noble one; it accounts for 22.9% of cancers in women, and nearly 500,000 women worldwide died from it in 2008. It’s a terrible disease that eats away at something central to most women’s sense of femininity. I have supported various charities that raise awareness about it, talk about it to people of all genders (men get breast cancer too, and even transmen who have had double mastectomies can get it), and have given money to some of the bigger organizations that are trying to find a cure.

But then I read this article on MSN: Pinktober Ignores Breast Cancer Patients Who Can’t Be Cured. It tells the stories of people with Stage IV breast cancer – when it is almost certainly terminal – and how they not only feel neglected by all of the media surrounding breast cancer, which seems unduly focused on survivors and others who are in remission, as well as on the concept of a “cure”. Less money and focus is being given to those for whom a cure would be too late, or not effective, because their cancer is too advanced. These people are most in need of charitable services, and yet because they’re not the face someone like Susan B. Komen wants to put on their website, they don’t get the funding focus either.

This made me think. As a society, we don’t want to talk about dying or death, and of course we want to promote the message that breast cancer can be survivable in order to encourage women to do self exams and get mammograms regularly, rather than sit in the dark too afraid to find out if they might have it. It is much more inspirational to hear from someone who was very sick who has now been “cured”, or in remission for five years or longer, than to hear the story of women who didn’t find the cancer until it had metasticized into other parts of their body. It’s much more uplifting to “Walk for the Cure” than to “Walk for Better Hospice Care For the Dying”.

We don’t want to admit that people die from this, are dying from this right now, and so much less money is being vested in making those lives more comfortable, more livable, in the here and now. It’s easier to drop a quarter into a bucket in hopes that if we or someone we know gets breast cancer, we’ve done a little something that might make it easier to survive, rather than accept the reality that it could also easily kill us.

Of course we don’t want to talk about death, and especially death from cancer. It’s a big bad boogeyman in everyone’s closet. People routinely stay away from doctors and hospitals when they’re ill or have odd symptoms out of fear that it might be something deadly; but when you think about it, that’s a bit backwards. It’s always better to have something checked out only to find out it’s no big deal or is easily treatable because you caught it early, rather than hide in a closet until it’s so bad that there’s little that can be done. We want to encourage people to look at cancer screening as just another boring health thing we do, like an annual physical, and it would be lovely to live in a world if when cancer was detected, it would be as easy to treat as a shot or a regimen of pills.

However, I do think that while we’re off buying pink spatulas and pink rubber bracelets (and if you haven’t seen “Pink Ribbons, Inc”, well, it’s available on Netflix) because we truly do care about those with breast cancer, it might also be worthwhile to send a donation to Hospice, or some other local programs that provide services for people dying, today, of breast cancer. Those for whom the mythical cure will be too late.

We need to make sure that people with Stage IV breast cancer are seen by the media; their stories told by those who know and love them, so that the focus can be widened to make them feel like they have a place in our “Awareness Month”. It’s important to reach out to those who are being underserved by big charitable organizations because their soundbites aren’t as cheerful or inspirational. I personally think listening to the wisdom of someone who is facing death head on is one of the most inspirational things one can do – both to bear witness to what they see and learn through their process, and so we can hold onto these wisdoms for ourselves and those we love.

Also, as if it needs to be said, please do your research and find out if that pink item’s seller actually donates to a reputable charity, and if so, how much. Most have a set amount, and when you buy the item you’re helping replete the company’s account, not the charity’s. There are disreputable companies out there that sell pink items in hopes that you’ll buy them so you can feel like you’ve done something good while acquiring yet another kitchen utensil or sticker for your car, when in fact there’s no proof that’s where the money goes.

If you really care, research local charities that work with all breast cancer patients, regardless of their “curability” or not, and give gifts of time and expertise. Reach out to a family and make dinner, or volunteer babysitting services, or drive them to their appointments. Find out if there’s an organization that visits terminal cancer patients while they’re in the hospital and make one visit a week. That’s a good way to celebrate awareness – being aware of the full spectrum of a disease, not just what looks good on a perfume bottle or press release.

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By The Numbers

October 18, 2012 at 8:07 pm (Hospitalizations, Medical, Mental Health) (, , , , , , , , )

12/28: The magical date everyone’s been asking me about. This is the day my panniculectomy is scheduled. I guess 4-6 weeks meant 4 months, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I was much slower in reaching certain benchmarks, and we’ve just gotten to the point when it’s prudent to schedule the surgery and hope I reach them by then.

8:30am: The time on Tuesday when the stitch holding my drain pulled. I awoke to a sharp pain at the drain site and immediately knew what was wrong. It’s not surprising: drains are meant to last a few weeks, and this one had been in for exactly two months the day it failed.

3″: Approximately how far the drain “fell out”. It was all tubing, so I just took a deep breath and guided it back in. This turned out to be a mistake.

1hr: The time it took for my general surgeon, who was in charge of the drain, to respond to my email. She’s super awesome and my favorite doctor at Johns Hopkins by far. I called both her work cell and her office and left messages, but decided to email her in case that would be faster. It turned out to be the right call, as she saw it as she was coming out of an early morning surgery and was able to schedule me for an emergency appointment that day.

30ml: The “goal” daily output from the drain that was the benchmark I had to meet to have the drain removed.

60-100ml: Where the average daily output from the drain was when the stitch blew.

5: The number of messages I left with the lead surgeon trying to schedule a date.

50-80%: How much bed rest a day the general surgeon wants me to get. I told her I had just made plans to go out of town for the first time since the hospital stay, and she reluctantly gave me permission as long as I take lots of breaks and lay down at the first sign of pain or discomfort. Honestly, that will be kind of hard where I’m going, but I am going to bring my own chair so at least I know I have a place to sit down if I start to feel bad.

When I get back, I have a few other social engagements I desperately want to participate in, but I’m going to have to take everything one day at a time. Two days after the drain was removed, and I still feel like someone punched me in the gut hard enough to leave a mark. It hurts to walk around. I’m not looking forward to two months of bed rest, but it looks like I don’t have much of a choice.

10min: How long it took my general surgeon to get the lead surgeon’s scheduler to put me on the calendar.

60:1: The odds I give that I’ll actually make it to December 28th before I have to go back to the hospital due to the abscess causing problems. I’m going to try my hardest, as several people are planning to come in from out of town in order to be there for the day of surgery, but I secretly feel that this is going to turn into an emergent situation before then.

So what does this all mean?

Well, now the big fear, and a pretty likely outcome, is that the abscess will regrow. The way it was explained to me, is that the output was still so high because the abscess had become a deflated balloon, and so instead of just collecting fluid within it, it was going straight to the drain. Since the drain had to be removed (it could have been saved if I hadn’t pushed those 3 inches back in, but since I had, we had no way to know if it was in the right position, or if it had been exposed to bacteria – and with my history of infection, it was the better choice not to gamble), that fluid needs to go somewhere. There had been some hope that the wound would stay open and continue to drain for a few days, but it closed up the next day.

I also still have pain at the bottom of my pannus, from the other infected site. The Infectious Disease people are writing off all of my current symptoms – low grade fevers, feeling flu-ish, incredible fatigue, etc – to the infected tissue in my belly. My general surgeon isn’t so sure, but basically they’ve reached a stalemate, as there’s little the general surgeon can do about it.

I had planned to write this Tuesday night when I got home from Johns Hopkins, but I’ve been suffering from major fatigue and pain, and so I ended up making a social media announcement about the date because so many people had been asking. I spent most of today laying in bed in and out of sleep – it’s hard to get long stretches of sleep due to pain.

I’m going to do what I can to try to go to CT this Saturday. All the plans are in place and Rave is doing all my packing in hopes of saving me a few spoons, but honestly I’m having a bit of a brain vs body war over it. I really want to go for a number of reasons – the foremost being that Saturday is my fifth wedding anniversary and the last thing I need is to be home moping about my failed marriage and how frustrated I am with my STBX – but I know it’s not the best choice medically.

I’ve written about these sorts of choices before. If I just go by the numbers, I should stay home every single day between now and the surgery, but that would destroy me mentally. I now live pretty far away from most of my friends, so it’s not like people are just dropping by for a visit. If I want any sort of social stimulation, I’m going to have to go out and get it. I’ve cancelled all of my teaching gigs so I don’t have to worry about obligations or having to be “on”. Most of the social things I’m looking at now are casual enough that if I have to cancel, or modify how I handle them, I can make that call on the day of. Saturday’s a little complicated because it involves other people – the people I’m riding up with, the people I’m sharing a hotel room with, and the people I’ve told I’m going to be there – and although I know all of them would understand if I had to cancel, I don’t want to.

I need my mental health to get through this as much as I need my physical health. If I stay in bed and get lost in streaming videos and social media, even my antidepressants won’t save me from the terrible depression I’ll feel. It’s hard enough hearing about all the fun things my STBX has the money to go and do while I’m worried about each little expense; the loneliness and isolation would drive me over the edge.

Like all good things, I need to find a compromise.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds. As I prepare to grieve the loss of my Beloved Dead this year – two friends and my grandfather – and begin to solidify the end of my marriage, normally my response would be to fill my world with positive and distracting social engagements that remind me that I am still a fun, vital, interesting person worth knowing. However, the more time I spend out of bed and running around, the higher the chances of the abscess needing more intervention, which means time in the hosptial, which obviously means no social engagements.

I also have to struggle with another one of my mental illness issues – the more time I spend at home, the more frightening and overstimulating the outside world becomes. There have been times when I’ve been home for a few weeks, and merely going to a IHOP for a meal feels overwhelming. However, when I see people and go out on a regular basis, the less I’m afraid of random strangers. It’s not logical, but it’s how my brain works. This time around, it’s all aggravated by the paranoia I’m feeling about the social circle(s) I share with my STBX; I feel like I don’t know who I can trust, who I can be honest with, who I can share how I’m really feeling and the dirty details that I’m not making public. I’ve already learned that someone I thought I could turn to has decided to become closer to him, but I only found out when someone I trust told me about this. I feel like I’m surrounded by people I have to be careful around, and only have a handful of confidants that I can relax and say whatever’s on my mind.

I should be happy. I have been incredibly frustrated that I didn’t have a surgery date, so I couldn’t really plan what the next few months were going to look like. Now I have it, but so much is going on, I can’t even take a few moments to feel settled. Instead, I’m just depressed, tired, worried, and slightly agoraphobic. And yet I miss people, specific people but also just being in a crowd of people I can talk to.

Keep your fingers crossed that I’m able to get away this weekend. It will do a lot for my depression, and I am making several contingency plans to take care of myself as best I can. And if you’re interested in coming for a visit, we have lots of room.

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Butterflies, Little Deaths, and the Afterlife

October 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm (Death and Dying, Spiritual) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Pagans find ourselves gearing up for Samhain (pronounced “Sow-win”), a celebration of the end of the agricultural year. We also talk of the “thinning of the veils”, when it is easier to reach out to spirits, ghosts, and other sorts of conciousnesses that reside Elsewhere. It is a good time to receive divination, and to reach out to your Ancestors and Beloved Dead.

It’s been a hard year for me, death wise. I lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s, and two dear friends to an overdose and a motorcycle accident. It’s been hardest for me because I haven’t had the right kind of time and energy to really grieve – this year has been so full of life-changing events, it’s been hard for me to have the luxury of time I can spend just grieving and feeling the absence of those I care about. I am hoping to get some of this when I attend a ritual for the Ancestors/Dead next weekend.

It is timely, in its own way, that Newsweek recently decided to publish an excerpt from an upcoming book by Dr. Eben Alexander, Proof of Heaven, which is coincidentally being released for sale a week before Samhain. I’m sure, since the author is a Christian, this is not on purpose.

However, the excerpt from Newsweek is an incredibly interesting point of view about the Afterlife from a neurosurgeon who, before his own experience, thought that the best stories were likely the random firings of a dying brain, and the worst were invented by someone looking for meaning or attention. He had dismissed the “near death experience” as a scientific concept and moved on.

Then something interesting happened, something that he could not discredit: Dr. Alexander found himself in a coma for seven days, due to a strange manifestation of meningitis caused by E. Coli that had entered his cerebrospinal fluid and began to literally eat his brain. What makes his experience scientifically interesting is that by his account, his “afterlife” experience happened while there was no recorded or witnessed activity in his cortex – the part of the brain that is thought to control thought and emotion, y’know, the stuff that makes us human – at all. This means that he can safely rule out random misfiring or any other heretofore scientific theories as to why humans report these kinds of experiences. He also reports that the doctors were actively discussing discontinuing treatment when his eyes “popped open” and he came back from the coma, with no medical explanation as to his recovery.

Although he describes himself “in the old days” (before the coma) as nominally Christian, his Afterlife experience has only the barest resemblance to the classical descriptions of “Heaven”. If the excerpt is any indication, part of the problem with his retelling is that he’s just too scientific to craft the artistic wordsmithing necessary to describe things such as “the sound was palpable, almost material, like a rain you can feel on your skin but can’t get you wet.” Granted, his larger goal is to try to document his experiences for fellow scientists, so they can start to understand not just the bio-mechanical reasons for his “journey”, but maybe they can also begin to glimpse the world the way Dr. Alexander does now that he has seen things from a greater perspective.

One of the details of his story that was particularly interesting to me was the presence of butterflies. I’ve developed quite the love for the little creatures, and honestly it’s always bugged me. It seems like such a predictably hippie Pagan, girly sort of thing to be fascinated by. One of the deeper drawing points for me is this idea that just when you think you have a handle on who you are and how you relate to the Universe, something begins to change outside of your control and then you have to learn the same damn lessons over again. Eventually, this cycle (like all cycles) leads to death, but meanwhile it serves as a reminder that you should never take your current reality as a given. One can never tell when the cosmic apple cart is headed for a tilt.

I appreciate that symbolism woven into an experience of the Afterlife. The idea that yet again, we’re just undergoing another Hagalaz that leads to fertile ground yet again. We practice dying so many times in our lives, but we never really sit and allow ourselves to think of these things as little deaths. We don’t take time to mourn when our lives undergo large shifts – like getting married/divorced, moving to another location, changing genders, moving into another phase of life – and it’s actually seen as kinda selfish and wrong if the change is seen as primarily a good one. The media is full of examples of heterosexual men being sad before their wedding day due to the radical change of lifestyle that marriage brings, but we diminish it by calling it “cold feet”.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to recognize the little deaths in your life, and especially the big ones, such as my relatives and friends who have passed away in the last few years. I have to accept that as I grow older, friends and family dying will become a more common experience, and maybe if I can teach myself to properly grieve now, it might help me in the long term.

As for what happens to us when we die, I do believe that personal experiences are largely tied to one’s expectations. Dr. Alexander’s experience of angel-like spirits and a large booming voice doling out life advice belies his Christian upbringing. Even if he was only a casual believer before his coma, since he hadn’t done any real exploration of Otherside mythology, he saw and experienced something that relates to his understanding. In the same vein, there are others that describe something akin to the Christian Hell, and I honestly think it’s a residual in their soul, feeling as though they are beyond redemption, that leads them to this journey. We all get the journey we need, and if we need to see big burly Vikings drinking in a big hall, or being touched by the icy hand of a half-dead woman, or paying the Ferryman to cross over into a gloomy cave, in order to feel like we understand where we are, that’s what we see.

I know this from my own experiences dealing with places that contain Spirits of the dead. I was once asked to speak to a Death Deity that I had no experience with (nor really much experience in his pantheon), and once I was given a key that unlocks, for lack of a better term, the Big Gates Of Dead People Land, I saw that there was an infinite amount of space, and people were gathered at different points in this space, sorted by what they envisioned the afterlife to be.

Yes, I know this can sound like a wimpy, pantheist explanation how everyone is ultimately “right” when it comes to where we go when we die (tell me you haven’t heard the joke that ends, “That’s because they think they’re the only ones here.”), but in a way we’re all wrong, too. The vast expanse that is the rest of the Universe, outside of our little spaceship Earth, is too big for the human mind to truly wrap its little brainmeats around. Sound like something else I’ve described before? Yes, when it comes to most things theology related, my working theory is that we grasp onto what works best for us and our understanding of Things and Places way too big for us to comprehend. And yet, all our little brainmeats want to do is to understand, to know for certain that we’re all not headed for a dirtnap decomposition and nothing more. So we try, and we continue to have these near-death-experiences to keep reminding us to meditate, to journey, to divine, to pray, and do whatever else we need to, to prepare ourselves for that time when we face the end of this part of our own existence.

What do you think happens when we die? Have you spoken to spirits of the Dead, and have they given you any answers as to what their experiences have been like? How do you envision the Afterlife? Do you believe Dr. Alexander’s experience is universal?

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Crappy Birthday To Me!

October 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm (Medical)

Even though I received an avalanche of well wishes on Facebook and Twitter, my birthday included one of the worst doctor’s appointments since Dr. WLS. I had to see one of the Infectious Disease doctors at Johns Hopkins for a few reasons. It was my companion’s observation that someone may have told this doc that it was going to be a quick in-and-out thing, and when it turned out to be more complicated she got pissed.

Anyway, she gave me clearance for the panniculectomy; however, I’m feeling a little worried that she didn’t grasp the whole situation. When I started explaining things to her, she actually cut me off and told me that it really didn’t matter. So today, I called and lefy a message for the only helpful doctor involved in the whole affair: the general surgeon. When I saw her last, I told her about not hearing from the lead surgeon or being able to get an appointment with ID and she personally got both of them to respond. I have hopes she can right the ship and move me closer to getting an actual date.

In other news, I seem to have picked up a virus at some point that has left me with a painful lesion on my back. They tested it, but I never got a straight answer other than “well, it looks like it’s resolved”. I don’t call searing pain “resolved”, so maybe it’s time to call that awesome dermotologist in Frederick and see what he thinks.

I feel kinda bad for pre-emptively cancelling on events that I may have been able to attend, but I have to admit that taking a little break hasn’t been the worst thing in the world.

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Benchmarks

October 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm (Medical)

A day doesn’t go by where someone I love asks me if I have learned the date of my surgery yet.

I have not.

I have certain benchmarks to meet – certain things have to happen – in order for me to be cleared for surgery, and they haven’t happened yet. Well, one did, in that I finally had my PICC line removed, and none too soon, as the entry site had become red and pus…how do you say “pussy” without sounding dirty? Anyway, it looked like it was getting infected, and that’s a bad thing.

In fact, it looks like a few opportunistic infections may have snuck up on me during this short reprieve, and each one needs to be treated before I can move on as well. I will know more about one of them next week, and it may add more than a month to the process if I’m unlucky. Some of these infections are pretty serious, and are making me feel very weak and unable to do very much around the house.

My drain is still being too productive to be removed, much to the surgeon’s surprise. I have to get down to 30ml a day, and I’m still averaging between 60-120ml.

What I have to focus on now is re-writing all of my medical proxy documents, like my advanced directives, since my soon-to-be-ex-spouse has indicated that he does not want to be a part of my experience. I’m not looking forward to it, but a new Will and such are definitely in order.

I’m feeling pretty awful, but life goes on, and I can’t afford to just lay in bed and do nothing. I’m doing the best I can with the resources I have to do what I can.

I have a feeling next week will have much more information. Or at least I certainly hope so.

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