Update

mabon4It has been a while since I’ve posted, and I have been asked by friends and colleagues to update my progress.  Over the course of my treatment, I have been reluctant to share the private and intimate details of my struggles.  I have never felt so fragile and vulnerable in my life, and it takes a tremendous amount of energy and courage for me to share this painful, scary and revealing process.

I have been on a high does Interferon treatment and have successfully completed 32 rounds, with 8 more to go.  The first three weeks of treatment were the most brutal.  Five days a week, three hours a day I was at the oncology clinic getting the chemo pumped through an IV port surgical implanted in my chest.  I would spend my mornings at clinic under the watchful eye of my most supportive and compassionate father, a team of amazing doctors and nurses, and a new community of brave cancer friends.  The remainder of my day was spent tolerating extreme chills, fevers, vomit spells, chemo brain, vertigo, black outs, constant ringing in the ears, retching body pain, internal bleeding, weight loss, hair loss, liver toxicity…blah, blah, blah, the list could go on and on. In the evening, exhausted from the days struggle, I would get a small reprieve of sleep and then get up the next morning, put a smile on my face, make the kids pancakes, pack organic lunches, and head off to clinic to do it all over again.

It feels like getting your ass kicked with a sledge hammer, pounded to the ground, to be peeled off the floor and put in a snow globe, which is then erratically shaken by the hands of a toddler…day in and day out.  Thank God for the week I had off treatment.  My body started rejecting the medicine and my liver could not process anymore, so I got to rest, to detox.  Though it was the hardest, longest walk I’ve had in months, I got to go trick-or- treating with my kids and I got to play with them, which up until that point was next to impossible.  That break gave me the strength to keep going.

The second cycle has also been incredibly intense.  I now self-administer shots three times a week. I am constantly exhausted and still experience the same side effects but to a slightly lessor degree. I am getting through it, because I have to, because I have to believe this medicine will give me many, many more years of living.

Despite the physical suffering, it is longing for normalcy I struggle with most.  I haven’t the strength to do the things I love, the things I took for granted like daily hikes and downward dogs, tea with sisters, teaching, healing, counseling, being an active and available mom.

It is also the emotional, psychological and spiritual pain that I have learned to endure.  I often feel isolated, scared, angry, and depressed.  The sadness swallows me.  I get lost in existential inquiry and ponder my place in the world, my beliefs, my purpose.  I contemplate death and impermanence from a place of both fear and curiosity.  I wonder how I am going to make my life more meaningful, how I am going to help more people, raise outstanding gentlemen, be the change….’what shall I do with this one wild, wonderful life’.  Disease and sickness can break you down, and many days I am unsure of how to build myself back up.  I am learning about myself in messy, difficult, and yet tender and promising ways.

I am also learning about people, people whom I have never even met that support me and send me beautiful cards of encouragement, people who share their success with cancer and shower me with inspiration and strength.  I am learning about those who have been there all along, those who travel from across the world to lay in bed with me and hold my hand, those who haven’t even had the decency to reach out, and those who jumped ship half way through because it was too hard for them. I understand that my situation makes most people very uncomfortable, that my suffering can trigger unresolved suffering within others. Perhaps my journey through this fire will give others the strength to endure their own critical transformation, to know that they are not alone.  Whether it is cancer, a broken heart, a betrayal, or a loss….suffering is suffering, may it not separate us, but rather may it offer us into a place of deeper humanity, connection, and love.  May all beings be free of suffering.

You can see that the details of my journey aren’t rainbows and sunshine, but my intention for sharing is not for pity, but purpose. Cancer has been a guru, a leader into the light, and it has provided me with volumes of self-reflection.  It has given me the most difficult opportunities to apply the teachings and practices and it is part of my journey to share my discoveries with you.  Thank you for walking the path with me.

Blessings and love,

Robin

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15 Responses to “Update”

  1. Kelly December 13, 2013 9:47 pm #

    Thank you for posting! I think of you daily and I miss your classes, wise words, hugs, and smile. When you heal yourself, you heal the world. Just focus on getting better. Lots of hugs and love always!

  2. DEb Goff December 13, 2013 10:32 pm #

    Thank you so much for the update. You do not know me, but I am very aware of you. My two grandsons are getting Robin T-shirts for Christmas!! Know that even though some of us really do not know you that well and have lives all over the place we do think of you. I cannot agree with you more suffering is suffering and it is our duty to help one another in what ever way we can. Sending you healing, peace and love.

  3. Lillian December 13, 2013 11:45 pm #

    Robin, thank you so much for this update. You are so special and all of your usual specialness shines so brightly through this blog entry. Thank you for sharing such difficult details. So many namastes to you right now, bright star.

  4. Torrie December 14, 2013 1:07 am #

    I am here following your journey. its true, sometimes i do not know how to reach out. i feel like i should be doing more. just thinking of you isn’t enough.

    You are my hero. i aspire to see the world as you do, it is empowering, enlightening and inspiring. Thank you dear robin.

    tor

  5. Valeria December 14, 2013 2:36 am #

    Dear Robin,
    I have kept tabs with your progress through Ingrid, Suzi and Pam, but you write so lovely it is good to hear it in your own words. I wish for you a long, healthy and happy life as a result of going through this.
    Best wishes,
    Valeria

  6. Murchie December 14, 2013 4:07 am #

    So so well stated. It’s a journey into self. It’s pain, knowledge, celebration, terror, joy, draining, dreaming, anger, grief, fear, resignation, courage, self exploration, …..it makes us take time to be with ourselves…………..it’s decision. and in the end it’s about love……love of self, love of others — the ones who love us up close, from a distance or even those who disappear for their own reasons. Take this time to really love yourself Robin. And continue to let everyone else love you in whatever way they can best express it. Thinking about you often! Lots of LOVE!!!

  7. Darryl December 14, 2013 9:19 am #

    Much Love Strong Lady!!!

  8. Jeanette December 14, 2013 3:03 pm #

    Robin,
    Thanks for the update. Your insight, your words filled with wisdom. Keep up the courageous fight. So many have asked for your updates and so many positive wishes, prayers and thoughts and energy have been with you, more than you know. Be well.

  9. Karen K. December 14, 2013 11:53 pm #

    Thank you for the update. I’ve been thinking of you lately and keeping you in thoughts and prayers. Also feeling helpless in the face of all of this, so I could only do what I could think of right now: added you to the prayer line that I belong to. Just wanted to let you know.

  10. Lacy Lucero Kline December 15, 2013 5:05 am #

    Sending you strength Robin.

  11. Tish December 16, 2013 4:40 am #

    Robin:
    Your journey moves my heart to tears,but I have faith. Indeed you and your family have been in my thoughts, meditations and prayers all these past months.
    Thank you for have the courage to share so honestly.
    Tish Bernal Dunshie

  12. Sarah Jackson December 16, 2013 4:50 am #

    Oh honey. I wish I was there to hold you and the boys and be a rock for you like I could be when I was nearby. Know that you’re in my thoughts and my heart every day. xoxo

  13. Claudia December 17, 2013 4:52 am #

    Robin, I came across your story on fb. Although I don’t know you personally, I want to thank you for sharing. You are very courageous. You are on your way to win this war and every battle you win gets you closer. You and your family will be on my prayers.

  14. Barbara December 17, 2013 6:12 am #

    I am breathing out life and love your way and I am breathing in your light
    and healing air and sending it right back for you. The circle of connection
    is complete. Your words were needed by all your team and thank you
    for including us in your moment of reflection and sharing.
    I miss you dearly and you are never far from my thoughts.
    Love you my sweet sweet Robin.

  15. izzi December 19, 2013 5:14 am #

    hi robin…..I know we have only met maybe once or twice, hence why it has conjured up feelings of uneasiness to “reach out”. I have asked myself a few times, “would it be a bother? how do I help? I surely don’t want to intrude when she needs time to heal.” but I’ve been listening to those in the community who know you and sending out the vibes from a distance. It’s astounding to read this entry and to even remotely feel, even for just a second, this powerful journey you are on. thank you for being so bold and brave to share even these little details with the world. seems like everywhere i go in the yoga world, someone mentions you…mentions how much they care…..how much they love you…..how much they think of you and are always offering their love and light to you. please know you are in many prayers and in loving thoughts. much love and healing to you, you beautiful, wise, inspiring and courageous woman. om shree dhanvantre namaha! izzi

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