“Accept—then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it…This will miraculously transform your whole life.” — Eckhart Tolle

You know those old commercials with the frying pan and egg and the announcer says, “this is your brain on drugs…” Well, I think I need to come up with a new commercial since I am definitely not diggin those anti-smoking campaigns. This one would be called this is your brain on cancer. The camera would zoom in shot of a woman doing her taxes and sitting in front of her screen, but getting up every second and sitting down not remembering what she was just typing into the spreadsheet. Okay, maybe that wouldn’t give the viewers a clear message. Really, all you need to do is look at Alex’s self portrait in a Picasso style with red on one side and green on the other. As he says, red is the anger and green is the hope. Of course, my self portrait would be more of an Jackson Pollock, but with Matisse cut out colors smeared across a canvas. Back to my brain on cancer and the commercial…it would clearly show several images of a woman on the phone asking why her chemo appointments were cancelled and not rescheduled, why was the drug she needed in shortage, and why don’t doctors call back unless she starts acting like she is ready to jump out the window. I confess that my brain on cancer is unlike any other and I lost my filter, my ability to hold back my tears, and my level of patience with people of minimal intelligence, motivation, and determination.

In my crazy weeks of my tumor marker rising for no understandable reason, I have had to face some not so special reality that is not my reality. I chose to ignore most pain and most of the facts that I do have cancer. It kept happening whether it was my son telling me that his friends were worried because I looked really sick, or the pain that caused me sleepless nights, or the calls from nurses who told me things I already knew, but did not want to hear. Yes, I do have cancer, but I found that during these weeks came some moments of pure joy. The happy tulips left at my door (who knew how happy tulips look!), the notes from old friends, the snacks or lunches with friends who really know me and see beyond the “hair” or the funny emails. Honestly, my sister always loves tulips and not just because she is married to a Dutch man, but now I know why! When they open and close, they are seriously some pure joy in a flower! To laugh about the everyday stuff is joy too and to see those 5th graders run, run, run for their PE test, that brought a lot of joy. There is so much joy around, you hardly have to look. So, when you are fixated on all your little stuff piling up around your house, just leave the piles and enjoy a moment with someone or by yourself.

I go to UCLA on Monday with all my lists and questions, but that is Monday. Right now, the sun is shining and there is much to enjoy besides folding the laundry.


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