After I quit the chemo I went on a bit of a high. I didn’t realise until I came down with a bit of a bump a few days ago and felt very low and weak. I am discovering a depth to my reliance on the medics that I had no idea I had. I feel I have cast myself adrift into a most uncertain future. I tell myself,
“It was always an uncertain future, and living with cancer only makes it feel more certainly uncertain. And relying on the medics was never actually going to save you necessarily. You could still be in the unlucky bunch.”
But somehow I don’t convince myself. They are the experts, are they not? I am the ignorant patient, am I not? Yes, I am. If there is one thing I am certain of, it is the depth of my ignorance. So, I feel exposed and uncertain. My GP rang up and wanted to talk to me about Palliative Care!!! Isn’t that what they give to dying patients!!! I have no interest in talking about that whatsoever. This hasn’t exactly helped.
I think this is an example of what Jung termed the collective unconscious. We have a powerful collective belief in the infallibility of our medicine. It is, of course, extremely effective and saves many lives that would have been lost in the past. Our belief is not just wish fulfilment, it is based on experience. Given that, it is not true that it is infallible, that idea comes from our desire for security. In fact, it is pretty limited. It doesn’t include enormous swathes of knowledge. For example, herbs, food as medicine, diet (they encouraged me to eat loads of sugar, even wanted me to eat a syrup supplement to help me put on weight! I think this is bonkers!), the power of thought, meditation, Tai Chi, Chi Gong, energy medicine such as acupuncture – I could go on.
Yet, yet, I still feel bereft and exposed. I am part of the collective however much I am on the edges of it. I haven’t had the normal programming about this, as I grew up my parents didn’t use doctors. In fact, they went against their recommendations for my brother, Stephen, when he got leukaemia as a baby. I feel for the people in the grip of life-threatening illness who only have the conventional medicine to rely on, which, I assume, must be the majority. How dreadful then it must be to be told,
“You are now a candidate for palliative care.”
That is, “You’re dying, in our opinion.”
I wonder how many people die from this? I may feel exposed but I don’t feel helpless or unsupported. I have so much support I’m turning some of it away! And, as said previously, I believe that going back to working with people and placing myself consciously in a healing environment is, perhaps, the most powerful thing I can do for my health.
So I am looking forward to the workshop on Sunday. Well, the truth is that I am looking forward to it both positively and negatively. When positive I feel it is exactly the right thing to be doing, but when negative I feel wobbly and think things like,
“No-one will come and if any do it will just be a flop.”
I know well that this is a form of performance anxiety and that I always get nervous before I run a workshop. But maybe it’ll be true this time!
Anyway, I know it is the right path for me and regardless of what happens I will return to working with people again in some form. I hope to find a way that this ordeal I am going through will serve others and I’m pretty sure I will somehow.