You may have noticed I have not been around for a bit (which is a bit of an understatement, since I’ve hardly posted all year). So, I’ll get right down to it:
I have cancer.
We discovered it in mid-February, and since then my life has been a whirlwind of surgeries, repeated hospital trips because of complications, chemo, and more medications than I can keep up with. Plus, there’s that little thing of facing one’s own mortality at only 46 years old.
(My Stage IIIb colon cancer has a pretty daunting survival rate; it’s better than Stage IV, but it’s serious. By the way: GET YOUR COLONOSCOPY!)
I’ve been out of work on disability since March, and have found myself with so little mental and emotional energy that I spend most of that time just lying in bed, watching a gazillion hours of Food Network. At least, I’ll be a great cook when I have the energy again.
But, slowly, surely – with the help of my family and my wonderful house mates – I’m settling into this new reality. I’ve always said that ‘I bloom where I planted’, and while I usually mean that in reference to physical location, I’ve decided it now means where I stand in the universe, too.
I’ve been doing this with the help of my patron god, Mercury, and a return to shamanic journeying. Which brings me to the blessing.
Trigger warning: If you have issue with spiders, you may want to end here.
In shamanic work, it’s always a good idea to have a guardian during your journeys. This usually manifests as a totem animal, and my totem has always been a spider. Specifically, a tarantula. He has been my guardian and my friend, and has stood beside me through many worlds.
Today, I was lying back in my chemo recliner, staring at the boring ceiling tiles, waiting for everything to start when I pointed out to my housemate, Ryan, a black spider on one of the tiles. He was hanging out, peeking in and out from the metal rail.
He made me smile.
My chemo lasts a long time because of the amount of meds I get, so after we eat our takeout lunch together, Ryan goes home before returning to pick me up. While he’s gone and the
poison medicine is dripping into my veins, I curl up on my side and sleep. Today, I woke up suddenly…
…to find the black spider sitting on the white blanket that covered me. It skittered across my body and disappeared.
My eyes filled with tears.
I felt protected and safe.
Someone was watching over me.
Now, I get that most people wouldn’t have been too thrilled to wake up to find a spider on their shoulder, but for me, it was a blessing…and a message from my old friend:
“I’ve got your back.”