Depression

I took a blog break yesterday.

Today I’m going to write about depression. I’ve been experiencing depression for a good part of today. I woke from a depressing dream where I lost my dog. So I began to examine what depression is. I came up with the following – depression is the denial of what is.

People who know me would find it strange that I get depressed as I usually have a joyful can do attitude. The truth is I do and have quite a history with depression from childhood, through the loss of my son at 23 years old, the throat cancer aftermath with all the physical issues, and now another challenge in the form of colon cancer.

In order for me to examine depression I have to be willing to acknowledge what is. Not so easily done. By the time I’m aware I’m depressed, whatever what is has been denied and buried so to speak. I find myself wanting to sleep. I’m not motivated to do anything. There is not much joy in Mudville.

So let’s look together. Why am I depressed? I want to wake up refreshed, I want to speak easily, I want to eat normally, I want to button my pants, I want to hug with two arms. All too often I deny my feelings, thoughts or sensations by thinking I don’t want them and if I ignore them, and act as if they are not happening, everything is fine. And life goes on.

Until I find myself depressed. There is that fine line of acceptance and denial. If I accept my feeling of wanting this or that, I can be with it, feel whatever I’m feeling or thinking, and let it go. I can just as easily deny wanting this or that, not acknowledge the feelings or thoughts, and say everything is okay. And when I deny, I am resisting what is. We all know that what we resist persists.

I’ve become quite adept at noticing thoughts and feelings as they happen, accept them knowing I can not change what is, and let them go as the temporary things they are. And in doing that I allow the Source of life to create joy and love and peace within and around me. And when I don’t notice them as they happen, I may end up depressed. The mind/brain creates all kinds of things all of which are temporary.

If I believe they are permanent, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. When I’m depressed I know the mind is trying to convince me they ARE permanent. I feel very fortunate to do a mindful meditation every day which reminds me of the temporary nature of all things. And that the Source of life, the light within, the simple joy of being and loving is permanent and always available.

So if I’m sad about something, I’ll be okay about being sad, embrace it and then let it go. Same thing for any other emotion. And if I’m depressed, I’ll say hello old friend, welcome back, it’s okay you’re here, and when you’re ready you can go. That’s the beauty of mindfulness, isn’t it? Anyway I am is okay, I am aware of how I am, I know it’s temporary, and I let it go to be at peace.

Life is truly beautiful!

 

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Music For The Soul

As I continue in a holding pattern for the upcoming surgery date, most of my daily routine remains the same. Yes, December 19 is going to be a very different day, but now is not then. So remaining present, joyful, loving and compassionate is my priority.

I use music a lot to offer me inspiration, peacefulness, urges to dance, and other good stuff. I listen to all types of music. My favorite is Hawaiian with its infused aloha, raw jazz without the electronics, Gregorian Chants for their holiness, Meditation & New Age during a massage & often to start my day, Symphonic Classical on Sunday mornings, Sanskrit Chanting, especially Deva Premal anytime, gotta have Rock & Roll, Mindful Music that we have on this website, and a slew of shining stars like the angelic voice of Jackie Evancho, Jason Mraz’s uplifting lyrics, and others.

There is one song I listen to regularly & quite often. Sometimes I watch the video too. It’s called Trip the Light by Alicia Lemke & Matt Harding. I find the lyrics to be ever so mindful and the music to make me happy to be alive. Allow me to share the lyrics –

If all the days that come to pass
Are behind these walls
I’ll be left at the end of things
In a world kept small

Travel far from what I know
I’ll be swept away
I need to know I can be lost
and not afraid

We’re gonna trip the light
We’re gonna break the night
And we’ll see with new eyes
When we trip the light

Remember we’re lost together
Remember we’re the same
We hold the burning rhythm in our hearts
We hold the flame

We’re gonna trip the light
We’re gonna break the night
And we’ll see with new eyes
When we trip the light

I’ll find my way home
On the Western wind
To a place that was once my world
Back from where I’ve been

And in the morning light I’ll remember
As the sun will rise
We are all the glowing embers
Of a distant fire

We’re gonna trip the light
We’re gonna break the night
And we’ll see with new eyes
When we trip the light.

Matt Harding does dancing with people all over the world. Watching the video I am moved by just how much we are the same everywhere in the world. And literally I start moving my body as I listen or watch this song. And it’s here on the Mindful Hawaii website under News & Media/Music or go to https://youtu.be/Pwe-pA6TaZk.

I didn’t realize just how wonderful music is for the brain, especially for those who play instruments. Check out this interesting Ted lesson – http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-playing-an-instrument-benefits-your-brain-anita-collins

I’m always looking for inspiration. If you know any mindful songs or artists, email me & I’ll add them to the MH website.

Sing, sing, sing!

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Compassion

I want to thank everyone who sent me loving words of support via email or Facebook. Your expressions of compassion mean a lot to me as I travel this path. Keep them coming! I apologize that I can’t respond to all of them, but do know they are all read and very much appreciated.

I work with compassion in my mindfulness practice so I can be compassionate in the world around me. Mindfulness practice is a training for life. I develop compassion for myself first because it’s a requirement in order to extend it to others. Turns out yesterday was World Compassion Day.

Usually we commonly treat others with more compassion than we offer ourselves. When we feel it for others there’s a sense of kindness towards them, empathy, and a real desire to reduce their suffering. But we often fail to offer that same compassion towards ourselves. Instead we sometimes place these massive judgments about where we should be in life, the type of job we should have, our earnings, the relationships we should be in, what life should look  like.

I’m not good enough. I’m not attractive enough. I’m not smart enough. The list goes on and on. These are all self judgments, and like anything else, the more often I behave in a specific way, the more deep-seated that habit becomes. So, rather than berating myself as motivation, perhaps I can practice self-compassion.

The question is how do I do this? Self-compassion involves creating a space within myself that’s free of judgment. A place where I can respond to sadness, frustrations, and failures with kindness and care. If I’m having a hard day and I hear myself saying unkind words, I tend to notice what’s happening.

Picture a good friend in your place. Would you say unkind words to your friend? Probably not. Decide what you would say instead and offer that same kindness to yourself. Just as you would comfort your friend, comfort yourself the same way. You might try placing your hand over your heart. Soothe yourself. When my inner voice starts up with criticisms, I counter them with loving thoughts.

I tell myself how I feel is okay, that I AM okay. I honor the experience and this journey. I offer myself compassion for my limitations, for my failures,for my past and present circumstances. I treat myself with the same love and compassion I would a best friend. In turn, I become my own best friend. As Byron Katie has said, “Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.” http://www.byronkatie.com/category/quote/

I have a routine I do everyday. I brush my teeth with an electric toothbrush that is on a 2 minute cycle which vibrates every 30 seconds to remind me to change brushing position. I stand looking at me, my own best friend, in the mirror and repeat four phrases, one for each 30 second increment. They are –

I am a person of great worth and value

I am loved and lovable. I show loving kindness to myself and others. I show loving compassion to myself and others.

I accept this moment as it is with love and joy.

I am perfect in every way.

Say what works for you. Besides looking at your lovely self in the mirror, you can do things like have post-its with whatever kind words you choose on the mirror, fridge, windows, or where ever you want to be reminded to be gentle and compassionate with the you that is always the perfect you. Leave a loving message on your voicemail. Receive daily messages from sites like Renaissance Unity, Esther Hicks, Pariyatti Daily Words of the Buddha, Happify.com, mindful.com. There are hundreds of other sites you can choose from as reminders for self-compassion.

I love you. Are you loving you?

Namaste

 

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Wonderment

Today Nalani and I went to Whole Foods so she will have wholesome meals. At one point over the speaker system a Beatles tune was playing, Do You Want to Dance With Me with lyrics including “it’s only rock & roll” and “it’s got a back beat to it”. Indeed the music has a back beat that made me want to move my body. So I started dancing to the music in the aisle right there. A sales gal looked at me and smiled.

I couldn’t stop dancing the whole time the song was playing. So I danced around the store looking for Nalani’s list. It was so much fun!

A woman walked by me pushing a stroller with twins in it. I’m so attracted to new life. I went over and waved my finger back and forth and one of them smiled. Priceless!

I guess I love being in a place full of nutrition and fresh food and all kinds of items for one’s well being.  I can’t taste or eat a lick of it by mouth but I sure love looking at it.

The good music continued and I continued moving to the music.

When we checked out the bagger put everything neatly in four bags. After he was finished I had this urge to hug him as a way to thank him, so I did, which brought a big smile to his face.

I had to go back for one item for Nalani. This time checking out the adjacent cashier started snapping his fingers by the face of my cashier. She smiled and seemed used to him. After she bagged my item, I went over to him and started snapping my fingers with my one good hand. He started again too and said “life’s a snap dude”. Nice!

I left Whole Foods feeling very much alive, enthusiastic, and joyful. I made a sweet connection with a counter person, an infant, a mother, a bagger and a cashier. What joy!

Today I would say overall was a good day. When I am feeling wonderment with everyone I meet and feeling good about where I am, life is ever so rich. Of course it starts with feeling wonder and feeling good within myself. And when that is happening all interaction with others and with nature reveals the endless abundance and exuberance which we all share. Put simply loving me enables me to love you unconditionally.

Love yourself today.

 

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Overwhelm

I talked with one of my friends today & he wasn’t aware that I was doing a blog daily about this cancer journey. So I’m sending this post to everyone in case others are not aware every post I make daily is on the main page at mindfulhawaii.org with all previous posts below it. Enjoy!

I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed, thinking how can I handle everything that I have to do plus whatever gets added as a result of the upcoming cancer colon surgery. Let me share the types of things I need to do daily to maintain the best quality of life for myself. Here’s a list –

  • when I first awaken I need to take a caffeine energy drink, 3 grams of salt tablets & midodrine to raise my low blood pressure. In order to crush any of the pills I use (tablet or capsule), I use a coffee grinder which does the trick. I transfer the ground pills to a shot glass, add water, stir and it’s ready.
  • also in the morning I take synthroid for thyroid damage, guaifenisen for lung congestion, iron supplement for anemia, & duracef for my lifetime for a bone infection in my collar bone.
  • I then remove the overnight cannula I use and debride (or clean out) inside the trach opening with alligator forceps which takes up to an hour. To see what I’m doing I use a light around my neck with a mirror sitting on a box with a box of tissues & 6″ q-tips.
  • I then each day insert a new speaking valve which has an HME (a humidifing insert)into the daytime trach button & insert all of it into my trach opening.  This allows me to talk in a whisper handsfree.
  • I then get my 32 oz blended breakfast meal from the fridge which has been delivered by the personal chef. I also take 16 oz of water. All of it is put through the mic-key button in  my stomach by connecting an extension tube. I fill up four 2 oz syringes at a time. To “eat” all food & water it takes doing this 12 times. It takes about 20 minutes. At the hotel here Nalani has been filling the syringes which is a big help and saves repetition on my only hand.
  • then I wash my syringes, extension tube and containers to be ready to be used for the next meal in 5 hours. Nalani has been helping a lot with that but I told her I want to do it as I am able.
  • two things happen throughout the day, one much more frequent than the other. About every 5-15 minutes I generate saliva in my mouth/throat above the trach which I cannot swallow. So I must use a portable suction machine as often as I need to get it out of my mouth. I find talking generates even more saliva & causes me to use the suction more often.
  • the other thing is phlegm from my lungs comes up and can only come out the trach opening. This happens about every two hours. When it does I have to remove the speaking valve & cough into a tissue. Quite often I also will have to use long q-tips to get it all out. Being in Phoenix is not the best for a trach because of dryness. You as a normal person swallow your phlegm without being aware of it.
  • some of the time I have coughing spells because the phlegm is trying to get out my throat or the saliva wants to go down into the trach area. It’s a juggling act! Sign me up for the  circus!
  • until recently I had to put on compression socks after first getting up, for low blood pressure. We’re talking BP in the 90/50 range standing. When I got here to Mayo they changed me to a stronger compression stocking. If you have ever used compression stockings you know how hard they are to put on with two hands. Imagine doing it with one hand! Actually there’s a donut device with a pole someone invented that works pretty well for us one handers. Since I have added 10 grams/day of salt and increased the midodrine. my BP has been better without using the stockings. I hope it stays that way.
  • every day I have to take at least one nap and sometimes several due to fatigue
  • lunch and dinner meals are done 5 hours apart repeating the pill grinding, mixing, syringes, etc.
  • twice a day I use a nasal steroid spray for post nasal drip
  • at least once a day I have to empty the suction machine container of the liquid. a separate container of water is kept full sitting by it so the suction tubing stays clear.
  • ever since the trach was placed, I have a low grade fever of 98.9-99.9 every day. It usually starts late afternoon and is back to normal by the time I go to sleep. Doctors are not worried about it unless it gets over 100.4 and stays there. At first I took liquid Tylenol for it but now I just let it be.
  • throughout the day I have painful spasms in my left shoulder. Sometimes it persists and I take pain medication.
  • because of the right hand and arm getting overused, I developed numbness & tingling in my right hand. Doc thinks it might be carpal tunnel. Now I wear a carpal tunnel brace on it when I sleep.
  • Before I’m ready for sleep, I remove the daytime trach button and clean out inside the trach again repeating the morning routine for about an hour. Before putting in the night time cannula, I use a warm gauze pad to clean around the opening. I put the alligator forceps in hydrogen peroxide to keep them free of germs.
  • through a breathing test we discovered my oxygen is dropping 40% of the time below 90 while sleeping. So I’m now back on oxygen at night. And because it’s so dry here in Phoenix I have to use a humidifier at night to keep things moist inside the trach, otherwise it can get pretty nasty. Luckily a friend at Mayo has lent me an Airvo, which combines oxygen & humidification in one machine. It works great! Daily I need to fill the chamber with distilled water. I use my own portable oxygen concentrator for the oxygen. I place a trach mask over my opening & I’m ready for sleep.
  • during the night I awake at least 4 times, about every two hours, to urinate. I disconnect the humidifier hose to be free of tubing. Each time I also need to remove the cannula and cough up phlegm because of the extra humidity. Fortunately I am able to go back to sleep easily.
  • then I wake up in the morning and do it all over again.

Of course in addition I’m doing all the things we all normally do. Showering(I have to place a shower collar over the trach opening), shaving, brushing teeth, exercising when I’m up to it, doctor’s visits, social and entertainment activities, managing Mindful Hawaii website, doing things for Nalani, etc., etc.

When I woke this morning, like I said, I was feeling overwhelmed. Adding a major surgery and recovery process is going to pose some challenges. I tell you all of this just to give you a picture of my day. Those of you who know me know I do it all with joy and humor because I know all of these things don’t prevent me from living life fully with connection to myself and others.

So how did I deal with the overwhelm today? One thing at a time. And each one thing is done with a mindful purpose to get the best result so I can go about my day or night. Remembering to breathe, noticing the breath, and letting go I’m doing often throughout the day. If I have overwhelming thoughts, I remember they are temporary. I focus on what I need to do physically, mentally I accept whatever comes with kindness & compassion, and spiritually I know I am truly blessed to be alive and thriving and connecting and loving.

Namaste

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It’s Not Great to be Mindful

It’s also not bad to be mindful.

I often have a tendency to label events, outcomes, emotions and thoughts as good or bad. When I use labels I become the label. In so doing I am mostly living in the past or the future.  For example, when I label colon cancer as a bad thing, I’m wanting a future without cancer. If cancer is bad, all my thoughts, emotions and actions are held with that belief.

Same thing if I label happiness as good. As long as I believe I am happy and ignore any other thoughts, emotions and actions, then I think that’s a good way to be.

The Truth is there is no coulda, woulda, shoulda in mindfulness. That’s the pure beautiful essence of being aware in the present. No need to label anything. No need to make judgements about anything or anyone. No need to fix the past. No need to worry about the future. Observe what I am thinking or feeling, accept it now, and let it go recognizing it as temporary.

What’s left is only now. The present moment. The only one that matters. And when I reside in the present, all thoughts, emotions and actions are created in that moment and not as a result of what my past was or I hope my future will be. I am at peace with myself and everyone around me.

So let’s talk a little about colon cancer. Having had throat cancer three times in the 80’s I have a past with cancer. At that time, being the dimly lit dimwit I was, I was angered, depressed, pitied myself, stubborn about treatment, refused radiation after the 2nd occurrence, and definitely believed it was a bad thing.  With the colon cancer diagnosis, my mind immediately went to my past cancer experiences, wanting to emulate past thoughts, emotions and actions.

I feel grateful this time that I am practicing mindfulness which allows me to accept what is more easily rather than being gripped by fear, or sadness, or depression. That’s not to say I don’t feel fearful, sad or depressed. If and when I do I practice observing it, accepting it as temporary, and letting it go. I use the app Calm daily for guided mindful meditations.

Focusing on the in breath and out breath is a huge help to stay present.

It’s interesting in that I feel I’m in this big unending totally safe kaleidoscope. All things are temporary except for the source of light which is always shining within and without. Whatever happens in the kaleidoscope stays in the kaleidoscope! The light is eternal. I am eternal. You are eternal. We are all love.

Peace

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More gratitude

Today we watched videos of Dr. Tonia Young-Fadok perform colorectal surgery. Turns out she is Chair of the department. Also watched a post-op video and have a pretty good idea what to expect.  Today I have felt poorly all day and took frequent naps. When my energy wanes I accept it and lay the body down to rest.

I did get in a walk yesterday and today a short one. Doctor’s orders – exercise as much as I can. It will help a lot with post-op.

I thought my gratitude list yesterday was quite long. But after I posted it I realized I have so much more to be grateful for.

I’m grateful I live in Hawaii. For the sunshine. For the fresh air. For the trade winds. For the blue ocean. For the abundance of green life and animal life. I’m so thankful I found the studio cottage where I now live with everything within reach and a great view of the ocean with the sound of ocean waves wafting past at times. I am especially grateful for Bobby, owner of the property and who lives in the main house, who has become a very good friend. He has done many things above and beyond for me. Just don’t ask him to fix a toilet!

I’m grateful for Alice, a dear friend from Morristown, New Jersey. We worked together in 1986 to create the Morristown Macrobiotic Center and have remained good friends. I’m thankful for her inquiries about my well being.

I’m grateful for Michael, who made my meals for me for twelve years & traveled with me to many poker tournaments. He always did everything with enthusiasm. I’m grateful for Tina who cleaned up for me for twelve years. No matter how much I harassed her, she loved it!

I’m grateful to my Uncle Jerry who i have never met but is always encouraging as I meet challenges. I’m grateful for my step brother, Chip, who I haven’t see in forever but his kind words resonate always. I’m grateful for Aunt Jean and Aunt Connie who I got to visit with in 2001.

And I’m grateful for my father Frank and my stepmother Blanche. Blanche, who essentially was my mother, encouraged him to take me and my brother Tom into a house already full of five children in a middle class neighborhood in the suburbs of Philadelphia shortly after they married. Who knows where I’d be if it wasn’t for their generosity. I’m grateful for Joyce even though she had many marriages and many emotional issues throughout her life. I’m grateful I got to know her for a brief period of time and genuinely felt her love for me.

There are many more friends, family, teachers and guides I’m thankful for. Thank you all for contributing to my life.

Most of all I’m grateful to be alive. As the caption states, it’s about how we climb and not about reaching the top. Thankfully I am able to continue practicing observing, accepting and releasing whatever life presents as I journey through this life. And in the process connect with others in a meaningful, joyous experience of sharing our oneness as human beings.

Indeed, life is bery, bery good!

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Gratitude

I have much to be grateful for. At the very, very top of the list in a class all by herself, is my lifetime companion, the love of my life, my best friend and my lover & wife for 34 years – sweet Nalani. She is gracious, she is kind, she is always thinking about my needs, how to make life easier, empathizing with my issues, sacrificing her needs, always providing the emotional support to weather any storm. Always there through every surgery, recovery, doctor visits, managing the endless lists of medical needs & issues. And here she is again facing this new diagnosis of colon cancer and upcoming surgery with me every step of the way. To say I’m grateful feels much too small for the complete commitment she has made to my well being with her generous love for me. I humbly thank you Nalani and will be forever grateful to you.

I am grateful that I’m able to do all the things I can do. I’m thankful I can do most things with one arm. Thankful I can bathe myself, tube feed my self, dress myself, ride a bike, drive a car, be able to speak even if it is a whisper, be able to be breathe easily with a trach without a need for oxygen. I am grateful for the practice of mindfulness and the richness of life from being in the present. I am thankful for the unending flow of joy that arises everyday no matter the situation.

I am most grateful for Mayo Clinic Rochester for 25 years and now Mayo Clinic Phoenix the past 7 years. I am grateful for all the Mayo surgeons, doctors, nurses, and support staff who have diligently helped me arrive at today. Especially Dr. Steven Ressler, my primary care doctor who is always working to give me the best quality of life. It is due to his insight that a colonscopy was ordered that discovered the mass in my colon. Especially Dr. Philip Lyng, my pulmonologist, who patiently does office visits as long as they take to address my lung issues & for calling every day when I was in the hospital. Especially Dr. David Lott and his PA Jamie, my ENT team for successfully giving me a trach after struggling to breathe even with oxygen.  And especially Dr. H. Vikram, Infectious Diseases, who saved me from numerous life threatening infections with IV antibiotics. I probably wouldn’t be here today without the efforts of these doctors. Mayo Clinic, founded in 1889, is a world class medical facility started by two Mayo brothers whose simple motto has endured to this day – “the needs of the patient come first”. I am most grateful indeed.

I am grateful for the fresh unprocessed blended food I am able to give myself via g-tube for the last 14 years. I am grateful for the natural nourishment my body receives. I’m thankful for the farmers who plant the seeds, plow the land & harvest the fresh veggies and fruit. Thankful for the delivery people who get the food to market. Thankful for the supermarkets & health food stores who stock the fresh food. And most thankful for Sherry who does all the shopping, blends the fresh recipes, and delivers three wholesome meals for each day to me 3x week. And grateful to Kathleen in Phoenix who does the same thing when we come to Mayo.

I am grateful for friends and family. Especially Seren, my daughter, and Isabelle, my 2 year old grand daughter. I am grateful for Sharon, my first wife, who continues to be most loving & kind after all these years. I’m grateful we had a son, Brendan, for a brief 23 years. I’m grateful for a brother like Frank who struggles with Lyme disease. Thankful for brother Tom who has found his way after many marriages. Grateful for the 40 year friendship of my Philly buddy Leon. Go Eagles! Grateful for all of Nalani’s family who welcomed me with loving arms.

I am grateful to the many spiritual teachers & guides that crossed my path. Especially Jesus, Buddha and the Dalai Lama. And all the others who have helped my transformation from a stubborn, hard ass, and negative attitude type of guy. Now I’m just the same, only with a smile & a hug! Forever grateful to Mindy who uttered six words that changed my life during an intense struggle with anxiety & negativity – “you are perfect in every way”. Forever grateful to Anandra, an enlightened spirit, who coached me weekly for over a year when I first said to her “I want to Be Love”. Thankful for Rupali who did gentle yoga sessions with me & always said encouraging & kind words. Thankful Rupali introduced me to Mindy, Abraham (a very wise spirit connected to Source energy) and Richard Hennessey, who gave a talk on mindfulness at my monthly head & neck cancer support group. Thank you Richard for our new found friendship, Anthony DiMello groups, and fellow cohort in Mindful Hawaii with Jimmy Toyama, the visionary of MH.

I am grateful for the practice of mindfulness and how it embraces any situation and enables the opportunity for being in the present moment. And with that opportunity there is a being with and a release of any story, any emotion, any thought, any sensation. And what remains is one’s true spirit of  joy and love for one’s self and everyone else. I am most grateful indeed!

Namaste

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What’s Up Doc?

As promised the colorectal surgeon showed up at the appointed time to give Nalani and me all the lurid details about dealing with my gut. And here’s the scoop, pun intended!

If you are queasy about reading details about operations, you might want to skip the following paragraphs. She reconfirmed a mass was found on the right side of the colon which needs to be removed. It involves a two hour surgery with general anesthesia, you know the kind where you are out out. No Michael Jackson special here, not strong enough. Surgery date is, drum roll, December 19th. We’re staying here in Phoenix. Too much effort to fly home and back in two weeks.

Turns out he is a she and is a world class surgeon with over 200 papers published. She will take a short bit of the small intestine where it joins the large one all the way to where the large one traverses the abdomen. Think of a square, remove the bottom line, and you’re left with three lines. She’ll be removing the right line. It will be a laproscopic surgery with four areas of entry in the abdomen. She actually pulls the colon out and plops it on my belly,  proceeds to cut the colon, sew the remaining ends together, and stuff it back in.

With any major surgery there is risk. On paper (with all my issues) she said I looked like a high risk patient. After talking to me she realized she was talking to Superman and felt much better. That said there is a 1-2% chance of leakage which would be a problem. And anything can happen during surgery. She encouraged me to get in physical shape by walking. They have a terrific trail system on the Mayo Campus I intend to wear out. And there’s a small gym in our hotel. That put a smile on Nalani’s face because she’s THE exercise nut.

Depending on how the surgery goes, recovery in the hospital will be anywhere from two to seven days. And then two weeks after that at the hotel before I’m cleared to fly. When I had a little hole put in my stomach in 2002 for tube feeding, I remember it taking three months before the pain subsided. I’m such a wimp! She was encouraging in that these days they have all kinds of tricks during surgery to reduce pain after surgery. I’m hopeful.

Today’s Daily Calm was about allowing emotions to arise, accept them and then let them go. I often find myself making judgements about emotions like fear, sadness, & anger being bad. Truth is they are just another emotion that will pass just as thoughts pass. By allowing the fear to be, acknowledging & accepting it, it frees me to be aware the fear is temporary, and my true way of being is to shine with love and joy.

Love of myself allows me to love others without labeling, judging or negativity. As I approach this operation, I approach it with compassion and kindness for myself. What a wonderful feeling to be in the moment full of love.

Blessings and love to each of you,

Jesse

 

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The Breath of Life

Aloha fellow eternal beings (uh oh, he’s gone mad!),

This ongoing story which I am posting daily is now the first page that comes up whenever you go to mindfulhawaii.org. And below the present post is all other previous posts if you missed any or are reading this for the first time.

I have good news and more good news. Yesterday I did a bone scan to see if the colon cancer has spread to the bones (evidently can be common). Bone Scan NORMAL! Yabba dabba  doo was my email response to the doc’s. And today I had a CT scan of the pelvis & abdomen so the surgeon has a good visual of the location of the tumor. Doc emailed me to tell me no spreading of cancer to the liver, which is another common place. Tomorrow I see the colorectal surgeon to discuss surgery options & his golf handicap.

Every morning I do an app called Calm. It has a Daily Calm guided meditation with a different mindful focus each day. In my opinion it’s the best mindful app hands down or hands in prayer position or whatever. No matter the focus, the emphasis is always on the breath. Breathe in, breathe out. Deep breath, shallow breath, whatever natural way the body has of breathing. The important thing is to be aware of the breath as it goes in and goes out. When there is awareness there is being in the present moment, which is the only moment that counts.

I have found this very useful especially when I’m ruminating about the present medical diagnosis. You know, the kick in the butt diagnosis! When I focus on breathing I am at peace in that moment. No fear of the future, no concerns, no what ifs, no strategy, no figuring it all out. Just me and the breath. Heavenly indeed! As I focus on awareness of the breath I am free to just be. In the just being I release all negative thoughts and I let go of any story I’m telling myself which allows me to be joyful in that moment. The more awareness of the breath, there is more joy.

Sounds too easy, right? I’m here to testify (I swear to tell the whole truth & nothing but the truth, so help me whatever the source of life is) that it is easy! All it takes is practice, practice, practice. Eventually the practice becomes the way of being on the way to nirvana or heaven or joyful living or just being here now.

My dearest friend and wife continues to shine with her assists, reminders, and deep love. How lucky I am to be with her during these past 34 years. Sweet Nalani.

Mindfully yours,

Jesse

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