Tuesday, August 30, 2011


One of the classes I teach ended yesterday. I cannot express how much I love this class. It is not an obviously transformational class like life coaching or hypnotherapy (I love those too!) - the class I love to teach is about writing. It's a class that is mandatory for many of the students in degree and diploma programs. I kind of fell into teaching this class and I could not be happier that it was mine to teach!

Last night, one of the students shared that she decided to dive in and start her blog during this class. YAY! Another student realized that she COULD write and expressed her desire to take the many stories her grandmother has told her throughout her life and write childrens' books with them. I love to hear these stories

And then after the class ended and everyone had left one of the students came up to say that he appreciated the class. There was an assignment that he had been resisting but when he finally bit the bullet and completed it he learned something and he wanted to share that with me. I told him that I was glad to hear that. He went on to say that he knew my name was Piperlyne even though he had used the names Pippy Longstocking and Pollyanna when referring to me. I laughed and told him that it was not the first time someone had used those names with me and that if he had called me that I did not even notice it. He said no that he never called me that to my face but he used those names when he talked about me. He said he was sorry for that. I thanked him for his apology and said not to worry, all is good. He shook my hand and left.

Now I know that my response might be strange but I got into my car smiling and filled with happiness - for a number of reasons. First, out of all the names he could have chosen for me he choose two very independent little girls filled with the adventure of life and doing what they felt was right even if the rest of the world did not agree. - I am good with that comparison. Second, he felt so uncomfortable with his negative thoughts of me that he needed to apologize to me for them. This experience means the world to me and I was honored that he was so moved to apologize like that. He did not have to. I would have never known the difference.

Just when you least expect it, life gives you a gift in very unusual wrapping. But if you take the time to open it, it might just be one of the best gifts you have gotten all day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Virginia Piper Cancer Center

Rough day today.

Had my first appointment with my radiation oncologist. And walked through the doors of Virginia Piper Cancer Center for the first time today. It's a beautiful building, tile work, over stuffed chairs, individual cup coffee makers, stone waterfall and children and seniors and me as patients. Seeing the children breaks my heart.....

The nurse and the doctor were very kind women. They went through the usual medical history questions and asked me about my past surgeries. I mention the laser surgery I had decades ago for endometriosis and the two sinus surgeries - and then we get to the pregnancy. "So you had twins..." and then "Oh! You must be...." and I stop them before the 5th word can leave their mouth because I am pretty confident that 5th word is not going to be sad or grieving. I stop it before it can go further and they get embarrassed and I get emotional and everyone feels awkward. I say something like "I have one surviving twin, my other son died at 11 days old." Or I think I say something like that. Even though I know the question or comment is coming I still stumble over the words, my mind goes blank and I just say what comes out. After 11 months I am getting better at it. A few tears come out but I don't lose my mind anymore. That's a good thing I guess...

Actually, I do lose my mind but I wait until I get in the car. It is safe to cry in the car. It's like you have an invisible barrier. It's not that others can't see you but they are so busy doing whatever they are doing behind their invisible barrier they don't have time or energy to check you out. So crying is safe in the car. I have done it for years that way. But it may not be the "why" that you might think it is - I don't mind people seeing me cry what is hard is when they take it harder than I and apologize or want to hug me or get embarrassed or say something to try to comfort me. - Just a request to anyone who may be reading this and may see me cry sometime in my life. It is okay for me to cry, I am usually good with it. If I need a hug or words of comfort I will ask or tell you. Other than that just let me cry, do not take it away from me and make it about you and how uncomfortable you feel with it. I know this is hard. I know. And I have learned that it is a common experience for those who have had a terrible loss, like the loss of a child, or maybe a cancer diagnosis, to feel unsafe to share their tears because of how it makes others feel and the strange things that people say and do when they feel so uncomfortable.

So I cried in the car. The cancer diagnosis seems so much more real now. It is not just that my thyroid is screwed up. It is not just a surgery. It is more......

And I think to myself that after fighting so hard to get both of my boys here alive and healthy, and only getting to keep one beautiful boy to raise, now a year later I have to fight to keep myself here alive and healthy. Nolan only has one mommy so I need, I choose, I intend to stay. Nolan has fought strongly to stick around with me the least I can do is the same.

Bring On the Rain - song by Jo Dee Meesina that fits this moment.

Final note - The doctor's office is across the street from the cemetery where my nephew Owen is buried. So I had to stop by to say hi, per se. I parked the car and walked to his grave site. He is surrounded by other infants. Some of them have families who decorate their sites like my brother and SIL do and some don't. And after the dust storm last night things were a mess. So in honor of August 19th I went through and wiped off the stones and plaques, set up any of the babies toys or decorations that were blown over, reorganized the flowers. It felt good to be of service in this very small way. To many parents who have lost an infant August 19th is known as the Day of Hope. "August 19th is about openly speaking about these children and celebrating their short lives." - CarlyMarie Click on her name to learn about her amazing work for baby loss parents.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Diagnosis and Another Curve Ball

For someone who has always sucked at sports, I know a curve ball when I see one. I haven't written much lately - for a couple of reasons. There have some goings on in my life that I couldn't talk about until I talked to all of my family.

On August 1st I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer (still difficult for me to say/write). I have had challenges with my thyroid for years and have tried all natural, alternative and western medicine treatments that I could find without much avail. Last year when I was pregnant my new ob/gyn noticed my thyroid was swollen and sent me to see an endocrinologist. When I was sent to get a biopsy they couldn't do it, the nodule had shrunk to a quarter of it's size. I had to go in again in July. It was still very small but they were able to biopsy. They found cancer cells. My first response - "WTF?" not said loudly in an angry voice but softly in a voice of shock. With everything that happened last year - as I heal from a difficult and fearful TTTS pregnancy, as I move out of dark grief from Eli's death, as I get comfortable and more confident in Nolan's health, growth and development - another curve ball that I could not have not guessed at a year and half ago comes into my life. I needed to sit with the information.

This is where I have been for the past couple of weeks, sitting with that diagnosis and googling. There is good news here. Thyroid cancer has very high survivor rates with the treatment I will be getting, especially when it is the kind that I have in it's earliest stages. All of these are good things
it is something else for me to heal. I am having surgery to remove my thyroid on August 23rd and then I go on thyroid medication. It looks like I will have one round of radioactive iodine in September to kill any other thyroid cells still left and then I should be done, completely.

I know that I must move through this experience differently than the ones this past year. I HAVE to release all my fears, go deep into my past, go to those places I had healed once already and do it again, do it more. Because it is not just about the recent wounds but this diagnosis is breaking open old ones and demanding healing on an even more transformative level.

And so I am healing right now. In this moment.

My new mantra or prayer "I am releasing all resentment, anger, fear and sadness from my complete being. I am healthy."