30 May 2009

living in gratitude 74 : pause button on communicating

Now that my health is no longer in danger,
I am going to put the pause button on communicating
+ take a break from this blog +

+ focus on getting better physically

+ emotionally.

I will keep drawing + creating but keep it in the private realm.

I like this image, it gives me a real sense that
"I am alive, I am here -
and I have something as strong as the tree to lean on."

And this is a reminder of all the shadow work, the non-tangible internal work that needs to be taken care of...

will update from time - to - time.

28 May 2009

living in gratitude 73 : integrating new information

text : He said "the results are perfect."
I didn't hear him, my friend who had accompanied me to the appointment said to me,
"Nathalie he just told you of your results."
"Yes the results are perfect."
Are you sure? there is nothing? nothing? nothing?
I couldn't quite believe what I was hearing.
May 27 2009

text : I couldn't absorb what had happened. After the appointment with the doctor. I kept asking my friend.

text: As I stood in the street the sense that I was OK started to appear with me. I felt such quiet gratitude + I felt very humble.

text : I got back + I felt exhausted. I lay on the bed. I could feel the lightness appear in my body
the dread, the anticipation, the heaviness of the sentence
I didn't realise how heavy, how much weight I had carried.

text : the sense of relief + lightness settling within

text : I was feeling the lightness enter my body

text: At first i would ask WHY ME?

And I'd look at all those faces in the waiting room at INSTITUT MARIE CURIE + see how ANYONE could be diagnosed with cancer.
young, old, fat, thin, glamorous, ordinary, man, woman, black, white, asian.
there was NO PREJUDICE
so I would understand
it could be anyone

And yet today - I was told the results were perfect. And I know lots of people who didn't survive cancer. And I asked WHY ME?

27 May 2009

living in gratitude 72 : today i am perfect

I just got back from my appointment my surgeon + the news is :

He said the results are "perfect".

No cancerous cells found in the lymph nodes + nor in the cervix (radiation successful).

Here is a photo of my feet + yasmin's flip-flops in the waiting room at Institut Marie Curie. I wore a particularly bright skirt for the day as I thought, whatever the results are, it's a part of my life.

As I sat in the waiting room, I really felt that whatever the doctor says, I will continue this life journey embracing it all. And I kept telling Yasmin, "if that means having to go on with more treatment, I won't be delighted but I do accept that it may be the path I have to take. I'm not in charge. "

Yasmin's flip flops.
Waiting time at institut Marie Curie is always significant...

My surgeon (white doc's coat) + my toes while he checks out the my tummy + the scar. (photo by yasmin)

I don't believe my lucky stars.

Fortunately Yasmin was with me, because when the surgeon said "the results are perfect," I didn't hear him... I was talking about the symptons since the surgery...
Yasmin stopped me and said "he just said your results are perfect."
What? Really ? ?
"Oui, les resultats sont parfaits" he replied
You mean there is nothing, nothing, nothing???????

"Yes, no traces in the lymph nodes and nor in the cervix, the radiation worked well there."

I was and still am gob-smacked.
We went to lunch with Yasmin, her husband and their child and I had no appetite. I kept asking Yasmin "can you just repeat what he said one more time?"
"Did that really happen?"
"He DID say, it was all gone, it was perfect didn't he?"

Then as we walked back to the car, I started to have a sense of what this meant. I felt humbled + "why me? how come I get off the hook? how does that one happen?".

... Ganesh turned up today...
Yasmin's son, Louis with Ganesh at the shop window of DIWALI,
nearby Institut Marie Curie.

And now I am back home. I just want to have a rest. some zzzzz. That's a lot of emotion for one day... I still cannot quite believe what has happened... has it really? will I wake up + there be something else?

Thank you for your thoughts + prayers.

Now I can confidently ask you all to direct those prayers to others you know or don't know who are going through profoundly challenging moments.

And I am going to start to slowly integrate what this means, that I can just keep resting + getting better + remember to take EVERYTHING slowly, in its time + slowly start thinking about my second lease of life.

26 May 2009

living in gratitude 71 - anticipation of the results

This afternoon the sun came out and this reflection from the window appeared on the ceiling... it was quite magical...
I haven't seen it before... I have been anticipating tomorrow... thinking I just cannot go through anymore treatment - I have had it. When I am calm inside, I know I have to surrender to the outcome.

text: the anticipation of results tomorrow is the day I find out the results from the surgery... am I clear?

text : depleted
I had a really good day on Saturday... I thought I was going to be fine to head home... then Sunday I spent the whole day in bed....Monday still feeling depleted... I read up that this is a part of post-hysterectomy surgery - 2 steps ahead and 1 step behind. So after my great ambitions of heading home on last weekend... seeing how I am each day...

text : Before all this happened, I was constantly DOING doing

And today I felt, there are many things I want to do in this second lease of life. Many ways i want to contribute to humanity. But that right now I cannot DO a thing.

All I can do is rest, is breathe in gently to my wounded, depleted body and feel the support my body gets from the ground or the bed and the pillow. This is all I can do.

text : feel the support under your body.

This is my other mantra, each time I think of how the earth, the ground, the bed is supporting the parts of the body that is touching the earth, the ground, the bed. The feeling that my body is safe, that I am being protected, helps to keep me calm + grounded.

text : Tomorrow's results need to say I'm OK.
I just don't think I could go through more treatment.

yesterday :
mint tea with Pascale at the Mosque across the road from Rose's.
P's visit was a big step up - as I finally felt I was having pleasure in doing something 'normal' like having a tea out.
(After the tea, I recuperated by having a lie down back at home + chatted to P from my bed - she's just been back from 2 months in west Africa researching her next film so was full of stories + had me giggling).

It's been excruciating these last weeks because I haven't been able to feel pleasure in the small things - even a walk in the park has been "effort"... then a few days ago I started to enjoy the flowers more...

Home-made sushi delivery by Elise tonight.

Simbad a friend from my time in Berlin, wrote to me today from Brazil saying that he thinks of me each day as he does sun salutations...when we both lived in Berlin he would come over for breakfast + yoga-sun-salutations with me in my giant art studio in Berlin... + that thought warmed me as there is SO MUCH good will from so many people around that world that I am better... that these results really need to be AOK...

24 May 2009

living in gratitude 70 : sketchbook # 12

I thought I was going to head back to my appartment today as I had ventured up the 5 flights of stairs at Rose's appartment building yesterday morning... I was sure I was fine - but I was so tired from it that I slept for half an hour afterwards...and was exhausted for the rest of the day...
Rose + Morgan said I need to take it slowly... the soul wants to soar, the body is recuperating ever so slowly...

text : feeling like a steam roller has rolled over me

Here is sketchbook # 12.
For the first week after I came out of hospital, I was so depleted physically + emotionally, I had no creative output whatsover, no desire to pick up a pen, to update the blog or to draw...

These drawings started in the second week after coming out of hospital around the 15 May.
I was staying (and still am) at Rose's home, as I couldn't (and still cannot) climb the 5 flights of stairs home. Rose's appartment, opposite the mosque has a lift.

Now I am itching to get back to my flat.

text : the skin feels numb
the surface between the world + my
internal broiling
I cannot express

text : Nothing much to say
I'm in bed most of the day

text : this feels so hard

text : Earlier this week I would wake up in tears
dreams of rage
dream of wanting to divorce my family
dream of the more toxic relationships in my life
too much grief
I can't do the grief
and healing this
huge wound
for now one thing at a time. Let's heal the body
first - then the emotional

text :
He asked me "how do you feel?"

a question which often starts a phone conversation

"I feel EVERYTHING at once" I answered

"I feel tired, I feel rage, fustrated, joy, sadness, anger, free, imprsioned, regret, gratitude, abandoned, supported, worn out yet new, all of it. It's all in me - the multitude of faces all at once, being felt.

text : settling into a quieter internal space

text : I AM ALIVE




the gratitude + pain

the deep grief of a hyterectomy which took place in my body




text : ALL OF THIS, it's so temporary

23 May 2009

living in gratitude 69 : sketchbook # 11

text : numb

Sketchbook #11 was done from my bed at Institut Marie Curie, day 4 - 6 after surgery. 8 -10 May 09

I struggled with the giant welling of sadness within, my numbed + traumatised body. It was like two worlds (the external + internal) living next to eachother - and unable to communicate/ cross over.

text: my heart feels numb

text : breathe

(breathing was the only form of relief I got : If I could breathe in to myself, breathe into the pain, or into a part of my body, it was as if something from the external world was connecting with the internal world.
Nadia, a pilates + BMC practitioner happened to be in Paris that week for a dance production, + as the production was at Theatre de la Ville, literally down the road from Institut Marie Curie, she came to visit me each day.
The first day, she just held onto my feet. It was my first experience of feeling grounded, to have someone hold my feet, remind me that grounding could exist, as I was everywhere but grounded.
I fell asleep during this.

The next day, she suggested I breathe into my spine and open it up each time I breathe in. Simple stuff. But it was all about getting back into that soft spot. After surgery, I felt so much like I had been cut in half (I could physically feel the cut within my body), and I was on a drip + downing all types of pills... It's a violent process.
That soft spot was a relief. A reminder that something in life could be soft again.

text : I can only think of NOW

text : what the heart yearns.

no text

no text

text : the deep well of sadness

it was huge! it came up as I came down off the intial painkillers, and the well was so huge inside me, it seemed so much larger than my physical body.

text : veronique visited me today
she gave my feet + my back a massage
my body felt numb
the movements of the massage woke up little pockets of my skin
the only emotion i could feel was sadness.

(Actually after that massage I cried for the rest of the day and the following day - it was a relief to be able to finally express some emotion, as my body had been so numbed, it had all felt so blocked.)

text : woke up this morning, tears, tears,
tears, tears

woke up this morning, tears, tears,
tears, tears
tears, tears
tears tears

text : the deep space within where tears lie

22 May 2009

living in gratitude 68 : sketchbook #10 post-op

Sketchbook # 10 was made one - three days post-surgery.
5 + 6 + 7 May 09.
Institut Marie Curie, from my bed.

text: I need to remember.
I need to remember this.

text : That the worst is behind
is not yet,
a believable concept.
NOTHING IS BELIEVABLE all that is believable is that well - each day remains believable enough to go on
or maybe the morphine + pain management does
But right now the only thing I believe is my belly got cut open + utereus + ovaries + lymph nodes extracted.

text: feeling feel drugged up drawing shit

text : drawing on post-operation pain management

text : why do I bother drawing?
reckon I'll go to sleep now
feeling a bit drug fucked.
NO PAIN - only when I move

text : is it really over?
I have difficulty to feel it could be
my gut has been open
+ it's hard to stand

text : I feel too sore, too crap to even think that the worst is over. Firstly there are 2 more weeks of tests to wait for
then there is recovery
I guess
the major worst is over but I'm still taking a day at a TIME BABY


text : day 2 after surgery
- i can pee (gratitude)
- I can walk (very slowly)
food: day of surgery NIL (mon)
(tues)1. NIL (day after)
Wed 2. yoghurt + apple puree
Thurs 3. macaroni

Thursday 3 after surger:
I thought I was going to have a melt down when I saw the macaroni. WHAT?????
my first meal since Sunday + it's ****ing macaroni?

text : so, Life begins here huh?

text : I am so drugged up on pain-killers,
I don't really care for much right now.