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[cancer] The chemo ritual - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-01-07 20:37
Subject: [cancer] The chemo ritual
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, health, personal, photos
So we have made a ritual to help me get through chemo. calendula_witch and I dreamed this up from an idea she had, and it was extended and refined by others, with contributions of material support from Mother of the Child and lillypond.

We acquired twelve small bottles and jars.


I wrote out a list of twelve of my hopes and twelve of my fears for the chemotherapy process.


calendula_witch and shelly_rae created twenty four small slips of paper, then wrote out each of my hopes and fears on one of the slips. (They also each wrote a separate, bonus hope of their own, which I did not see.)




We randomly inserted one hope and one fear in each bottle. Then the two of them placed their bonus hopes into the bottles, and we arranged them on my mantelpiece.



Now, every time I finish a chemo infusion (which will be the Sunday afternoons after the Friday sessions, when I can remove the pump I'm to wear for 48 hours), I will smash one of the bottles, releasing both the hope and the fear within. We'll save the shards and scraps inside a larger bottle to remind me later. The diminishing line of bottles on the mantelpiece will be my countdown calendar showing how long I have to go until I'm done.

I'm not normally much for rituals, but this one feels powerful to me. calendula_witch and shelly_rae are marvelous to do this, and I love them both.

Post A Comment | 18 Comments | | Link

User: coppervale
Date: 2010-01-08 04:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This is most excellent.
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User: brent_kellmer
Date: 2010-01-08 04:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If they feel right, rituals can be a powerful medicine in and of themselves. This one sounds like one.
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markbourne: pogo
User: markbourne
Date: 2010-01-08 05:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Man, I love this.

And what lovely spokesmodels!
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Little and foxy and sexy... what more do you want?
User: little_foxy
Date: 2010-01-08 05:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
what a brilliant idea... and what two gorgeous woman you have there ;)

You will be in my thoughts over the weekend.
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User: peanut13171
Date: 2010-01-08 05:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My aunt just had a cancerous kidney removed a month ago. Fortunately she won't have to undergo chemo, but she's still *very* fragile, mentally and physically. The fear is the worst. I think I'll adapt your ritual somehow and see if it helps her. Thanks for the idea.
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User: quantuminsanity
Date: 2010-01-08 07:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
that sounds a lovely ritual
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User: obadiah
Date: 2010-01-08 07:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Very cool indeed.

Get well soon, Jay....
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Erin Cashier
User: therinth
Date: 2010-01-08 08:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This is lovely.
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Lisa Deutsch Harrigan: St Mongos
User: lisa_marli
Date: 2010-01-08 10:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:St Mongos
That is Wonderful Powerful Stuff.
Thank you Ladies!
May you soon have a Healthy Jay Lake to love.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-01-08 10:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That is a wonderful idea. All the best. My wish is for years and years of health and happiness to come for all of you.
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User: daibheid
Date: 2010-01-08 12:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
what a great idea!
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International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
User: nick_kaufmann
Date: 2010-01-08 13:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think that's absolutely wonderful!
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Katherine Sparrow
User: ktsparrow
Date: 2010-01-08 15:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Lovely ritual. Good luck with the starting of chemo.
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User: anghara
Date: 2010-01-08 18:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What an awesomely creative way of dealing with this.

I'll be thinking about you, Jay. Hope it goes as well as it can, under the circumstances.

May your hopes ALWAYS be stronger than your fears.
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The NewroticGirl
User: newroticgirl
Date: 2010-01-09 01:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This is a wonderful ritual.

Maybe when you're all the way done, I'll take you to the glass studio, and we can make something to comemmorate the end of chemo.

(Actually, the studio does a lot of stuff for kids with cancer -- makes pendants and color-coded beads to mark their progress through chemo. Yellow for giving a urine sample, red for a blood draw, etc, so they have a physical chart of the progress.)
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Leah Cutter: Buddha Dreaming
User: lrcutter
Date: 2010-01-09 02:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Buddha Dreaming
I had a dream about you last night. I'd meant to tell you about it earlier but time got away from me. I'm sure it was inspired by this post.

You held some kind of contest, and had 12 winners. Each winner got to go to Portland and get a picture taken of themselves giving you a kiss. Over the course of 12 weeks, you posted each picture. I only recognized Ken -- he was week three. The affection between the pair of you was palpable and wonderful to behold. (No actual kiss in the photo -- just him giving you a bear hug and you smiling peacefully with your eyes closed.)

After week three you started to get gray. It was as if the rest of the picture was color, but you were in black and white. Eventually, though, by about week ten you were back to full color.

I'd won week 12. The picture was very Dr. Suess-like, almost a cartoon. We each stood on one leg, facing each other, lips puckered, fingers intertwined. The other leg was not only lifted high behind each of us, the toes were curled back almost touching our heads. As I said, Suess-like.

I don't believe in dreams, that they'll predict the future or anything. I think this was a way for me to process what's happening to you, and for my brain to assure me that you're going to be all right. Which I continue to firmly believe. There may be some rough spots, but I will continue to hold you in my thoughts and believe you'll come through this just fine.

::massive hugs::
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-01-09 22:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow, that is pretty intense. And thank you.

:: hugs back ::
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LiveJournal: pingback_bot
User: livejournal
Date: 2013-07-15 15:24 (UTC)
Subject: Jay Lake, Cancer, and God #4: Prevailing
User daveraines referenced to your post from Jay Lake, Cancer, and God #4: Prevailing saying: [...] has become automatic over time PLUS is tied to a deeply held value."  Breaking bottles [...]
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