Sunday, July 28, 2013


PHOENIX, our "pet" dove, enjoying the ocean view.

As I close in on the 5-year anniversary of my “debulking” (odd word meaning messy, gross, long, painful, yet life-saving) surgery, I find myself thinking more and more about the next 5 years.  What will change, what will remain the same?  My first wish, of course, is that I’m still here 5 years from now.  That’s kind of obvious.  In August of 2008, I wouldn’t have bet a nickel that I’d still be around 5 months from then – much less 5 years.  But here I am. 

I have a saying that I say every day – much to my poor husband’s annoyance – “I learn something new every day!”  And yet every day it’s true.  Believe me I’ve learned a lot over the past 5 years – about my cancer, about how much my body can take, about drugs, about my faith, my spirit; about my tolerance levels and about the tolerance levels of others around me; about the importance of trust and prayer and compassion and true kindness; about the real worth of family and friends and strangers who come forward when you least expect it; and about the sanctity of each new day.

I’ve also learned a lot about different types of healing – physical, spiritual, holistic, energy therapies, naturopathic medicine, mind-body interventions.  I’m pretty much open to most alternative medical systems, within reason of course.  I’ve definitely ruled out leeches and colonic therapies, at least for now anyway.  Mind visualization and meditation have caught my imagination, but I can’t say I’ve utilized them very often. 

A very dear friend of mine introduced me to a beautiful relaxing, nurturing, energy therapy called Healing Touch last year.   Her gentle touch assists in balancing my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  Healing Touch works with your energy field to support your natural ability to heal.  It is safe for all ages and works in harmony with standard medical care. It’s wonderful and amazing and I love her for bringing it into my life.  It was founded in 1989 by an RN as a continuing education program for nurses, massage therapists, other health care professionals, and lay persons.  Healing Touch is used in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, long term care facilities, private practices, hospices, and spas.  Today Healing Touch has spread internationally and is taught in universities, medical and nursing schools, and other settings internationally.  It’s amazing and I give her credit for keeping my energy centers open and my spirit based in faith and trust.  Anything and everything we can do to fight this heinous disease is worthwhile – except those leeches – and I believe Healing Touch has definitely helped me. 

My friend is also a great listener.  One afternoon, while I was talking to her on the phone, I told her a pair of mourning doves had just landed on the railing of my balcony.  If you know anything about doves, you know that they don’t really like heights.  It’s very common to see them foraging for food on the ground, but to come to a bird feeder on the 6th floor of a condominium building – not so common.  She very calmly said, “Do you believe in signs?”  I said “Yes, I guess I do.”  We really didn’t discuss them any further except for the fact that they were so beautiful.  I began thinking about the sign they might be bringing me or their symbolism in my life right now.  God bless Google – I did some research! 

Seems that doves have been a sign of comfort and reassurance for 100s of years.  The ancient Celts believed the voice of a dove cooing indicated that a soul was passing from the earth in peace.  Their primary symbolism is that of patience and tenderness.  Their soothing voice along with the soft hue of their bodies and tender glow of their eyes all lead to thoughts of softness and tenderness and peace.  But the most inspiring attribute I came across, the most outstanding symbolism of the dove, is that of hope.  What more wonderful sign could I have asked for?

The following day, I was out on the balcony after a rainstorm.  I heard my husband calling me, pointing out a beautiful full rainbow.  What a gorgeous sight!  Moments later, we noticed it was becoming a double rainbow.  I don’t think I’d ever seen one before.  Absolute magic!  Talk about signs!  Back to Google I went!  Seems Double Rainbows are a symbol of transformation, the first one representing the material and the second the spiritual.  Seeing a double rainbow is considered a very auspicious occasion and a call to reflection and meditation.  It is believed to mean that whatever is coming to you will have great meaning in your life and one good thing will lead to another good thing.  

Wow!  I learned a lot that week!  If I truly do believe in signs, then I believe the next 5 years will not only be possible, but probable.  I’ve also learned that at least one of the doves is here to stay.  I’ve named her Phoenix and she’s here every day, eating me out of house and home.  But for the hope and comfort and beauty that she brings me, I’ll claim her as a dependent! 

TIP FOR TODAY:  Believe in signs.  Don’t be afraid to open your mind and your heart to new treatments and therapies.  They are all variations on blessings and hope, both of which are necessary to keep our core spirit alive