Sunday, May 8, 2011

That was the Week that was...

Happy Mother’s Day everyone. Mothers are something we all have. Amy is getting the chance to celebrate with her mother, daughter and sister (plus friends and spouses). We had planned a picnic, but the weather didn’t cooperate, so we moved the soiree to our house. It was a lovely gathering.

As I look back upon this week, It is a strange mixture of positives and frustrations. (But isn’t every week?) After being assured that our insurance kicked in on the first of May, I made appointments at Scripps Clinic here in Encinitas to move down the road with my treatment. But alas, I didn’t have the Insurance card yet, and I wasn’t posted on the website. Smooth talking fellow that I am, I weaseled my way through my appointments, and had a good interaction with my new primary care physician, but soon the billing ladies at Scripps we calling. When I contacted Healthnet, I was told, alternately, that it would be 24 hours, 5 days, that our account manager was on jury duty, and that it might be as long as 2 weeks. Not good. Finally by Friday, we were finally posted on the website. But lots of stress and anxious phone calls in the interim. Now it’s time to get busy with the oncologist.

The other big news of the week was a return to Wednesday evening Yoga class. It was sooo good to see our little yoga tribe again! I am trying very hard not to exceed my body’s safe parameters, since major surgery was only 6 weeks ago. I could reasonably do about half of my usual practice, but fortunately, breath and meditation are not affected negatively. I would like to offer thanks to two wonderful women who kept watch over the yoga space in my absence. Barbara Rosario Borrass stepped in and led the class and kept everyone on the straight and narrow. Thank you so much Barbara, we all thank you for your constant help and support. And to Ms. Elena Burgeno Berman, keeper of the records, reporter/stenographer, and just part of the glue that holds our tribe together, I/we are very grateful for your attention to detail and constant sweetening of the scene. In fact my return to class coincided with Elena’s birthday! And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Michael Brown, who put up this blog for me to stay in touch with you. I am so glad to be back practicing, at any level. If things go well, perhaps we can start up the Saturday morning class soon.

I think about how much better I am doing from just a month ago. I was losing weight and weak and feeble. But once Amy and I got the digestive situation sorted out a bit, I started gaining strength and putting on weight. I have felt so much better, trying to stay active every day, and rejoining the outside world. And having an easier time keeping my pants up. Don’t laugh, it’s a real problem since my already minimal glutes shrunk even more in the hospital. OK, you can laugh a little bit. It is kinda funny. I officiated a wedding in Balboa Park on Saturday morning, my first since becoming ill. It went well, but I was swimming in my dress clothes, because I am still, after all, down at least 20 lbs. Suspenders? They may be in my future. Three more weddings this month!

One of the interesting things about the Whipple procedure, mentioned in the literature and also mentioned on the accounts on medical bulletin board sites is the strange tendency of post-Whipple patients to cry easily. I have certainly felt this, a sudden upwelling of emotions that bring tears to my eyes. This seems to be slowly subsiding as I get further out from surgery, but this week there were at least two occasions when I found myself crying. Let me say that these tears are not always tears of sadness, but sometimes the beauty of a moment or a simple story of human frailty will set me off. This week both Amy and I needed pep talks from each other, albeit on different days. It is hard to stay positive all the time. It was that kind of week.

On Friday, Amy found some free passes to San Diego Botanical Gardens here in Encinitas; what we still call Quail Gardens. It was a sunny, breezy and cools spring day and it was just so lovely strolling through the grounds with Amy. Simple pleasures. After coming home I rested to a guided meditation and ended up sleeping for two hours! Shortly after I awoke, we found out our insurance was now fully in effect. What a relief. I’ll call the ladies at Scripps first thing Monday morning.

Chemo will likely be starting this week or very soon. The hardest part is not knowing how I will react. Since I seem to be getting better every day, the idea of dripping poison into my bloodstream seems illogical on some somatic level. It seems my body and my reasoning mind are telling me different things. We’ll have to agree to disagree for the time being.

Thanks again to everyone who has sent their love, kindness, skills and support my way. Sometimes an illness like this takes things down to their simplest level: We must be kind to each other, to love each other. And our mothers. Including Mother Earth.

Peace to you and all mothers everywhere,

Swami bruce


  1. Bruce, glad to hear you are gaining some strength. I'm sure the chicken eggs are helping(???). I can't wait to get back to your yoga instructions and guided meditations. We do have a nice tribe with a fantastic leader.....YOU! Take care and see you soon,

  2. dear bruce,
    lots of loving attention last week from friends and family on my birthday (39th...again) but having you return to lead our yoga class was the "icing on the cake".

    in your absence, we dedicated our practices and energies towards your healing and bowed to our ganesh statue.

    wishing you continued stamina, weight gain (especially in the glutes...) and acceptance of what "is". this too shall pass.

    and, personally, i think it's okay to cry. my italian grandfather said, "it makes you more beautiful."

    your pals,