Let’s go back to the beginning, sorta and kind of give the low down on how this all came about, and also to kind of consolidate it in one place as a reference point. There is also a bit of hindsight and speculation on mine, and my family’s part, now that we know what is going on with my body, about “oddities” in my health over the past couple years that now make a kind of sense, or that we can see a connection.
It was January 8th. Not only the day Elvis died, but my brother Mitchell’s Birthday. Finally after suffering for many months, my sister Denise convinced her hard headed sister that something was truly wrong and I should get it checked. So I told my doctor and he scheduled a CAT scan. Denise accompanied me. I could tell you horror stories about the various odd symptoms that had been going on for a year or more, but in the end I was literally falling over from the sheer magnitude of the pain in my head. I felt as though it was going to explode, while at the same time burning hot ice picks were being shoved into it from all angles. I also would just begin to drift walk to the right and get lost. Then stuff in my head began to go poof. I could not write. Words looked like scribbles jumbled on the page. Computer skills were gone. I was back to “What does this button do?” stage of computer use.
So we have the CAT scan and they tell us to wait and the Radiologist is going to look at it then we will be free to go. A few minutes later they come get us. They put us in a room, and tell me my Family Doctor needs to speak to me. They give my sister his cell phone number. She calls, puts him on speaker, and I feel her hand clutch tight to mine. He says: “I really hate to do this on the phone, Nalora, but they have found something and you will need to be admitted today. Now.” He was actually crying.
So then the whole Chaos ensued, and for hours I was run here and about getting this test and that test and blood was drawn, and finally got to my room just after supper time. Then family began to arrive and a few days later all the tests were in and it was Terminal Cancer of the Brain. Lung cancer that had metastasized to the brain. Not operable, no chemo. Radiation would help shrink them some and keep me functional for some time, as well as steroids to control swelling. “How long Doc?” 6 or 7 months is the median survival. (He had an app for it, pretty cool.) So essentially half the folks with my kind of cancer are dead in 6 months, some go quicker, some last longer, but 6 months is average. As they piled on the meds, I saw a vast improvement daily. I got some of the function back. I was surprised when the doctor told me I was virtually blind in one eye. I had known it was going, but had not tested it. “Just old lady stuff.” I told myself. I had also been bumping into things on the right. I just never see them. I actually laughed about it. “How the heck did that big thing get there and me not see it?” Your eyes are great pretenders and fill in the blank tools. Cheaters.
THE INITIAL REACTION
To truly understand my initial reaction one must understand several important points.
- First and foremost I am a Christian. We do not die. We stand on the promise of Jesus Christ John 3:16
- I am a Registered Nurse. I worked Oncology for a number of years during my life, and have witnessed many deaths. I also have had a life long interest in death and dying. Read a lot about it, studied it. My interest in death at times I am sure seemed to border on the macabre to my family and others who know me.
- I began to plan my death/funeral when I was in my early 20’s. I had seen so many be so ill prepared and thought how odd that we all know we are going to die, but few plan for it. Death is a certainty. Yet people think it will never come. All these arrangements for me have been set for many years. And paid for in advance.
- I thought a lot about the way in which I would want to die. There is always that question, tossed out in conversation: “How would you want to die?” Most choose “Peacefully in my sleep.” This was not me. Too quick, and no one says goodbye. Folks left behind are left with an emptiness. a question, something undone and missing. In absolute honesty I can tell you that my choice was to die of Cancer or some other disease that would give me some time to say goodbye, enjoy some of the beauty of the world, love my family and friends, tell them what they meant to me, and then check out.
There is also the nurturing side of me. I am a very caring loving person. (some may think otherwise, but I know myself– I cried at Casper Cartoons as a kid because he could not get any friends, I once came home from school devastated and crying and when my dad asked me what was wrong I wept out: “I hurt a girl’s feelings at school.”) Watching death from the sidelines so to speak as a nurse and human being, I know it is the living, the ones losing the loved one who have the hard time. They must let go. Each one will be different in that letting go. Dying with a slow goodbye allows me to assist them in the letting go. This gives me much peace. I know I cannot take away their grief, but I can ease it some I hope. If they know I am ok with it…I am good, and if they know my soul is in the hands of God, then perhaps my passing will not wrench their heart out and stomp it to bits. This is good. I die in love and into love.
THE SPIRITUAL HEALING
When you have walked with Jesus for some time, there are times when He allows you to see parts of the plan for your life with such clarity that you are almost literally thrown back in your chair and mesmerized by the sheer perfectness of it. Many times when I got peeks of things and reasons and wherefores I would laugh with joy over how marvelous He is.
In the clarity of that moment, crystal clear and radiant…I saw the plan with more understanding and transparency than any other time in my life. I have struggled in the darkness for a long time. I have dispelled great shadows. Some of this darkness has been lifelong, and a constant struggle. Tiring, exhausting, and debilitating. All of this left me at once. For the first time in my life….I was purely me. I was healed of Spirit first. And this is of course the greatest healing.