“ALL” stands for Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

I just learned what “ALL means”, in the past few days, when plans for a trip to South America got replaced by a trip to the UW Hospital. It was like falling out of an airplane. I went from walking 2 hours a day to fatigue and no appetite, to the couch to the doctor to the hospital in pretty short order. So, on this day, when we were scheduled to fly out to Quito, Ecuador, I sit instead in a hospital room and prepare for chemotherapy and bone marrow biopsies and spinal taps and things I never knew about.


Sunday, we slipped away from our home on the island. We had one day to prepare. Though I have always been the ultimate symptom-checker and internet warrior researcher, there was no impulse to do it now. Just a deep pool of quiet.

Before we left home I walked around our land to see the quickening stir, the new bulbs bursting through wet ground, the bright green of new growth coming up between storm debris and last year’s still rotting leaves. The air was fresh on a gusty wind, playing tag with a raven. I admired the old lichens and rocks, the spongy moss and newborn nettles. I hugged a few trees. And I sent out a prayer to the Creator, the deep living Essence that dwells within the Universe and us, breathing life into our lives and setting the Great Cycles into motion that fuel this magical existence.

I asked, quite simply, for a miracle. The miracle of health, which every one of us takes for granted . . . until we don’t have it. And then, when we don’t have it, it is the one thing we want with all of our hearts.

Next, I sent a prayer to my angels. Well, I had to have a little talk with my mom about wanting to outlive her for many years. Mom always was fierce about pretty much everything. She loved family exclusively. So, I asked for her fierceness now in my healing. I talked to my dad, calling him back from exploring the heavens and to my dear loving grandparents and my beloved aunt Maria Elena and Steve’s Mom, Virginia. I asked for my unknown angels too, the ones you can feel by your side when you don’t take the turn that could have ended badly and all the other unemployed and altruistic angels who might be interested in me. I asked for them to be at my side and make angel things happen.

Once I was in the bewildering maze of the UW Hospital, I knew I had one more thing to do. I had to tell my friends and extended family and community. In doing so, I felt like I had unleashed the angels of Love. I believe in prayer. Whether it is done alone or in community, to God or nature sprits or just good old-fashioned love energy. I have always believed in the strength and amazing energy of friends and of community. I have banked my whole life on it. So, now—even more—I do so again. I figure anyone who wants to send me healing prayers—I am going to say welcome and thank you.

Having asked the Creator for the miracle of health and set the angels to work, I will hang tight with my sweet family, take in the wonderful notes from friends, and remember that we are all timeless and huge souls. I want to give my faithful body pure compassion and love and never let the small confines of hospital rooms rule my whole reality. I have led a blessed life. I have nothing but gratitude in my heart.

When the doctors were here today, I said— so it’s like this: an intruder breaks into the junkyard. So you release the guard-dogs and they snarl and run after and destroy the intruders. But then, they turn that furious energy on everyone else—the customers, the employees. Somehow you have to reel in the ferocious hounds that you just unleashed. It’s a good analogy, they said as they left the room. I know I have months ahead of chemotherapy. So, in 2 weeks, I will look like Jean Luc Picard. A bone marrow transplant is also on the horizon. I will keep blogging whenever I can.

P.S. We are feeling hopeful and want to stay that way. I am visualizing myself on another Grand Canyon adventure with Steve.  If you do that too, it would be much appreciated. My address for awhile: University of Washington Medical Center, 1959 NE Pacific St, Box 356125, Room 8452, Seattle, WA 98195-6125.

Also…not yet entertaining visitors at this point. And also prefer only email or snail contact right now, rather than phone calls. I can’t do flowers here. But I have a bulletin board and shelf space for notes and I check my email even more than usual right now.