The day after writing about the necessity of creating our own light I got some pretty dark news. First the news a dear friend's marriage has turned abusive. She's in Kentucky, his idea, and arranging to try to move back to Portland is pretty difficult. Immeadiately after getting off the phone with my friend I called my Mom back.
Last year they gave us a real scare by telling her that her chest pain might be due to a suspicious shadow on her right lung. Then suddenly everything changed and the cause was congestive heart failure and over 20 pounds of fluid in her chest cavity. They explained the shadow as interference due to all the fluid.
Only her chest still hurts and it isn't her heart, the congestive heart failure is under control. Several x-rays ahve revealed the spot is still there on her lung, right about where she's been saying her chest hurts all along. She is being scheduled to see an oncologist this week.
She's also been going through a lot of very serious procedures to help with her vision loss. Last week they told her that they didn't believe the loss was due to her diabetes and gave her a tenative diagnosis of retinal carcinoma. There's some additional tests needed, but it is rare so arrangements are being made for her to be seen at the Casey Eye Institute up at OHSU.
My Mom has had several forms of cancer: cervical, breast (twice), skin. She's had several other major health problems too. Since I had a lot of problems with asthma as a kid and was sick a lot, between my health and my Mom's I spent a lot of time reading in waiting rooms at doctor's offices, clinics, and hospitals.
It is hard, difficult news to hear and I feel the instinct to draw in tight around myself, close up around the pain. Hogen told us recently that this is the very thing that must be resisted, this reaction to shut down into the darkness. This is where the energy of practice is at once the most needed and most difficult to sustain.