I will pray for you

There’s no cancer Mecca where everyone faces east at a specific time of day to pray. If your words are true, come sit with me and share your prayers. Else, please don’t say you pray as a good way to design an end to a conversation you’d rather not have. If I can handle nearly every night in the hospital since thanksgiving except for this last week, it’s okay not to pray or say you even think about it, but maybe you do. So, my heart says, “leave it alone and don’t look a gift rabbi in the mouth.” But I can’t.


If I hear you say, “I’ll pray for you,” I’d like to know what prayers are enchanted, spoken aloud, spoken to yourself, written or expressed without the consent of the NFL or the Roman Catholic Church. I’d love to sit quietly and hear the truth to God, the universe, and the restaurant at the end of infinite space and time (a conundrum as rich as a prayer itself.)

But I don’t hear anyone praying. There’s no cancer Mecca where everyone faces east at a specific time of day to pray. If your words are true, come sit with me and share your prayers. Else, please don’t say you pray as a good way to design an end to a conversation in which you’d rather not participate. If I can handle nearly every night in the hospital since thanksgiving up until nearly mid December, it’s perfectly okay not to pray for me or say you even think about it, but maybe you do. So, my heart says, “leave it alone and don’t look a gift rabbi in the mouth.” But I can’t let this one go.

How’s oncologist’s prognosis?
My oncologist looks wistfully at me as if he’s in awe of my state of being alive. I imagine the adjective “whistful” hasn’t been applied to him since a love letter from his now wife of over 25 years sent back in medical school in as many years ago. I love my oncologist for knowing he doesn’t know what to say. For knowing he really wants me alive. For knowing in my heart the hope in my eyes reveals itself to him. He dares not crash it like the crystal palace so burned to the ground almost symbolically before the beginning of Hitler bombing Britain, before Chamberlain said I quit, and before the Lion, Churchill came to pray, too.

Such as upon The Duke of Windsor’s abjuration of the throne for a twice divorced American social climber extraordinary. Yet she remained until his death some 30 years later as his wife, and certainly more interesting than a sniveling ex prince. My doctor would no more give up on the throne of my health than I would. So I know when he prays for me, and he does, I needn’t listen in because he brings them to me like letters tied in bows and looks at me with a sidelong smile saying bless you and keep you and let’s get this thing, huh? I’m his miracle kid.

My palliative doctor: She’s gone from the Stanford practice and my new palliative oncologist basically types, nods, and hands me prescriptions for medication. That’s why I thought I’d ask someone I trust. My old palliative had recommended CBD to THC 3:1 but that was before taxol. Now I’m on my online groups and everyone has a different opinion but no one lives here in northern California. It’s kind of a strange hypocrisy that everybody does it but they don’t say they do. At times my stomach is in so much pain even compazine doesn’t help but smoking marijuana does. It’s a crap shoot and my friends generally help but this is beyond what they know or want to understand.

So I tend to reach out when necessary to people closer in situation and like I said, who I trust. Marijuana’s legal, but not regulated for promised content of purity so there’s no standardization. I’m essentially on my own doing what I think I need.

The good news: I’m incrementally the very slightest bit better each day. However the chemo is very very hard on me – I cannot say less good about this radical pathway to getting better than that. I’m driven to believe there’s a better way. If the patient is gone, what’s the point of treatment. Mind you if it’s saving my life I’m not complaining.

How deep is your love?
Craig’s busied himself on home improvement and seems to have pretty much recovered from his depression finally, but he’s still somewhat tenuous. He’s unable to handle illness and I’m not as utilitarian as I once was – the need and the ability are both gone so we shall see what the future brings, but for now, my friend is coming the day after Christmas to help me until the 6th or so and my old housekeeper insists on coming and cleaning and helping me with my online shop stuff once a week for nothing. I insist in paying her something since she’s not responsible for the cleanliness of my home. I have angels in my architecture peering out – she’s one of them. And she had to promise me to please quit smoking. And being a good sweet person she aims to do it.

I have several good friends who check up on me too. I’ll probably go to a friends for Xmas dinner instead of being alone. I’m saddened that neither of my stepsons have asked about me and I haven’t heard one peep from my younger one, who really surprises me. I don’t even have the 19 year olds new phone number – I’m not asking either – I spent 10 years raising them. But I know it’s either not even on their frontal lobes or it’s just like with dear dad, if I don’t have anything to give why bother?

Last year I had loaned the younger kid over $500 for Xmas and for tickets to a concert he took his girlfriend, whom I’m glad to say he’s still with, and he couldn’t pay me back. I forgave the debt, but since then he seems even further away. Like everything and everyone seem a little more distant and like a good diaspora shouldn’t come return again. But it was never this way until this year and now zero words at all get exchanged. I know nothing changed as far as how I feel but granted a year and a lot of water has traversed the spaces in between and I’m simply the undeniably dying evil stepmom now.

Always something there to remind me.
People cannot just pop over anymore, although company keeps my mind off my cancer. I was supposed to go to LA next weekend for a Byron Katie New Years cleanse to which she gave me a personal scholarship to go but I clearly cannot. I wish that I could and was in better condition to steep myself in healing practices and guilt releases of the most obstinate kind. The kind that wrestle your soul until the bitter orange end gets bitten off at the navel and just as you’re ready to say, “I get it now!” You’re gone.

There’s a certain audible cruelty with this tumor in my peritoneal cavity. At least we know once you’ve got metastatic it’s no lie – you can be fine today and dead in a month. I believe this pain is a universal nudge for unclasping my hands, untying my blindfolds, seeing what’s realistic, and slowing the hell down a bit. And I bit off way more than I could chew. So I’m sorry the cat really had my tongue.

Each morning I wake up…
If you say prayers what are they? Are the words biblical, just a short thought of something bright and healthy, or vibes of happiness in general? What, if you don’t mind sharing those less personal in nature, do you pray for when you think of a sick friend or relative? I would appreciate if you’d please leave a comment. I’d really love to hear from you, and as cheeky as I may sound, I know it’s serious business. That’s why I’m slightly veering off the ramp towards Offended and off the road when I’m blown off of a text or phone or in person conversation with the words “I’ll pray for you.”

Will you?

13 comments on “I will pray for you”

  1. Ilene,
    I don’t know what the future holds for me. I don’t think that any cancer patient really does. So yes, you are an inspiration. You give me strength in hope.

    1. And you do the same in return. Sorry it takes me so long to answer sometimes. I get caught up in time sucking vortexes like today I stood in my kitchen writing and straining my eyes to get an idea out and posted while my feet swelled and my shoulder went numb. I didn’t even notice it until just now! Yikes.

    1. Julia if I could possibly do one fifth of the good your work does I’d be thrilled. Coming from you I take that compliment and hold it dear. Thank you.

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Ilene.
        I just came across a comment you left on my blog several months ago… It made very thought-provoking reading – thank you.

  2. When I pray, it’s for comfort and complete healing. I also add for protection of body, soul and spirit from all forms of evil and harm.

    IIlene, in spite of the hell you’re going through, please know that you are an inspiration.

    1. Xena warrior princess – I so appreciate that I in my pathetic state can be anything resembling an inspiration to anyone. But I’m here and I’m also appreciative and thank you for answering my question. It’s the question of true faith in the collective power of healing that interests me more than the religious aspects of prayer. The stranger thing is the words “I’ll pray for you” seem to punctuate conversations in text, on the phone, or in person, with a hard stop and nothing more. The person hasn’t a clue what to do or say so I’ll pray seems to cut that awkward pause to a flash in the pan.

      My hell is no more or no less than anyone else’s. I strongly recall Eckhardt Tolles comments with regard to the “pain body” to remind myself all pain is temporary and temporal in nature and passes like the memory of that pain body. If I reconsider what took my sorry butt to the hospital each time, it was pain so severe, even I couldn’t meditate it away. And as it has always turned out, the pain indicated a larger medical problem that shouldn’t have been ignored regardless. The pain this time was so bad I’d stopped eating pretty much all solid food, which turns out to be “bowel rest” and what I needed when I was at Stanford. But I knew I must have looked pretty bad when my girlfriend came to see me at home and took one look and started crying. She threw me upstairs and kept me on track to pack – having an illness and ADHD don’t mix when it comes to procrastinating on going to the hospital again. By next month I’m usually better, but we will see this year. What an absolutely apropos name Taxol is – it surely taxes all you’ve got to give. Within an hour if any activity I find myself sitting and petting my little Simon, who’s become very attached to his mommy these days. Poor guy slept in my bed on my pillow every night and caterwaul called for me all day. I was in for it when I got home. But that kind of love no one can decline.

      Hoping you’re having joy in your world this holiday season. I do keep you in my thoughts and send my positive energy as much as I’ve available out to you.

  3. Prayers. Hmmmmph. That’s my thought on that. I’ll just leave that there.

    I’m sorry your palliative physician isn’t more personable.

    I wish I lived closer!!!

    1. We share a common hmmmph regarding prayers as such, and I wish you lived closer, too. I love the book you sent eand if one can, I’m savoring the well written chapters and inter splicing it with “Anti-Cancer” which kinda jolted me out of a food and nourishment denial a topic in which I had my head up my ass. There’s a chapter that talks about the Mighty Mouse and the problem with ascites and had to put it down and think about what I can do. I can move, 8 can control my happiness, and I can control what goes into my body as stubborn as it is. Stage 4 is a nasty disease in any of its forms and if I can get to year five with relative success we now know it means absolutely nothing but I’m in the long tail of the statistics and then I stop getting counted amongst the living, as we are on,y counted again when we die. Jeeze, seems like a lot of trouble doesn’t it?

      Right now I’m trying to find a way into the NIH trial in Bethesda for immunotherapy. I know I’m an awesome candidate but that means so are the other thousand people clamoring for hope in four spots. I’m dreaming about a day when the mighty mouses like us paved a way for a vaccination akin to the HIV vaccine I’ll have lived a life complete. It’s all such a crap shoot isn’t it?

      #fuckcancer my dear friend.

    1. Thank you my friend. I will survive in some such form of myself. This time of year brings out the melancholy and probably cynical tone of my writing. The poetry almost too sad to post, but I’ll resurrect the good and give it a go.

      From my heart back to yours thank you. 😘💐

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