I have been paying attention to my Guides lately, as New Age-y as that may sound. I think in some situations, where you can no longer reach for the things that sustained you or protected you, you just have to reach deeper to something that feels bigger than you. Something that feels more spirit than anything physical, and gives me solid answers when I surrender control. It is hard to admit that there are things beyond my control, but when I do, (and I do this a lot more now,) I experience calm. My Guides don’t have a distinguishable shape or form, they’re more of a voice coming directly from my brain. They’re different from the Ego Voice, whose presence fills me with doubt, when my Guides speak it’s matter of fact, confident.
The other night before our Eddies Attic show, I felt like I have before almost every show I’ve played this year: scared, alone, reclusive, and raw. The past 6 months have been even harder than the cancer diagnosis itself; I’ve had such deep sadness and doubt mixed in with feelings of unworthiness and intense self-loathing. Top that off with the frustration of wanting to feel a different way, and you pretty much have a lethal mix of fear and resistance. But, this is my job, my livelihood, so like the diligent worker I am, I’ve at least showed up. As I was putting on my makeup at Eddie’s, my Guides whispered, “Just love. Just accept it from everyone,” and I thought, “Ok.” So to humor myself, I just let myself be open to whatever showed up. What unfolded was possibly one of the best shows we have *ever* played. It was more than just the music and it was more than just being really tight from having done a tour the week before; it was true connection with ourselves and with our audience. The audience felt as if they had been with me every step of the way in this ordeal, and were there to support and cheer me/us on. Shannon, my wonderful nurse from Emory, showed up (I had invited her) as well as my fun-loving physician’s assistant, Marian. It was gratifying for me to be able to talk to them as equals and not just as a patient and caretaker, and even more gratifying to be able to give back through my music what they have given to me: love and care. I saw this really cool interview with Eckhardt Tolle and Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, on Youtube recently. They talked about how dogs are so incredible in general, but specifically how when you pet a dog, you are not only giving love, you are receiving love at the same time. So this wonderful swirling of giving and receiving is happening all at once, and it’s hard not to feel good. That’s exactly what the show felt like for me that night, and I was high from the energy we and the audience members had generated together. The illusion that we are separate bodies melted away, and we were all experiencing our Oneness that night. You can’t beat that. That’s what it’s all about!
I finally got my results back from my 6 month checkup. Unfortunately, it’s not in a percentage like the first results were, making it a little bit harder for me to comprehend, but the good news is that that’s because my leukemia numbers are so low they can only be expressed through scientific notation! (This is called a log reduction.) So my ratio from my PCR test (which stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction, the most sensitive test they can do) is 8.56 x 10 -4. So that’s a -1.97 log change from baseline, which was 1.07%. From the little research I’ve done online, a -3 log reduction is considered a major molecular response, the closest thing to being in remission with this leukemia. So I’m well on my way, if the downward trend continues!
On May 23nd, exactly six months after I was diagnosed, I finally decided to print the linoleum print of a spleen I’ve been working on. I have issues with completing tasks, and even though I had finished carving it in February, I had no desire to follow through with the printing of it. But maybe I was waiting for the right day, the right occasion to finish it, and the 6 month-e-versary seemed appropriate. If you look closely, you’ll see a bittermelon in there, too.