Wednesday, 28 December 2011


One of my favorite authors, Buddhist, Pema Chodron, points out that when catastrophe comes to us, we have a choice. We can close up tight in defense or we can remain open and use the experience to see the connection between our pain and trouble and the pain and trouble of others.  Seeing the haunted eyes of third world children who have lost their families to war or disease – those old, old eyes looking out of painfully young faces that regularly appear on my television in NGO ads, sometimes I resist the urge to wince away.

And many times, since I have begun this blog, I receive letters that do not allow me to turn away, indulging in the notion that I am alone in my trouble. 

I am grateful to those who share their experiences with me. And I find myself recalling a passage about “Bodhichitta” (noble or awakened heart) from Chodron’s, When Things Fall Apart: 

“It is said that in difficult times, it is only bodhichitta that heals. When inspiration has become hidden, when we feel ready to give up, this is the time when healing can be found in the tenderness of pain itself. This is the time to touch the genuine heart of bodhichitta. In the midst of loneliness, in the midst of fear, in the middle of feeling misunderstood and rejected is the heartbeat of all things, the genuine heart of sadness.”

I received this letter to day and am posting it with Dayle’s permission.  It touched me very much. Thank you, Dayle.

 “…I just read your most recent piece and I understand your pain in trying to decide what treatment if any you should take. My husband was diagnosed with Myelofibrosis ( a rare blood disorder/pre-leukemia) 2 years ago. We were told the only treatment is a stem cell transplant (not a guaranteed cure). He chose not to do it due to having to move to another city for 6-8 weeks ( 3 hrs from home) and he has no family match so they would have to go to the international registry. The side effects are bad as you listed some in your brain radiation side effects.

…..I could feel your anguish in trying to decide if you were going to go ahead with the treatment. I do not agree with my husband's decision not to get the treatment ( I do understand)...but I do respect that it is his choice what to do with his medical treatment. He has to do what feels right for him. We have 2 sons (22 & 25) and they too are allowing their Dad to make his decisions knowing full well that those decisions could take him away from them sooner than any of us want.

SO what all this rambling is hopefully telling you is that no matter what decisions you make , those that love you will understand and support you always. I have found through this journey with my husband ,  a kinship with fellow cancer patients and their families, as it is a very strange world we have all entered and has changed us all forever.

I think of you often and hope for strength for you! 

Dayle Ferrier Gooding”


Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

- I am wordless -
love and support to you and to Dayle.

Pat Barber said...

Dayle echoed my thoughts perfectly - thank you Dayle. I've always known I had my reasons for insisting on all the drastic treatments I had when cancer first appeared on my doorstep. And I've always suspected I would not make those same choices when cancer revisits me. Either way, it has never occurred to me that it is anything other than my choice, based on my needs. Dayle is right - those who love you will love you always, no matter how you choose.