My buddies: Kody & Louis

Kody, Lewis

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Update: Feb 24th

Hi Everyone,

I am feeling better! I can breath better I have less pain and my body where the tumors are feels like it’s changing in a positive way. I noticed my breathing first started to improve three days after I started taking chemo. But I didn’t want to say anything because I was in disbelief that I could be experiencing such an immediate positive response.

The oncologist does not want to do a CT scan for two months after I first started taking the drug Votrient. That means the last week of March when I can find our how the drug is impacting my cancer. But I am feeling better and getting stronger every day.

Though I am breathing better I still use oxygen most of the time, I can walk around without too much pain most of the time and have for the most part learned how to stay ahead of the pain curve. That’s a challenge due to the changing nature of the situation which I think mostly has to do with the chemo doing its thing, eating away at the cancer. I am still on a daily regime of morphine and other drugs also that I can adjust as needed.

It feels like something is happening inside me and so far it feels right and the struggle seems to be getting easier. It will be a few more weeks until I get an official evaluation and tests from the doctor and when I do I will write about that as well.

My heart seems to be OK and functioning no worse than it has been so I’d say it’s a thumbs up also at this point. I have an appointment with a doctor that specializes in aortic valvuloplasty in April. So hopefully by that time I will qualify for the procedure and get some relief from my heart condition as well.

Healing Team – I am attaching pictures of my personal healing team. Louis (Boston Terrier), Kody (American Eskimo) and Elizabeth Russell (human). Their job is to just be and they do it well.

Update: Home From the Hospital

Hi everyone,

First of all, thanks again for all of your notes and postings.  I am really blessed to have so many friends and well-wishers out there.

For the last month I have had trouble breathing off and on, that the doctors have said is mostly caused from pain related to the growth of the cancer.  The pain would cause my chest area and my lungs to spasm uncontrollably and I would feel like I could not breath, this also  would make the pain increase.  I went to emergency twice for these symptoms but both times they passed with time and some pain medication.

On Thursday, January 30th, I had an “episode” that resulted with me having to be taken by ambulance to the hospital.  It was an extreme episode that went on for many minutes without let up until I was given IV pain medication.  I have been kind of quiet about it on the blog.  From that Thursday eve to Monday I have more or less been in a fog.  I had a lot of visitors but I also have a vision of me being in the middle of a bee hive and all I could see was bees buzzing around me.  This was very comforting for me. I have been on a lot of pain drugs and it made it hard for me to stay focused and even write updates.

I’ve been  home from the hospital since Wednesday afternoon.  We are managing my pain by staying on my Dr’s medical regime.  This is being accomplished with help from my friends and family who are providing  support 24/7  care.  I am feeling better but its too early to attribute anything to the chemo.  Since my heart remains vulnerable I am still following the rules in that area, l am laying  low and don’t over exert myself!  Basically, I have to remain a couch potato watching movies with Elizabeth, Kodi and Louis!!!  I can do that.

I will provide another update when there is something of significance to report.  Thanks for your love, support and patience.

A visitor from the unseen and one from Debbie

A Visitor From The Unseen

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve

Erich Fromm

I didn’t tell anyone about this experience for many years.  I think this occurred in 1981.  Don and I were really happy and that part of my life was going very well.  What continued to weigh on me was that I was having trouble dealing with the general attitude of the world especially in regards to our environment.  Here I was on the front line of what seemed to me to be the battle between humans and nature and me and others took care of the casualties of war.  Deer hit by cars, poison spread out to kill innocent animals, raccoons caught in leg hold traps, intentional acts of violence towards animals and the list went on and on. I also found it disillusioning and disheartening when the headlines around the world were war, hatred, environmental destruction etc., etc.  At the same time I was asking some very serious questions like what is my purpose in life, why are we here, is there really a God in the midst of all this mess, and of course what is death and do we really die?  I had always had such an overwhelming desire to know and understand it all and I could not prevent myself from thinking about these questions day and night.   I was in an inner spiritual turmoil and emotionally running on empty.

I was not brought up in a religious or spiritual household and I came to appreciate that.  We did not have a religion and when I was young I never questioned it.  In some ways this was good.  I have been able to develop and choose my own spiritual truth without any previous influence.   But at the same time I also lacked understanding about God.  Through kids at school, movies and TV shows I heard a lot about God like “God Fearing” this and “God Damn” that.  None of this made sense to me.  My wonderful grandmother and first spiritual was the only one who ever talked to me about God.  She read that bible daily and told me very simply “God was love”.  This made the most sense to me but I needed more.  Now at 30 I had a very limited idea of what God was and for the first time in my life I was actually considering moving away from the San Francisco Bay area where I grew up.  I just needed something or someone to help me with my quest for spiritual truth.  I felt like I was going crazy and internally I was very unhappy, restless and stressed.

One busy but very routine morning at work at the Marin Wildlife Center, a rehabilitation facility in San Rafael, CA I was doing my work when I received a phone call from a man whose name I think was Ron but I do not really remember.  He asked for me by name and said that he needed to work off some community time for a ticket he had received.  People with minor infractions such as parking tickets and other fines are sometimes given the choice to work off their fine by working so many hours for non-profit organizations instead of paying the fine with cash.  I have met some wonderful people this way and it provided us some free labor to get extra jobs done.  Ron asked if he could come in and talk with me and see the place so that he could get an idea of what type of work we may have for him to do.  I said sure and agreed to meet him there in about an hour.

Within minutes this man came walking through the doorway and right towards me.  He was very tall, very handsome and I was sure that he was of American Indian heritage.  He had dark hair, dark reddish skin and beautiful big red brown eyes.  I don’t always notice people’s eyes but his were gigantic, dark, rich and intense and very friendly.  They seemed to stare right into me and it was almost overwhelming at first.  He took complete control of the situation and immediately asked if I would show him around.  I ended up following him out to the courtyard where some of the animals lived and I began to tell him about the place.  Before I knew it we had left the courtyard and walked across the little bridge that connected our center to a narrow one-lane street that separated the center from a large sports field complete with tennis courts, a few baseball diamonds and even more open grassy areas.  We sat on a set of portable bleachers that were almost directly across from the center and in a mater of seconds he started asking me about me.  He wanted to know everything about what I was feeling and thinking.  I remember it very clearly.  I just looked at him and started talking.  It was so funny because in many ways I am an extrovert.  I will tell people at the drop of a dime what is going on with me but I usually have to know them a little or have some reason to spill my guts.  Here I was with this stranger who asked a few simple questions that started me talking about all of my feelings and fears and thoughts and an avalanche of issues poured forth from my mouth.

I should say that I did most of the talking at first and I could tell that this is what he wanted.  He smiled and listened and nodded his head and seemed genuinely interested in me.  I told him that I was feeling lost and spiritually confused, upset by what the animals were going through in the world and I did not understand it nor was there any hope of changing it, at least in my mind at the time.  I told him everything that came to my mind.  It was like the floodgates opened and I could not stop them.  A few times I wondered why I was talking so openly, more openly than I have ever spoken to anyone in my life, but all I had to do was look in his eyes and that thought went away.  I was aware of it as it was happening but all concern or self-awareness quickly vanished and I kept talking.  He was so loving and completely and totally interested in me and I just vented about all the turmoil I was feeling and the injustices in the world.

After we had talked for what I was absolutely sure was at least 3 hours, and I was still doing most of the talking, he started telling me things that interested and sometimes confused and actually frightened me.   It was a bit overwhelming but the most important thing that I can remember that he relayed to me was that I was right exactly where I was supposed to be, geographically and in every other way and in my life at that time.  He said that the world was not an aimless place and humans had the power to change the world.  I was a part of “a greater plan” and I was meant to live where I was living and work where I was working and that I was important to the future.  I did not know what that meant and still don’t but I remember he said it.  He also explained that consciousness on earth was changing and it was an exciting time for the people who were living on the earth at this time.  The area that I was living in, I assumed that this could mean the San Francisco bay area or California, was central to that growth.  He then explained that our president, President Ronald Reagan at the time, was really just a puppet for people who did not have the best interest of mankind in mind. He said that they were keeping an eye on these people and were working to offset some of their actions and not to worry.  They were dealing with them.  He always spoke in the plural from, we are doing this or that.  He never said where he was from but I thought while he was talking that he clearly was not from this world and every once in a while I felt a bit cautious and concerned by his information. Especially when he spoke of the people that were not looking out for mankind’s best interest and how people on earth were not as safe or protected as they assumed as there was a great deception going on.  That scared me and I remember leaning away and feeling concerned but that feeling lasted for only seconds and I was transfixed on his eyes and I wanted to hear more.  He said that love was all that truly mattered in the world.  He seemed to answer all of my questions before I asked them.  I felt like he was reading my mind and in retrospect I am sure he was.

Anyway, he left me a little confused but hopeful and when he was done speaking, he led me to the bridge at the entrance to out center and said that he would contact me to schedule his time to work off his ticket and that he may see me around, like at the gym across that park.  He said that he went there as I did.  We said goodbye and we hugged which is not what I usually did with people who needed to work off hours.  I turned to walk across the bridge.  I took two steps and had this overwhelming feeling or realization that this was a “special” or very unusual experience and so I quickly turned around in a space of about 3 seconds.  He was gone.

We had been standing in he middle of this little one-way lane next to the very large open game field with only a few small trees around that a child could not even hide behind.  I took a few steps out in the lane and looked all around and it was immediately evident that he had disappeared.  I kind of expected it in some odd way and it confirmed what I was thinking.  That he was not what I knew as a normal human being and that something profound had just occurred.

Then something happened that confirmed that this was a very extraordinary experience that I had just had.  As I walked into the building and the reality of what just had happened was sinking in, I was all of a sudden aware that I had been gone for at least 3 hours. To this day I know I was gone for at least that long.  I knew it was a long time and I felt guilty.  That thought had not occurred to me until then.   I thought, Oh shit.  Maxine is going to kill me.  Then I sheepishly went to apologize to my assistant, Maxine, and she said, “What are you talking about?  You have only been gone about 20 minutes”.  I quickly looked at the clock on the wall and she was right, only twenty minutes had passed.  That was impossible and I am sure I looked bewildered, to say the least.   That confirmed it and I knew that this experience was something unusual and amazing.  I excused myself, went to the bathroom at the other end of the building and just stood there with no one around not sure what to make of it but sure that I had just been in the presence of something wonderful and loving.  I leaned up against the wall and said out loud, “I just had a visitation”, not fully knowing what that meant but knowing that I had been in a suspended state or something.

I wondered for years what or who this was.  I did not mention this to anyone for a long time and told no one at work.  But I did ask 2 different psychics and the first one said that it was too powerful of an energy and she was sure that he was not of this world. I wanted to see her again about 6 months later to revisit it and see if she could maybe get more information but when I told a friend that I was going to see the psychic again she informed me that this woman was no longer doing readings because she had taken a turn for the worst and thought rats were attacking her.  So much for her credibility!  The other psychic, a lovely and trusting woman, said that he was from my higher consciousness and he was real and sincere.  That felt better and that explanation was a good enough for me because I knew that no one would really know what had happened or what it was.  But I knew it happened and I listened to the words he said.

Whoever it was, I knew that my life would be different from there on out and I settled into life a little more and I felt a change but could never describe to myself what that change was.  I just knew it.  But I stopped being so restless and had a sense that there was some kind of order in all this madness although I could not say what that was.  I noticed that I had gained some sort of acceptance and I lightened a lot about the world and continued with my life.

I did notice another change. When friends would bitch about how horrible the world was I would catch myself thinking about what this man had told me and “knowing” that in some way it was not the big deal that I was making it.  I never thought it was OK that animals were treated horribly but I stopped complaining about it and felt an understanding for the situation that I have trouble articulating today.  I think I knew that there was a bigger plan, things that I did not know and most of all and most importantly, I had to look within and see where I contributed to the world in a way that was less than enlightened.  I think it was there that I really started to recognize some of my own hypocrisy.

Dead Debbie’s Message of Love and Understanding

Linda, my Yellow-Naped Amazon

Linda, my Yellow-Naped Amazon

When I was working at the Marin Humane Society in the 70’s I was very lucky to be able to work with some wonderful children that were part of the Junior Volunteer Program.  These were kids that ranged from the ages of about seven to 15 years of age and they were wonderful.  Animals and kids surrounded me.  My two favorite things and it was such fun having them work with us.  It lightened the load a bit and was just fun to have them there every weekend and during the summer months.  Their jobs were to play with the puppies and kittens and some of the smaller more manageable dogs and helped us with cleaning cages and the other various jobs that were required to keep the kennels clean.  Some of them even helped with the euthanasia of the animals if they desired to help and we felt they could handle it. They were a brave lot and I enjoyed them all and this is how I met Jeff, Mr. Morse’s son.  He had come up through that program and then was hired to work with us in the kennels.  I also met Mario, a great kid who gave me my parrot Linda.  Linda is my longest intimate relationship and remains with me till this day.  Linda still screams Mario and other words that they taught her way back when.

My favorite of all the kids was a ten-year-old chubby little dark haired girl with thick glasses named Debbie.  She was extremely shy but I won her over quickly.  She soon became open and talkative with me and we bonded.  She adored me and I loved her sweetness and how she came alive when we worked together.  I think maybe it was because she was a lonely little girl and I saw that and I related to her as I had experienced a bit of that in my childhood.   I remembered spending a lot of time with animals when I was a kid as they were effortless to be around and I trusted them.  I think she felt the same with me and we became great friends.  I watched Debbie grow up and I noticed that when anything was mentioned about her mother she would get angry and bitter.  That was the only time I ever saw that side of her but I observed it a few times and she eventually told me that her mother was a monster, it was her fault that her father had left and that she hated her guts.  This behavior was out of character for the Debbie I knew but that is what she told me.

About the time I left the Humane Society to go to work at the Marin Wildlife Center, Debbie had become busy with high school and her life but she would visit me a lot and help with the animals. She always had a place with me and she knew it.  She would then visit me at the MWC and help also as she had a love for wild animals.

When Debbie graduated high school she got a job in a vet clinic and eventually lost that job, blaming the owners of the business for this or that.  I wrote her a number of letters of reference that helped her get jobs but she always ended up loosing those jobs and always blamed everyone else.  I noticed this pattern but I continued to help her get jobs.  She worked at McDonalds for a while and I would visit her there.  One day she told me that she had decided to go to college.  I was pleased for her as I thought this may help her mature but after two weeks away at college she came back claiming that it was horrible and the people there were all messed up and she could not deal with that.  Again, it was everyone else’s fault. I knew immediately that she was in trouble but I did not know how I could help her.  I just did what I knew to do and that was to love her, tease her and play with her and let her know that she was always welcome in my life without any questions.

Within a few months of returning from her college experience Debbie got a job as an Animal Control Officer with the Marin Humane Society, the organization we both spent many years at.  I was delighted for her and she seemed really happy there for a while.  Then I started seeing less of her and I knew she was avoiding me.  When I did see her I began to notice severe and dramatic changes in her appearance and manor.  When she was with me she was Debbie but she changed when not with me.  She was always that little girl when she and I were alone but otherwise she was acting angry and aggressive and rumors of her drug taking and heavy drinking began to come to me.  She was developing a reputation as a heavy partier that was prone to violence and anger. I had watched her grow up with resentment and anger and watched as she destroyed every job she had and I assume most relationships. I was aware of the trap she was in and I was concerned but, again, I just loved her and talked briefly to her when she would come by with an animal or just to say hi.

One day one of the female Animal Control Officers came in with an injured animal and she was very sad.  I asked what was wrong and she told me that the day before Debbie had been found dead in her house from an overdose of pills and liquor.  It seemed that she had killed herself.   I had the strangest reaction to this news.  I calmly excused myself as soon as I could and went into a room where no one was around.  When I was alone I told Debbie out loud that I understood why she had taken her life and I supported her decision to choose what she wanted to do with her life.  I did not cry.  I was very sad but relieved for her and I truly understood that in her mind, this is what she needed to do to stop her pain.  It was a simple as that and it was my final act of love and support that I hoped she would somehow know.

About 4 years later I was dating a pretty nice guy named Greg who lived in Sebastopol, CA.  Debbie did not cross my mind very often unless I saw a picture or someone mentioned her.  Don and I had decided to officially not be partners any longer. What that meant was that we changed the structure of our relationship and just removed the physically intimate part of it but remained very close and we do to this day.  My mother introduces Don, as one of her sons and Don is a full member of my family.   I was living in Sebastopol and that is where I met Greg.

Greg knew I was interested in metaphysical things and had told me about this woman who was a kind of trance channel and she lived very close to him. She and her husband would hold Sunday services at their home and each week they would talk about different spiritual leaders such as Jesus, Buddha or whoever and she would end each session with giving people messages from the unseen.  I was stoked and really interested in checking this out so Greg and I decided to attend one Sunday.

From the minute we walked into the house I knew I was in trouble.  I have no problem joining a group of nice people for their spiritual service but I was internally freaking out and I was confused by what I was feeling.  Greg immediately knew something was wrong and asked me if I was ok.  I was not aware that what I was feeling was obvious but I guess it was.  I said I was fine but the truth was that I felt like I was coming out of my skin.  I had not felt that before and was not sure if it had to do with being there or that maybe I was coming down with something.  I thought I might be sick.  We sat in some middle seats and the entire time I wanted to jump up and run as fast as I could and get the hell out of there.  I thought I might scream, as my body seemed to be turning inside out.  That is the only way that I can describe my experience.

The service began and I have no idea what they talked about but when it was over it became time for the trance channel to give messages only to those who agreed to accept them.  Other people gave and received messages also and I did notice that some of them seemed a little benign.  One person would ask if another was willing to receive a message from the unseen and then they would say something like the message is that you need to love yourself more or take your time in life or whatever.  I was aware of that but then it was the lead trance channel’s turn. She gave some very pertinent messages to people that seemed to be meaningful and I noticed how professional and sincere she was.

She then said that she had one last message for someone and it was from a girl named Debbie.  I honestly did not even think of Debbie because I had not thought of her in a while.  She looked around and I thought, “Oh shit. Its me” but I had no idea who this person could me.  I was completely clueless but I knew it was I.  Greg asked if I was ok and I did not answer.  I could tell he was concerned.  I was slightly bending over to hide behind the person in front of me when the trance channel said that is was ok.  It may not be obvious to the person who this message was meant for and for everyone to just think for a minute and to relax.

Immediately my hand flew up and I grabbed it with my other hand.  I did not lift it.  She looked at me and said, “Its you.  Isn’t it?”

I said, “Yes but I don’t know who Debbie is”.

I really did not connect the dots and was clearly freaking out and everyone knew it.  The trance channel told me to relax and allow it to come to me.  She said that sometimes people call her when they get home and they remember who may be trying to contact them.  I tried to figure it out but I was overwhelmed with physical discomfort.  I felt as if I was going to vomit and it showed.  She then mentioned that Debbie was a young girl with dark hair wearing distinct glassed and a gasp came out of me that was loud and it was evident that I knew who it was.

The trance channel smiled and gently said, “You know who it is. Don’t you?”

I said, “Yes”, and visions of my Debbie filled my mind and what felt like the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders and body.  I began to weep and could barely control my bodies shaking.  I was aware that everyone was staring at me and Greg was a bit overwhelmed by the situation but the tears would not stop.

The trance channel said calmly, “Debbie has a message for you.  Would you like to hear it?”

I shook my head yes as the tears literally poured from my eyes uncontrollably.

She said, “Debbie wants you to know that she knows how much you loved her and that she knows that you understood her decision.  She wants you to know that she loves you.  Doe this make sense to you?”

Well that was all I needed to completely push me over the edge and I wept uncontrollably in front of 40 or 50 people.  By the time that I had pulled myself together a little bit the service had ended and a group of people were clearly interested in what had just happened to me.  Led by the trance channel they asked me what it was all about and I told them that I had not really thought about Debbie much in a few years and then I told them her story.  I explained that after she had died I had told Debbie in private that I understood her decision and that I loved her.  I had never mentioned this to anyone.  They were blown away and 3 of them told me that they saw a dark mass on me when I was sitting in the room and that when I realized whom Debbie was that it faded away. One woman said that she saw a girl sitting on me but did not want to say anything as I was clearly having a difficult time.  It had clearly been Debbie pressing me to remember her.

I had talked to my Dad in a lucid dream and interacted with Don’s dead mother who showed me a bell.  Now Debbie gave me the greatest proof of all that there is no death and I contemplated it all.  I realized how religion had promoted this concept that we only live once and then die.  What a lie I thought.  I had been initiated into a new realm of thought and reality because I had personally experienced life after death.  It somehow gave me hope but it also intrigued me and I wanted to learn more.  At that moment I had no idea about what was waiting for me just a few months down the road but looking back I see that this experience was clearly preparing me for it.

 

my feet

I forgot to mention that those are my feet in the picture.  In 2004 I was able to go to Midway Atoll for the 3rd time and that time I was part of a albatross population senses team.  I was joined by Rebecca Dymytryk and Susan Kaveggia.  3 weeks in one of the most beautiful places on earth and at the end of the day we would occasionally sit on the beach, go swimming and lounge.  Here I am!

Update: Jan 30th

Well,

Although I am in a vulnerable place I am still hanging in, eating fairly well and managing the pain.  The big news is that I started the chemo treatment today.  So far so good!  We will see how it goes.  Talk to you all soon and thank you for the emails, personal visits, phone calls and comments.  I am going to post a few other stories of some of my experiences on the other page.  Coming soon.

Love, Jay

 

Update: Jan 25th

Well, it looks like my treatment options are a bit limited.  There is a chemo treatment in pill form that the oncologist thinks is the best chance for helping to halt the growth of the cancer.  It is called Pazopanib.  This drug is supposed to reduce the blood supply to the tumors that will then starve out the cancer cells.  The only problem is that this drug can have a negative affect on heart function.

We found out that its risky to do any heart surgery/repair at this point especially because the cancer is present in the body so that means that I would have to take the chemo drug, knowing there is a risk to my heart, and hope for the best.  If I don’t go this route then we just let the cancer take over.  I am not ready to do that so I will take the risk and start the chemo medication next week.

My pain is getting worse and the doctors have upped my pain medication to include a low level of morphine.  That is helping a bit.

I am not sure where this will go or how it will turn out.  Mark or I will keep everyone informed and I remain inspired, though slower, with a good attitude.

I also managed to get to see Elizabeth’s school play on Thursday night, “How the Humans got Fire”.  It was really good.