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Living/Dealing With Death; A Psychologist's Journey- temporary title

Started by Amazon, Sep 12, 2017, 02:23:49 PM

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Dear Friend,

Over the years, many people have heard me tell stories about my life and the experiences that I have had.
Mostly my students, since I found the most interesting way to teach them was by story-telling.
I know I always enjoyed hearing stories from my instructors, my friends, and of course all the patients who trusted me enough to share their stories with me.

But nowadays, as I meet more and more people while I am facing my final years of life,
the doctors, nurses, but mostly the regular salt of the earth people,
say to me "You should write a book !"
usually while they are laughing...or looking as if someone slapped them in the face.
Not me, of course.

Never slapped anyone in the face,
although I was tempted today when I saw a 9 year old girl do that to her mother in front of an audience,
and her mother responded by saying  "That's not very nice ; let's go, dear."
I was so outraged, by mother and child alike that I yelled out in public "I can't believe that just happened!"
That little brat looked at me and smiled, smirked was more like it.
The father said nothing, did nothing .
What in the world is going on? !

I thought how times have changed !
My father would have put me over his knee and spanked the living daylights out of me.
And my father was a good, decent human being who never abused me, my brother and sisters nor my mother.
Now, this entire incident would NEVER have happened,
as I would never  even have dreamed of doing that to my mother, or anyone taller or smaller than me.
(I have to admit that I wanted to do that to the kid who pushed my baby sister down in the mud.)
But it made me think how drastically times have changed.

Why would parents put up with such violence from their own children?
That this mother responded so complacently made me think that this was not the first time that her daughter had treated her so violently in public.
Why did this mother not respond by raising her voice ?
Was this mother afraid that if she grabbed her daughter by the arm and shook her,
someone would report her for child abuse ?
Is this the type of child who is going to grow up and run the world ?
Or is she going to end up in juvenile detention ?
Was I looking at a budding psychopath ?
God Almighty!

NO ONE in the small cafe said or did anything when this happened.
No one responded to me yelling out.
I was totally outraged by the indifference of the adults in that venue.
And I know I was NOT the weird one in that cafe.

Well, just an aside..an incident that shows me  that I must have a unique perspective on the world.
Something tells me that whoever you are, dear friend, you would have been outraged too.
I certainly hope so.

So there is a story for you...unfinished, troubling, not very entertaining,
and heading for the deleted bin.

Maybe not, because many of my stories are violent...I have experienced (escaping pedophiia),
witnessed,(Watching 2 gunmen murder my boss)
and born witness to others' tales of violence. (husband kisses wife goodnight, leans over to shut out light and blows his brains out all over her ).

But violence is merely one aspect of life and I have certainly lived a very full life with many incidents worthy of being shared with others.
Some were funny...lots of funny ones, to be honest;
I 've  tried to see the humorous side to life as it keeps me from going mad.
Some are memories that make me  wish  that  I  had children so I could pass them on.
Others were disturbing.
Some were quite tragic.
I keep the boring ones to myself.
We all have plenty of those !

So many people have told me , "God, you should really write a book !"
And I usually respond, "But what do I write ? Who'd be interested ?"
If I write about my achievements, here in the UK that is considered "poor form", that is, "bad manners".
So sharing my proudest memories would be considered bragging.
Throw them in the bin.
These are the stories that the professionals usually are referring to when they say I should write a book.

No...I have much more entertaining memories to share,
things I have done that most people have not.

So I thought now that I am staring death face to face,
eyeball to eyeball,
maybe this is the time to write about what it is like for me to know that I am dying.
No maudlin self-pity crap.

Oh, and don't give me that intellectualized bullshit that "We are dying everyday"
or "I could be hit by a bus tomorrow so I shouldn't take the time limits given to me so seriously".
More bullshit.

Wait till someone tells you that you may be lucky enough to have 12 to 18 months of "normal" life until your body rejects this miracle drug.

It kind of puts a different perspective on things for me.

AND I am not looking for sympathy.
Always knew I had this as my death sentence.
Always been a matter of when, not if.

So if you want to accompany me on my journey, I welcome the companionship.
If you want to breeze through occasionally, that's cool.
Not interested  ?
That's cool , too,
because I am doing this for me.
There are plenty of cancer groups who are trying to recruit me as a member.
And sooner or later I may show up.

But till then, I think like Groucho Marx:
"I'd never  join a club that would seriously consider admitting me as a member".

But even that is a lie.
because here I am talking to you.

Who knows ?

Maybe I'll bin the whole thing tomorrow.

But wouldn't you like to hear about the day that I met Jesus?
Not some religious born again bullsh*t.

This story always gets a laugh !

Last Edit by Palmerston


I will look forward to reading your writings in this temporarily-titled thread. I love stories.

I don't have cancer, and have not faced death so squarely as you have done. I have experienced
a life-changing illness that will be with me until the end, and so to a limited extent I can understand how
a diagnosis can be like a slap in the face; a sharp smack that jolts you - like seeing a child slap her own mother
in public. There's a jolt - a recognition of "something's wrong here"... and you experience it alone, as you look
around to see people carrying on as if nothing happened.

When you're faced with life-changing circumstances, it is a lightening bolt through your body.
All of a sudden you're in the real world. And it's frightening because all of the trappings of society
the trappings we depend on to feel like we're part of this world, are suddenly stripped away,
and we're left just being a human being facing a major change that alters everything you see around you.

I look forward to reading your thread, being allowed to step inside your world. I will accompany you.

Last Edit by Palmerston
"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
Martin Luther King Jr.


Same here. You listened to me, so I'll be listening in too. Hey, you've had a full human experience so far, and that experience isn't over  :)

Imagine going through a perfectly safe boring life? I can't. You would've never been alive.

Last Edit by Palmerston
"Castles made of sand, slips into the sea, eventually." - Jimi Hendrix



A behaviour used when I feel overwhelmed by life and I want to crawl into bed and pull a blanket over my head until I feel I can cope with the world again.
Notice I am using the words "feel".
Now substitute the word "think".
Pain and death go right through my heart, not my head.
There is a style of psychotherapy that is very popular now called cognitive behavioural therapy aka CBT.
These folks would tell me that for the last month I haven't been managing my life in a very rational way.
To them I say F*CK  OFF!

Sure, I could have talked myself out from underneath the covers...if I 'd had the energy.
If my pain wasn't so severe.
If I could have had the appetite to have eaten at least one meal a day.
If I could have maintained some decent control over my emotions.
See, the side effects from my cancer medicine have kicked in.

So my grand plans for writing a regular "blog" of my journey just flew under the covers.
I was going to say "Out the window", but no,
no feelings or desire to fly.
And tick...tick...tick...
the clock keeps ticking and my "12 to 18" months of normal life has shrunken by 3 months.

Yeah, I know logically that I have a few  years to live,
but what scares me is that what I am going through now
is what the Oncology Professor thinks is my optimal level of health, also known as "normality".
For the past couple weeks I haven't been able to leave the house !
This is the best it gets ?

There is "good news".
The medicine is working; my CATscan shows my tumour has shrunk in half.
My husband is happy and the Prof is happy.
I've been signed up for a clinical study on the effectiveness of my meds.
More blood to be taken regularly,
and I laughingly tell the phlebotomist "It's cool; I support vampire rights!"

So why am I not jumping for joy ?
Well, You know about my lack of energy,   etc.
But the truth is: the tumour may shrink, but the cancer cells are still throughout my lungs.
The tumour will not disappear.
I am still terminal.
My pain, not pain, but "My pain", as if I own it like a coat or a CD, has increased.
And these side effects are stopping me from living "a normal life".
And this is supposed to be the best  quality because I WILL become tolerant to this wonder drug.

Forgive me for cursing, for whining, for complaining.
I irritate myself when I am this way.
I know I should be counting my blessings,
"always look on the bright side of life", as Monty Python sang in LIFE OF BRIAN.
But even my spiritual counsellor, who thank God is a nurse!
tells me not to worry if I don't or can't pray or meditate.

I know I have to put these words online or they will eat me up inside,
and that is what the cancer will be doing.
So, Mary, let's not feed the cancer!

So, now that I've come out from under the covers,
I believe that I'll be able to get on with the story telling.
Because that Jesus one is really something else.
Just thinking about it makes me smile.

So all 200+ of you who have read my first posting,
I thank you for your company.
I hope that I haven't alienated you by my bitching today,
but it is part of the journey.
Gotta get it out so the better stuff can flow.

A close encounter...
Ghost hunting...yes, for real...
So don't believe me;
but the FORTEAN TIMES and NYC Daytime TV did.

See how I cleverly dropped interesting little titbits that will hopefully bring you back ?
I may seem flaky at times,
but I really am a doctor of clinical psychology.
The big secret is that the more interesting ones ARE quirky !
But if you've had a run in with a member of my profession,
you already know that.
Who else would dedicate their lives to sharing others difficult journeys ?

Hope to hear from you and see you next time !

Let's keep those covers pulled down, girlfriend.


Last Edit by Palmerston