To Summarize

I wanted to record my journey with anal squamous cell carcinoma in this form, as I have gotten great value from Audre Lorde’s “The Cancer Journals” and Michael Gearin-Tosh’s book “Living Proof: A Medical Mutiny” in which he keeps a diary for the first year of his process with a diagnosis of myeloma.

I hope this blog can be helpful to others.

I am not suggesting that anyone should seek a particular treatment protocol. Only tell my story and hope that it will give the reader clues to follow for their own answers.

UPDATE: July 7 2016 – I wasn’t able to fully document my journey as much as I would have liked here, but please check out my Facebook page (all my entries there are public) for more details of the journey – Jane Smallman

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July 6 2016 – Grace and Frankie – Season 2, Episodes 11-13

Due to the enthusiastic urging of my long-time friend B, I took advantage of my Netflix account and watched the recommended episodes of Grace and Frankie: Season 2, Episodes 11,12, and 13. She was right. It was good for me to watch them…

My “party” will be slightly different than the one depicted in these episodes.

Mostly because in Washington State, qualified patients can choose to use the Death With Dignity Act (enacted by the voters on November 8th 2008). And I have qualified and have all the support I need.

For more information on this incredible opportunity that I feel so much gratitude for, I want to refer you to their website:

Home

July 2 2016 – Knowing the Time is Right

Whew… this morning, I began to have significant trouble functioning in the area of the tumor. I don’t want to get into specific details… because TMI… but the struggles I had  both times today made me sure that the timing of my departure is right. Only a few days left, but that’s ok. I’m hoping to get some more things I’d like done, done… like finishing this blog, recording me singing some songs that people have requested, sorting through some more stuff and getting things to people, some more visits, phone calls, emails, Skype sessions… And enjoying some more movies, tv, games, books…

June 26 2016 – Letting everyone know – Facebook post

First, I would like to share that there are some of my contacts on Facebook that would like to be kept ignorant of some of the following details, so please be discreet when making comments or posting on my wall. Specifically, do not mention the date please.

TRIGGER WARNING…
If you would rather not know more about my journey, please stop reading now.

I have been on a long and interesting journey since the weekend of November 1st 2014 and many of you know some of the details. However, I know that there must be some of you who due to the nature of Facebook and how things show up have no clue. My apologies if this is the first you are reading of this, for I have news that is difficult to hear.

I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal on March 9th 2015.

I haven’t yet found a graceful way of telling people that my journey on Planet Earth (this time around) is coming to an end.

Because I refused conventional treatments and the alternative therapies I implemented last spring, summer, and fall were not strong enough to return me to full health, I have been in hospice (at-home) since February 2016 and have made arrangements to die with dignity.

I want everyone to know that I am ok with this. More than ok, I feel I have lived a long, full life and am filled with gratitude that I have the option in this state to decide when I am ready to go (unlike both of my maternal grandparents who just had to die slowly).

I feel complete with the work that I came to do this lifetime and so it may be easier for me than most to consider moving on to the next adventure.

I have already done my spiritual journey work on my transition process and know that many beings are awaiting my “graduation” to this new level and the work that I will be able to do there and are excited that I will be joining them soon.

Most people who know me, know that I am a nudist. However, not everyone is aware of my spiritual path.

There’s lots to my path as it is an eclectic one that has evolved over decades weaving in many varied traditions. I won’t go into all of that now. But, I do believe in an afterlife. It’s actually more than a belief. For me, reincarnation is a fact. I have done too much work with past lives, both my own and for the clients who have come to see me over the last 25+ years to not KNOW that there is another life after this one.

So while we are coming to the last few chapters of Jane Smallman and the Way of the Peaceful Warrior (for lack of a better title that describes what this life has been), there WILL BE a sequel when the time is right. Several in fact. And I am sure that if we want to connect again in another life, then we will. So this is not goodbye, but “see you later”.

I am at peace with this. I am not scared. I feel I am having as good a death as I had a good life. As a friend said to me recently: “You are dying out loud. We don’t do that in our culture”.

I am learning that I can not control other people’s responses to my situation and not everyone can support me.

One thing I DON’T want is for people to find out after I’ve gone and feel shocked and say: “Jane has died and I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye”.

I am posting this now to let you know that I am open to receiving phone calls, texts, emails, and private messages through Facebook to give you this opportunity. As I write these words, I am feeling well enough to respond, but this might not be the case when you reach out. Again, trust that we will connect on this plane or the next.

I’ve been spending the last six months or so taking trips that were on my “bucket list” and visiting with people and attending events and just living life as fully as I could while I could. But for the last few weeks I have noticed that I am getting tired.

And as time has passed, the date of my departure on this plane of existence is becoming more clear to me. If you are so inclined, I am asking people to hold space for me on my transition day. For some, this might be lighting a candle, meditating or praying. I have one friend who is going to sing: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python (because she and I share that kind of humor and it amuses us).

I am keeping the number of people in actual attendance small, and I am asking them to use their frame drums to “drum me out” using the heartbeat rhythm, since the heartbeat of our mothers is the first sound we hear, I want to hear “the HeartBeat of the Mother” (as Native Americans call the drum) as I depart.

If the timing doesn’t work for you to do something in the exact moment of my transition, know that I KNOW that Time is an Illusion that we all agree to (so things don’t all slide together) and that whenever you send me energy – either before the date and time or after – you can set your intention to have that energy go backwards or forwards in time as needed.

So honor your own need for self-care in this. One of my teachers implanted the phrase of radical authentic self-care in my psyche and I have adopted it ever since as my prime directive. I encourage everyone I meet to do the same.

After I transition, my brother will post on my Facebook page, so you will know I have gone. However, for those of you who want to know beforehand when my transition date is scheduled, keep reading. Otherwise stop here.

I am expecting my transition team to gather at my home about 10 am and we start the ceremony by noon on Thursday, July 7th 2016. It could take all afternoon for me to cross over, but I expect to be gone by dark, which in Seattle is about 9 pm in July.

February 2 2016 – Death with Dignity Discussion

Met with Dr N. at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance today. He remembers me well and most of all was impressed with my clarity about what I did and did NOT want to do where my diagnosis is concerned.

He agrees to be my attending physician for the legal requirements for the Death with Dignity Act. We will need to find a colleague to confirm his prognosis and agree to be the consulting physician… And then there’s just paperwork and timing. (For more info on DWD check out the website: endoflifewa.org – they have lots of good resources.)

I am relieved. I won’t have to keep going and going in pain. I can opt out whenever I can’t handle the pain any more (or G-d forbid, the tumor grows in a way that will prevent my body from functioning).

More than relieved. I am empowered. My mother’s parents each had cancer and just had to keep living in horrible pain until their time was up. I now choose differently and by doing so, facilitate ancestor healing.

And now, let’s cash out my life insurance policy and get some bucket list trips done and buy a new laptop so I can Skype easily, etc…

 

 

November 19 2015 – Feeling the Love

It’s been a long time since I posted and there are reasons for this, but for now… all I want to share is my experience of the healing ritual held at my home on Sunday September 27th.

Six individuals came in person, and many many others were present energetically.  As we sat around the medicine circle passing the talking feather and sharing our reasons for being there, I felt ALL the LOVE from those present… those in the room and those everywhere around the world. For the first time in my life, I allowed my doubt and skepticism to be set aside and let the LOVE into my heart and soul deeply.

This amazing experience has completely healed my heart from all the childhood hurts it was still carrying. I now KNOW beyond a doubt how much I am loved. And I understand and am filled with compassion for those I’ve met on my path who saw something in me that triggered a response that was less than kind to me.

Even now, almost two months later, I am filled with a peace I’ve never known.  And for that, I am blessed.

October 12 2015 – SLUGS Spa Night

Although SLUGS Spa Night is an event that I have coordinated from the beginning, I have slowly been handing it off to Vanessa to manage. Ever since I missed the one in March due not being sufficiently recovered from the biopsy surgery of the week before.

Tonight instead of enjoying the waters of the hot tub or socializing with my fellow SLUGS, I find myself in deep conversations with Vanessa about the news I got last Thursday from Catherin.

She asks if she can do some research on my behalf on hospice, pain management, and death with dignity. She has a friend who has a friend who either is or was a hospice nurse.

Of course I say YES! And I am so grateful to her for offering to do this for me.

October 11 2015 – Will I see the Ocean Again?

I met today with my CCDJK ladies and two of them got to talking about a weekend workshop being offered by a local teacher: one wondering if the rise in cost for the next offering was due to an increase in the length.  When quoted the price, I was stunned… Not only do I not have that kind of money to attend (four figures), I realize I can’t even afford to go to the nearest ocean beach.

I don’t have the money to stay anywhere. I don’t have a car I can drive. It’s unlikely I could even drive myself if I *could* afford to rent a car, it hurts too much now to sit.

And I am overcome with grief that I may not see the ocean again in this lifetime…

December 2013 was the last time I drove down to Ocean Shores for the day. Who could have possibly known then that it may have been my last time there?