Monday, January 26, 2009

The Snow

I woke up this morning and eased out of bed to sit for a few minutes in chair and let the cna's change my bed. It felt so good to hobble about and stand at the window and look at the snow that had fallen during the night. I am pretty tired, but I actually feel less bad than before.

Snow is my favorite type of precipitation. I love the winter. While everyone is hopping about wishing for spring, I actually love the idea of snow on the ground til April. I loved snow even before I was sick. It never gets cold enough to suit me. I love the changes in weather.

But after a few minutes, I was ready to get back in bed. Dad hooked up the little VCR to my TV and I run TB almost constantly. I feel not so lonesome now that I can look up at the tv and see my favorite characters and hear their southern accents. I suppose they sound funny and contrived to those who actually live in the deep south, but I love to hear them talk. Especially Bill. And the actor portraying him isn't even American. Stephen Moyer is British, from Essex, just north of London and he has the most delightful Queen's English accent. I have been watching him on youtube in the British soap NY-LON and in the Brit-Flick Empathy. He's really a very good actor. He does well with both stories though I think the stories themselves are little under developed. I loved him in Restraint. After seeing him play Bill Compton, a sort of vicious Vampire with a heart of gold, it was tough to watch him play Andrew, an agorophobic art dealer with a dark and definitely insane side to him. In the beginning of the movie, he is so vulnerable, unable to defend himself, but in the end, you discover that he is filled with his own sort of evil, darkness. You feel less sympathetic towards him, but you are intrigued by him.

I am glad I have True Blood to distract me. I feel as much a part of that world as any of the characters there. Kinda sad really, but as some of my mates on True have said "Whatever it takes,"

I'm sleepy now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Will and Testimony

Everyone makes one of these, sometime or other, so here is what I call my Will and Testimony. It is not a declaration of what I will share in my death but what I have shared in my life. My possessions are so few and pitiful that this is all I really have.

To my Family:

I have tried to be the best person I can be. I always tried to be a good daughter and sister. I have tried not be an embarrassment or a burden. If I have been those things, I humbly apologize and beg your forgiveness. I have devoted myself to every family endeavor and cause and have tried to champion you in every public and private forum. I have tried to honor you and respect you and I have always loved you from the bottom of my heart. Do not look back on my life and pity me. My life has been an adventure and I cherished every moment of it.

To my friends, living and dead:

I have always tried to cultivate my friendships with a few people who deemed me important enough to call me a friend. I have appreciated your intimacy and trust. You have seen me at my very best and my very worst. I have tried to protect and serve you with all that is in me and though I sometimes failed, your acknowledgement of my endeavors have been reward enough. You accepted my eccentricities and embraced me when no one else would.

To my lovers, living and dead:

To my husband, who is dead now more than ten years, I tell you you were not my first heart love, but you were my first lover. You claimed the only prize I had to give you. I surrendered to you as well as I could and loved you to the best of my ability. You claimed me for only a short while, but I was yours completely. All men who came after could never claim the one part of me I could only give once.

To my heart's love, you loved me as well as you could but I have always and will always love you. I wished that you could have loved me as much as I loved you, but you couldn't. I hope that where ever you are, you are well and happy and healthy and loved.

To my God and my Church:

I am a sinner as you well know. I have many times failed you, but I have never fallen from the palm of your hand. You forgive my weaknesses and make your presence known to me by the people you have placed in my path.

I was accepted by my church when no other church would have me. I have not always agreed with you and sometimes I have disobeyed you, but I have never strayed from you. You are my mother and you nurture me and give me peace.

I found my spiritual path to magik not by the straightest of lines. I discovered the innermost heart of God by understanding the special energies flowing through all people and all things and I have always tried to respect all people and all creeds and all practices so that I may learn of all the world the will of God in my life.

To my Students:

I was not a great teacher, but I worked hard to try to be one. I hope you will forgive my failings, my shortcomings and celebrate the precious times we had together. I tried to reach those who others gave up on and tried to embrace the ones no one would embrace. I loved you all. You were my childen.

To my Idols:

U2: Thank you for your music and your poetry and your beauty. Thank you for helping me through heartbreaks and lonlinesses and my sicknesses. Thank you for being the soundtrack of my life, the rhyme in my heart, the passion of my soul.

Mel Gibson: Thank you for your beauty and your humanity. Thank you for Braveheart, The Patriot, Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, and Apocalypto and The Passion of the Christ. Thank you for your failings and your triumphs. Thank you for your Vision.

Dog the Bounty Hunter: Thank you for being street level, for your big heart, for your story, for your pain. Thank you for being foul mouthed but soft hearted. Thank you for your bravery and your justice. Thank you for your mistakes and your successes.

Stephen King: Thank you for scaring me, for creating characters I loved because they had a part of me. Thank you for your subtle wisdom. Thank you for your words. You made me think I too could be a writer and you inspired me to put pen to paper.

JK Rowling: Thank you for Harry Potter, thank you for magic in my life, thank you for vindicating Snape, though I had him pegged as the eternal villian.

Charlaine Harris and the cast and crew of True Blood: Thank you for being my refuge, for the chance to contemplate my humanity, my feelings of Other, and for helping me recognize my levels of tolerance and intolerance.

Thank you for the love story.

This ends my will and testimony. Brightest Blessings Be to all I mention here and may you all shime on in this world and the next.

Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Creepiest Places on Earth

Excuse the Vampire. He isn't pertinent to the discussion, but he has the cutest smile, don't you think?

Ever see that show? I liked that show. They pluck some suburban American family from their comfortable lives and drop them down in the most creepy old places in the world, usually somewhere in England, and attach those back and front cameras onto them so you you get this strange coming and going feeling when you watch them sneaking around in this dark old house.

But I can tell you what the creepiest place on earth is, hands down. A hospital at night. Yeah, pretty damned spooky. I think it is because it's not like a hotel room. You can't close the door and lock it. Anyone can come into your room. And there is nothing like waking up to someone taking your pulse in the middle of the night, or changing one of those IV bags. And they are creepy because they are very quiet. Like Vampires that way. One minute you are lying there, staring at the ensure milkshake they made up for you (Drink it all down Miss Dragonhawk, every last drop) and the next minute there is one of them and they want to check your sugar (Oh no, they are Vampires LOL) Which finger you want me to prick Miss D.? I always show them my middle finger. You know they have seen that gesture millions of times from millions of patients but they all laugh like they'd never seen it before. I bet they are taught to do that, to keep our spirits up so we don't get down in the dumps. Too late.

Pneumonia...that's what I am in for. Pnuemonia. Went my whole life without pnuemonia and now I have it. Bloody infections. And I still have to go for my nuke sessions. I thought "Oh goody, a week off from nukings, I work on my radiation burns and rest maybe break that fever" But no. Not only am I sick from the pnuemonia, I have more burning to deal with.

You know why I think hospitals are so costly? I'm not reaching here, I know. I was admitted for pnuemonia while I was here for a nuke session. I wear this bracelet with a bar code on it. Supposedly, they are supposed to be able to scan me and pull up my records. What I discovered is I am in another department and I have to fill out all my paperwork again. Here I am dying and they want me to sit my fucking SATS. I didn't do it. I called my oncologist to send photocopies of my records to ICU so I wouldn't have to do them again. I then sent my dad out to KINKOS and smuggle my records out so he could make a couple of copies so incase I have to go again or go to a strange hospital, I would have them. Let some RN fill them out. LPNS are the ones who do all the work anyway.

So, anyway, it's always funeral home quiet here. Depressing. They have TV but no HBO and no VCRS so I can't watch True Blood. More depressing. I have my laptop though and so I am writing in my blog, getting ready to watch Stephen Moyer in NY-LON on youtube. Checking in with my TB buds. I wonder if that VCR in the closet still works. I may be here for two weeks. I may have dad bring it and hook it up for me so I can watch TB. I could probably watch it online somewhere.

Depress, depressed, more depressed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dear Mr. President

Today is inauguration day and we are swearing in our 44th president. This is a momentous time in our history. You see, our president, Barack Obama is black.

Everyone wants to know what black people are feeling right now, and it's important, but I have to say it is important to me too. I am not free from the shackles of racism, I still fight with the seeds of intolerance and hate within my own self. But I voted for Obama, not assuage my guilt but because he is the best man for the job.

I will tell you a little story. Know the movie Deep Impact? The asteroid movie with Morgan Freeman and Robert Duvall in it? I loved that corn ball movie, it had a depth to it that I enjoyed with Tea Leoni and her conflicted feelings with her dad, the young kids who were just kids in the neighborhood who let us see the world through their eyes and the astronauts who were preparing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the world.

It's all there in this improbable plot, the plan to send the Messiah up to break up the asteroid, the Ark rescue plan, the moral dilemma for ordinary people over fifty excluded from the chance of rescue. But the most improbable plot line in a movie filled with them, was the notion of Morgan Freeman as president of the United States. I told my mom that that was the only thing that really stands out as improbable. "There will never be a black man in the White House in my lifetime."

Now, history has made a fool of me. That's okay. It's time for Barack Obama to come into his own and change history, opening up the door to all hues, just as Kennedy broke the barrier for Catholics, Obama will break the barrier for people of color. God Bless Barack Obama.

Do your best Mr. President, work hard, you have been left a country in shambles and a world on the edge and white people did that. Sorry it is in such a mess. And Americans, be patient. It took eight years for America to be made a shambles of. It will take far longer than that for America to be put to rights.

I'm white, 42, a woman south of the Mason Dixon line, a Roman Catholic and a practicing witch, I am over educated and underemployed and uninsured and sicker than hell. I am fighting a system that would sooner see me in the grave than well and working. But I voted for you Barack Obama and I wish you well. Good luck, you are gonna need it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Acceptance

This chick named Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book about the stages of death. Being that she was living at the time, I wonder if she had the neccesary qualifications to really write a book about what it was like to meet the notion of mortality. Now that she is dead, there is no way to know what she thought about her own death process and whether or not she felt she was correct in her assumptions.

So, now that I am facing the possibility of my own mortal coil, I want to see what she means by the stages of death.

Anger- Am I angry? I am. But I don't think I am as mad at my own human weakness and the possibility of my own emminent death as I am of other people around me. Everyone says "I'm praying for you" or giving me those little yellow bracelets or giving me cliches about how God doesn't put a burden on you that you can't handle. I wished God wouldn't trust me so much. This is one burden that is just too heavy. I know their reaction is just an inablity to cope or relate to what is happening to me. I feel sorry for them on some levels because I know they are afraid. I am living proof of everyone's eventual demise, their own human mortality. And they are afraid of what they see. I know they are saying "Damn, that poor bitch is wasting away, I hope I don't go like that," If you can't say anything besides those old worn out chestnuts, just don't say anything at all. Just come and sit with me and talk about all the gossip or bring me a magazine or a good book to read. You don't have to comfort me because you can't.

Denial- There's no denying that I might be dying. I don't deny it. I think the people around me are denying it. They don't want to believe that I and they will eventually die. I think it is more about them than me. It's like, if they don't believe that I might die, then they won't die. Which is such a load of shit.

Bargaining- "Let's Make a Deal" remember that show? I am not playing that game. I have nothing to bargain with. I'm God's to dispose of as He sees fit. But the doctors like to make deals "Hey, Aslinn, the hospital would really like to put you through this drug trial. If you do, they'll knock off that fee that the state says it won't pay," What is it doc? "Well, we'll have to take you off the morphine and put you on this new non-narcotic nsaid, sort of a super aspirin, thing is, once you start it, you have to stay on it, even if your pain increases and it may cause ulcers and bleeding." No thanks doc, I'll fight the system and keep my morphine.

Acceptance- I have no fucking choice but to accept that I may die from this. To not accept is to play a vicious game with myself of being high and low. That doesn't mean that I like it, I don't, but what can I do? I have already done more than I thought I would. I always swore that I would never do chemo, never do radiation, but here I am, I'm doing it. And I have to accept what it is doing to me, I have no choice.

So, is Elizabeth Kubler-Ross right? Maybe she is, but not for the person who may be dying, but for those around them. See, I have no choice but to be where I am. Those around me? They are the ones going through the stages.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Mirror

I haven't looked at myself in the mirror in a long time. Long before I had cancer I stopped looking in the mirror because I was a fat girl and I knew no one would want to look at me, not even myself. Now that I have cancer, I don't like looking at my reflection because I know no one will want to look at me, not even myself.

But I looked today as I dressed to go to the hospital on this desperately cold day to be nuked. I had stripped down of everything. I stood there in front of the long mirror. I look like Jack Skellington from that wonderfully gothic The Nightmare before Christmas. My breast are empty and shrunken, my ribs show, my hip bones are too sharp and I am white (Momma, she's so white. We're white baby, she's dead) except for the bruises that are evident on my arms and legs from the ports they keep trying to maintain for the drugs. The doctor says that if I don't start eating more I will have to have a feeding tube. Damn it, I said no and I fucking mean it.

I dress in clothes that a few weeks ago fit me. Now I have to cinch them around me. I put on my black tee shirt that reads "My giveadammer is broken" I could almost wear it as a dress whereas before it was almost too tight. I snug my silk cap over my head and then pull on my boggan with the skull and cross bones on my head. The silk cap protects my head from being irritated by the fibers of my boggan. I pull on my pleather black jacket and slide my feet into my tennis shoes. I have to wear two pairs of socks now so my feet don't just slide out.

Dressed I still look like a boneyard. I put make up on the other day. I thought I might look more human and all it did was make me look like a tarted up skeleton. Fuck it. I kinda like scaring little kids who stare at me like I'm a freak. Watch it kid, but for the grace of God goes you. Mothers stare at me too, as if I could help it. Fuck you and your little kid lady. What do they want me to do? Wear a canvas bag over my head with eye holes in them and mutter to myself "I am not an animal, I am a human being." If someone hands me another one of them live strong bracelets I'm gonna strangle them.

Yes, goddamn it I want to live. I don't need some over paid, over hyped steriodal bicyclist who dumped his wife the moment she came down with breast cancer to tell me anything about living with this disease and the things it is doing to me. Or the things it did to my husband as he died in my arms, screaming for me to stop the pain. I let him down, I couldn't put him out of his agony and I think he hated me in the end for it. And I wish folks from my church would stop bringing me St. Jude medals, pictures, statues. They all talk about how holy my suffering is. I don't feel holy.

What I am is mad as hell. I hate what is happening to me. I cry when I know it is time for my dad to carry me out to the truck because I know he finds me repulsive. I touched his hand the other day and he jerked away because I look like a skeleton and it creeps him out. My sister is a nurse and hates to come to bathe me in the evening in the bath chair while my mother changes my sheets and puts on fresh ones and lays down the chucks pad in case I wet the bed in the night. Even my sister is disgusted with what I have become and she washes the old, the infirm, the eternally lost in that long goodbye. Maybe it is because she pities me and she knows I can feel the pity rolling off her and it stinks like chemotherapy and radiation sickness.

So, I retreat into the world of the south. I go to Bon Temps and I am courted by a beautiful Vampire who sees me, not as I am but as Other. Sometimes he has dark hair, someimes he is blonde, somes he is not a man but a woman, but they know me because I am like them. Undead, Other, hated and feared.

I won't see myself in the mirror anymore.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I had my first visit to Nuclear Medicine today for my first radiation treatment. It took all of ten minutes and left me with a sunburn from the waist down (not much of one, but still)

As I lay under this massive bit of hardware that glowed with some sort of infrared light, I meditated so I would not move around much. I have to be careful about meditation or I put myself too deep and my BP drops. But as I meditated I kept seeing this miniature mushroom cloud where my uterus used to be. What was it in that U2 song Bullet the Blue Sky "Plant a Demon Seed/ Raise a Flower on Fire" Well I think that is what is happening to me. I think the bowing lilly that was my uterus (now a wierd globbulous mass I am hoping will shrink enough to be removed) is now the flower on fire.

I am still running a fever, though some of it may be from the radiation. They say my infection is clearing up but I can't tell, I never really feel good anymore, just some days I am less bad.

Meds are kicking in.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Would I be Vampire?

I asked this quesion to the forum and I have had an astounding resonating no. Many of the people who answered said they would do it if they could have some conditions like being able to move around in the day and not having to drink human blood. This is sort of like saying "I'd be a racial minority (black, brown, red, yellow, whatever) if I could wash it off at the end of the day.

So, before I answer my own question on the forum, I will answer it here.

Yes, I would be Vampire. I suppose you might say "of course you would, Vampires don't die of cancer" And I suppose that you would right to an extent. I would want to be Vampire and all that entails because of the fredom it entails. I would have the freedom to be a part of the mysteries of the night, to know it's loves, lusts and hungers. To live without a lot of fears (of course Vampires do fear being found in the day or being staked). To have superstrength and senses. To seek out evil and kill it and to protect the innocent and to hunt. I believe I have a bit of blood lust in me and a disposition to living solitary. To walk through history and see it unfold all around me. To be disengaged with others unless it is my will to engage them.

I would be Vampire

Friday, January 02, 2009

Goodnight Jaime

One of my friends and fellow member of Club Chemo died of leukemia today. He was 16.

A fellow True Blood fan, we watched each episode at home, then I brought the tape in and we and the rest of the baldies watched it as we were having chemo. After a few episodes, he told me that I had big brown eyes like Sookie and he had lovely blue eyes that I said were like Bill's. So, as a matter of course we called each other Bill and Sookie (we look nothing like Anna and Stephen, eye coloring is the only thing we share with those two).

We would meet in Club Chemo "Good morning Sookie," "Good morning Bill," and we would settle in for our daily catheter flush, B12 shots, blood work and then be hooked up to our alchemy. Then, when the techs would leave the room (they always leave the room, they don't like the living dead) I would use the remote and run tape.

Yesterday, Jaime's mom called me and told me to come to the hospital, Jaime was dying. I came in, wrapped up in my cloak with my boggan on with the Jolly Roger on it and sat down in the chair. We were so happy that at the end of season one we were both alive. We spoke with excitement of season two, went on line, argued over the plots of the books, pouted over the romance of Bill and Sookie. Now Jaime was dying. He looked up at me with his big round blue eyes, too big for his pointed face, a face whiter than Bill's ever was, his bony hand like a huge white and pink spider slid from under the sheet and took my own thin white hand. His heat was enormous.

"Hey Sookie," "Hey Bill," He told me that he guessed I would have to find another True Blood BF cuz he was "greeting the sun". I told him there would never be another "Bill" in my life. I told him "I am a one Bill woman" He laughed a little and drowsed off in a morphine haze. He died there.

Goodnight Jaime.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Purpose for Everything Under Heaven

As I was rewatching the episodes of True Blood last night, I was struck by a conversation that Adele Stackhouse (Sookie's gran') had in episode four. It seemed to answer a few questions that I have asked about the existance of the soul, and whether or not Bill and indeed anyone thought of as Other had a purpose in this world and whether or not there was evidence of the soul.

Sookie is confused about her feelings about Bill, that mix of desire and fear and admittedly a certain amount of disgust for Vampire mores. Gran tells her that God has a purpose for everything, whether it is a special gift (her telepathy), or an over priced cup of coffee or a Vampire, that God will reveal His purpose in his own time.

So as I pondered this, I thought about how Vampires are thought of as Evil. Bill tells the members of the Descendants of the Glorious Dead that he can "Stand before a cross, or a Bible or in a Church, just like any creature of God" and that is where it hit me. How could I have been so ignorant (a real Homer Simpson "Doh" moment, complete with forehead slapping). "We Vampires are not the minions of the Devil" he goes on to say.

If we discuss this on the premise there are real Vampires, then we have to ask the question, if they are a supernatural evil, why doesn't God just destroy them? I mean, we read in the Book of Job that God gave Satan the power to do whatever he liked to Job except kill him. On this premise alone, early Church fathers who wrote about the occult developed the notion that Satan had limits placed on him by God. I don't think God would have allowed Satan the power to create other demons, including Vampires. (Again, working on the premise that Vampires are evil minions of the Devil) So what purpose would a Vampire serve under heaven? What purpose would someone who is Other serve?

Being Other can be seen as both blessing and curse. Imagine having boundless strength and energy, being able to heal the good or kill the evil, imagine having super senses to sight, smell, taste, feel, and hear. Imagine being able to create a blood link to someone you love so you can feel them and know if they are safe or well or in need?

Now imagine it is you and people hate you because of what and who you are? It's the root of the stories I write about werewolves, they are the heroes, the Other, the beast in the field, the hunter under the moon, the Justifier and the Protector. I think this above all is the lure for me to this story. The notion of Other as a servant of God.

But does Bill believe in God? I don't know, but it doesn't matter. If this story were real, and he were real, I think you could best answer it with a line from Stephen King's The Stand: "It don't matter...He believes in you."

So perhaps there is a purpose for a witch, or a werewolf, or a Vampire, or just a woman with cancer. A purpose for everything under heaven. And God will reveal that purpose in His own time.