My last two posts were about others in my life that have had an incredible influence on my journey. The first being the words of my brother and the second being the passing of an astounding friend. Now, I am writing to unfold where I have been and what I have been up to the past few months. My last post about my journey was two and a half months ago in May. I am now ready to share what I have been up to the past few months. Let me just start by saying thank you to all of you for sending immense amounts of love, healing and vibration my way. I send it right back to each of you. Today I am feeling immensely alive and awake, breathing in and out and feeling my heart beat peacefully and my mind calm and at ease.
I believe that we pass by instances everyday that have the "potential" to kill us; cars, shootings, waves, storms, and much more... Nature is truly powerful! Less than a week ago, my friend and I decided to go down to the beach, right by the Venice Pier, a spot I rarely go to. As we were making our way down towards the water, walking barefoot under the pier...BOOOOOOOOM... 200 feet behind us, lightening seemed to come out of nowhere and touch the earth. At least seven people were physically effected and brought to the hospital, one of which was in critical condition. The beach which was minutes ago crowded became instantly empty. About 30 minutes later, several lifeguards started jumping into the water next to the pier and began searching for a missing body, which much later after we left was reported found. A strike of lightening had hit the beach and another one, the water. There were so many people including myself that could've been struck or hurt by the lightening, but were not. This past week the concept of death has approached my mind even further. What a way for the man that died in the water to go into the next part of his soul journey, electrified with the oceans love! WOW. When I was standing on the beach when the thunder crashed, I actually felt the earth shaking under my feet. Carol King's lyrics describe exactly what I felt, "I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the sky tumbling down."
This experience brought back to me the time when I was in the hospital back in November as a newly checked in patient. I remember I was lying in my hospital room in sheer self-pity, shaking within, thinking "WHY ME?"Within a couple days of being there, I was informed about the Tsunami that had hit the Philippenes, killing close to 10,000 people, and I suddenly was shaken to the thought, "WHY AM I ALIVE?" This led me to acceptance, gratitude and an awakening of letting go of self pity, letting go of fighting and trying to control nature, and to just being there in the moment focusing on breathing and faith. Faith that why I am here is exactly why I am here right now.
Some of you may know that I have experienced having multiple seizures as well as outer body experiences over the past few months, which is part of why I have not yet posted. I have been unfolding and learning to fully accept those wondrous experiences as they arose within me. When I was in the hospital this past fall, they had me on 2000 mg of Keppra (levetiracetam), which specifically treats seizures, which I had never in my life experienced. The side effects while taking this medication can be MANY, some of which can be severe. Keppra, because it is specifically used to treat seizures, which are due to changes in the brains electrical activity, I feel, can be immensely altering to the brain. I remember shortly after I got out of the hospital back in December, I forgot to take Keppra for a little over 24 hours and experienced my first small conscious seizure. When asking the neurology department, who had prescribed me the medication, what was going on they informed me of the importance of not forgetting to take this medication because if stopped abruptly it could cause seizures. At this moment I thought to myself about the absurdity of being on a medication that actually had the ability to cause what it is meant to prevent. With the assistance of my integrative doctor I began to ween off, which was instructed to be done very very slowly. When I was home over Christmas, I was weening off but still taking on the medication. I forgot to take the Keppra again one morning and by the late afternoon experienced a seizure-like outer body experience coming on. As soon as I took the Keppra it went away. I began my ween off in December and was completely off of the Keppra in February. That does not mean it was not still in my system.
On April 25th I flew back from Florida, where I visited with an amazing neurology doctor who I spoke about in my last post Faith and Fear. The night I arrived back I spent the night with a close friend who has been by my side throughout the past five months. After we had fallen asleep, close to midnight, he awoke to my entire body shaking, which ended with me being in an unconscious state. I do not remember experiencing any of it. I awoke riding in the ambulance on the way to the hospital in Marina Del Rey. My body did feel like it had taken a shaking. I was informed that what had I experienced was equivalent to a Grand Mal seizure. My parents called our neurosurgeon in Virginia to ask for his input about the seizure. He explained to us that after having a biopsy the brain takes a while to heal and altitude pressure while flying as well as a shift in oxygen is known to cause the brain to alter. As I wrote in my previous blog, the next day I ended up at Dr. Hua Bing Wen's office, who has been my main doctor ever since. He is a doctor of traditional chinese medicine who practices acupuncture as well as specializes in oncology. He is incredible and has been with me every step of the way since I showed up at his office. End of May I flew back to Virginia for my younger brother's graduation. Within 48 hours of landing, I experienced the exact same after flight experience of an unconscious seizure while sleeping. My mother happened to be at my side for this one and we did not feel the need to run to the hospital this time.
Saturday, June 21st was the last day I took the Keppra, and the evening of June 22nd, I felt an aura surround me similar to the Keppra related seizure I had had in December. I stood there conscious but unable to move my body or speak. It felt like it lasted for 5 minutes, but my friends that were there said it only lasted under 30 seconds. The next day I experienced this sensation 3-4 times, including outer body experiences and hearing voices talking to me within my brain. When my mother heard what I was experiencing she booked the next possible flight out here. I spoke about faith and fear throughout my last blog post and this has definitely been a marvelous challenge of myself with these concepts. Throughout the next 5 days I experienced these conscious seizures every 3-4 hours. I am immensely grateful that my mother arrived and stood by my side throughout the entire process. She assisted me with the reminder of being in the moment and letting go of any fear that tried to arise. She asked me if I felt myself breathing, as well as if I felt aware and alive. And I did. I truly did. And I still do. Its amazing how fear tries to succumb and take over if I allow it to, and it can effect me physically and mentally if I welcome it.
I have truly accepted that undergoing a biopsy is a process that could take me up to two years to fully recover from and that is okay! I am blessed that the entire procedure went beautifully and that I am breathing and alive today. Weening off, getting back on, and weening off of Keppra has been an outstanding yet wonderful obstacle that has awakened me to the vast effect that medication can have on the body and that it also can take time to clear from the system. I have chosen to be Keppra free, and with that I have made other choices as well which include not flying on a plane for a while, continuing to eat healthy healing food, taking my herbal medication, continuing to get acupuncture, and unfolding and learning more about myself and my body each day, but most importantly remembering to rest and give myself a break!
On July 11th I turned 31 years old. This year feels like the first year of my life. Following my birthday I had my last session with Sacha at the Benjamin Cancer Center, where I have occasionally gone to different cancer discussions and groups there. Sacha was the counselor that was assigned to me, by no coincidence. He helped me unfold an even greater aspect within myself that I am receiving with vast wonder. He has assisted me to open new doors and to reach out to others and ask for help and allow them to assist in opening even more windows and doors. He has allowed me discover what the doctors call a tumor in my brain to be given a different name, something that is not my own and has the freedom to fly away. What has seemed to be an obstacle has now turned into a bridge with many wonderful awakenings about life along the way. I have truly felt a shift in my energy and accept what is right here in this moment. Myself and other cancer patients have had a tendency to think, "I will be happy when I am cancer free!" or "I will be happy when this tumor begins shrinking." What I feel is, I am happy with where I am right now.
Its amazing to go from having seizures to being awakened by the immensity of uplifting positivity and letting go of negativity in life and how much of an effect that has on my mind and body and in doing so the effect it has on those around me. I am discovering the truth in the idea of the energy of those around me effecting my energy and the energy of myself effecting the energy of others. Since I am not driving, I have been taking Uber taxi's around town. Uber drivers are so friendly and amazing. A couple days ago I received an email from one of the drivers who I had shared a happy story with, although when the email first came it took me a moment to remember, for one because I have been spilling my happiness with everyone whenever I can, and secondly because it was a bit ago. After reading his email tears streamed down my face and I remembered exactly who the Uber driver was. His words are below:
I drove you around Venice a couple of weeks ago, the night before my bday, and you challenged me to try and be positive for one day. I apologize for the delay, as I was out of town for work all last week, but I wanted to relay my experience.
I found that it is a choice. At the start of every interaction we have we form an opinion about the people we meet. I found that when I was mindful and in the moment, the person I was speaking to fed off my energy and in most cases this tactic garnered a positive response. Even the ones who weren't necessarily the most responsive came around after a bit and I found they too responded to this simple act of kindness.
Needless to say, Iv'e carried this over into my life and into every new interaction I am a part of. Its so easy to disengage, retreat and be uninterested, but I think what people really crave is the opposite. To be seen and heard. That is the one thing we share as human beings.
Thank you for challenging me to step outside my bubble, look up from the screen, and engage in the world.
Thank you Ben for responding! His response is an uplifting act of kindness that has created a buzzing of beauty and love within my heart and soul for myself and for others, as well as an astounding reminder to engage with and be mindful of others. All of you that are taking the time out to read my posts thank you! It moves me to have each and every one of you in my life. Everyone around me has been an incredible vibration to my healing and I extend you the same vibration back, the more we can vibrate together the stronger the vibration is. For those of you that are new, thank you for visiting. Feel free to visit my beginning blog My Journey: The Beginning, or just stay wrapped up in this one because perhaps exactly where you are is exactly where you're meant to be.
Last week I had my appointment with the neurology department at the hospital for them to compare my MRI's from Virginia as well as the ones I took here in February. They said that there has been zero growth and they also seemed a bit setback by the fact that it is considered a grade 3 malignant glioma and has not grown at all. The neurology doctor even recommended that I take the MRI's as well as biospy sample to a neuro-oncologist to see what they would recommend. I have not decided if that is something that will be on my agenda or not. But from the sound and feel of all of it, I feel uplifted to know that no one, NO ONE can guarantee where my life will go. And it is good information for me to take in all outlooks of what is said, but to NOT take any the outlooks fully to heart and to know that my heart is my heart and my body is my body and my mind is my mind. I believe that my mind and body have a strength stronger than perhaps I can even fathom and in this moment right now my body is healing itself fully! All is well, nothing is wrong! Everything I am feeling is my body healing! All good is flowing to me and within me. I am strong! I am whole! I am healthy!
This past week I have gone surfing in the ocean twice, enjoyed the sun on my skin and the ocean water on my body. One of the times a large whale-shark about 20+ feet in length made an appearance to say hello. Right now I am so happy to be here and I am happy and in love with myself and with all of you!
LOVE ~ Gabrielle