February 21, 2020


Journal Entry #85

We’ve been in Bequia for 7 full days now, and I finally feel like I am on vacation!

I guess I was wrapped more tightly than I realized…

The others are starting to talk about making arrangements to go home, and I am thinking – wtf?! I just got here!  My intention for this trip was therapy, for the others it was a vacation.  I’m feeling successful in that intention so far.  I am proud of myself.

I floated in the ocean today on a pool noodle (that I packed and brought with me), bobbing in the water, supported, weightless with the sunshine warming my skin.  Honestly, I have never seen water this color before, it is absolutely stunning!  I felt as though I was being rocked by Mother Earth, each wave rhythmically rolling toward shore and each wave drawing back towards the center of the sea.  A perfectly balanced push and pull of water with no other purpose than to just be.

If I were just ten feet closer to shore I would be spinning in the breaking surf, pelted with sand and shells as the water crashed upon itself and me.

If I were on shore where the waves are lapping, I would have to brace myself to hold steady and not be moved by the tide.  My feet would sink low in the sand as the ocean pulls back towards its center, burying my toes and ankles.

But where I was floating, I could only hear the turmoil of the churning ocean beyond, I could hear the water lapping the shoreline, see it pushing higher and pulling aggressively back towards its depths.  In the safety of where I was floating, there was only turquoise waters and bliss.

I can’t help but equate this to life.

Sometimes I get caught in the turmoil and churning as life pelts me with, well,  LIFE.  It makes it hard to stay on solid footing with it’s push and pull.  Sometimes, it knocks me down, rolls me over and fills my bathing suits with scratchy sand, bogging me down.  And yet, sometimes, with a little distance from shore I can just float and observe the crashing and rolling with respect and admiration.  And sometimes, I choose to stay ashore, above the wave-line, watching as each wave creates a new beach, and erases the existence of the wave before it.  It is from here that I  can see new shells and signs of life, and yet, with each step, the ocean carries away my footprints as if I were never there.  I can exist in one wave and be replaced in the next.

You might think that is a morbid thought.  But we truly are replaceable.

I have been thinking about this journey that I have been on over the last year.  I have referred to it as a journey, but I am not sure that that is the right thing to call it anymore.  My whole life has been a journey, and this last year has been but a blipA journey within the journey. It isn’t separate.  It is part of the whole.

I’ve been conquering so many fears…actually running towards them this week.  I can’t help but ask myself, when will this be over?

When I die?

I don’t know that this particular journey within a journey will end for me.  I think I will have life-long adaptations.  I will have to make adjustments along the way.  My life will not return to normal.  I am finding a new normal…discovering a new way of living, and this takes time. Illness and Wellness are at the opposite ends of the same spectrum, right Cherie?  I am constantly adapting to the highs and lows between the well days and the unwell days.  It is completely different than the way of living that I have been accustomed to. I oscillate between well and unwell and my body just hasn’t levelled out yet.

But, I trust that it will.

I desperately want to put the story behind me, but I cannot put the repercussions of Leishmaniasis behind me – that would be irresponsible.  I must take the lessons forward into my new normal, I must continue to listen to what my body needs, I must continue to adapt, persevere and be aware.  I must continue to make allowances for myself to both fail and succeed in the process of finding this new way of life.  I am out of the imminent Leishmaniasis story, but my journey is not over.

Life goes on.

Faith came with me to my last IV Therapy with Dr. Katrina to keep me company.  The infusions still take about 2-3 hours (every other week) because my body can be stubborn and is tired of being poked.  She asked me a question that I know she had been pondering for some time:

“Mommy, if you didn’t do the Chemo, would those bugs have killed you?  Could you have died?”

In hindsight, we were very forward with the kids, informed them all along the way of what was happening with my body, and how the treatment was affecting me.  Although we called it medicine for a long time and not Chemotherapy, the reality really set in for them when we finally called a thing a thing.  I know she had asked others if I would die, but this was the first time she asked me directly.  I could see the fear in her eyes and I knew that the others had softened the blow.  But I answered her honestly.


If left untreated, the bugs would have made their way to my organs and my heart and in less than two years, I would have been so infested that the bugs would have taken my life.

I am not sure if I saw relief or disbelief in her eyes.  But either way, I was glad that she didn’t understand the severity of what I went through as I went through it.  I am glad she was protected from that reality.  From those fears.

Chasing some of my fears this week has really made me see that I am my own worst enemy.  However, I can also be my best saviour.  When I surrender into the fear and let go of resistance, I am actually giving my body and my life an opportunity to heal.  I know I tend to hang on too tightly to how I think things should be and I don’t leave enough room for what is.  And what is, is actually where the healing happens.

The trick is that I just have to get out of my own way.  Surrender. Let go of the story.

It is the only way to be in this moment.

To enjoy this view.

To float within the womb of Mother Earth, in these pristine turquoise waters.

To find bliss.

Xo Juli

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