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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Facing a life-threatening illness and thinking about adoption

This past week has been the most difficult one I have ever endured.  I  had just returned from Spain, where I felt great and walked at least five miles every day.  I noticed a little bump on my thigh and had my friend, a surgeon, take a look at it.  He thought it was vascular, but scheduled an ultrasound just to be sure.  The results were concerning, so the next day I went in for a PET scan.  That day I got the devastating news that the melanoma that I had 16 years ago has returned and metastasized.

It is surreal to go from feeling just fine one day to being told that you have stage 4 melanoma the next.  I vacillate from feeling as if I am an actor in a play to feeling sick at my stomach as I contemplate what I am facing.  On the bright side, I have the best husband, daughters and extended family in the world, and I have been surrounded by caring and love every minute of every day.  My best friend can keep me laughing no matter what the circumstance.


Part of my beautiful support team -- granddaughter Grace and daughter Jenn in Spain


My physician daughter was able to schedule an appointment for me with one of the best melanoma doctors in the world within the week.  There is hope, and I am going to try to hold onto it with all my might.  As she explained to me, we don't talk of curing melanoma at this stage, but in ongoing clinical trials at Penn, they are seeing partial and complete remissions in a number of patients through a combination of standard and immunology therapy.  I qualify for the trial, and after several more procedures this week and next, will be getting started.

I welcome prayers from those who pray, positive energy from those who meditate, and good wishes from one and all.  I am working hard on mindfulness exercises, as I can see already that a major challenge in all of this will be letting go, living in the moment, and controlling the racing of my mind.

As my thoughts and emotions have careened all over the place this past week, I have been thinking about why I have been so dedicated to adoption reform and adoptee rights over these past 16 years.  I was blessed with loving adoptive parents, and I found myself feeling so very close to them this past week, as I sat on a bench looking out over a beautiful cove where I had grown up sailing and water-skiing with my parents and brother.

But like many adopted people, I feel connections to other people as well.  Neither I, nor any adoptee, should ever be forced into an either-or kind of thinking, in which one set of parents is recognized and validated, and one set is not.  Having experienced the paradoxes and willful mistruths of the adoption system, I myself have no tolerance for half truths and the masking of deep truths.

Throughout my life, I have learned that the road to peace is never through falsehood, and I think that is the reason I have always felt so devoted to truth, fairness and social justice.

It is truly misguided and so very wrong for the state to attempt to block two grown adults from knowing the truth about each other's identity -- especially when those adults share such a deep, primal connection.  We cannot and should not ever block a human being's path to truth, peace, forgiveness and love.

I was told through the agency that placed me that my original mother did not want any contact with me.    With help from several enlightened souls, I found her on my own and sent her a sensitive and compassionate certified letter, asking her also for medical history.  As a human being facing a medical crisis 16 years ago, I felt that I was worthy enough to at least ask for information.  I received it, and eventually my original mother told me over the telephone that she had always loved me "in her heart."  Not every adopted person will seek out her original parents or get even that far in the journey.  Some will get further.

But how dare the state block the possibility for that love to be expressed?  How dare they?  Let people -- adults with minds and souls of their own -- find their own way.  Facing a critical illness at the moment, I can tell you with certainty that there is nothing that is more important than love.  Nothing.  Please, let's let the light, the truth and the love overcome the misguided fears and the ideology.

There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer,
no disease that enough love will not heal;
no door that enough love will not open;
no gulf that enough love will not bridge;
no wall that enough love will not throw down;
no sin that enough love will not redeem ....
It makes no difference how deeply seated
may be the trouble; how hopeless the outlook;
how muddled the tangle; how great the mistake.
A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
If only you could love enough you would be the happiest
and most powerful being in the world.

Emmet Fox




51 comments:

  1. Will be praying for you (((hugs Susan))).
    Psalm 103:2-5, Jeremiah 29:11, Prov. 4:20.
    He sent His Word and healed them...

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    1. Many thanks, Peach. Keep me in your prayers. The support of community is so very helpful.

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  2. Love you, love you, love you mom. And proud of you for speaking the truth, always.

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  3. As I have told you many times, I am blessed by the best daughters in the whole, wide world!

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  4. Susan - all my thoughts and more...

    I hope you find what works for you to stop the racing thoughts so you can focus on what you need to do.

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    1. Thank you so much. There is a lot of wisdom and solidarity in this community.

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  5. Sending you healing energy. I'm so sorry that you're dealing with this.

    Wishing you peace and clarity, as well.

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    1. Thanks, Lori. I feel very close to you via our on-line connection. You are wise and kind.

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  6. I pray God's healing touch on you, Susan. And I pray that one day very soon Gov. Christie has the kind of revelation that brings him to his knees regarding the plight of all adoptees. He needs to read your blog and realize how shallow and inhumane his beliefs are on the adoptee rights issue.

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    1. Oh, how true your statement is about Gov. Christie's stance on this issue! How is it that people can be so blind to the ultimate truth here? I pray that my post may open some hearts.

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  7. Holding you with care in my heart and sending positive energy your way!

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca. I feel so close to you as well via our on-line connection. I believe that adopted people are some of the most empathetic and sensitive people on the planet! And of course there are those amazing adoptive parents like Lori as well.

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  8. I'm with you, dear sister! In thought and in prayer...and our church is praying. Please know you are loved, so much. xoxo

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  9. And I love you too, Deanna. In fact, I don't think I've ever loved a person as much whom I've never even met in person! As I say, we adopted people tend to be some of the most sensitive, truthful and resilient people on earth. And I am going to fight like hell! Love you, sister

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  10. Hi, i never met you but know your husband through doing business. You seem like such a wonderful family from what he says. i am sending a prayer for you and will continue to do so. i know everything will work out well for you and your family in the end.

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    1. Thank you, Jana. I know Ty has enjoyed talking to you.

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  11. All good wishes, Susan. I have appreciated hearing your voice and am very sorry to hear about your current health struggle. Sending healing energy your way. --Michelle

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  12. Many hearts r with u Susan. We appreciate your voice for us <3

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  13. Oh, I do NOT like this news at ALL!! No no no, not one little bit! Sending BUCKETS of positive healing feel goods you way!!

    Have you seen this? http://www.trueactivist.com/there-is-no-mistaking-the-evidence-cannabis-cures-cancer/ I KNOW you will not give up, but hey, good to have as much information as possible in your toolbox!

    Now what else can WE do for you in AdoptinLand?

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    1. The support that I feel from the adoption community is invaluable. Claudia, I so appreciate your voice, and I feel like I know you. I think so many of us in AdoptinLand are caring, sensitive people because of our life experience. I can feel the positive vibrations!

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  14. All of my best thoughts are with you, hoping for the best, and for peace in the meantime!
    Love,
    Laura

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  15. Along with Claud's cannabis suggestion, I thought I would offer this little gem from Medscape (i.e., a real medical source, not just a blog):

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/749855

    If that makes you curious about low-carb/high-fat for fighting cancer, just google on from there. There are no guarantees of anything; I know of an athlete who ate Paleo and still died from melanoma. BUT, if there's a chance of starving this beastie out--and cancer loves to eat sugar--if it were me, I'd try it.

    You don't know me from Eve, but hang in there, ma'am. CANCER SUCKS.

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  16. Oh Susan, sending all the good vibes I can.

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    1. Thank you Lorraine, and thank you for all you have done and are doing to reform adoption practice. You are a brave truth teller!

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  17. Sending you strong loving thoughts and fierce healing prayers! You are so very special to us. We need your presence and wise voice for a good long time to come.
    <3

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    1. Pris, I am still reeling from the shock, but I am a fighter and I am busy gathering my resources. So appreciate all you do, and I so appreciate your prayers. You are one special lady.

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  18. How like you Susan, to at this moment in time, be thinking of others, of making the world better for adopted people. You are an inspiration, not only as a writer, but as a human being.

    Penn's great. You are finding the path to pushing this life boulder out of the way and moving forward. Hang tough.

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    1. I so appreciate this comment, Jean. You do so much for the adoption reform movement, and your compliment means a lot to me.

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  19. I am so sad to hear this. Sending you prayers, positive energy, good wishes, and more!

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  20. Susan,
    This post brought me to tears. I am so sorry you are dealing with this serious medical issue. I will hope and pray that you will be well again soon. Although we have never met IRL, I think of you as an on-line friend.

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    1. And I you, Robin. I thank you for your hope and your prayers.

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  21. Sending loving, healing thoughts and energy your way. I wish I could do more than that. You are so deeply appreciated and loved--an inspiration--a strong, caring voice for so many of us.

    I hope your battle is short and successful! I hope you're well very soon. XO

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    1. Thank you Renee. What a strong and loving community we have! I am so glad that I am part of it.

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  22. Susan,

    It was wonderful to meet you and hang out with you and the Gentlesk clan in Spain. I am sending all of the vibes, luck and love I can for your trial and treatment. Your post was so heartfelt, sincere and life-giving, and I can only tell you how much better the world is because you're in it, fighting for truth and justice.

    My best wishes,
    Josh Rothstein

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    1. Didn't we have a great time in Spain, Josh? Hard to believe that this challenge was waiting for me right around the corner. I am starting to get a big head from all the nice things people are saying about me! What a beautiful comment! Thank you!

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  23. Susan, I am so sorry to hear of this diagnosis. I am glad that you have the love of family and friends to support you. I will send positive energy and prayers your way and want to thank you for this beautiful blog post today. You deserve so much more than what your birth mother was able to give; however I'm glad she was able to give you the gift she did. Hugs and love to you, my friend.

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  24. Thank you Lynn. I love all of you who are out there in the trenches working for truth and justice.

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  25. Susan, lifting you up in prayer right now. May God's light surround you, bringing you His healing, love and comfort.
    Thank you for being such a tremendous way shower in the open
    records movement. Your own story is an example of how adoption
    professionals tried to entangle adoptees, forever blocking
    any effort to know our roots.

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    1. Thank you, anon. So appreciate your kind words and thoughts.

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    1. Thank you Dana! I feel like I know you from your writing and our on-line connection, and I appreciate all your efforts to make adoption better.

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  27. Thank you, Susan, for all you have done for our community. I am sending you healing and loving energy always...

    Sharon

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  28. Thank you Sharon. It is so good to know that people appreciate what I write, and I believe in loving energy! I am tolerating the first treatment quite well and remain very hopeful.

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  29. Thinking of you, Susan. How are you doing?

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    1. I am doing OK,all things considered. A little nauseous and tired from the first treatment -- I have the second one coming up the Friday before Labor Day. The mental challenge is tough, but yoga, meditation tapes, massage, and the support of my family, my close friends and this community all help. My family and I remain very hopeful that this treatment will work for me. Thanks for checking in!

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  30. Know that kindred spirits all over the world are praying for you, cheering you on and committing these words to their hearts: "The road to peace is never through falsehood."

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    1. Messages like this really lift me up. Thanks so much, anon!

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  31. Just checking in and sending you healing energy, Susan!
    Karen Caffrey

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  32. Thank you, Karen. The support coming in from all directions really lifts my spirits!

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  33. you don't know me but I have been reading your blog from time to time and I am so sorry about this. I wish you all the best. Blandine

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  34. Thank you, Blandine. I have a wonderful support group, and I appreciate every good wish directed my way! My family and I remain hopeful that my treatment will work for me.

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