Some thoughts...

May 6 Mon On money - I have pulled from this website the link to Val's AN Fund because of some extremely negative feedback we have received about it.  That link (optional to click on, as are all links) was a very small part of the site, and never what the site was fundamentally about, which was sharing information about Val with all who are concerned, and a very honest answer to "How is Val?",  "How are you?", and "What's happening?". 

Many people, relatives and friends, have responded generously. Very often it has been those with lower incomes and (perhaps) those who are also without health insurance who have been empathetic to our situation.  My boss at work, Dennis Golder, has been incredibly flexible, sympathetic, and supportive. Would that I can someday reach that level of wisdom and understanding! Thank you all so much.   Val and I are humbled and most grateful.

Others have chosen to be shocked and offended or insulted when they followed that link, feeling it was crude, crass, and mercenary, with timing that was insensitive and abominable.  Perhaps some of the genesis of that reaction may reflect different cultures in more affluent (and insured) occupations and/or parts of the country than the relatively poorer (and much less insured)  mountain west. Some of it may be that being that honest about personal finances "just isn't done."   Maybe some of it may be a reaction to the name "Paypal" which sounds, in this situation, admittedly somewhat flippant.

The financial impact of brain surgery is something that Val and I were aware of and talked about before her surgery, and we were both rather stunned by the magnitude of it, so when assistance was offered in that area, I gratefully accepted.  I did not think about all the possible emotional reactions to it since my mind and  emotions were concerned elsewhere.

Nevertheless, despite the impossibility of our regularly keeping up with the $600 to $800 monthly premiums, there was a strong attitude of... Since we didn't carry insurance, we have no right to ask for help; we deserve what we get; and we can damn well pay for the consequences.  (I assure you, we will be!)  Coming from within that perspective, that attitude is correct, and there is not much more to be said. The responsibility for the site is mine alone; I apologize to those to whom I gave inadvertant offense.

On medicine - Getting such a close-up view of modern medicine and state of the art procedures has been quite interesting, and learning what we have about health and disease has given Val and me both a renewed appreciation for what a marvelous electro-chemical mechanism the body is. The fact that people can cut a hole in someone elses head, muck about in the brain with knives, lasers and suction tubes and actually make them better is truly astonishing. That doctors can distinguish and save fine nerves is amazing and to be commended and honored.

On the other hand, and not to take away at all from what Western medicine can accomplish, it is rather disturbing that their choices of techniques to deal with tumors are (1) cutting, (2) burning, and (3) poisoning.  Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy all have side effects, often horrific ones, stemming from our ignorance of what is actually happening in the body and the explicit or subtle violence of the techniques. There is a growing recognition in the public that in many cases the side effects of the treatment can destroy what quality of life might have been otherwise possible.

Doctors have finally come around to recognizing and admitting that a positive attitude can make a large difference in outcome, but can only shake their heads in wonder when a patient actually has such an attitude.  The possible role of Spirit is still pretty much completely ignored. 
It seems there must be a better way.

There are hundreds of documented cases of spontaneous remissons, not just  the cessation of symptoms, but of tumors and metastasized cancers simply disappearing.  Let's study those cases and see what brings that about. How about learning how to encourage people to have that positive attitude - find out how to teach it to them. What about learning how to reverse the conditions in the body/mind/spirit that brought about the growth of the tumor in the first place? 

On emotions - The last ten days or so (May 2-12) have been much more difficult emotionally as Val deals with still not being able to do very much, and we both are realizing that the quick witted, funny and active Valerie that we both enjoyed so much may be a very long time returning.  The negative reaction to Val's AN Fund took me by surprise, and that kind of judgement from those I love and care about has been quite depressing for me.  That's one of the reasons I haven't updated the website for a while, I seem to have lost much of my enthusiasm for it. 

Val and I both have enjoyed the additional time we have spent together as we simply sit and talk or I read e-mail messages and jokes to her.  And although there are some things we haven't been able to share for some time, we still share our lives and experiences and decisions. I know I will miss her terribly when she goes for a month of recuperation at the beach in North Carolina.

On modern life - Val's change in perceptions - the temporary loss of her filtering ability - has brought certain things into relief.   She does fine here on our little farm, but is easily overwhelmed by all the stimuli of even our very small town.  It makes Val and me wonder where we are headed as a society when we have to filter out 95% of everything that impinges on us simply to survive and function. What a change from living in the "natural" world where awareness of all stimuli is necessary to survive!  What else are we shutting out when we are so closed down all the time?